The same number appears on your phone every day. You know who it is, but you don’t want to answer it. He’s a debt collector who wants you to pay off a debt you owe. It seems easier to ignore calls, but it’s really worse for you. It only delays the inevitable. If you owe debt, the best option is to answer the phone. What are you saying? What are your options?
It’s best to get information straight from the source, so Cedars Business Servicesa reputable California-based collection agency, wants to help you understand how the process works and what your options are as a consumer.
- Answer the phone.
The first step seems simple, but it’s usually the hardest part. Just answer the phone. Any agent who works for a legitimate agency like Cedars will be friendly and accommodating. There’s no reason to feel nervous talking to them. Not responding could eventually cause your credit score to drop and hurt you for years.
- Get detailed information about the debt you owe.
You have the right to request information about the account you are being asked to pay. They can tell you the creditor, the product/service, the amount owed, etc. This is important information to have in case the details they have to validate the account are inaccurate.
- Ask for options.
Often the amount a debtor owes is more than they can pay at that particular time. Ask about your payment options. Some agencies (like Cedars Business Services) have an online portal where you can set up a payment schedule and amount to pay yourself. There are also times when the creditor is willing to offer a discount if you pay them back immediately. This reduction can sometimes be quite significant and may be worth it for you. It’s also likely that you’ll have some time to get your finances in order and figure out where to place this payment in your budget.
- To reimburse.
Once you’ve determined the best payment option and/or schedule for you, be sure to pay it. If you make a payment schedule, don’t miss payments. The best debt you can have is the one you no longer owe, and the sooner you pay it off, the better off you’ll feel.
- Create a budget.
Once you’ve mastered your payment plan, consider creating a budget for yourself. Write down all your bills (don’t forget those pesky little subscriptions we all have too much), and when and how much you get paid. Automatically make as many payments as you can if you can and set a schedule to pay the rest. Keep a schedule of when and what to pay, and you’ll be less likely to find yourself in this situation again.
There really is no reason to worry about a collection call. You may owe someone money, but so do most people. Financial situations change, things happen and we are all human. It doesn’t make you a bad person, it just needs to be fixed. Take a deep breath, answer the phone, and you’ll probably be surprised at how easy it is to fix.