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Debt collectors are people just like you and me. However, some agents can be exceptionally nasty, rude, and even dishonest!
Dealing with debt collectors on the phone can easily escalate into a very stressful situation — especially if the agent you’re talking to has no mercy and a bad attitude.
Here are 3 tips for dealing with a collection agent who doesn’t seem willing to negotiate or help you in any way…
#1 – Keep talking… and document everything.
Seriously. Whenever you have a collection agent who refuses to negotiate and seems willing to take you to court, you should keep ’em talking!
Make it clear that you will not give up. Just keep going and going and going — like the Energizer bunny.
While you’re talking, get to know everything you can about the person on the other end of the phone. Their name is a good start. While some agents will refuse to give you their “full name,” they do have to give you their first name and the name of the collection agency they’re working for.
You can also ask for a transcript of the phone conversation you just had with the agent. Again, they may refuse to give it to you right away, or they might choose to be extremely vague about how you can obtain those documents.
In the end, a difficult collection agent may be going against their company’s protocol by refusing to negotiate with you, simply because they don’t want to give you anything that you could use against them.
#2 – Stay calm, cool, collected… and polite.
If you become rude or argumentative, the collection agent can simply label you as noncompliant. Being noncompliant is grounds for a recommendation to be taken to court.
The problem with this is that if you get a judgment against you in court, it will increase the amount of debt you owe. The increase could be as much as $10,000 — depending on the kind of debt you have and the amount that you owe.
It doesn’t matter how nasty the collection agent gets; you should remain calm and make it clear that you are not affected by their bad attitude.
By the way, here are just 3 of the things that debt collectors CANNOT do:
- Call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
- Keep calling several times in a row until you pick up.
- Call you at work if you have asked them to stop.
#3 – Ask to speak to a supervisor… and be persistent.
Even outside of debt collection situations, this is something that I say — and do — all the time:
Skip the middleman whenever you want something done quickly… and correctly. Go right to the decision maker!
If you want it done right the first time, then always go to the highest-ranking person you know (or can find), rather than wasting time talking with the person “you’re supposed to talk to” — especially if that person hasn’t been helpful to you in the past.
This is even more important when dealing with debt collectors. If you have an issue with a particular agent or with something they’ve said, then you should insist on speaking with a supervisor. Ask over and over again, if you have to.
Collection agents typically reluctant to transfer you to a supervisor for 2 reasons:
- They’ve been instructed to handle all situations themselves — in order to save the managers time and unnecessary headaches.
- They don’t want to get in trouble — especially if they’ve been dishonest in their conversations with you.
This is where talking comes into play. Talk until the agent is exhausted. If you keep talking — even if you’re going in circles — the agent will see you as someone who is taking up too much of their time (especially if it happens to be a Friday afternooon!) and they’ll eventually transfer you to someone else. The agent probably won’t transfer you to someone with power over them, but you may be transferred to someone who will give you the contact information of the manager.
Once you get that information, then you can write a letter describing how your current agent is a problem and that you wish to be transferred to another agent who will work with you to resolve your debt problem. Always be very professional when you’re communicating with a manager — either on the phone or in a letter.
Clearly, debt collectors have the power to create complex problems concerning your debt and the law. It’s a shame that some collection agents aren’t impartial and professional enough to try to help people pay down their debt via civilized negotiations.
Hopefully, these tips will help you resolve any problems that might arise when dealing with debt collectors.
More About Debt Collectors
- Tips For Communicating With Debt Collectors
- How Debt Collectors Get Your Money
- 9 Ways To Turn The Tables On Debt Collectors
- Dealing With Debt Collectors: Know Your Rights!
- Illegal Debt Collection Practices
- 6 Tips For Dealing With Debt Collectors
- What To Do If A Debt Collector Breaks The Law
- Dave Ramsey’s Tips For Dealing With Debt Collectors
With input from Financial Advisors, (a Tax Accountant and an Investment Manager), I share helpful tips regarding money and finances — including debt relief, insurance, budgeting, and investing for retirement. My goal is to help you save more, spend less, and invest for the future by sharing honest, tried & true budgeting tips and tools. When I'm not saving for the future and helping others save for theirs, you can find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).