Monday, April 26, 2010

Beating the Debt Collectors

Nobody likes to admit they've had those annoying phone calls from debt collectors, but with the bad economy, I guarantee that far more people have had them than before. And with the rise in debt collectors has come a rise in debt collector busters.

According to Dave Ramsey my hero, you can tell when a debt collector is lying if his lips are moving. And my experience says that's absolutely true.

Most of them will do anything—seriously, anything!—to make you pay your bills. They don’t care whether you feed your family and keep your lights on. All they want is to be at the top of your priority list. Nothing else matters to them.

I'm a relatively regular listener of Dave's, and some of the stories people tell raise your hair. People who know they owe a debt and want to pay it but can't afford to. They naively give the debt collector access to their bank accounts and are horrified when they discover their accounts have been cleaned out by collectors who don't care if you keep a roof over your head as long as you pay your credit card/medical bill/clarinet off. Which is why I loved the article on debt collector busters.

Let's be clear that if you owe an entity (or anyone else) money, then you need to pay it back. But that's not the same thing as a sleazy collector who threatens you, calls you endlessly, scares your spouse or kids to get money out of you that you don't have. Knowing the Fair Debt Practices Act is an unpleasant necessity in these hard times.