Your day has gone well! You receive a call, it’s an unfamiliar company. Immediately, you realize that it is a debt collector! You become overwhelmed with feelings of anxiety. This brings on the “fight-or-flight response”. Believe it or not, this is the exact point that determines how the phone call will go. That’s right, you have control of the call. Those who choose “fight”, have made their mind up to argue every point with the collector. Those who choose “flight”, will either find a reason why they can’t talk right now or hang up the phone. The question is, why?
Although, it is a well-known fact that debt collectors have a reputation of being rude and unsympathetic to circumstances. This is an old stereotype from many years ago. That is not to say that, there aren’t collectors who are less friendly than others. However, in 1978 The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was put in place to regulate the conduct of debt collectors. The truth of the matter is, there is no need to fear a collection call. In fact, “fight-or-flight” is the absolute worst way to deal with a collector. Both, arguing why you shouldn’t pay a bill with verifiable proof that you owe, or avoiding the call, will only escalate the situation. In most cases, debtors want to pay their bills. The lack of money or fear of judgement gets in the way of a reasonable conversation and ultimately a resolution.
There are three main reasons a person doesn’t pay their bills. There is a legitimate dispute with the service or product. In this situation the debtor should provide the original creditor a letter of dispute, detailing their reason for not paying. Secondly, there are some people that don’t view bills as a priority. These people will never pay, in spite of the creditor or collector’s efforts. The majority of people find themselves financially strapped and unable to pay all of their bills. This represents most people that find themselves on the other end of a collection call. In this situation, the debtor needs to be upfront with the collector and open minded to finding a solution.
Debt collectors are trained to determine a payment plan that is affordable to the debtor, and acceptable to the creditor. As a debtor, your best line of defense is to be honest about your financial situation. This will allow the collector to properly assess your ability to pay. This places you in a position to negotiate a plan that is better suited for your income. The collector will place your account in a promise to pay status. This will stop collection calls, allow you to pay over a period of time and protect your credit. You have now created a working relationship with the debt collector. In the event you are unable to make your monthly payment, you should immediately contact the collection agency. If you reach out to them first, they are more likely to work with you and adjust your payment plan.
At the end of the day, there is no need to fear a collection call. If you are unable to pay a bill, the best thing to do is answer the phone and say “I am unable to pay the bill”. The collection agency will document your account accordingly. However, not setting up a payment plan will negatively affect your credit. This is not the time to be embarrassed, ignore the calls or consider bankruptcy. This is the time to get help! If you are avoiding collection calls, contact Apprisen today and take advantage of our free financial counseling session. Speak to one of our professional credit counselors about money management and a budget plan, and get back on track today!