4 tips for dealing with debt collectors
Dealing with debt collectors is not anyone’s idea of a good time. While many debt collectors are professionals, there are also a lot who seem to have only the most basic understanding of the job and the rules and regulations that limit what they can say and do. Don’t lose your cool, here are 4 tips to make dealing with debt collectors easier.
Tip #1 – Know the rules
Debt collectors aren’t bounty hunters and neither are they the most important people on earth. They simply work as debt recovery agents for creditors. They are prevented by law from using abusive or harassing language, threatening to sue or garnish wages (unless the company is intending to do that), calling before 8am or after 9pm, calling you at work if you have told them not to, misrepresenting themselves as any legal professional or member of a credit reporting agency or talking about your account with anyone but you. Make sure you don’t let the conversation get beyond “hello” before you have their name and employee ID number. If they won’t give it, request to speak with a supervisor. If they still won’t give it or pass you to a supervisor; let them know you are calling their company directly. Hang up, call and complain.
Tip #2 – Get everything in writing first
Don’t agree to any payment terms over the phone. Debt collectors are required by law to send you the debt recovery terms, amounts and other information within 5 days of your verbal request. You must have this information first before you agree to discuss any payments. They should also include information on how to dispute the debt if you do not feel that the debt is correct.
Tip #3 – Understand the power of silence
The best course of action may be to say little or nothing at all. All you need to know is their name, employee ID and to give them an address where to send the written notification of debt. Until you have that, don’t say anything at all. Don’t explain why you have not made payments and don’t respond to any questions about employment or financing. Anything you say over the phone to a debt collector could be interpreted as agreement to a payment term. The less said until you have the debt terms in writing to review, the better.
Tip #4 – Get someone on your side
As soon as you have the debt details in writing from the debt collectors you need to contact a debt consolidation specialist to help you figure out the best course of action. The person you need to deal with is the one who is going to make the arrangements for debt settlement or a potential debt consolidation loan; you don’t need to be talking to the debt collectors yourself. Get someone on your side that will do that for you.
Debt consolidation may not be the course of action that is best for you. A debt specialist will be able to give you advice on an appropriate way to deal with your particular debt situation.
If you are receiving constant phone calls from debt collectors, one of our debt specialists can also contact the companies to let them know you are in the process of debt consolidation (or whatever the debt solution is) and get them to agree to stop any harassing phone calls.