Harrassing collection calls from creditors can be both embarrassing and stressful. Clients tell us they receive calls all day, at home and at work and they are at their wits end. How can you stop calls from collection agencies? Here are some tips for dealing with collections agents.
Find out who is calling
Most creditors will try to collect money owing to them in-house at first. If it is your original creditor calling then you will know what debt they are talking about. Since it’s early in the process, your original creditor will probably expect full payment but may be willing to compromise by setting up payment schedule that works for both of your. Next, creditors may send your account to ‘collections’, meaning that an outside collection agency will be making the call. These agencies work on commission and while they will attempt to be very aggressive they will often settle for payment of a portion of the debt. Old accounts can also be sold to a ‘debt purchaser’ for a few cents on the dollar. Debt repurchasers are often willing to accept a much smaller payment since any payment received are largely profit.
Confirm that you actually owe the money
It’s not uncommon for a collection agent to call you about someone else’s debts (perhaps someone with a similar name). If you don’t know what the debt is for, listen carefully and ask questions, but don’t confirm the debt is yours. If they are calling the wrong person, prove it to them and they should stop calling. It’s possible that they are calling you for a debt you have already paid. If you can provide proof of payment, provide the information to the collection agent and tell that you expect them to stop calling. That should eliminate the phone calls.
Offer a debt repayment plan
If you do legitimately owe the money and you think you can repay something, you can offer to make a repayment plan directly with the collection agent for dealing with the debt. If you can pay a lump sum of money now, they will often settle for less than the full amount owing. For example, if they are calling about a cell phone bill from two years ago for $1,000, they may be willing to take $500 and write off the rest. If you can’t make a full payment now, you may be able to pay the debt off in installments over the next few months. Never make a promise you can’t keep. Don’t agree to pay $100 every week if you can’t afford it. That will only cause you greater problems in the long run.
Get some help
If your debt is too high to deal with on your own, or if you owe many different creditors, you need a permanent plan for dealing with debt. If that’s your situation, you should speak to a professional about how you can eliminate the debt and stop the collection agencies from calling. Contact a consumer proposal administrator or a bankruptcy trustee to explore your options.
Bankruptcy is the final option, but in many cases it is better to deal with the debt once and for all, and not have to worry about any further calls from collection agencies.