Tips for Dealing with Creditors

By Margaret Johnson

President, Solutions Credit Counselling Service, Inc.

 

Remember: You have all the control in your debtor negotiations.

PHONE CALLS

Speak to somebody in a position of authority:

Credit Union / Bank:

  • branch manager
  • collection supervisor
  • collection manager

Finance Company:

  • branch manager

Retail Store:

  • collection supervisor
  • credit manager

Collection Agency:

  • If you have problems, you may call the creditors you owe the money to.

Phone Communication Tips

Payroll Advances or Loan Companies: Yes, there is help available. Contact our company for advice.

  • If the person that you talk to is not helpful, ask to speak to his or her supervisor. Do not get angry.
  • Always keep a record of the person you spoke with, company name, date, time, phone number and what was said.
  • Keep in touch with that person until the problem is solved.
  • Avoid making promises you can't keep.
  • Keep your temper and always be polite. Ask for your creditor's help, rather than telling them what to do.
  • If you feel the collector is harassing you, report them to your local Debtors Assistance Branch - Department of the Attorney General.

WRITTEN COMMUNICATION

Remember, an agreement or contract over the phone is not binding unless you make a payment or put in writing your acceptance of the debt.

NEVER MAIL CASH.
Keep a receipt / copy of all of your cheques or money orders.

If you choose to write a letter, outline the following:

  • Your reason for the letter
  • Your employment status
  • Your intentions regarding the debt
  • Your reduced repayment terms
  • Your reason why you cannot make a payment
  • Your request for interest relief
  • Your request for the creditor to pull the account back from collections
  • Your offer on a settlement amount
  • Your request for the termination of the debt (medical reasons) provide proof

Photocopy pay stubs etc.  Remember, you are letting the creditor know where you work or at the very least what you earn.

Create a monthly expense sheet (show creditors where your money is going).

Be accurate – it is your budget. There is no right or wrong, but it must balance.

Be realistic. If you offer to make a payment make sure you can afford it. Missing any payment could jeopardize your proposal.

If you cannot stick to an arrangement, don't offer one.

Be reasonable. Creditors want to get paid back within a reasonable amount of time.