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Dealing With Debt Collectors: Be Their Friends

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It's frustrating when you're receiving multiple phone calls a day from debt collection agencies. It doesn't have to be that way. Debt collection agencies are used to being yelled and cursed at, so why not take the opposite approach and try to be their friends?

Most people will try to hide from debt collection agencies but that may only escalate the situation. If they can't get a hold of you to make arrangements, their only other option might be to take your file straight into their legal department. Here are some tips on how you can get the best arrangements with your collection agency:

Be Honest

Unless you don't own the debt (in which case you should send a debt validation letter), be open and honest when you're speaking with them. Simply let them know the reason you fell behind and explain that you don't have enough funds to pay down the debt. In the event that some of the debt collectors are a little more aggressive, let them know they can follow up the following week to see if circumstances have changed. This opens the gate of communication between you and the debt collector, and it shows that you have every intention to pay it back instead of hiding from them.

Be Nice

Look, I know being a debt collector isn't the most glamorous job, but it's still a job! Don't take it personally -- they still have to put a roof over their heads and food on the table just like you. When you're yelling at the debt collector, it doesn't show any forward progress. Debt collectors spend most of their days with angry customers and people hanging up on them. Keep in mind that most debt collectors work on commission, so the more money they're able to collect, the fatter their paycheck! If you were in their shoes, would you rather help someone who's screaming or being calm with you? Easy decision!

Ask and You Might Receive

Typically during the conversation of the phone call, a debt collector will ask you how much you're able to pay them today. If you're struggling to make the full payment, my advice would be to arrange a settlement with them. A settlement is when you pay less than the full balance, and the payment will be considered as payment in full. Start low -- it doesn't hurt to ask for a 20 percent settlement, but of course this depends on each collection agency. What if you're able to arrange an awesome settlement but simply don't have the funds? In this case, you can ask them spread the payments over 3-6 months!

We should all remember the debt collectors are human too. Although we hear crazy stories around the web about debt collectors rushing into a burning home to seize assets for unpaid debt, it's not that common. Debt collectors are in the business to work out an arrangement with you so it's mutually beneficial. If you get on their good side, it works out for the best for both parties.