When it comes to the subject of collecting debt, there are a lot of misconceptions and misinformation. Here are some tools of the trade that you can use if a bill collector ever calls you. When the debt collector calls, the first thing you want to do is determine if this is a third party collector or an in house collector. Third party collectors are hired by creditors on contingency, while in house collectors are the creditors.
Ask the collection agent “Are you calling as a creditor or a third party collector?” Not only will this give the collection agent the impression that you know what you are talking about, but it is imperative to be aware, because third party collection agents must abide by strict regulations enacted under The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Keep in mind that most debt collectors are third party ones.
The debt collector will deliver what is known as a “mini Miranda.” What this means is that your phone call is being recorded and anything you say can be used by the agency to collect debt. After this they will ask you about the debt that they are calling about. Instead of responding in any way that would acknowledge that you owe debt, politely request some initial information from the debt collector before the conversation continues. By law, a third party debt collector is required to give you the name of the agency, their address, fax and phone number, and the name of the original creditor. Ask for all of this, the debt collector’s name, and their specific phone number.
After you have obtained this specific information, tell the bill collector you are tied up at the moment and will contact them back in an hour. Bear in mind that collection agents will always try to achieve a sense of urgency and may insinuate that you must or should talk to them now, but you do not have to. Now, after hanging up, you are in control because the ball is in your court.
Take this time to try to recall if you know what debt the debt collector may have been questioning you about. If you remember legitimately acquiring the debt, and the amount of the debt is correct, call back the debt collector and ask them if there is some type of repayment plan you could work out with them. It’s important to pay off this debt before the debt collector marks your credit score negatively, or even recommends that the creditor file suit against you.
Mallory Megan works for Rapid Recovery Solution and writes articles on credit collection agencies. Free reprint avaialable from: The First Thing You Should Do If A Bill Collector Calls.