Actions speak louder than words, thoughts on debt collection.

I am just a bit peeved right now and I thought rather than ranting about it and making certain people look bad I would write a somewhat informative post to help those certain somebodies, then I would rant at the end…

Do you receive at least one debt collection letter a month or perhaps you are get debt collection calls… They are annoying and stressful right? So how do you deal with them? Most people simply choose to ignore them, they do this for many reasons.

I know that being in debt is stressful, the collectors are usually jerks, you feel like you will never be able to pay the debt off and that it is just easier to pretend the issue doesn’t exist. I have my fair share of debts and know exactly what you are feeling and thinking, I have some advice for you…

Pay them whatever you can, NOW!!!

Did you get that? Right now send them a check, even if it is only $20.00. Common, get your check books out and write that check!

Don’t argue with me about it. I don’t care if that $20.00 only goes towards interest, I don’t care if they said they will only accept X amount of dollars when you called… Just send them a payment, NOW!

The worst that could happen is they don’t accept the payment but I am telling you the majority of them will cash your check and then you’ll be making good on the debt.

If you don’t deal with the debt (in writing) and if there is no proof that you are making attempts to repay the debt they can and will take legal action against you. I am talking wage garnishment, fund levying and so on… Do you want them to get a judgment against you that forces you to pay even if you can’t afford to or would you rather voluntarily pay what you can afford?

As a consumer you do have rights and options when you owe debt. If the debt collector is rude or uncooperative you can take steps to protect your rights. Those debt collectors want to make it hard for you to repay the debt, I know it sounds crazy but think about it… They want to charge you penalties, interest and milk you for all they can. The more uncooperative and overwhelmed they can make you the better their case is against you.

They tell you they can only accept payment for a certain ungodly amount of money that you obviously can’t afford, this ensures you are feeling defeated and trapped. You will either agree to pay them the amount they are demanding and you will default on the agreement or you will avoid contact with them all together. Either way you loose, right? Well that is what they want you to think!

Are they bullying or harassing you? Are they refusing to provide you with requested information about your debt? Could the allegedly owed amount be wrong? If you answered yes to any of these questions chances are they violated the fair debt collection laws and you do have options!

Forget what the collector has said you must do, chances are they are just screwing you. Here is what you need to do right now to cover your butt in regards to your owed debt:

  1. Write letter to the creditor (send it via certified mail) asking that the validity of the debt be proven, in writing.
  2. Report the collector to the FTC if they violated the fair debt collection laws.
  3. File a complaint with BBB outlining your issues with the creditor and their collection practices.
  4. Make a good faith attempt to repay the debt by sending any payment amount you can afford.

It is that simple! Send them some money, send them a letter that documents your attempts to gain account information, report their unfair practices and you are done! Each month just pay them what you can, don’t skip a month and you’ll be repaying the debt without having to deal with the nasty creditors plus you will be protecting yourself from the legal repercussions of not “making good” on a debt.


A personal story about debt collection:

Just last night a major debt/ collection issue was brought to my attention that inspired this post. Apparently the Department of Education has been waiting for someone to begin repaying money borrowed. The requests for payment were confusing and overwhelming so they got ignored then the collection letters came.

The collector gave that certain somebody the runaround via the phone over the course of 3 months. This collector was “on vacation”, then he failed to return calls or provide the requested information regarding the debt and repayment options. The certain somebody thought the issue was being dealt with but the collector was actually just buying more time.

Surprise, a wage garnishment threat has arrived in the mail! Phone calls were again made to the collector, he was rude, uncooperative and made several attempts to break down and anger the certain somebody. Eventually the collector conveys that no payment under $2000 would be accepted, more confusing and overwhelming repayment options were discussed and at the end of it all that somebody was left feeling like there was nothing that could be done.

Finally this information was brought to my attention and I became livid! Simply sending a payment in whatever amount that could be managed would have prevented this whole situation! They try to confuse you and make you think you can’t pay them what you want, in doing this they buy themselves time to charge you penalty fees and to take legal action against you. This makes them more money!!!

If you make attempts to pay your debt they can’t claim you are refusing responsibility of the debt, which means they can’t take legal action against you. If you dispute the debt in writing via certified letter they are required by law to prove the validity of the debt BEFORE they can force you to pay. Note: Phone calls to creditors are not legal proof of an attempt to make good on a debt.

It takes 15 minutes to draft up a dispute letter and send a payment folks and it could save you tons of stress and legal repercussions! Heed my advice guys, dispute the debt in writing and send any payment you can afford, do it right now. If the collectors are violating the law you should also report them.

