Don't Let Collectors Control Your Life

Kori and her husband have an old debt from 2008, and three collectors have called them about it. They paid one of the collectors, so how do they deal with the others?

QUESTION: Kori in Kentucky and her husband are on Baby Step 1. They have an old debt from 2008 and three collectors have called them about it. They paid one of the collectors, so how do they deal with the others? Dave gives her some welcome advice and gets riled up when he tells her how to talk to them.

ANSWER: The people who contact you now on a debt that has already been paid—send them a copy of the note that shows the balance owed with a copy of the canceled check stapled to it. Say, “This debt has been paid. Please clear your account, you idiots.” They just make up crap. They just add stuff to it. It doesn’t matter.

You have a letter or a bill with a date on it that says a dollar amount that is owed. You have a check that is canceled right around that same date for that amount. You do not have any more debt. You don’t need a letter that clears it. You have a bill from some goob that says $313 is owed. Then you wrote a check for that around that same time and that check cleared. You do not have a debt. Take both of those pieces of paper, make multiple copies, and send it via certified mail to anyone who tries to collect from you. Tell them if they try to continue to collect a debt that is no longer owed, you’re going to sue them and turn them over to the Federal Trade Commission. Get all up in their grill because they’re stupid fools. They’re incompetent, and you need to knock them into next week. Really, you’re not dealing with intelligent life. You probably already figured that out. They’re not only not very nice but they’re not very smart because they’re incompetent and breaking federal law. Once a bill has been paid, it is illegal to try to collect it. Hello!

Keep the original canceled check the rest of your life. No one gets that. That’s golden. Send them a copy of it.

You’re just too nice. You just can’t be this nice. You grew up where everyone told you to always be nice, especially on the phone, and I don’t want you to be nice. I want you to go crazy. The only way you get attention from these people when they are acting this way and they’re acting improperly—basically, they’re trying to steal from you, so you need to go off on them just to get their attention. If a simple conversation will suffice, then do that. But the problem is you’re going to figure out pretty quick that it probably won’t. You start nice and then just have your hand on the volume switch, and every time nice doesn’t work, take it up a notch. Say, “Please take me to court! I’ve always wanted to own a little collection agency! Please take me to court because I’m going to put you in jail for extortion! Please come after me!” Yell it at them! “Please! Your parents are apparently cousins! Please come after me! I would love it! I’m begging you! Sue me, please! I have a canceled check, I have the bill, the debt is no longer owed, you’re in violation of federal law, and I’m going to sue you until I take all the furniture out of your mother’s house, you idiot! Please come after me!” This is how you’ve got to act. Go off on them.

It’s the most abusive, out-of-control industry in America today, and none of the “governmental agencies” that are supposed to be watching over this stuff are doing anything about it. They violate federal law on a daily basis. The credit card collections industry is completely out of control, and nobody seems to give a rip. So the consumer has one option, and that’s stick a knife in their throat, metaphorically speaking, and slice. You’ve got to bleed ‘em out, man. It’s your only shot. You’ve got to go for it. Otherwise, they’re just going to control your freaking life. “Oh, please sue me. Please sue me, you idiot.” This is where you’ve got to go, and then hire an attorney and sue ‘em for $10 million because they’re so completely out of whack.