Having a standing debt is not easy. It gives us a lot of stress just thinking about how to pay. Receiving a phone call from a debt collector is no vacation either.
It takes a lot of mental energy to try to answer their queries without getting ourselves implicated in the process. Debt collectors are very smart and they can steer the conversation in ways they want to. Some people who don’t know how to handle these call unintentionally put themselves in a bad place. Debt-collector calls should not be seen as the enemy as long as we know how to deal with them, after all, they’re only doing their job. Here are some quick guidelines to help us make the conversation as safe as possible.
ANSWER THE CALL
Avoiding phone calls from debt collectors never did well to anyone. Not answering the phone call will not make that collector go away instead would make them call us more frequently. It’s not a bad decision to answer them but we have to prepare ourselves when doing so. We can also make them call us back later so we can still have time to gather our thoughts.
A good debt collector will write down all the information that transpired during the call and that means we should, too. We have to take down the name of the debt collector and the firm and address that he or she represents. We should be quick in noting the amount of debt he or she claims that we have since this is the core of the phone call. It’s also important to take note of the date and time of the phone call. All these information is valuable if we ever have to face that collector in court.
ASK THEM FOR A COPY OF THE DEBT INFORMATION
There are only few things we can write, if we do it while thinking of safe answers. So to make sure to ask them for a copy of the debt before the call ends. The debt collectors will not hesitate giving the information out if we appear to have forgotten about the debt. We can say the phrase “I don’t believe that I currently owe this amount” and they’ll be more than willing to release a copy of the said debt. Better still, ask them to email you an electronic copy of the documents, if you are not comfortable giving out your address.
NEVER GIVE OUT INFORMATION ABOUT MONEY
Sometimes debt collectors call to interrogate us about our assets and liabilities. Never fall into the trap if they try to do this. Never hand them information about bank accounts and social security number unless we are trying to make a payment. We should also not mention our bills that we receive each month so they won’t be able to trace our home address. If we can’t still pay the debt that they said we currently owe them, then there’s no point of discussing these matters.
DON’T MAKE PAYMENT ARRANGEMENT
Remember, everything that we say to them can be used against us so better be safe than sorry. Agreeing to negotiate about the payment arrangement can become a basis on which they can (potentially) sue us. These arrangements include the date of our payment and the amount we are going to give them. Aside from this arrangement, it’s also best not to make “good faith” payments which now leads us to the 6th guideline.
ALWAYS SAY NO TO “GOOD FAITH” PAYMENTS
Most often than not, ignorant consumers agree to paying the lowest amount possible. They do this for the hopes that it can help their case out. They think that the collector will stop calling and make them think that they are very much capable of paying the debt. This is sometimes a trick which collectors use especially on those who have already reached the statute of limitation to their debts. Statute of limitation is the given period in which the collector can still sue us. The time of the last payment will become the basis of this statute which is why paying any amount can automatically restart the calendar of the statute of limitation. Make sure to know about the debt first before giving them promises. It might end up being more complicated than we anticipated it would be