Debt collection agencies can be scary, aggressive and extremely persistent. The stress this causes can be overwhelming, especially when the debt collectors threaten to add penalty charges and interest to drive up the debt amount. All those phone calls hounding you, the letters with black and red ink.
Horrendous stuff, but it can be dealt with. Here’s my red text: You are completely in control! Stop stressing! The worst thing is to do nothing.
How to deal with debt collectors:
Step 1: Write to the debt collector
1. state very clearly they to contact you by post only, not telephone or mobile;
2. tell them you want statements to verify the debt is correct;
3. state the persistent letters and contact are causing you unnecessary stress and suffering;
4. tell them you seeking advice on how to manage this debt;
5. ask for written confirmation of your letter that they agree to your requests;
Step 2: Get debt management advice
There are many free debt management services that can help. They see this all the time and know exactly how to get things in order and build an actionable picture for you. They will work out your income and expenditure. They will then tell you how much you can pay towards this debt – and all your other debts.
If they say you can only afford to pay a £1 a month towards your debt, then tough, that’s what the debt collectors gets – you can’t repay more than you can afford and do not incur more debt to pay off an existing debt.
The debt management service will send you all the necessary documents – your income and expenditure + repayment plan for you to send to the debt collectors and any other creditors.
Step 3: Write back to the debt collectors
Write the debt collectors and enclose the relevant information, the debt collectors/creditors will see you have taken advice and worked out a budget and repayment plan – you should add a promise that if your circumstances improve that you will notify them.
Any time you get a letter or debt – repeat the process. This works for utility bills, council tax, credit cards etc. Always take debt advice. Even the Citizens Advice Bureau can help.
Think about this, you could be suffering stress and anxiety, not sleeping, comfort eating and hiding away for a debt that could cost you just £12 a year to manage!
TIP: Never phone the debt collectors, they are going to pressure you into something you might regret. Type up a letter, keep it brief and factual + get and give all correspondence in writing only + keep the letters organised somewhere safe.
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