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Debt Negotiation Advice

Debt Advice

Debt negotiating is not an easy thing to do. You will essentially be going tete-a-tete with people who have been professionally trained in the art of negotiating with people in order to get money out of them, and unfortunately, many of them are downright nasty about doing it too. If you find yourself on the phone with someone who is polite and courteous then you're probably speaking to the wrong person or you should consider yourself extremely fortunate.

So How Do I Negotiate?

First let's get one thing clear in your mind before you go into negotiations with anyone you owe money to: you are the one in control here. It's true! The credit company is the one that wants something from you, not the other way around. You have (money) what they want, and it is more or less entirely up to you whether or not they are going to get it, so keep your wits about you, stay calm and in control of the situation at all times. They will threaten you, try to intimidate you, and threaten all sorts of things from garnishing your wages to dragging you into court to make you pay up. Don't let these scare tactics work; collection agencies and creditors actually take only the smallest fraction of people like you to court, but it is a threat they like to throw out there on a daily basis because it usually works.

So that's Rule #1: Remain calm - you are in control. Rule #2: Know your limitations. Just because you are the one in control of the situation, does not mean you get to go into negotiations willy-nilly and just promise any old thing to shut your creditors up and get them off your back. Getting them angry with broken promises and/or negotiating deals you don't intend to keep is one way of pushing them into making you part of that small percentage that gets dragged into court, and your broken promises to them will be evidence used against you to secure a judgment. If you can only afford to pay them $10.00 a month until you get another job then tell them that truth and don't let them bend you upward beyond your means. A broken promise is your responsibility, even if they haggled you upward to get it. Rule #3: Don't waste your time with the rabble. The first person you get to on a phone is barely qualified, if at all, to handle serious negotiations on your account. Their job is to intimidate and bully when they call others for credit and they will try those lowbrow tactics on you. Ask to speak to their supervisor or a manager. They may try to put you off with a lie or some other excuse that the manager is unavailable and if they do, thank them kindly, tell them you'll call back when a manager is available and hang up. Once you do get a hold of a manager, kindly explain your situation and your request to them. Be prepared to haggle a bit, so don't give them your absolute bottom line right from the start. For example, if your budget allows for you to only pay $10.00 per month, offer them $5.00. They will fight you, but you should (calmly) fight right back for awhile and then finally relent if you have to and offer them $10.00 but no more. Any time you start to get flustered and/or upset, simply remember that you are the one in control here and you have what they want, not the other way around. If it helps you to imagine them on their knees, hands clasped pitifully in front of them begging "Please pay us!" then do's not too far from the truth. Rule #4:Get it in writing. Hate to say it but you can't trust those people. NEVER give them direct access to your bank account # and NEVER cut a deal without getting verification of it in writing via fax or in the mail before you agree to make the first payment. I cannot express the number of people who call, speak to a low level lackey, make a suitable agreement, send in a payment, and then get slammed by the agency because they don't know anything about your agreement and think it was all made up by the customer.

Rule #1 is the one you need to remember first and foremost when negotiating your debt. Stay calm and stay in control at all times and you will come out just fine and with peace of mind that lets you sleep at night and not be afraid to answer your phone again.

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