Debt collectors suck. Almost everyone has dealt with them at one point or another, maybe even in the earliest days of building credit and making a lot of honest mistakes along the way. I can remember one time in my credit-building days when one actually threatened me with jail time – over a $200 bill that I wasn’t even aware that I owed. I was mortified by how I was treated, even though I realized that this is how these people earn a living. Still, it doesn’t make it any more fun to deal with them. Here are a few things you should know before the next debt collector calls you:
Always Double Check
First and foremost – double check the accuracy of the supposed debt! It’s possible that records got messed up somewhere and that your name is on something it shouldn’t be. Or, there could be an incorrect amount given to the collection agency when you owe much less. Don’t let a debt collector bully you into paying something you’re not responsible for.
Always wait to get a written statement of your debt from the agency before negotiating anything over the phone. That way, you can double check the accuracy of the information before sending any money.
If you believe the debt is in error, first contact the company the debt is from. Sometimes, you can resolve everything at that level. If not, you’ll need to call the collection agency too and explain the issue. If you still can’t get the error cleared from your name, you’ll have to take some additional steps to get it cleared from your credit report if it’s made it that far.