Debt collection is a billion-dollar industry, one that leaves many families struggling with lost wages, harassment and stress. Fortunately, there are federal laws and strategies you can use to evade shady tactics. Familiarize yourself with the following debt collection methods. What you learn will help you avoid making future mistakes and supply you with the confidence to stop the abuse.
Take a closer look at the inner-working of a collection agency. They won’t tell you:
1. “I’m not listening to your story.” Debt collectors aren’t interested in the reason for your unpaid bills. Their only goal is to collect. Unlike regular creditors, collection agencies don’t have customers. Therefore, they have no incentive to treat you fairly or work for your satisfaction.
The lesson: Don’t waste your breath by explaining the situation. Contact us to begin the debt validation process instead.
2. “I work on commission.” Collection agencies rely on a performance system to keep their employees motivated. The goal: to collect as much cash as possible and earn bonuses based on their monthly gains.
The lesson: Don’t become a measure of someone else’s success.
3. “I’m open to negotiations.” Despite the promise of commission, there’s a practical side of debt collection. Agencies purchase charged off debt for much less than the initial amount, often pennies on the dollar. While recouping the full debt is the goal, agencies still stand to make a profit by collecting a portion of your debt.
The lesson: Don’t fear debt collectors when they say nothing is negotiable.
4. “I’ll contact you even after the statute of limitations has expired.” Consumer rights prevent agencies from collecting debts unlawfully, but they’re counting on your ignorance to sidestep the rules. Some collectors may contact you even after the statute of limitations has expired. If you show signs of settling, debt re-aging occurs, allowing them to damage your credit further and keep harassing you for payment.
The lesson: Don’t negotiate with debt collectors over the phone. Pursue legal action and ask for help immediately.6
5. “I’ll ask you to make bad decisions.” As we’ve learned, debt collectors aren’t interested in the financial safety of their targets. The goal is money, nothing more. To achieve success, collectors may advise you to make bad decisions in the interest of closing your collection account. They may say,
“I’m sure you could borrow money from your mother and father. I could call them and explain the situation.”
“Use your savings or withdraw funds from your 401(k). It’s better to close this account now.”
“Do you have a credit card? Why not charge it and just pay off the debt slowly?”
The lesson: Don’t take advice from collectors who don’t care about your future. Avoid future damage by refusing their suggestions.
6. “I’ll pump you for additional information.” Establishing multiple sources of contact is imperative to collection agencies. It provides them with leverage to pursue you and your family for payment. They might say, “Why don’t you give me your boyfriend’s phone number in case I can’t reach you again,” or “I need the name of your employer for our records.”
The lesson: Don’t involve third parties in your financial woes. Avoid providing any information and notify your loved ones to disconnect if they are contacted.
7. “I’ll embarrass you on purpose.” Debt collectors use pressure tactics to encourage payment, and embarrassment is one of their favorites. They’ll call you at work or other inconvenient times in order to catch you off guard. They’ll also use gathered information to contact your boss, parents and friends with the aim of humiliating you into submission.
The lesson: Don’t allow bullying to affect your finances. Assert your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and put a stop to harassing phone calls.
Debt collection can be overwhelming, but there is help. Contact our legal team and tell us your story. We’ll protect your credit and help you regain peace in your life.