Dealing with collection agencies can be very challenging, frustrating and stressful. In many ways, it's one of the most difficult things to do. Fortunately, the law is on your side, at least to some extent. There are limits to the number of calls that can be made, and where they can be made. While this makes coping a little easier than it was in the past, there are still some things you must do to help satisfy your debt. Remember the days when you could make a $25.00 payment to the hospital each month? Those days are long gone. In fact, there's a good chance you're dealing with collection agencies about medical debt. It's amazing how much things have changed over the last few years, isn't it? Here are some basic tips you can use when dealing with collection agencies.
Learn your rights:
There are so many variances by state in this area that it makes dealing with collection agencies a little harder. You could contact an attorney, but that's really expensive. Fortunately, you can find out all about the rights you have in your specific state on the internet. Search by state to learn your rights when dealing with collection agencies.
No calls at work:
When dealing with collection agencies immediately insist that you receive no calls at work. Many states only require you to tell the company this, so you don't risk losing your job. The laws are generally on your side on this one. Dealing with collection agencies shouldn't cost you your job.
Control the call:
When dealing with collection agencies, many people have luck controlling the call. To accomplish this, ask for their information. What is your name? What is the name of your company? Who do you represent? By taking control of the call, when possible, you'll have better luck in most cases. Don't simply take the call and accept everything as gospel. Write down who they are and when they called and keep in all in a journal specifically for dealing with collection agencies. Most states have limits on the number of calls that can be made as well as the times. By keeping good records, you'll have something to use in your favor, should they break any laws when calling you.
When dealing with collection agencies you should be polite. In most cases, the call will be recorded. Should you need to go to court, it would be best if you sounded like a reasonable person during the calls. Being polite doesn't mean that you simply agree with everything they say, or change what you are willing to do.
Being firm is important when dealing with collection agencies. You should be polite, as noted above, but you should remain firm in your position. For example, if they want you to pay $300 per month, and you know you cannot, hold firm. "I can only pay $100 per month, that's all I can possibly afford." When you aren't firm, you run the risk of agreeing to something you cannot hold to. When you do this type of thing it can be help against you. Hold firm in your position.
If you intend to pay off the debt, you should be willing to cooperate when dealing with collection agencies. This doesn't mean you agree with whatever they say, or do whatever they say, it really just means you're willing to work with them. Be flexible, making sure you don't agree to give too much.
Those that have no intention of paying off the debt may not want to be as cooperative when dealing with debt collection agencies. You can still be polite and firm, it's actually wise to do so. What you say can be used against you later, should the process get to lawsuit level. If you are cooperating with the agency, agreeing to pay the debt, it will be hard to tell the judge you don't owe them the money. In fact, it may be a complete admission of legitimate debt. Know your options when you attempt to work a settlement.
Sometimes it wise to record conversations when dealing with collection agencies. Be up front about it, the laws of each state typically require that you make them aware that you are recording. Recording the conversation may give you a leg up in court, should the company violate any laws. If nothing else, it will be a great record of the times and dates. Be sure to ask who, what, where, why type questions right away. In addition, you should verbally state the time and date at the beginning. This can be very beneficial when dealing with collection agencies.
Make a budget:
If you are dealing with collection agencies, and intend to pay off the debt, sit down and make a budget. Keep it handy. When the calls come in you'll know how much you can pay and how often. In some cases, when dealing with collection agencies that are very profession and courteous, it may be okay to share your budget with them. Use caution.
Ask for reductions:
When dealing with collection agencies you may be able to reduce the amount you can pay. If you owe $1,000, along with $500 of late fees and interest, you may be able to get by only paying the principal amount. Not all companies will be willing to do this, but a few will. Keep in mind that this may be construed as an admission that the debt is legitimate. It doesn't usually hurt to see if you can save some money when dealing with collection agencies.
If dealing with collection agencies, and you are able to reach an agreement about terms of repayment, you should ask for a contract. This will show good faith, and it will give you something to fall back on if the company doesn't uphold their end. Dealing with collection agencies is a legal matter, and should be treated that way.
Dealing with collection agencies is very difficult, but it can be done. It's important to know your rights. We all have our ups and downs. Hold your head up high when dealing with collection agencies.