[dropcap3]1[/dropcap3] Build a relationship with your creditors and collectors. Life happens! Unemployment, an unexpected death or illness are just some of life’s surprises that can affect your income and credit rating. Dealing with collectors and creditors can be intimidating. Keep in mind that you created the debt and although you may be a victim of circumstance, you still owe the money.
    [dropcap3]2[/dropcap3] Make them validate the debt. Collection agencies either work on behalf of the original creditor or they purchased the debt from them or another collection agency. If you are contacted by a collection agency to repay debt, you can ask them to verify that you owe the debt to them. According to the FDCPA, collection agencies that have been assigned a debt are NOT the creditor and therefore they cannot prove that you owe them any money because you never signed a contract with them. Therefore they cannot place this item on your credit report. The exception to this rule is if the contract that was signed with the original creditor has the insertion “…debtor agrees to be responsible for payment of this debt to creditor OR ITS ASSIGNS”.
    [dropcap3]3[/dropcap3] Before calling your creditor to make payment arrangements make sure you have enough money to negotiate with. If you do not have enough money to negotiate with, you should negotiate realistic monthly terms that are acceptable to your creditor and to your budget.
    [dropcap3]4[/dropcap3] The power of negotiation lies with your ability NOT to get emotional! Remember the creditor/collector is only doing their job. You must get them to trust you. Give them your new address and telephone number. Remember you are no longer trying to avoid them. On the contrary, get in their face. Call them daily or in a consistent basis, even if it is just to say hello. Let them know that you are serious about settling this debt. Professional and ethical collectors will work with you. If you are getting nowhere with one ask to speak to a manager or owner. I you still don’t get anywhere, move on to another account. Eventually they will come around and dance to your tune.
    [dropcap3]5[/dropcap3] You have rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Although creditors and collectors can appear to be “anal retentive”, for a lack of a better word, they are just doing their jobs. But being abusive and or harassing you are not part of it.
    [dropcap3]6[/dropcap3] Document! Document! Document! Get everything in writing. Once you have negotiated a settlement payment or plan, ask them to send you confirmation of this or fax them your own.