Written by Charlotte Wood (last updated February 21, 2009)
I hate those unceasing phone calls from debt collectors and seeing that mocking "toll free" number pop up on your caller ID. It's easy to get yourself into those problems in the first place, and dealing with debt collectors can be frustrating and intimidating. How do you do it? Should you even deal directly with the callers? Here are a few tips and tricks to handling your debt collectors and what to do and not do.
Debt is always a huge burden that induces significant amounts of stress and so the fact of the matter is that you want to eliminate that debt as soon as possible. Talking to the callers is probably a good idea because you can either work out a payment plan or find some way to remedy the problem. The debt collectors will be much less likely to continue hounding you if you show initiative and desire to fix the debt problem. The longer you put it off the worse it will get and your creditors will just become more and more persistent and annoyed.
If your debt collectors are aggressive or abusive on the phone you have the right to request a cessation of contact unless it's to figure out paying off your debt. The best way that this works is to first work out your debt and then if the phone calls persist, request that they desist. Creditors also cannot legally call you at unreasonable times (e.g. before eight in the morning or after nine at night). Even if some creditors demand urgent payment, check and see if you have other options besides sending a money order overnight (which adds even more to your bill). You can usually pay by debit or credit card.
Be aware that debtors can usually tack on interest if you fail to pay what you owe and this can increase depending on how long you wait to pay it. The best solution is just to work out your debt early and then you can usually avoid the calls and letters. If you've already worked out a payment plan and you're still getting harassing calls, you have more grounds for making a complaint; if you're doing what you need to then you have more credibility in putting off debt collectors.
Debt collectors don't have to be scary if you just know the right way to go about handling them. If you can take control of your situation then you can stand up to those incessant phone calls much easier and have better ground to stand on. Take control of your debt and the collectors won't have nearly as much cause to pester you. You can be free!
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