Getting unexpected visits or phone calls from a debt collector can be stressful. Canadians do have rights when it comes to what a collection agency can and cannot do… Although they are violated on occasion, many provinces try to protect Canadians from being solicited at inconvenient times, like between 9PM to 8AM (in most provinces.) Having to deal with collectors is probably the last thing you want to do, but if you owe a debt, morally and legally you need to work a plan to pay the debt back. Romans 13:7. Here are four things you need to do if debt collectors are knocking at your door.
Maintain your four walls
Dealing with collectors is a lot like a game of football... You want to maintain control of the ball, your money, and keep moving it forward without being tackled by sleazy tactics like intimidation and fear. Before you make any payment, I want you to maintain your four walls… Shelter, including utilities, food, transportation and basic clothes. Protecting your four walls is like forming a defensive line around your QB. Maintaing your four walls will help you to prioritize your money by taking care of basic needs first. A collectors goal is to take control of the ball, your money. They understand that you are going to pay your rent/mortgage and utilities first, before you consider paying them. Because of this they are trained to evoke emotion out of you… Emotions like anger, fear and even acting like your friend! They know that if they can get you to emotionally react, they have a good chance of getting a payment from you. It’s sad, but I have coached clients that have gone without food so they can pay their credit bill and that is not ok.
Communication is your playbook...Contact your collectors more than they contact you. Make it your part time job to keep collectors up to date with your situation. Try and speak with the same person each time, this way you can build a rapport and not have to start at the beginning every time you call. Ask for your collectors extension and tell them you plan on keeping them up to date every week.
Greet collectors with enthusiasm. This will throw them off their script and keep you in control of the conversation. Remember collectors are trained to stir emotions like anger, fear, sadness and even trying to be “best buds.” So don’t get emotional in your conversation. Keep to the facts and let them know you are working a plan to pay them back. You may even want to write out a script that you can follow.
Pay What You Can
Paying what you can, even if it's less than a minimum payment, is how you continue to move the ball down the field. Although most collectors may not admit it, or tell you they won’t, they will take partial payments. If after taking care of your four walls, you only have a little bit of money left to put towards your debt or you have multiple debts and can’t make minimum payments to all of them, paying a little bit on each debt will mess with their system and will keep your debt from going into default. Any payment you make will register in their system and keep your account active. Keep in mind that this won’t work with secured debt like a mortgage or car loans.
Being behind on payments can be a stressful and daunting time in your life… But with a good plan and hard work you will ensure you get the ball to the end zone for a touchdown, cleaning up the mess and getting collectors out of your life for good. Proverbs 21:5. If you or someone you know is being harassed by collectors or just needs a plan to effectively eliminate debt, click here and connect with a financial coach today!