Debt collectors call you at your home because they either bought your debt or were assigned a right to collect it. The collector now wants you to pay it. They want it paid as soon as possible and they want it paid in full. Many debt collectors are paid based on a contingency fee – that is, they receive a percentage of the amount they recover. Despite the fact that they bought your debt for pennies on the dollar (or, often times, tenths of a penny), the fact is the debt may still exist. Debt collectors must verify the debt and they will also attempt to verify your information.
More and more these days, our firm encounters debt collector calls that are scams by parties outside of the U.S. attempting to get you to pay debts that do not exist. Other times calls are from collectors who just don’t know any better and are attempting to collect a “barred debt.” If a debt collector leaves a phone message identifying you by name and threatening to throw you in jail, that call is either part of a scam or a call from someone with abysmally poor training in debt collection.
Most people can’t pay the debt in full when a debt collector calls them. Not to be dissuaded by a little thing like inability to pay, debt collectors may encourage the debtor to borrow money from other sources to pay an existing debt. This may go so far as asking you to take out another loan or to make a payment on another credit card! This is clearly not someone you want to take financial advice from. Another loan will not get you out of financial trouble. Work out a plan that fits with your financial situation. If you are unable to reach an agreement and see no way out of the debt within your budget, the experienced attorneys at Walters Dunn can advise you on the pros and cons of other options such as bankruptcy.
If you owe the money, but you don’t have it all up front, one solution is to negotiate with the debt collector. Debt collectors have a strong motivation to close the account – it’s typically the only way they get paid. Time is of the essence for these people. They want the full amount, but they love to bargain. Never be afraid to negotiate. That is what debt collectors do. You will never know what you can get if you don’t ask for it.
Whether or not you should personally negotiate with a debt collector depends on the particular collector and on your negotiating skills. The front lines of the collection business are likely to be the highest in turnover, but some people may make a career of it. The team leaders, team supervisors, and other managerial and supervisory staff have been there longer. You never know if you will talk to the same person twice. Some will be skilled negotiators and some will be people who just started work.
Our attorneys deal with debt collectors frequently and we are familiar with the games they play. A debt settlement attorney can be a powerful ally in negotiating a favorable result that both resolves the debt and frees you from the harassing phone calls of credit collection companies. .