NCO Financial Systems Informative - Must Read Before You Talk to a Creditor
A few years ago, I was contacted by NCO Financial about unpaid credit card debts from several years prior. They tried all the tactics I've read about here. From my experience, I have the following advice to offer:
Before you talk to a debt collector, you must read and understand the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Google it. There are also several books available which explain the act in plain language and provide sample letters to use in communicating with collectors. It is imperative that you understand your rights before you talk to debt collectors. Accepting their statements as fact is just stupid.
Do not be scared by debt collectors' aggressive tactics. Don't fall for their lame attempts to inject a sense of urgency into your situation. By the time a company like NCO has purchased your bad debt, there is nothing urgent about it. You've certainly got time to look into it. And whatever you do, don't let let them talk you into making an immediate payment ... no matter how small. Making a payment on a debt on which the statute of limitations has expired will reconfirm the debt and make you responsible for it.
In my particular case, NCO started harassing me about 90 days before the statute of limitations ran out. By requesting in writing that they confirm the debt and by insisting that we communicate only in writing, I was able to delay them until the statute of limitations expired. I then sent them a letter explaining that they'd just missed the statute deadline and invited them to move on to another victim.
I still get calls from third party debt collectors now and then, but instead of worrying about what they might do to me, I toy with them until they get frustrated enough to hang up. I must admit I've come to actually enjoy it.
I get frustrated reading accounts of the harassment these vultures subject people to. If you're in a situation where you must deal with these companies, invest the time into arming yourself with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.