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Negotiating with a Debt Collector: 5 Tips to Consider

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Nobody likes the thought of having to deal with a debt collector. Whether it is letters in the post or frequent phone calls, receiving contact from debt collectors can cause fear, stress, and anxiety. 

Above all else, however, you still have to take care of the debt

Yet before you simply write a check and hope the problem goes away, there are steps you should take to ensure you receive the best debt solution. Below are five tips to keep in mind when negotiating with a debt collector. 

1.Check it’s your debt

Scam artists take on various different forms, and that includes masquerading as a debt collector.

With this in mind, you need to check that the debt is actually yours. This begins by investigating the validity of the debt collector. Ask for their name, business address, contact details, and company name. Then do a search to see if the information matches up. 

Additionally, you can have the debt verified by the collector. Rules state that, within five days of initially contacting you, a collection agency needs to provide a “validation letter” detailing the debt amount. If you request further information about the debt stated, and the collection agency isn’t willing to provide any details, that’s a sign that something is wrong. 

2. Remain calm 

When contacted by a debt collector, you can feel threatened and flustered – particularly if they take an aggressive approach. However, it is important you maintain a calm approach. Losing your cool can only lead to further issues and gives the collector the upper hand. 

3. Bring in expert help 

Debt collectors are, understandably, savvy and knowledgeable about all things relating to debt. It is their job, after all. If you are new to this type of situation, a debt collector can tie you up in knots and have you dancing to their tune. 

This is where hiring a specialist debt attorney can give you the advantage. 

Whether you need expert help for consumer protection or debt lawsuit, an attorney will know how to guide you through the issue. Not only will they stop the debt collector from bullying you, but they will also help put together the best deal for your situation. 

4. Offer a lump sum 

Did you know that if a collector purchases your debt from the original creditor, they tend to do so for pennies to the dollar? Due to this, they have a lot of room for negotiation. In most cases, if they only receive, say, 50% of the original debt amount, they will still generate a healthy profit. Plus, they want to avoid going to court and dragging the case out. 

Use this to your advantage. Offer them a one-time lump sum, one that is below the amount they’re requesting, to eliminate the debt. You might be surprised at how willing they are to play ball. 

5. Have any settlement agreement in writing

Once you have settled on an agreement, it’s imperative that the deal is noted down in writing. If you don’t, the debt collector can suddenly change the terms – and then it’s a case of your word against theirs.

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