Dealing with Debt Collectors and Collection Agencies

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If you are not able to or not going to pay a debt for whatever reason and you get calls from a 3rd party collection agency, it can be unnerving. These people will threaten you within an inch of your life. Although the laws have improved over the years on what they can really say and when they can call, the attitude of these agencies remains the same. And talking to them is just going to stress you out more than need be. Most of the call center and phone employees of these debt collection companies are making close to minimum wage and unless they get you to pay something on your bill, they will not make their commissions. That is why they keep at it day after day; there is something in it for the person on the other end of the phone call. 

By and large the companies that I have dealt with over the years have come across either one of two styles of communication with you. Initially, it’s the soft approach; they may be friendly or they could call and leave a vague message to get you interested in calling them back: 

“Hey, Lee, its John, call me at XYZ company my number is 1-800-123-4567 and we can chat”. 

“Hi, Lee; Its Cathy, I’ve worked out a solution to a business matter that concerns you, call me as soon as you get this message”. 

When you don’t answer any of their 15 calls a day and you do not communicate with them at all; then they become completely enraged, volatile and threatening dire action, or so it seems. Until you remove the smoke and mirrors from what they are really saying; you really believe that the angry voice on your voice mail message means you are going to lose your house over a $50.00 bill, etc.  

Here are some examples of voice mails I have heard and again the voice was furious, and yet, sometimes it was pre recorded: 

Very Angry Male Voice: “I have just been handed a matter of great importance with your name on it and I strongly advise that you contact my office immediately regarding this matter”. “You will call my office no later than 24 hours of receiving this phone call, or I am forced to take immediate action on this matter”. “If I do not receive a call from you regarding this business matter I will be forced to take the appropriate action and I will do so”.

Sometimes you can actually hear that the people in the call centers are in a “boiler room” full of hundreds of other collectors, all with the same written instructions on what to say. A lot of these calls come from people who can barely speak English and you will have trouble even trying to understand what the message is about.

Read (not very well) from a script (except for the 1st name) “Hello Lou?  Hello Lou? Lou, this is (fake name) and you have exactly 24 hours to call this number . . . regarding a business matter that our company XYZ has with you”. “If you do not call me back with in the 24 hour period I will have to give this to my supervisor and he/she will be contacting you”. 

I am all for paying your bills and paying on time. But, too many times I have seen people who have come completely unglued because of these folks. Usually if a person is not paying a bill they are probably already under some type of stress that they are dealing with. And even if they are just jerks who are not paying their bills, these 3rd party collection agencies are usually not the ones that would get paid anyway.


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