Dave Ramsey says: Keep calm when dealing with debt collectors

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Dear Dave,

I’m on Baby Step 2. I’ve paid off almost all of my debt and live on a monthly budget.

Recently I got a call from a debt collection company about an old medical bill. They threatened to take my paycheck, and the way they spoke I’m afraid they will.

How should I handle this situation?

– Gwen

Dear Gwen,

First of all, they won’t seize your salary. They can not. For this to happen they would have to go through all the formal and legal steps to sue you and then they should win the case.

Debt collectors like to play with people’s emotions because often times people give in and do whatever they want, whether they can afford it or not.

The worst thing you can do in these situations is to react with panic or fear.

Talk to them calmly and rationally and explain your financial situation. You may be able to come to a compromise that works for both of you.

If they get mean or keep lying to you, let them know that you are going to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Arrogant debt collectors have a habit of quickly becoming polite and reasonable when faced with the possibility of the federal government intervening.

Do all you can reasonably do to pay off your debts, Gwen. You owe money, and that means you have a legal and moral obligation to pay it.

But you don’t have to put up with the lies and harassment of a collector!

-Dave



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