Collection agencies are notorious for their hard-nosed collection strategies: contacting you continuously, sending you strongly-worded letters and blowing up your phone with intimidating voicemails, and threatening to ruin your credit and keep harassing you until you pay them. But if you legitimately have debts that are owed, and you cannot pay those debts in full (including accumulated interest) while also providing for your own needs, you probably have some questions about your options. For example, can you negotiate with collection agencies to lower your debt? And, if so, how do you go about doing this, and do you need a lawyer?
Collection Agencies Can and Will Negotiate With You
When a collection agency contacts you, that company has often purchased your debt from the original holder of the debt, sometimes having paid only pennies on the dollar. They know that they will not be able to collect from every debtor, and their business model is to try to collect as much as they can from as many debtors as they can. If the debt is unsecured, meaning they don't have the right to repossess the property on collateral (i.e. a car or large piece of equipment), then they will typically have to sue you to be able to force you to pay. In many cases, the debt collection either doesn't want to or cannot take that action, but is hoping you will simply pay up in response to their repeated calls.
That said, even if you are not sued, unpaid debts can hurt your credit score, and the harassing calls will often continue until you take action. Because collection agencies are looking for some kind of return on their investment and efforts in your debt, they will often be willing to negotiate on your debt, especially when it appears to be the only way to secure any kind of payment.
The Benefits of Working With an Attorney
You are certainly not required to have an attorney on your side in attempting to negotiate with a collections agency, but the risk you run into is that the people working for debt collection agencies work day-in, day-out in collecting as much payments as possible, and so they have a high informational advantage over someone not familiar with the law relating to debt collection. These debt collectors will often try to use intimidating and confusing language about what the applicable law is and what your options are. They will not inform you of your rights and responsibilities under the law, nor can they be counted on to comply with relevant state and federal law regarding what they are allowed to do and say in attempting to collect your debt.
An attorney experienced in debt management and collection will be able to see through the efforts of the debt collectors, and not be swayed by threats that either cannot or won't be backed up, or be intimidated by confusing statements. An experienced attorney will also know whether a debt collection effort is legitimate or not, and, if so, how to negotiate down to the minimum amount of efforts that it will take for the collection agency to close out their file on you while restoring your credit as much as possible.
Working with an attorney does cost money, but, based on the size of the debt, the attorney may well be able to negotiate your debt down to levels that make working with an attorney the economical and efficient choice.
At Access Law Group, our Debt Management attorneys can work with you negotiate your debt and keep collection agencies off your back. Contact Access Lawyers Group today for a consultation regarding how we can help you get on the road to financial recovery.