It can be scary and unsettling to start receiving calls from debt collection companies, especially when you’re broke. You have no idea what to do and just want to stick your head in the sand and pretend like it's not happening.
Even if you do choose to answer the phone, some debt collectors can harass you, leaving you scared to answer your phone ever again. Let’s look at some tips to deal with debt collectors.
Pull Your Head Out of the Sand
You want to address the situation as soon as possible. If you owe debt, accept it and do what you can. Explain your situation to the debt collector and state what you can do. Debt collectors can’t turn away money. Should you go to court, you need to state that you tried to work with the debt collector and explain that they refused.
Get Information in Writing
You always want to see a proposal in writing. Before you make any payment, get the offer in writing. Without this, you have nothing to stand on. The company could turn around and say that you must pay more money.
You want to have as much information as possible. Write down what was said and who you talked to. Keep records of confirmation numbers, write down check numbers used to send payment, etc. You want to have as much in your records as possible. You also need to write down times and dates that conversations took place. You cannot legally record a conversation without stating that’s what you’re doing.
Know Your Rights
Some debt collectors will use illegal tactics to get you to pay your debt. This means using foul language, making threats, calling multiple times throughout the day, calling before 8 AM and after 9 PM, talking to others about your debt, making claims about being an attorney when they aren’t, etc.
Know your rights. You especially want to know what can and can’t be done in your state. For example, in some states, wages can’t be garnished to pay credit card debt. If a debt collector performs illegal collection practices, report them to the Better Business Bureau and Federal Trade Commission.
Never be afraid of negotiating. If you want to pay your debt, but can’t pay what they’re asking, make an offer. You want to remember to get the details of this offer in writing. Do not pay a dime before you get everything in writing and never give them access to your bank accounts.
Research the Company
Something else you want to do before making a payment is to research the company. There are many companies that will drain your bank account and still claim you owe them money. Yes, it will take time, but you must know who you’re dealing with.
Debt collectors can’t hurt you, but rest assured that many will try to make you believe they can. Never put up with illegal actions from debt collectors. Know your rights and don’t be afraid to negotiate. More importantly, get everything in writing.