If you have ever been unfortunate enough to have to deal with a debt collection agency, you will probably agree that it tends to be, at best, a fairly unpleasant experience. Of course, if you have outstanding debts then you should pay them off, but nobody should have to deal with intimidation, harassment, or threats from debt collectors.
Get it in writing
Usually, the first contact that you will have with a debt collector will come in the form of phone calls. When this happens, the first thing that you should do is to insist that they communicate with you in writing. This will give you their contact details, which you can use to verify if they are indeed a legitimate debt collection agency. Also, this makes it less likely that they will use questionable tactics in order to retrieve the money, and if it ends up going to court, you will have written proof of all your correspondence with them.
No matter how much pressure they put you under, don’t give out any personal or financial information over the phone, as the caller might be a thief who has obtained enough of your details to sound legitimate. If they refuse to communicate with you in writing, and keep harassing you, simply hang up on them. Also, if they offer you a big discount on the debt if you agree to pay a lump sum up front, don’t go along with it, as they might just take the lump sum and sell on the remaining debt to another debt collector.
The best thing to do if you are being hounded by an aggressive debt collector is to contact the Citizens Advice Bureau. They will be able to advise you of your rights and some of the options available to you to deal with the situation.
If the debt collector is indeed legitimate, but you can’t afford the payments that they are demanding, then you might want to think about embarking on a debt management programme. This is a large loan that can be used to pay off all your current debts, and can be paid off over an extended period in low monthly payments. Not only will this get the collections agencies off your back, but it will also help to repair your credit rating and simplify your finances.