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Nine Things Debt Collectors Won’t Say

A lot of collection agencies will say anything and everything they think or know they can get away with. There are some things they may leave at the same time. Some of them will lie and some will make false claims or try to threaten you. The Federal Trade Commission receives more complaints about debt collectors than any other industry. Two years ago, the Federal Trade Commission received over 140,000 complaints about in-house and third-party debt collectors. This represented 27% of all the complaints the agency received, which is about a 20,000 increase from 119,609 in 2009 (a 4% increase). Of these complaints, 49% were alleged harassment, 16% complained of abusive language and 4% said the collectors threatened violence. Don’t let these debt collectors be verbally abusive to you and most importantly, don’t let them outsmart you. Demand respect and know your rights.

A few things debt collectors will not say, but are true:

  • “We’ll say anything to get you to pay”

  • “You can stop our calls”
  • Phone calls can easily be considered the collectors’ most powerful weapon, but repeated calls, threats of arrest and threats of violence are all illegal under federal law. As a consumer you can simply send a collector a written letter asking them to stop contacting you and the collector must comply.

  • “You may not really owe us the debt”
  • Some debt collectors buy up old debts for pennies so they can collect enough to make a profit. These lists may have sketchy information, full of errors or including debts that have already been paid or dismissed. There are statutes of limitations on debt that can range between 3 and 10 years.

  • “We can trick you into paying on old debts”

  • “We cannot touch some of your money, unless you let us”
  • Even when it comes to a debt owed to the federal government, the consumer has a right to a hearing first.

  • “We have less power than you think”
  • Debt collectors have limited power despite all the threats they’ll throw at you. The law prohibits collectors from misrepresenting themselves as well as threatening legal action that they don’t even plan on taking or cannot take.

  • “Your presence in court gives you a better chance at winning”
  • By not showing up to court, you easily give a default judgement and you lose. Most times the consumer is not properly informed that a lawsuit was proceeding but it’s good to get legal advice. Many people are quite capable of representing themselves in court and sending a letter to explain their circumstances.

  • “You are better off fighting the case than settling”
  • Demand proof of the debt. Many settlement agreements set up a payment plan with a catch. If you’re a consumer who decides to settle, you should make sure that you can afford the agreement and understand the terms.

  • “Paying up is not going to improve your current situation”
  • Missed payments are not going to just disappear from your credit report until 7 years have passed following the default. This goes for those who even set up a payment plan and are current with their payments. How much someone’s credit situation improves depends on where they started and what the creditor reported.

Make note of these unsaid quotes by debt collectors, because you will never hear it from their mouths but each hold true.