Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Caught by Surprise: 3 Steps to Take When a Debt Collector Calls.

June 9, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Money, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.com) Tackling debt is difficult. When the problem gets to the point debt collectors are calling, many people decide it’s time to throw in the towel and file for bankruptcy. Although that is an option, it doesn’t have to be the answer. When debt collectors call, there are three steps a person should take.

Answer the Call

People often avoid calls from debt collectors, but this actually makes the problem worse. The calls continue and increase with time, legal action may be taken, and the stress mounts. When a debt collector calls, answer to make certain the debt is handled properly. For example, if the amount of debt is incorrect, the debtor only has a certain time to have this corrected. Furthermore, the company may offer programs that can help you resolve the debt, but you won’t know this without talking to them. If the creditor doesn’t have a program that meets your needs, look elsewhere for debt relief. Many companies now work with individuals who have gotten in over their heads, and one of these companies may be of assistance to you.

Ignore Your Credit Score

Don’t allow your credit score to dictate your actions. Once payments are missed or the debt goes into default, the credit score has already been damaged. Now isn’t the time to think about repairing your credit score. The time will come when you can focus on bringing the score up, and the first step involves paying off the debt that you have now. Cut expenses where possible and try to work with the original creditor rather than allowing it to move to a collection agency. However, ignoring your credit score doesn’t mean you should ignore your credit report. Consumers are entitled to three free credit reports each year, one from each credit reporting agency. Take advantage of this service because you do need to know what is on this report and whether the information is accurate. Numerous credit reports have errors on them that need to be corrected.

Make a Budget

Debtors need a budget to pay off debt. This is the only way the person can know how much money is available each month to pay down the debt. Don’t make an agreement with a creditor until this information is in hand. You don’t want to enter into an agreement only to default on it, as this could make you ineligible for future programs. If you need time to set up the budget, let the creditor know this and explain your reasoning. They don’t want you to enter into an agreement that isn’t doable because it will simply result in more work on their end when you default. Be sure to include everything in this budget, such as those expenses that only crop up once or twice a year. This helps to ensure you have an accurate picture of your finances when entering into the agreement.

Getting out of debt is possible. This won’t be an easy or painless process, but the time and effort put into this goal are worth it when you have a clear financial future. Don’t hesitate to get help if you feel you aren’t making progress. You aren’t alone in this, and there are plenty of resources to pull from. Take advantage of them for a better life overall and a financial future that looks much brighter.

Staff Writer; Doug Harris

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