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Three Tips for Dealing with Debt Collectors

Three things you should always do when dealing with Debt Collectors:

If sued by a Debt Collector, Always show up to your Court Dates!  

If you have been sued a by a debt collector, make sure you show up to any and all court dates!  Although you might be nervous about appearing in Court, you will gain nothing by not appearing.  The additional stress that appearing will cause will most likely be worth it.  If you have a reason that you shouldn’t be responsible for the bill (it’s not yours, etc.) feel comfortable telling your reasoning to the Judge.  Worst case scenario, the Judge will disagree with you.  This is much better than the alternative (See my posting about being imprisoned for not paying your debts).  Always appear for your court dates.  Don’t let the Debt Collector win by default.

Answer Debt Collectors’ Telephone Calls!

When Debt Collectors call you, answer the phone and if they leave you a message, call them back!  Every telephone call you take from a debt collector is a chance to make that debt collector pay you for breaking the law.  Furthermore, nothing is prevented by simply burying your head in the sand.  As such, failing to call a debt collector back isn’t going to make your situation improve.  In fact, interest on your account will accrue, your account will be passed on/sold, and the debt collectors will eventually (hopefully legally) begin contacting your friends and family members and attempting other debt collection methods to satisfy the account.

Don’t say you are going to pay if you can’t!  

Most debt collectors are willing to work with you on developing an mutually agreeable repayment plan.  If you are not going to have money for three months, tell them you are not going to have money for three months.  If you only plan on paying $20 a month, tell the debt collector this is the maximum amount you are able to pay.  If you break under pressure and agree to pay something you can’t afford, this will cause significant future problems.  First and foremost, it will make you seem dishonest.  When I was a debt collector, I always believed that if consumers were able to pay an account they would.  Its hard for me to believe that consumers are intentionally not paying debts; the stress associated with doing so isn’t worth the money saved.  When I was on the other side, if one of my consumers lied to me, a bond was broken and anything they told me in the future lost value.  Be honest with the debt collector  you are dealing with.  Do not agree to any repayment plans you can’t afford.  More importantly, don’t agree to a check by phone, etc. if your account can’t handle the withdraw on the scheduled date.  Otherwise, you may not only owe a debt, but you may also have committed a crime (passing a bad check).

Additionally, by saying you are going to pay a debt collector that can extend the number of years the debt collector is able to attempt to collect the debt, otherwise known as the Statute of Limitations.  That is why debt collectors try to get you to make a “promise to pay” or tell you if you don’t tell them you are going to pay they will mark you down as a “failure to pay”.  They are trying to get you to promise to make a payment so they can extend the statute of limitations.

If you have questions about what to do or what not to do regarding the debt collectors that are contacting you, please give us a call.  We would be happy to assist you.

Don’t bite!  If you aren’t going to be able to pay, tell them.  Lying has never done anyone any good.

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