I have collected bad debts and I have also been on the receiving end of collection calls several times in my life. It’s not a pleasant experience for either person but you can make it easier.
I’m assuming you are deeply in debt, you are in what I like to call the Money Pit, and you are fending off collection calls. This is a tricky situation when you can’t pay the amount you owe, but you don’t want to have them cut off your account.
I am also assuming you are firmly committed to getting back on track financially and you have made a plan to catch up on your payments. Now you need to communicate with the creditors.
Communication is key. If you avoid or ignore their calls, they assume you are not trying.
Realize this: the person on the other end of the phone has a job. Their job is to collect the money that you owe. They are just a person, like you, and they are just doing their job.
- Be proactive. Call them; don’t wait for them to make their next call. They will be pleasantly surprised.
- Listen. The first conversation will likely be you listening to them tell you what will happen if they don’t get all of the money you owe right now. There is a certain amount of frustration built up which needs to be vented. Also, the collections clerk has a script to follow and they need to say certain things.
- Take notes. Get their name. Write down the amount and any dates they mention. Ask them to repeat information if you don’t get it the first time through. Let them know you are making notes. This shows interest in what they are saying and also shows that you are serious about the debt.
- When they give you a chance to talk, you want to do three things.
- Say you are sorry.
- That you didn’t mean to get behind but you have made a plan to catch up.
- Your plan is to make your regular monthly payments on time, plus start to pay off the arrears over time.
- Now you listen again. They might repeat their script. Remember it’s their job, even if they get personal.
- Calmly repeat a version of #4 again. If they insist on threatening, tell them you are going to stick to your plan and you will be happy to talk about it again.
- Thank them and end the call.
Now comes the difficult part – Follow through with your plan. Make your payments and remember to communicate with them if needed.
What is your best strategy? Comment here
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