Collectors Got Ya Down?
Take it from someone whose been on the side of the collector, it stinks. I hated that job and was actually told I was too nice to do it. I also quit when I found out that there were some shady business practices afoot, but that's a story and not the facts you need. When a collection agency purchases debts, they purchase them for pennies on the dollar; meaning that what you initially owed is now negotiable. Do not let them frighten you. Many of the people I worked with were nothing but attack dogs with little to no formal education, and nothing to back up their anger. They are essentially just trying to get as much of your original debt as they can, because the more money they get from you, the more money they get on their check biweekly.
That being said, I understand how scary it can be to think that your credit could be ruined by something as minute as some overdue movies from the library. I am here to quell your fears and offer you a tactic. When that agent begins harassing you, calling your family members, your friends, and, incessantly calling you, remember that they are really not allowed to do that and it is harassment. This is why, for the most part, when one takes a collections job, one is vaguely debriefed on how the operation is going to work; they tell you that in a couple of months they may have to pack up, move offices and change the name of the company, but have no fear, you'll still have a job. I know how sketchy that sounds, because that is exactly the word that came to mind when I myself received that speech. It's, to put it nicely, a scummy line of work, and I can only hope that I never have to resort to that kind of income again.
When it comes to settling your debt, that's the easy part. If you would like to just settle your debt, which I highly recommend, remember, negotiate. Offer them half of whatever they are asking, actually offer them a third. Most of the time they will be happy just to get a payment at all, and you win because that credit problem caused by said debt, is now gone. If you cannot make the payment in one lump sum, you can also arrange a payment plan, again they won't like this option, but they just want your money so they will most likely accept the offer. Now, since they have been so kind to you, not, have a little fun with these "payment plan" arrangements. Offer to send something small, like $15 a month until the debt is paid off. This drives them crazy, but it is amusing, and I used to make these plans with my clients just to get under my bosses skin.
Finally, my last piece of advice, do not under any circumstances give them a credit card number. Collectors have access to resources that really, they shouldn't. They can do background checks and find private information out about clients using websites their company subscribes to. Once again, another illegal business practice that they just try to keep hush, hush. My best suggestion is to give them a check number and then closely monitor your account until your debt is paid off. This way they cannot just take however much money they want. If you are going to use a credit card, be wary and make sure that you fill your bank in on how they should go about the payments. Well, I just figured my experience may help some good people out of some irritating and bad jams. Hope this helped!