Comments Off on Confessions of a Debt Collector: Being Blind and Deaf Teaches Value of Kindness

I am a Debt Collector. I have nothing to sell you and no reason to hurt you. What I have is a few ideas that should help you deal with a Debt Collection Letter or call. I don’t know everything, but I have no reason to hide the truth.

First, some web sites are very misleading suggesting, among other things, that you can get a 10% settlement. I am not saying that never happens, but almost never. Settlements usually require large payments and most people don’t have the money to spare.

The Debt Collection industry is becoming less confrontational. A lot of this is legislative and court rules that force a Collector to behave. Some of it is because being kind and understanding does not reduce how much is collected but it allows everybody involved to sleep better at night.

You do not have to speak to a Debt Collector. You can insist you not be called again. This will stop the calls but will usually lead to credit bureau reporting and, possibly, litigation. If that doesn’t matter to you, tell the collector not to call again.

If it does matter or might matter in the future you should take the call. The collector may be willing to give you time to get a new job, get healthy or graduate before starting payments. You might be able to get low payments for a few months or a year.

Many collectors are Professional and want to work with you to get a bill paid. You should know what you are capable of doing before you call. You should also have a list of any problems you have with the bill. Finally, you should know when you should be able to make the first payment.

Of course, some collectors are a nightmare. If the collector is aggressive, nasty or inconsiderate ask for a supervisor. If you don’t get a Supervisor call the Company that reported you and lodge a complaint. You should also enter a complaint with the Consumer Protection Bureau. Be specific and honest. Remember, your call may have been recorded.

Most of the people I speak to are having financial problems and, because of these problems, many other issues as well. We all realize that these problems do not usually last forever. Don’t be afraid to ask for time.

Sometimes, it is hard to gather your thoughts if you’re afraid or angry. You can have a family member or friend speak for you. You just have to give your permission to the collector to speak to this person.

If you know your payment will be late, call the collector. Let the collector know when you will be able to pay and the amount of the payment. Most important, provide a reason for the late payment. We are all human and most of us don’t want to hurt anybody.

Finally, you might want to consider Bankruptcy. If you owe tens of thousands of dollars this could clear your debt with no debt collector contact and give you a new start. Bankruptcy costs a lot of money, however, and if you only owe a few thousand dollars it is less expensive to work out pay plans.

Do not be afraid of debt collectors. The Government and Court system are there to back you up. Consider working with them if you want to keep your credit from getting worse or you want to avoid a law suit, but insist on respectful treatment.

We all deserve respect.