Dealing with Debt Collectors

How to negotiate with debt collectors

No one likes dealing with debt collectors. While in some cases, you can simply write a check and the situation is over, at other times, a bit of negotiating is a must. Here are some tips for how to negotiate with debt collectors to make life a little less stressful.

Know The Basics

The first thing you should do when contacted by a debt collector is to have them verify the debt. Make sure the debt isn’t so old that it has passed the statute of limitations, which varies by state. After they contact you, you can send a letter asking for more info about the debt so you know it is correct. The CFPB offers sample letters here. If it is your debt, remember these key items:

  • Debt collectors can’t harass, threaten you or use profane language
  • Debt collectors can’t lie.
  • Debt collectors can’t call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
  • If any of that happens, report them to the CFPB.

    Keep Detailed Records

    You should keep detailed notes on every correspondence with debt collectors. Include the topic of conversation, the date, time and the name of the collector. These notes will come in handy should you need to verify the negotiations.

    Offer a Big Payment

    Many times debt collectors will be happy to take a lump sum payment instead of nothing. As US News reports, start low so that the collector has room to counter. You could also offer a payment plan that works within your budget. Do your best to remain calm when discussing a deal.

    Get it in Writing

    No matter what plan you arrange, get the details in writing. Do not start your repayment plan until you’ve had time to review the documents and ensure it is all correct.

    Chris O'Shea

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