Monthly Archives: August 2015
One of the last things that most people want to do is talk with debt collectors or creditors but, if you find yourself falling behind on your bills and your cell phone is ringing off the hook, it might be a good idea to talk with them because, in many cases, you’ll find that they’re quite willing to work with you.
Below are 8 of the Top Tips for dealing with debt collectors and collection agencies. Enjoy.
1) Whatever you do, avoid drama at all costs. The simple fact is that if you lose your temper you probably won’t get anywhere, so try to stay calm and, if you find yourself losing your cool, ask the representative call you back at another time. Also, you can tell them that when they call back you’d like to record your conversation, something that usually puts them on their best behavior.
2) Make sure to take copious amounts of notes. When you’re on the phone you should either have a pen and paper handy or, if you type fast, a computer or tablet. Take down the name of the person you talk to, the time and date you talked and a good bit about what you discussed. This can help you to take a lot of the emotion out of your conversation and also have a record so that, during their attempts to collect on your debt, you’ll know if the creditor or collector actually broke any local, state or federal laws.
3) If you’re married, stick to any story that you come up with, especially if it stretched the truth a little bit. While the person on the other end of the phone doesn’t really care about why you can’t pay your bills, if you have a hardship situation they might be more inclined to help you get it straightened out. With that in mind, it’s good to be as consistent as possible, especially if you’re married, so that you don’t make any mistakes that cause your debt collector to believe you’re not being truthful.
4) Get everything that you talk about in writing. If and when you come to payment arrangement with your creditor, you definitely should get everything that they agreed to in writing before you pay them a dime. If you don’t, and pay them before anything is written down, it will be your word against theirs and might end up causing more problems than you originally had.
5) Ask as many questions as possible and don’t shy away from asking more. Simply put, the more you know about what your creditor or debt collector is planning, the more you can plan to deal with it.
6) Do your best to deal with creditors, not collection agencies. This one is quite important. If at all possible, trying to take care of everything with your creditors before they send bills to a collection agency. The fact is that even though late payments will negatively affect your credit report and your credit score, if your account is sent to a collection agency it can cause even more damage.
7) Before signing any agreements, know what you can afford to pay. If you can come up with a lump sum to be able to resolve your debt, you can usually negotiate a better settlement. Once that’s done, you can agree on a payment plan but only if you understand the total amount that you will have to pay.
8) Lastly, don’t just read but save all your mail from any creditors or collection agencies. When you get it you should first read it fully, then save it in a special file just in case.
One last note; while there are many companies out there that tell you that can help you to deal with credit companies and collection agencies, most of what they offer can actually be done on your own for much less money.
It would be fun to rack up your credit card bill and go on a shopping spree, but that’s not what I’m advising. As long as you are responsible and pay off your balance each month, it can actually make smart financial sense to use your credit card for everything.
I use my Costco American Express credit card for everything. At 3% back for gas stations, 2% back at restaurants, 2% on travel purchases, and 1% on other purchases, not the cashback from purchases from Costco, that’s a lot of money you’re throwing away. Add in paying your electric, gas, and cable bills with your credit card you imagine how much each month you’ll rack up in rewards dollars, let alone over the course of a year. Don’t believe, take a look at what you currently spend each month on bills and spending money and do the math!
Your Credit Score is Important
Whether you’re just starting out and have no credit, or you’re looking to continue to build your credit due to mismanagement in the past, using your credit card responsibly by paying off the full balance each month will actually help your credit. A solid payment history is reported to credit bureau’s each month, whereas a debit card does not show on your credit report.
Whether it’s making a big money purchase, or simply do not want to carry cash around, credit cards are more universally accepted than even debit cards. Ever try to check into a hotel or rent a car with your credit card, a hold is placed on your checking account for incidentals, and that hold is even higher when using a debit card. Why tie up the money from your bank account when you can use your credit card and the hold will come off in a couple days from your credit account, which can take twice as long to come off with a debit card. Not to mention the rewards you’re getting by purchasing with your credit card…see…
If you find yourself enjoying the seemingly endless credit limit and are spending too much each month and cannot pay the full balance when it’s due, then perhaps going back to a budget with your debit card works better for you. If you’re disciplined though, and want to earn hundreds of extra dollars every couple months just by spending what you normally spend each month, but this time using your credit card, you can enjoy those rewards checks!