If you have outstanding debt, dealing with collection calls from agencies can become frustrating, stressful and flat-out annoying. You can be pushed to the point where you feel flustered and even harassed. However, though these calls may be daunting, you don’t have to let them run your life. There are a number of steps you can take to make the process a lot less painful, so you can focus less on dealing with debt collection agencies and more on managing your debt.
How Collection Agencies Operate
Collection agencies call because a creditor that you owe money to has submitted that debt to be collected. The common model for collection agencies is commission based; oftentimes, agencies are paid based on every dollar they are able to collect. Therefore, if they think there is a chance you will pay, they will continue to call and send letters. That said, keep in mind that just as you have rules to follow with your debt repayment, collection agencies have rules to follow with their debt collection.
Having the right information and the right strategy can make all the difference. Following these Do’s and Don’ts will help alleviate some of the stress when dealing with collection calls, so that you can focus on successfully managing your money problems.
- …ignore collection agency correspondence, whether phone calls or mail. For one thing, the majority of agencies use computerized auto dialers, so if you ignore a call you get put back in the system and will be called again in an hour. But more importantly, ignoring calls and letters can lead to legal action being taken against you.
- …mistreat collection agents. You should treat agents the same way you expect to be treated; respectfully and professionally.
- …be bullied into making commitments you know you can’t keep. Agreeing to an arrangement that you know is unmanageable will not help mitigate your money issues.
- …keep the commitments you have made. If you have made an agreement with a collection agency because you know it’s manageable, be sure that you honour it.
- …know your rights. Collection agencies have a number of rules that they must follow, and when dealing with collection calls, these rules can help protect you against harassment. Some of these rules include:
- You must be notified in writing
- Agents cannot harass you or your family
- Agencies cannot call you on statutory holidays, Sunday except between 1-5pm, or any day before 7 am or after 9 pm
- Agencies cannot contact your friends, relatives, neighbours or employer for any personal information besides your address and phone number
- Agencies cannot call you if the call costs you money (i.e., you are charged on your cell phone for incoming calls)
Though collection agency calls and letters can cause a world of headache, using these strategies can help it become more manageable. If you feel your debt is becoming unmanageable, or you simply aren’t sure about your debt management options, contact one of our offices today. Our first consultation is free, non-obligatory and completely confidential.