Can’t Pay Debts Turned Over to Collection Agency. – Barbara

My husband has been out of work for almost three years and exhausted all unemployment over a year ago and I am retired and getting a small pension and Social Security.

Consequently our income has been greatly reduced.

We have a couple of very high phone bills that have been turned over to collection and we have absolutely no extra money to pay them right now. We do intend to pay the bills as soon as we are able to, but how do we deal with the collection agencies in the meantime?


Dear Barbara,

First off, the situation just is what it is.

There are two approaches in a situation like this. If it is a third party collector you can send a cease & desist letter like the one below.

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While this will often stop collections it will not stop the creditor from either suing you or sending it out to another agency and you’ll have to run from the calls all over again.

I personally believe the better approach is to make the collector your friend and explain the situation to them with a smile. This will let your account flow through the normal collection queue and get dumped out at the end of their efforts and result in less stress and more control for you.

If you can’t afford any payments then by all means do not make any promises to pay. Great the collector calls with politeness and be honest about your situation. The odds are much better this way they’ll mark your account not to call than sue.

Additionally, since you will be taking the calls and talking to the collectors you will learn to not be afraid of them. They can only intimidate you if you let them.

Which approach seems more reasonable to you?

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.

Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach
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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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