Don’t sit idle and let the case pile up against you, take action, protect your consumer rights and make some financial attempt to repay your debt- it is what the collectors don’t want you to do and that is exactly why you need to do it!

<p>A city girl turned farmer. Yes women do farm ;) Owner and operator of direct to consumer, Ryder Family Farm in Southern Illinois.<br /> Wearing many hats I'm also a mother to 3, a wife, a yogi, a farmer, a 4-H & Girl Scout leader & hospitality manager.</p>

0 thoughts on “Actions speak louder than words, thoughts on debt collection.

  1. I paid “whatever I could” on Shortman’s “birth” hospital bill just to keep the collectors quiet. (we were poor, insurance-less students). The hospital eventually wrote it off… and I had only ‘slow payment’ rather than ‘no payment’ on my credit report.

    Rees last blog post..WW – A Record

  2. Slow payment is way better than delinquent or nonexistent payments! Making an obvious effort to repay is worth so much and people just don’t understand that these days.

  3. Good, solid, well thought out and mature advice. It’s unfortunate that many people in debt are young and just starting out and they don’t have the background or the experience to understand how to deal with this kind of thing. Good for you, Talina. Good for you.

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  4. @ Iceel, I agree and it is especially bad for the older people too… Those creditors just bully and bull$hit you like crazy. The really young and elderly are the ones who can’t stand up for themselves as much and unfortunately get screwed the most.

    @ Hyphen Mama, I know huh? What better time for a wage garnishment than right before a huge move!

    @ Teeni, thanks for the stumble! I hope this helps somebody.

  5. Good advice for when the debt is student loans or other government obligations — IRS or state taxes. But, not so good advice when the loans are credit cards or mortgages (where they can refuse your payment if it is not payment in full).

    For those payments, you’re just throwing money down the tubes. If you are so in debt that you can’t make your full mortgage payment or full credit card payments, you really should consider bankruptcy, as awful as that sounds.

    Seek professional advice. Not necessarily a bankruptcy lawyer (they get paid first when you file) but a reputable credit counselor. Good luck find one of those.

    Yes, I’m cynical.

  6. Talina, this is such good advice. I have experience from both sides of this fence. I used to work in the collections dept of a place, and I hated it, mostly because I was in the same boat as many of the people I spoke to every day at the time. I had strict collection guidelines, which I was not at liberty to bend for any reason. But, if someone called in and offered to make payments BEFORE it got to collections, and they kept their payment arrangements, there was no problem. It was the people who let things go, who ignored their obligations who I was helpless to help.

    Many years after I left that awful crap job, FabGrandpa was in hospital for 4 days and had a gazillion tests, all of which we were oligated to pay as we have no health insurance. As soon as he got home, I gathered information showing our monthly obligations, our income, our rent, and a statement from the doctor saying he would be out of work of work for 7 weeks. I took it all to the finance office of the hospital and met with a financial social worker, who took our file to a financial board meeting, who reduced our debt by 50% and gave us an affordable repayment plan. All this was done before we even received the first bill in the mail. And, if you wait until you get the first past due notice, it is already too late to get help.

    My advice to anyone who has debts, and something happens so that you know you won’t be able to pay what you owe, is to call right then, talk to everyone you owe, and make a payment plan you can easily afford. It will keep the phone calls, the letters, the garnishments, the lawsuits out of your life.

    Oh, and if you really do not have the funds to pay everyone, pay your rent, your utility bills, and buy groceries first, then pay on the bills you owe the most on. Most places have limits under which they do not pursue “further collection action” even though they will send you a letter saying they will. The higher the balance is, the more likely they will pursue collection.

    Karens last blog post..Western Tanager

  7. Oh, and if you get to the point where you really can’t pay everything, think about getting rid of cable tv, internet, telephone, increase the deductible for your car insurance (it makes your premium go down, have a yard sale or moving sale, sell your washer and dryer, your TV, whatever you have that is worth some money, to be able to pay your bills. You can always buy replacements, new or used, when you get in the money again. It won’t be the end of the world to watch movies checked out from the library, use internet only at work or at friends house, or just read a book, preferablly on getting your finances in order, until you do. Or, just get a second job for a while to use up all that free time you’l have when you don’t have internet, tv, or telephone. And yes, this is the very same advice I gave my daughter when she got herself in a financial mess when she was in college and I was paying her rent.

    Karens last blog post..Western Tanager

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