Collection Agencies Informative - How to Deal with Collection Agencies
ANYTOWN, ANYWHERE -- Here's a couple helpful hints when you're dealing with collection agencies. These should apply to most situations.
1. If you have a problem, or are disputing the amount that is in the collection agency, deal with it yourself! Don't expect the problem to just go away, nor should you expect the company that put you in collections to listen to your complaint once and pull your file from collections. If you have a dispute with your credit card bill, handle it the FIRST time you notice it...don't just wait 6 months until someone is calling you about it to make your complaints.
2. Collection agencies normally do NOT have a copy of your bill, a copy of your contract, or any other information like that. They'be been told you owe X dollars, and that's pretty much it.
3. Generally, if your balance is unde $1000, collection agencies won't be able to make payment arrangements like your former creditors can. The time for making arrangements is the first month you know you can't handle the bill, not months later when it goes to collections.
4. Deal with the problem promptly. If the bill is in collecitons, pay it. Borrow the money if you have to. Believe it or not, often when a bill goes to collections for the first time, there's still time to "save" your credit rating. Just ask! Remember, your credit report will show an R9 as being unpaid until the complete balance is paid off...it won't show you've been paying $20 a month. Also, it'll stay as an R9 for seven years past when you've paid it off..which can lead to problems in the future you wouldn't even think of now.
5. If you do have a problem with a collection agency because the bill in question is not your, you'll probably need to prove it. If it's fraud, ask what the agency needs, and get it. If they say they need a police report..get it! Ignoring it may be the worst thing you could do. It's much easier to fix a problem when you first know about it, then 3 years down the road when you're in court fighting as to why your paycheck was garnished. If your bill was paid off and it is in collections in error..be prepared to prove it too. Get the fax number and fax the proof that it has been taken care of. Don't expect the agency to take your word for it, nor should you expect them to make inquiries on your behalf. Their sole job is to collect outstanding debts, not to work customer service for you.
6. Keep your promises! If you say you'll send in a payment on a certain date, DO IT! Ask about payment methods...and pick one that is convenient enough to do. Don't make a promise to pay the entire bill of at the end of the month if you don't know if your paycheck will cover it. Also, putting a check in the mail is a pretty risky way of paying these bills off. Look into banking by phone or internet, doing registered mail, or even a Western Union. You'll be sure your payments get to where they're going, and are completly tracable if they get lost along the way.
7. Last, but not least, remember that the person on the other end of the phone is a person too. If you treat them politely, and keep these tips in mind, then you shouldn't have any problems. They're not personally against you, and if you are calm and reasonable you can get things sorted out quickly and easily. If you start yelling and screaming, you are really only hurting yourself...they have hundreds of people to deal with, so they won't even remember your rant, but it'll make you miserable all day.
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