9 Tips to Successfully Negotiate With Collection Agencies
There is really nothing fun about debt collectors. They are persistent, aggravating, and after your money. But, debt collectors do have one redeeming quality: they aren’t above negotiations.
Like so many things in life, debt can be negotiated. However, going in blind can leave you blindsided. Instead, consider the following, before the negotiations even begin.
Do Your Homework: You don’t have to have a law degree to argue successfully. Instead, simply being prepared, knowing the ins and outs of the issues at hand can help you formulate a strong negotiation plan. Learn about debt collection practices, know what is legal and what is not, and research your debt to make sure it is indeed valid. The more knowledge you have, the more power you’re granted.
Know What you Want: It’s hard to negotiate unless you actually know what you are negotiating for. Before even speaking to a collection agency, figure out what you want the outcome to be. Do you want the debt drastically reduced, or just reduced a little? Do you want late fees wiped out? Do you want to receive a time extension? By knowing what you want, you are better able to fight for it.
Have a Legitimate Argument: It’s hard to argue when you don’t have a valid point. This makes getting all your ducks in a row very important. If you are requesting a time extension, for example, you best have a valid argument why you deserve one. If you provide the collection agency with rational and logical arguments, they just might surprise you by actually listening.
Threaten Bankruptcy: To the collection agency, bankruptcy is the mortal enemy. If you file, they will get nothing. This makes bankruptcy your ace in the hole. Even if you have no plans to file for bankruptcy, act like you do. The collection agency, in order to keep you from filing, will jump into negotiation mode. They would rather get something, instead of nothing at all.
Use Sympathy to Your Advantage: Collection agencies are made up of people just like you. They are filled with human emotions and understanding. Use this to your advantage. Though you shouldn’t lie, you should provide them with a poor looking picture. If your finances are in trouble because of loss of a job, a death in the family, or an illness, let them know this. They just might know where you are coming from.
Don’t Tell Them More Than They Need to Know: A collection agency will have information on you, but they won’t know everything. Where you work and where you bank, for instance, may be a mystery to them. Keep it this way. If they ask you your place of employment or place of banking, simply refuse to answer. If they do know where you work and bank, it makes it very easy for them to collect the money owed.
Don’t Be Pushed Around: Collection agencies often get their way by wearing people down. They call constantly, they bother, they annoy. Don’t let their persistence push you around. Instead, stand your ground.
Keep Track of the Collection Agencies Calling: If you receive calls from different collection agencies concerning the same debt, it means that your original creditor has given up on collecting from you: they are desperate. You can use this to your advantage by settling the debt for far less than you owe.
Do Things in Writing: When it comes to negotiation, know that oral promises hold no water: get everything in writing. This is particularly important when the collection agency agrees to settle: no matter what they settle for, be sure you receive a satisfied in full report.
When it comes to debt collectors, negotiating is always a good idea. But, the above points need to be heeded in order for success to be granted. If you, yourself, are unable or feel uncomfortable negotiating, debt management and debt settlement companies can help. They are filled with professional negotiators who know how to beat creditors at their own game.