Being in debt is not an easy experience; it affects you both physically and emotionally. It can be tough thinking every day about what you can do in order to catch up with your bills. It can even be worse if you have to deal with a debt collector. A call from a debt collector may be the last thing in your mind; therefore, it will catch you off guard. Without prior preparation, you might end up making promises that you cannot fulfill in the end. You might even get into a bad argument. Here is what to do when you get a call from a debt collector:
1. Remain level-headed: when you realize that it is a debt collector calling, do not panic. What you need to realize is that debt collectors usually work on commissions; therefore, they will do their best to get you to pay back the money, even if it means threatening you. Relax and remember that you have rights and speak to him as calmly as possible.
2. Make time to talk to them: Should the debt collector call when you are a little busy, it is good to tell them that you are not able to talk at that time and that they should call you back at a time that is best for you. Ensure that you are able to write down some information about them when they call as it might be useful later on.
3. Take notes: the collector will be making notes about your conversation. You should take notes as well. This might help a lot in case you are required to face the collector in court. Take notes about the date and time of the call, the name of the collector that called you, name and address of the collection agency, the amount of money mentioned as your debt, the name of the creditor and anything important you might have discussed in that call.
4. Do not be too quick to admit the debt. It is important to take time to determine if the debt is actually yours and that the collector has been given the mandate to collect on it. There are so many cases of collectors making up debts and collecting debts that have already passed the statute of limitations. You need to take time to verify all this, therefore do not admit to the debt.
5. Do not divulge information about your income, other debts and bills. Creditors will use anything they can get to push you to make an immediate payment. Besides, they can get such information from your credit report. If you are not in a position to pay the debt at that time, it is good not to hold any discussions at that time. Anything that you say to them may be used to collect the debt.
6. Make a quick decision after the call: once the call is ended, do not sit back and wait for the debtor to call again. You need to make a quick decision on what you should do about the call or even about the debt. If you are sure that the debt is not yours, dispute it using the debt validation process. If the collector harassed you during the call, you can get a cease and desist letter. If you are ready to pay off the debt, you can make a settlement offer or pay the debt in full. You might ignore the debt and wait for the collector to call again, although this is not a good solution.