If you’re like most people, being on the opposite end of a collection call can be quite a defeating interaction. Collectors generally seem unforgiving and absolutely unwilling to hold a civil conversation. This all makes it very difficult to make any progress (let alone get the upper hand) during one of these calls. Nonetheless, it’s been my experience that when you equip yourself with the correct tools, controlling the outcome of a collection call can be very easy.

1. Collectors are trained to toy with your emotions for a very specific reason.

Do you ever wonder why collectors act so merciless about your situation and further, why they seem to go out of their way to embarrass and degrade you? The answer is simple, yet often overlooked. Collectors are specifically trained that the fastest way to get a person to pay is to exhibit behavior of such disgust and ruthlessness that the person simply says, “I cannot deal with this human anymore, I will pay them just to go away!”. If you keep this mind, these tactics will become transparent and ineffective.

2. Asking to speak to a manager will get you nowhere.

It’s important to realize that a “manager” at a collection agency (at least the ones that they’ll ever let you speak you), are not really there to make sure their collectors are treating customers fairly. Rather, the managers are there to make sure the collectors are getting you to pay –because, of course, that’s how they get paid. If anything, the manager will treat you even worse. Also, why do you think they are manager? Likely, they are running the show because they are very good at getting you to pay and as we have already discussed, this usually means behaving very erratic. Don’t waste your time with a manager.

3. Never make a deal without getting it in writing.

If you have been a longtime reader of this blog, you have heard this a million times. Yet, when the time comes, still some people tend to get flustered and agree to a payment plan over the phone. What do you think happens when you do this? Most of the time they will clean out your bank account and you will find there is nothing you can do because they will simply say, “Well, you owed the money”. You can’t sue them because you have no proof. Again, any agreements should be made in writing before you give a collector access to your bank account.

4. Debt collectors are more willing to negotiate on older debts

The next time a collector contacts you regarding a 10 year old debt, don’t be afraid to offer them a settlement of pennies on the dollar. Many collection agencies purchase old debts from various companies after the company has written off the debt. Therefore, even if the settlement amount may seem small, keep in mind that as long as the collection agency makes a return on their investment, they will be happy.

5. Collectors do not care about your situation

It’s difficult to make smart money decisions when you are emotionally tied to the situation. Collectors know this when they call you a “deadbeat”. You must detach your emotions from the situation and consider it in the same way collectors do: this is just a business transaction.