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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

How to handle a call from a debt collector

How to handle a call from a debt collector

Bill collectors have a job to do and many collectors perform this distasteful duty in a very professional manner. Debt collectors who act professionally, usually do so because they received training on how to collect debts without violating the FDCPA. In order to stay focused on their collection efforts (and not violate the FDCPA) many collection agencies and independent bill collectors use a dunning script.

Being aware of what a typical script looks like, can help you prepare answers to a debt collector's questions ahead of time and thus remain focused on protecting your rights!
Below are two sample scripts that, in my opinion, are a good way to handle debt collection calls.

Debt Collection Script #1 - You believe the debt to be invalid 

Collector: "Hello, is Bill Debtor there?" (Or is this Bill's wife)?

You: "Who is calling please?" (Do not let the use of your first name throw you off guard, always confirm who you are speaking with. Under the FDCPA, collectors must identify themselves and their company)

Collector: "This is Mr. Collector from ABC collections, the collection agency representing Way Past Due on your outstanding balance of $3,700. I need to know if you are able to take care of this past due bill at this time.

" You: "Hold on while I turn on my tape recorder." (After turning on recorder ask the caller to repeat his or her name, company and reason for calling.) Then say, "I do not believe I owe this debt. Send me the information on this debt according to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act so that I may review it."

Expect the collector to use questions or statements in an attempt to get you to admit the debt is yours. Do not answer these questions, stick to the answer outlined above and insist on the collector following the FDCPA by sending you the proper information - stay focused
Their script tells them to ignore your response and press on with asking you a bunch of questions. By refusing to take the "bait" you frustrate their efforts because your answer is not on their script. At this point, many collectors are unsure of what to say or do next so they resort to anger. Remain calm and be sure your recorder is on!
NOTE: Once you've verbally disputed a debt, there is only one legitimate question that you need to answer:

Collector: "Please verify your address?"

You: Go ahead and provide your correct address.
DO NOT answer any additional questions! If the collector insists on asking questions, terminate the call. Expect the collector to call right back. Turn on your recorder and answer the phone. Don't say anything except, "I am recording this call and, since I disputed this debt during your last call, this call from you violates the FDCPA and forces me to report your violation to my State Attorney General. Then, terminate the call again.

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Mr. Dangerfield is an I.A.P.D.A Certified Debt Specialist whom has worked in the finance industry for over a decade. He manages and is the author of "A Dangerfield Manifesto" and co-founder of SMG Holdings, the parent company of Squad Music Group, Dangerfield Artistic Entertainment SMG Publishing and Taboo Dangerfield Publishing
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