10 Things you shouldn’t say to a debt collector

10 Things you shouldn’t say to a debt collector

Debt collection is an important but often overlooked financial service. It helps lenders recover the money they are owed by borrowers who have defaulted on payments or gone into bankruptcy. A debt collector is a professional who works on behalf of creditors to contact debtors, negotiate payment plans and collect overdue debts.

In many cases, a debt collector can provide an effective solution for both the creditor and the debtor. For example, if the debtor is unable to pay back the full amount of the loan in one payment, a debt collector may be able to work out an acceptable repayment plan that allows them to avoid late fees and penalties while still ensuring that their lender gets paid. Additionally, a debt collector may be able to take legal action against a debtor who refuses to cooperate.

Here are things that shouldn’t be said to a debt collector:

1. “I can’t pay you right now.”
It is important to be honest with a debt collector, but you should never tell them that you will not be able to make any payments. Offer to set up an installment plan or negotiate a payment plan that works for both of you instead.
2. “I don’t owe this debt.”
If there is a dispute over the validity of the debt, it is best to contest it in writing rather than talking about it on the phone with the debt collector.
3. “I’m planning on filing for bankruptcy soon.”
Debt collectors are aware that their chances of getting paid back decrease if bankruptcy becomes involved, so informing them of this plan will not help your situation. It is best to consult with a lawyer or financial advisor before mentioning it to anyone.
4. “I know my rights.”
Debt collectors are well aware of the rules and regulations they must abide by when working on behalf of creditors, so reminding them isn’t likely to get you anywhere. If they do violate any laws, then you can seek legal advice.
5. “You’re harassing me.”
Be careful with accusations as debt collectors may have recordings that could be used against you if such claims were made in court. Keep calm and politely inform the collector that you would prefer for communication to be done in writing only from then on out.
6. “I’m not responsible for this debt.”
Even if the debt is not yours, it can be difficult to get the collector to believe you over the telephone. It is best to explain your situation in writing and provide any proof that may help your case.
7. “My friends/family told me I don’t have to pay you.”
Unless a family member or friend is involved in law or finance, their advice should be taken with a grain of salt. Members of the legal profession are the only ones who can provide accurate information about money matters such as these.
8. “I can’t afford anything right now”
This statement indicates that you are unable to negotiate with them at all and will not be able to make any payments in the near future. Instead, offer to negotiate a payment plan and keep open communication with them.
9. “I’m going out of town for a while/ I’m changing my phone number.”
Even if you are planning to relocate or change your contact information, it is best to let the debt collector know beforehand so that they can update their records accordingly. This will prevent future confusion between the two of you.
10. “Just take me to court.”
Debt collectors do not want to spend money on legal fees unless absolutely necessary, so this statement will likely get them nowhere fast. It is better to attempt negotiation before either party decides upon taking legal action against one another.

Overall, it is important to communicate with debt collectors in a respectful and open-minded manner. Be honest about your current financial situation and attempt to negotiate a payment plan that works for both of you. If all else fails, seek legal advice from a professional at By following these tips, you will be better equipped at managing debt collection conversations and taking the necessary steps towards becoming financially secure again.

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