It is no secret that debt collectors and their agents are not your friends. Even when they aren’t violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) or other consumer protection laws, the collection calls are annoying and a major source of anxiety for many individuals.
No matter how nice or angry a debt collector may seem, they are trained to do their job a certain way. And the way they are trained may surprise you. Here are some of the top secrets debt collectors don’t want you to know.
They Don’t Really Care
Though it may be rare, sometimes debt collectors listen to your story about coming upon hard times, getting injured and becoming unable to work, whatever your reasons for not being able to pay your bills on time. Sometimes, the collectors may even be sympathetic.
However, the truth is, they don’t care. They make an “HLS” notation on your file in the computer, which stands for “hard-luck story.” They will quickly get off the phone with you, and will likely try to call you on the alleged debt within a day or two (2).
They Always Think You’re Lying
Debt collection agents are trained to believe that all consumers are lying. This means you. No matter how many times you tell them that you simply cannot pay the amount they demand, they are told to keep pushing you. They will ask if you can borrow money from friends, borrow from your retirement accounts – they will even ask you if you have a separate credit account that you can use to pay their debt! Obviously, this would be a ridiculous financial decision, but the collectors don’t care. They will tell you anything they can to get a dime from you.
They Have An Incentive For You To Pay
What you may not know about the majority of debt collectors is that they are paid on a commission base. This means that the more money they collect from you (and other consumers), the bigger their own paycheck. Sometimes, a collector’s monthly bonus check can total $10,000 or more. Clearly, all collectors have an incentive to be as persistent and aggressive as possible when contacting you.
They Lie In Settlement Negotiations
Most debt collectors have a pre-approved amount that the company they work for is willing to accept as a settlement. Often times, this figure is as low as 17% of the alleged debt. Typically, the amount is around 25%-35% of the alleged debt.
Nevertheless, debt collectors will not tell you that they can accept this low of a figure because they want to make a greater commission on your account.
They Know They Can’t Sue You
When a third party purchases your debt from an original creditor, like Visa or American Express, they often do so well after your account was charged-off. By the time they’ve tried to collect the debt from you for months and now filed a lawsuit against you, the statute of limitations (time within which a lawsuit must be filed by law) has expired. If this is the case, then you should move to dismiss the lawsuit against you right away. You will need the guidance of a knowledgeable consumer rights attorney who knows the applicable statute of limitations and how to dismiss your case.
As you can see, debt collectors are trained not to be your friend and they certainly are not there to help you.
If you have come upon hard times making the payment of bills impossible, you need the help of an experienced debtor rights attorney—like those at Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC—to review your case and discuss your options with you, whether that means bankruptcy, a negotiated settlement or lawsuit. Our attorneys have decades of experience representing clients in all types of consumer rights matters, including bankruptcy, and we are here to help you!