Terry has several serious problems. Not only is he dealing with staggering credit card
debt, he's unable to make his payments on time because his job was downsized.
He's back to work now, but he's still playing 'catch-up' - and he makes much less
money than he did before. In the meantime, he's enduring an endless stream of daily
collection calls from credit card companies demanding immediate payment.
If this describes you and your situation, keep reading, because in this issue I'm going
to give you some tips about how to deal with an aggressive collector.
When a credit card company - or any other creditor - calls about a delinquent account,
extracting money is their only goal. They're trained to use every weapon in their
arsenal to get that money. They don't care what they have to do to get it. They'll use
psychological weapons, threats, coercion - whatever it takes. The best thing you can
do is to know your rights and keep your cool.
The very best thing you can do when dealing with a creditor on the phone is take
control of the call. Because you're the debtor you may feel like your options are
limited. The fact of the matter is you have a lot more power than you realize. They're
calling you because you have something they want: Money. That gives you an
amazing power over them so use it to your advantage.
Use that psychological and financial weapon to your advantage. Tell the collector -
firmly - that you'll talk to them as long as they remain polite and respectful, but the
minute they blow it and treat you like a stray dog, you're out of the call. Don't be
afraid to follow through. Trust me; they'll call back another day.
If you don't have the money right now to pay them, tell them that. Ask them what
options are available. Don't be surprised if the only option they give you is a check by
phone transaction. Whatever you do, don't authorize one. If you give them electronic
access to your checking account, they could potentially clean your account out. And a
judge is unlikely to be sympathetic to your complaint that they stole money from
you...considering you owe them money.
Instead, tell them what you're willing and able to do - and then do it. But do it by mail
and pay them with a money order. Don't send a check drawn on your personal
checking account because checks are routinely being converted to electronic
transactions. Do you see the danger?
I'm not trying to needlessly scare you, but I am trying to educate you on some of the
underhanded tactics that some unscrupulous collectors will use in collecting.
If the collector shows his true colors and begins to make threats or demands, stay
calm. Here's an excellent tactic that's worth its weight in gold. The louder and more
strident they get, the quieter you should get. Instead of raising your voice - lower it.
Continue talking while you drop the level of your voice. Whisper if you have to.
They'll have no choice but to shut up, if only long enough to listen. When they do,
drop the hammer. Tell them very sweetly that Canadian law only requires you to talk
to them if you want to and you no longer want to. This should stop the problem at
least on a temporary basis.
To recap this technique:
Take control of the call and don't relinquish it Offer to make the payments by mail
only DO NOT permit electronic access to your account If they yell at you or raise
their voice - lower yours to a whisper if necessary Tell them to discontinue calling you