WHAT TO DO WHEN THE CALLS START
APRIL 2 2018
The clients I visit with often times have a tremendous amount of pressure on them from collectors. As you might imagine, dealing with collectors and their radical behavior is not on any “To Do” list. Part of my function and service to my customers is coaching them on how to handle conversations with collectors as well as how to best exercise their legal rights.
As a financial coach, I deal with 4 specific challenges in this area:
- Insist that clients have their basic living needs secured
Clients must focus on the 4 basic parts of life that will carry them to daily success: Food Clothing Shelter Transportation. When these “Four Walls” of life are secure, they can create a plan to help them win with money AND step forward on a daily basis and execute that plan.
- Resisting unfair collection practices and knowing their legal rights in this area.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was approved in 1977 and is legislation designed to protect consumers from unfair and disrespectful treatment by collectors. The stated purpose of this law is to eliminate abusive collection practices, promote fair debt collection, and provides consumers with options of information collection and a process for disputing accuracy. This law outlines the rules of engagement for creditors and consumers. Harassment, foul or abusive language, and rules of communication are clearly defined. Calling at non-business hours, calling to their place of employment, or deceitful conduct is also not tolerated. For more details on this law and how it may help you contact the federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov. This information is free to anyone who takes the time to look it up.
- Prepare for handling collection calls and open communication with collectors.
Consumers should OVERCOMMUNICATE with collectors when they have a need to do so. Do not avoid collectors if this is a debt that you really owe. Stay calm, honest, proactive and make it clear that you will talk to them by following the legal protections that they have. Be enthusiastic and gracious. When they hear a consumer stand up and engage them freely, it sets a boundary that tells the collector that they expect to be treated fairly and with respect. Listen, don’t let them bait you into strong emotional responses, and take down the details of the phone calls.
- Encourage clients not to be overly concerned with credit scores
A credit score (FICO score) is a tool used to determine the level of risk the creditor is accepting by approving a loan for a consumer. It is based 100% on behavior with debt and debt products and services. It does not account for any accumulated wealth or cash on hand. The great misconception we have to deal with is for many years, consumers have be told that a high credit score equals strong financial stability. Remember, a credit score is based on BEHAVIOR WITH DEBT! Financial stability should be built on how LITTLE debt has accumulated instead of the opposite.
Lighthouse Financial Coaching is an Austin-based company dedicated to helping regular families and individuals become organized with personal finance and begin to win with money and move forward to achieve their financial dreams and goals. Schedule your free introductory consultation today. Click www.lighthousefinancialcoaching.net or email firstname.lastname@example.org