As a debt collection agency, you may think it unusual that we would be giving advice to the debtor, but despite what many may think, it’s our job to find out the genuine reasons for non-payment and to agree on a workable resolution – not to cause fear and anxiety.

As embarrassing or nerve wracking it may feel when you receive a call or letter from a debt recovery agency, there are ways to respond the make the whole process a lot less stressful:

1) Don’t panic

The golden rule, when dealing with debt collection agencies, is to keep emotion out of it.  You’re not the first person to have ever suffered from debt problems so don’t bury your head in the sand, lie or get defensive.  If you’re dealing with a professional recovery agency, they won’t be using scare tactics.  The people contacting you are simply doing a job.  Listen to what they have to say calmly and take notes.  This will help you communicate clearly and remain calm.

2) Make sure the debt is yours

A debt collection agency is following up on the information provided to them by whoever supplied the products or services to you in the first place.  It’s up to you to correct them if they have incorrect details or if that debt is not yours.  Ask questions about the debt and check your own records against their information.

3) Research the debt collection agency

Before you make any payments, research the debt collection agency to make sure you are dealing with a professional company. In the UK a good indication of a reputable agency is looking to see if they are members of the Credit Services Association. This means that they adhere to strict guidelines and work to the highest possible ethical standards.

4) Work out what you can pay

To prevent court action, calculate how much you can pay and over what period. Be honest because you may be required to prove how much disposable income you have available. A reputable agency will work with you to achieve a payment plan which is acceptable to all parties.
If you really don’t have any means of paying back your debt, even in part-payment, you can get free debt advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau or Step Change.  To find out more about professional debt recovery agencies, read more at P&J Debt Services.