No one likes to talk about debt, but it’s a topic that just gets worse when we ignore it. The phone calls make you sweat. The mail carrier is an anxiety-inducing presence. So shall we get to it? Are you wondering how to get rid of debt in collections?
Debt in collections is a burden that lingers and weighs on every decision you make. Each moment you get it off your mind is a relief, but it always comes back to haunt you. Collections offices don’t help. They sound apathetic, and it seems further proof that the world only cares about money and wants to take it from you.
The stress of this debt in collections takes a toll on everything you do, but there are ways to ease that stress and take control of the situation. Here are some secrets on how to get rid of debt in collections.
How to get rid of debt in collections: The most critical pieces to understand
First of all, a debt collector is working for someone else. They don’t know you or care about you. Their job is to grab money that someone else says you owe, whether it is a legitimate debt or not. In most cases, they get a commission for getting you to pay. This information is powerful for a few reasons:
- It takes collectors out of the driver’s seat: It is a natural reaction to panic when you get a debt collector call. They have an emotional advantage on you, and their goal is to get you to pay without much hassle. The only real advantage they have over you is that they had an opportunity to look at your background information and do some research. Don’t let them psych you out, and you’re already off to a good start.
- They want to sound like they know more than they do: Again, this is psychology. They want to make you think that there is no question about whether you owe this money. This makes you more likely to pay. They may not know much about your debt or how legitimate it is. You’re just an assigned case that was next on their call list. If you have questions about the debt, you should absolutely ask.
- You don’t owe them anything: The collector is not the person you owe (if you genuinely owe anything), and you shouldn’t feel like you do. The burden is on them to give you enough reason to have you pay.
Knowing more about the collector should make you feel a little more comfortable about dealing with them. It can even help to research individual collectors to see who you’re speaking with. Nonetheless, some of them are superb at putting you on the defensive, and you need to be prepared with some strategies to keep control.
These are the best ways to go into your conversations with collections officers and figure out how to get rid of debt in collections and come out ahead.
- Get bold to get your way: If a debt collector is threatening to sue, it may be a scare tactic. Especially when your debts are not so large, it won’t make financial sense for them to hire a lawyer. Go ahead and call their bluff. Tell them you know they don’t want to take that path and make a lower offer that you can manage to settle the debt.
- Ask for proof: You should especially do this if you don’t recognize the debt or feel the amount is inaccurate. The burden of proof is on the collector. If there is no documentation to prove you owe, nobody can make you pay.
- Negotiate the debt down: Debt collectors often can negotiate a settlement for a smaller amount. When you work towards a settlement, know this: the person you are talking to will get paid more the more you pay but will get paid nothing if they need to hire a lawyer. The ball is really in your court. See how low you can get before they give you pushback. You might be surprised by the amount of money it takes to free yourself of the burden.
- Get lost: It is your legal right to tell debt collectors to stop calling you. They could still sue you, but many collection agencies aren’t prepared to do that. They would prefer to keep calling you back until you break under pressure and pay what they want you to.
Of course, it is not ideal to find yourself in debt collection but, if you do, it can be an opportunity to sharpen your negotiation skills and see how much of your money you can save with a fight. Don’t let debt collectors bully you into fear and have you paying more than you should. Take control with patience, information, and planning. You can come out with a far better result than you think.
Do you feel more confident about a strategic approach for how to get rid of debt in collections?