I didn’t tell Gerri Detweiler that I was going to purchase her book and secretly read it. I knew she would have sent me a free copy if I had asked but I didn’t want our friendship to cloud my review of her new book “Stop Debt Collectors: How to Protect Your Rights and Resolve Your Debts”.
The book can be downloaded right away, which is a real plus for those facing difficult debt collectors and looking for good solutions on how to deal with them.
Sadly, consumer attorney John Ventura, who helped write this book, passed away recently. He’ll never know how many people used his good information to stop bad debt collectors.
While there are many good and honest debt collectors out there, all it takes is a few really bad ones to abuse consumers and that creates a bad name for all debt collectors. If you are being hassled by one of those bad debt collectors than all of the techniques and tips that are laid out in this e-book are what you need.
You can download the book, like I did, at StopDebtCollectors.com.
Excerpts From “Stop Debt Collectors”
I thought you would be most interested in reading excerpts from the section that contained an interview with a debt collector. It is always interesting to get an opportunity to see what life is like from the other side of the debt collection process.
Will a bank let a consumer settle a debt that he or she is having trouble paying?
It depends on the bank. Most banks have written guidelines that apply to debt settlement. For example, at one of the banks I worked for we had to put past due accounts into “buckets” and
the buckets determined what we would do with a particular debt. For example, a debt that was one month past due would go into Bucket #1, which meant that we would not settle that debt. A debt that was two months past due would go into Bucket #2 and we would be willing to negotiate a little with the consumer who owed it. However, with the approval of a manager, we could settle a debt that was in Bucket #3 for 90% of what a consumer owed on it, and we could settle debts that were in Bucket #4 for 80% of what was owed assuming we got the approval of the bank’s Vice President. Usually, once a debt was about six months past due, we would settle it if the consumer paid 60% of what was due.
As you can see, the older the debt, the less money a consumer had to pay in order to settle it. However, consumers who wanted to settle their debts had to be able to convince us that they were financially distressed. In fact, the bank that I worked for required us to use a formula to help determine just how financially distressed a consumer really was. We would plug a consumer’s information into the formula. Also, the consumer was required to provide us with certain documentation to help prove the state of his or her finances.
In my experience, most banks will write off a debt once it’s six months old unless the consumer who owes the money has worked out a payment arrangement with the bank and is sticking with it. There is an old myth that as long as you pay something on a past due debt, a bank won’t put you in default; however, that’s just not true.
What if a consumer talks with a debt collector who just won’t negotiate?
If a consumer gets no where with the first debt collector he or she talks with, then the consumer should call back and try to talk with another one, who may be more open to negotiating. If the second debt collector won’t negotiate, the consumer should call back again, and so on. Although this approach doesn’t work every time, it’s worth a try.
Also, when you want to settle a debt for less, it’s a good idea to try to do that near the end of the month. That’s because at the end of the month, debt collectors are concerned about meeting their monthly commission goals and if they haven’t met them, they are apt to be more willing to work with you in order to achieve them.
How do debt collectors view letters from consumers telling them to stop contacting them?
When debt collectors receive letters from consumers telling the collectors to stop contacting them about a debt, the collectors are legally obligated to respect the consumers’ requests. However, debt collectors can contact those consumers one more time to confirm that they will abide by the consumers’ requests and to let consumers know about any actions they intend to take in order to collect the money owed, like bringing a lawsuit, for example. Sometimes consumers decide to work with debt collectors after learning about what they intend to do next.
NOTE: You can find sample letters you can send to stop collection company contact, on page 79.
What else should consumers know about debt collectors?
Consumers should realize that only about 10 – 20% of debt collectors are hardcore people who enjoy destroying people’s lives. The rest are just doing their jobs, making only about $20,000 a year, and not feeling especially proud about how they earn their living. Also, because many of them are struggling financially themselves, debt collectors don’t want to hear consumers go on and on about their financial problems, especially if the consumers are telling them sob stories about how they just lost a six-figure salary job or had their boat repossessed.
Consumers should also understand that debt collection is a pretty ruthless business and that debt collection agencies put a lot of pressure on debt collectors to produce results. The agencies know that if the collectors don’t get the job done, their creditor clients will use a different debt collection agency next time.
When consumers are contacted by debt collectors, they should be polite and positive, and should try to sound cooperative. It won’t do any good for consumers to fight and argue with collectors, especially considering that debt collectors can always sue consumers for the money owed. So whenever possible, consumers should demonstrate that they really want to resolve the debt that the debt collector is trying to collect.
Don’t forget, you can download the book, like I did, at StopDebtCollectors.com.