Having a debt collector contact you out of the blue can be a scary moment to experience. While you may have an indication that this phone call was coming, in other situations, you may find yourself wondering if this is a scam. A debt collection service should always be professional when contacting people about an overdue payment, but sadly this isn’t always the case. Keep reading as we share how to respond when a debt collector contacts you, so that you can remain calm and collected throughout this interaction while also protecting your finances.
Stay Calm at All Times
The worst thing you can do when a debt collector first contacts you is to get upset about their phone call or other form of contact. You won’t be able to have a calm and rational conversation if you are upset, so make sure you try and put things into perspective when you are talking to them for the first time. Take the time to learn all the facts about why they are calling you and ensure you aren’t the victim of a scam from a debt recovery agency. Sadly, scams are more common than you can imagine in this day and age, especially after the struggles of the recent pandemic. Make sure you find out who exactly is calling you and what company they are from, so that you can keep these details for future reference.
Always Ask for Written Communication
Written communication offers you a form of proof of what you are being asked for. When discussing the question of what to do when a debt collector contacts you, make sure you always ask for written confirmation of your debt. This is the best response when a debt collector contacts you as you’ll be able to verify who they are and what company they are calling you from. Debt collection services are sadly the victims of a lot of scams, and while there are many people out there just trying to do their work honestly, unfortunately, the pandemic has seen a huge increase in the number of issues in this area. Don’t fall victim to one of the many scams out there just because you didn’t take the time to ask a few extra questions about who is calling.
Understand Your Rights
Even if you do owe the debt you are being asked for, make sure you are also aware of your rights when someone contacts you. You should never be spoken to in a threatening or abusive manner, as that is simply not the way in which debt collection agencies should operate. The calls you receive should be at normal operating hours, not in the middle of the night. If you think someone is calling you at unusual times, this is another indication that this might not be a real debt collector. When someone calls repeatedly or starts to harass you, this is another issue. Reach out for help if you think this person isn’t genuine or you are feeling like you are being threatened.
Paying Off Your Debt
Once you’ve been contacted to pay off debt, there are various things to do to complete this process. If you have debt that’s outstanding from a few years ago, we recommend trying to check whether this is still valid before paying it. When you are unsure whether the debt really belongs to you or not, write to the company and try to dispute the debt or receive more information to verify that it really belongs to you.
Once you’ve confirmed that the debt is really yours, try to pay it off as quickly as possible to avoid further issues or penalties. Don’t panic at this time, especially if you aren’t able to pay it all in one go. Instead, negotiate how you can clear the debt in a timely manner, or whether you can pay a large sum now and have the rest forgiven. Payment plans are often available as well, which can be a huge help if this has come unexpectedly. Just be realistic about how much you could pay off each month, or you’ll find yourself in another difficult situation further down the line.
It’s always concerning when you receive a phone call asking you to pay outstanding debt, but by following the steps we’ve shared above, you’ll be able to take control of the situation and ensure the debt is really yours to pay. The quicker you can act on the debt you’ve been asked to pay, the less likely you’ll be fined or have more issues in the future. Our team is here to support you at any time if you do find yourself in a tricky situation with a debt collection agency. Contact us today for more information about how we can support you.