What to do when you Receive a Debt Collection Letter or Notice

Debt collections letters can be intimidating or just downright confusing. Most people panic when they receive a letter from a creditor. While this is a perfectly natural and understandable reaction, it is always the least helpful. Read the letter carefully, take note of any questions you might have and call your creditor. There are some things about collection agencies you might not know and which should help you when dealing with your debtors.

Almost all collection agencies pay their employees a monthly, performance based bonus. Depending on the type of debt being collected, these bonuses can be much more than the employees’ base hourly wage. Bonuses can be the driving force for a creditor, causing them to send a letter to a customer every other day. Oftentimes these letters are ineffective. Because of this, when they receive a call from a customer after just one letter is sent, they are pleasantly surprised and more likely to work with you. Give them a call, explain to them the reason you are late with your payment and work with them on payment arrangements that will be mutually beneficial.

Another thing many people do that only ends up hurting them is making payment arrangements they know they cannot keep. A seasoned debt collector can usually tell if you’re going to be capable of keeping an arrangement the moment you make it with them. Again, promising a payment that isn’t feasible in the hopes of buying yourself some time may seem like the easiest thing to do, but it will not help you any in the long run. Debt collectors keep careful notes of every conversation they have with you and the more broken payment arrangements they see on your account, the less likely they are to work with you. It seems clich, but you don’t want to be the “debtor who cried payment” and find your wages being garnished because your creditor became weary of believing you were going to pay them when there was no proof of it in the past.

Remember that they are there to help you. If they are rude, as bill collectors can sometimes be, kindly ask to speak to one of their co-workers or their manager. Many collection agencies are rather cutthroat and the idea of handing over a potential bonus-earning payment to someone with whom they are competitive is enough incentive for them to stop being rude. Other collection agencies assign a specific number of accounts to each individual collector and any payment received on one of their designated customers’ accounts is accredited to them regardless of which collector actually does the work. When this is the case, collectors may actually be quite happy to let one of their peers try and assist you.

Being in debt is stressful, but hopefully these few tips will help make an unpleasant situation a little more manageable.