Never call a debt collector and arrange to pay them over the phone.
I gathered all of my debt collection letters and started calling collection agencies. This was a big mistake. Tip: If possible contact the original creditor. For example, if you have a debt from a Capital One credit card, but are getting letters from a 3rd party collection agency, attempt to contact Capital One first. Negotiating with original creditors is the way to go –in this article I will show you how to negotiate to get charge offs completely removed from your credit report
It is my experience that while many times it may appear as though a debt was sold to a collection agency, the original creditor still owns the account and are simply using the 3rd party collection agency to collect the debt. Therefore you can still cut the 3rd party agency out and contact the original creditor directly. Keep in mind: a debt has only been sold to a collection agency if the debt has a ‘Collection’ status on your credit report.
Always communicate with creditors via certified mail. This means that the creditor is required to sign for the letter before the post office will give it to them. The post office will also send you verification once it is signed for. I recommend paying the extra couple of bucks to get a copy of the signature once they have received it in case you ever have to go to court (many times creditors will claim they never received your letter). You can do this completely online. Download one of my example dispute / negotiation letters, edit it to fit your needs and go to the USPS website and upload the file.
A few things will happen if you contact a debt collector over the phone (particularly a 3rd party collection agency).
- You will be welcomed by the rudest people on the planet. If you do have to speak to one of them, try to remember that most phone debt collectors are under 25 and make $7 an hour –they don’t care about your problems. Some collection agencies hire employees as young as 16 years old.
- Collectors will say almost anything to get you to pay over the phone. Also, when you deal over the phone and they lie, you have very few legal protections. I will speak in another post about The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and my bad experience attempting to get any protections under this.
- Resist! They will push hard for you to pay right there. They will ask for your bank account information so they can setup automatic deductions. In my case, they threatened a lawsuit if I didn’t pay them right away.
Remember that most of the tactics executed over the phone by collectors are done to scare the shit out of you. Keep in mind that collectors will say such things as, “Do you know what you have done? Do you know what is going to happen to you? Do you even realize how much trouble you are in?” In another words, they will make it sounds as though paying off the debt is the most important thing in your life, and while it may seem as though it is, never fall for this –it’s not the most important thing in your life.
I fell for this. I setup for automatic payments to be deducted from my bank account. I cannot tell you how many problems this caused me. Never give out your bank account information
- Never make a deal over the phone. Request for everything in writing.
- Always communicate with creditors via Certified Mail.
- As difficult as it may be, never buy into their scare tactics.
- Never give out your bank account information.