By Dave Ramsey
A collector's job is not to help your overall situation. They are out to get your money only whatever it takes. Credit card collectors are not your friends. Think I'm lying?
Connie Asked Me...
One day Connie in Nashville called me on the radio. She was three months behind on her credit card payments and being threatened by some collectors. They said they were going to take her house away if she didn't pay her debt off immediately.
Well, I'm here to tell you that these collectors are SCUM! They lie and break federal law on a daily basis. I've worked in this business for 17 years, and I've never seen a credit card company sue someone or garnish the wages of someone who is three months behind on payments. If they are going to take a lien against your house or other action, they have to sue you first, win, and get a judgment against you. They don't do that to people who are three months behind.
It's a total bluff by some idiot in a cubicle 500 miles away.
What Should I Do?
Collectors use psychological warfare to get you to pay them. They try to make you emotional enough so you pay them before buying food or paying the rent. Collectors are also very rude and abusive. Does that sound like things a friend would do? Not at all. You don't have to take it! Here's what you should do:
- Talk or hang up? Tell the collectors that if they are willing to talk to you as an adult and not call you 20 times a day, you will talk. If they call to swear at you and threaten to take everything from you, you can and will hang up.
- Talk once every two weeks – MAX. Tell them that when they call more, you will always hang up on them. Collectors try to call you at breakfast or dinner time, since you tend to be more emotional then (more tired, dealing with crying kids, stressed, etc). Don't get emotional. If you have talked to them within the last two weeks, tell them so and hang up.
- Collectors can't call you at work. If they do, tell the collector that you are officially telling them not to call you at work. Then send the credit card company a certified letter, return receipt requested, saying that you have told them not to call you at work.
- Pay what you owe. I don't tell people to not pay their debts. But collectors go over the top and try to scare you into paying them before buying food or paying the light bill. Tell them that your necessities (food, shelter, transportation, clothing) are more important and that you will pay them after your necessities.
- Get on a written budget with your money. Spend every dollar on paper on purpose, before the month begins. Know where your money is going. Never give a collector electronic access to your checking account or send them post-dated checks. If you do, they will clean out your account because you legitimately owe them the money.
Don't let some idiot in a cubicle 500 miles away scare you into thinking they're going to take away everything you own or filing bankruptcy. Remember, any collector that tells you this is SCUM!
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To learn more about getting out of debt and living on less than you make, attend Dave's Finiancial Peace University classes in your area.