You always have a right to be treated with respect, fairly and have your privacy respected. You do not need to listen to any obscene language, threatened or be called names. You also have the right to dispute all or part of your debt, even though you may actually owe it. You can request that you not be disturbed at work, or at any time and place inconvenient to you. Finally, you can also request that no further attempts be made to contact you.
If opening the morning post is a distressing experience for you then get into the habit of scanning the top part of any letters so that you can work out whether it is from a Scottish Debt Collection Agency. If it is, then throw it away without reading it! Most of what it contains will probably be unsubstantiated threats and lies anyway so why depress yourself. Do keep any eye out for any court documents, as these do need urgent attention.
How do you arrange this? You can, of course, do it yourself and many try that. Very few are successful, and of these even fewer manage to get their creditors to agree to as low a settlement as a professional can arrange for you. Unfortunately, debt recovery companies and the collection departments of most large finance companies employ professionals that can distinguish between the amateur and the professional negotiator, and you will have very little possibility of coming to the same agreement as a professional debt settlement business.
Who are these people? How do you know this is legit? Have you done business with them? How do you know it’s not a scam? How do you it’s not the result of identity theft? Ask them who they are and for contact information. And talk to them like you have no idea who they are or what they are talking about. They will try to get you to verify information. Do not give them any information and do not verify anything! And I mean ANYTHING! Remember, you have no idea who they are and they are calling about a debt you know longer owe. (See the “Do not acknowledge the debt!” section below.) Just get information from them, hang up, and then do some research first. They will try to use any information you give them against you. Warn other family members or roommates not to give them any information.
In a perfect world, the collection agency would agree to mark your debt as having been “settled” on your credit report. This isn’t nearly as good as showing up “paid” but it can still be beneficial to your overall score. Once in a while, you can actually negotiate your credit report to show as “paid,” but this will depend on your creditor.
You may also want to find a site that offers this type of service because you have old numbers in your personal address book that you have added without any identifying information. We can do this when jotting down a number we think we will only use once, or we may be in a hurry and we just assume we’ll remember. If you have such numbers in your book, use a backwards phone number lookup to find out more.
However, in the final analysis, a debt settlement that is full and final clears your debt totally, even though it is significantly below the amount you owe. That’s far better than going bankrupt, coming to an IVA or even, in Scotland, a Protected Trust Deed. You can leave with head held high, having cleared all your debts and even feel proud that you have done so and paid a lot less than you owe.