Credit collectors feed on panic and intimidation. Anyone that has a credit card must have handled an agent or two before calling about the unpaid debt on your card. Some are very rude and mean, and some are just calling to remind about your debt, it a part of their job. However, if the credit card collector goes beyond being rude, and actually harasses or humiliates you, you can sue or threaten to call the authorities about it. Every business has a Privacy Agreement where they cannot discuss any details of your account to anyone else – even family members. They also cannot call you in the wee hours of morning where you should still be resting. Calls should be made during business hours only. They can’t also come in your home without your permission.
Obviously, the calls won’t stop unless you settle the balance on your account. Here are some simple tips or guide that can help you settle the debt once and for all.
- Make the collector your ally. The worst thing to do is pick a fight with the collector. That’s one battle you can’t win and it’s actually pointless. It won’t scare him off and would label you a “difficult case” instead and just sends a meaner collector next time. You can break past the bullying by being cooperative. They don’t need to be rude if they are working with someone who is obviously eager to pay, but doesn’t know how. That’s where you can both move on and take a step to a more productive negotiation. The collector will be eager to save your account to get the commission, and the credit card company recovers some of the money – which is much better situation that some clients that totally runs away from the debt.
- Negotiate. Obviously, you wouldn’t be in a debt if you have had the money to pay so tell your collector your current financial obstacle. It doesn’t need to be a sob story, I’m pretty sure they have heard it all; you tell them what you can pay and be sincere about it.
Never agree to an amount that you cannot afford to pay. It’s pointless and would just get you into trouble. If you can’t reach an agreement, another option is to tell the collector that you are willing to bring the case to court. You can’t actually be imprisoned for credit card debt. The court is usually “compassionate”. Most of the time, collectors try to avoid going to court – it’s expensive and time consuming on their part as well. That’s why the collector will still look for an agreement that works with your existing financial situation.
Once you’ve cleared all your debts to your credit card company, make sure you ask for the proof of settlement of your account. You need a document that states you are cleared of all financial obligations to the company.
Lisa Grant is a financial advisor and marketing editor for financial magazine. You can click here to read some articles about it.
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