Always Get It in Writing

Ashley asks what the best way is to handle collectors who are hounding her about old medical bills. Dave has a simple answer.

QUESTION: Ashley on Twitter asks what the best way is to handle collectors who are hounding her about old medical bills.

ANSWER: They’re not going to go away until you pay the bill. If you legitimately owe the bill, you need to work out a settlement with them. Usually, if it’s an old bill, they will take pennies on the dollar as a settlement. So if you owe them $1,000, you offer them $150, they’ll probably take it if it’s three or four years old.

But whatever deal you do, here’s the deal: I would not do anything on payments. I would just settle the debt, and if it’s under $100, just pay it. Get yourself on a budget. Get yourself straightened around. Have a garage sale and start cleaning up some of this stuff. Some of those things are just ankle biters. They’re mosquitoes flying around your head. But if you’ve got some big bills like that, start negotiating with them and have a lump sum saved up to settle with them. Eventually, they’re going to sue you if you don’t. It’s a good idea to go ahead and get them taken care of.

When you do that, there are two rules when you’re settling an old, bad debt. Rule number one is always get it in writing. If it’s not in writing, it didn’t happen. Rule number two is never give them electronic access to your checking account ever. They lie. They’re scum. Don’t give them access to your account. They’ll clean you out. Never do that. Get it in writing, and then cut them a check. Get them some payment over there. Get them out of your life.

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