5 Fun Ways to Deal with Creditors

I’m not quite sure how to categorize this post. It feels as though it should be a “rant” or a “complaint,” but I’m neither ranting or complaining! For ease of reference, I guess we’ll call it a rant anyway, Dear Reader, because we haven’t had a good rant in awhile;)

Creditors are a fact of life. For me, at least. And for many others, I’m certain, in this still-downturned economy. Due to the upbringing I received from my parents, I reached young adulthood with good values instilled in many areas. One thing I was taught was to pay my bills on time and to maintain a good credit rating. I believed that was important then and I still do today. Circumstances being what they are, however, good intentions don’t always pay the bills.

When, during my young adulthood, I was unable for the first time to pay a bill or two and I was (horrors!) turned over to a credit agency, it felt as though my life had gone to Hell in a handbasket. The laws related to collections were different at that time, and credit agencies tried many tactics that would never be permitted now. Add to that my youth when I received my first-ever collection-agency call, and the result was a puddle of mush.

I was reduced to tears on several occasions. I allowed the agents to waste my time telling me all manner of horrible things they would bring to bear if I didn’t pay the $18.21 or whatever huge amount they said I owed to their client. Never once did I consider that these stern “agents” (mostly men, at the time) probably were younger than I was and had so few job skills that the only job they could find was in collections — only one step above a bouncer in a bar.

Fortunately for me, this phase of my life did pass and I spent most of the rest of my adult, working life in good standing credit-wise. That all changed when I became unemployed, uninsured, and a cancer patient within less than a year’s time. My entire financial scheme-of-things suffered quite a reversal from which I probably won’t recover (until the novels I’m writing sky-rocket me into fame and fortune, that is).

Do I like not paying some of my bills? Nope. Do I enjoy paying others late? Nope. Has it been fun watching my credit rating plummet as rapidly as the Dow Jones did a couple of years ago? Hell no! But, what’s a girl to do? If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that crying over spilled milk doesn’t do any good. Nor does worrying.

As for my creditors, there’s a saying that goes, “Never argue with a pig. You’ll end up in the mud and you’ll annoy the pig.” I choose not to argue with my creditors. In fact, I choose not to speak to them except on rare occasions.

Here are the five fun ways I choose to deal with the most ignorant of my creditors:

1. Don’t answer the phone. This cancer journey I’m on requires that I sleep. A lot. Until I figured out the benefit of unplugging my phone, my sleep was interrupted by creditor calls a couple of times a week. Not any more! By the time I wake up and plug in my phone during mid-to-late morning, it’s beyond creditor calling time.

2. Caller ID is a wonderful invention! Use it to your advantage. One of my creditors — that should go down in the Creditor Hall of Fame for their persistence — must have call centers all over the US of A. Their calls show up on my Caller ID from cities and states where I know no one. If my phone is plugged in and I see an unrecognized city and state, I simply don’t answer the call.

The next three methods can be used for those times when you accidentally accept a call from a collection agency:

3. If you are offered the option for Spanish speakers (and you’re not Hispanic), take it! You’ll still get put on hold until one of their agents is ready to deal with you, but then you’ll be connected with a Spanish-speaking agent. Once connected, you need only say, “No comprendo!” They will hang up on you. I guarantee it.

4. Invent your own foreign language. That’s right, begin speaking in tongues. Give ’em an earful of gibberish. It doesn’t have to be a “real” foreign language. Be creative! Talking in “robot talk” works, too. Within less than three minutes, most agents will hang up.

5. Put your phone on speaker so you can continue doing whatever you were doing before the collection agent called. When, finally, a human comes on the line, let them start their spiel, but don’t say a word. The other evening, the agent continued repeating my first name for almost a minute. “Candice?” “Candice?” “CANDICE?” I managed to get around two hundred words written before he finally figured he’d been had and hung up.

I’m sure there must be other, more diabolical, ways to deal with ’em, but these are the methods that have served me the best. Some day, each and every entity to which I owe money will receive what  is owed. In the meantime, I choose not to get muddy 😉

This entry was posted in Bill Collectors, Collection Agencies, Complaints, Gripes, Humor, Rants, Uninsured, Winners and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to 5 Fun Ways to Deal with Creditors

  1. denisegabbard says:

    Funny post– and it really does some good to look at from a different angle. My brother in law says that his collectors love him— they call and send letters all the time:)
    I was thinking of my little granddaughter when reading this post–when she was toddler, she would get all excited and dance around every time the phone rang– and I’m quite sure she would have been happy to talk to any collectors who called.

    • cwc6161 says:

      LOL! Love your way of thinking, Denise. Perhaps I should hand the phone to my 3 y.o. granddaughter if a creditor calls when she’s visiting. Maleeyah loves talking on the phone, too! 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the post, and thanks for the visit!

  2. Lynne Favreau says:

    Good tips Candice! People don’t know there are rules of engagement and they don’t have to deal with threats or rudeness.

    In another life I was engaged to a man who turned violent. I got out soon enough but was left holding the bag, so to speak. Two credit cards, the ring (which I gave back) and a car I never drove—I ended up paying back all of it, eventually. But oh those creditor calls. I got a call at work once that sent me into near hysteria. When the receptionist found out she said she’d handle all my calls after that. She really knew how to handle those thugs. Paying off the car offended me the most, but the collect for that one turned out to be a real pro to deal with. He’d still call if I was a day late, that was his job, but he was always a gentleman!

    • cwc6161 says:

      Thanks, Lynne! I wish I’d known when I was younger that I simply didn’t have to take what those ignoramuses were dishing out. Live and learn, I guess!

      Ouch! A part of your history we hadn’t discussed. I’m so sorry you went through that!! God Bless receptionists like that. I had to deal with a similar call-to-work situation and our ever-faithful receptionist did the same for me as yours did for you. lol You have had a rare experience: a gentleman collection agent!

  3. Good for you. I’m sure there are real deadbeats out there, but I resent that they treat everyone as though they could pay, but just don’t want to. Nobody wants to be constanly hassled and reminded of how broke they are.

    • cwc6161 says:

      Amen, Bridget, and especially in this economy! Training does go a long way, but many of these companies spend zero time on providing that, I’m sure. Thanks for your visit! 🙂

  4. Julie Farrar says:

    Fortunately I don’t have this particular problem (although I’ve noticed on those times we’ve forgotten to pay a bill those threats-of-collection letters show up pretty fast). Methods #4 and #5 are my favorite. I’ll hold on to them and pass them to any other poor soul who needs them. Glad you’re keeping your sense of humor during the treatments.

    • cwc6161 says:

      LOL Yeah, those are my favorites, too. Thank goodness I don’t have to resort to them too often. I can’t afford to pay for the Depends wardrobe I’d need!:) Thanks for visit, as always, and I hope all is well with you!

  5. When I pick up on accident and it’s a collector (and I know I don’t owe anyone squat), I simply save the number in my contacts with Last Name = BLOCKED. Remember to put it in all CAPS. Why? Because some legitimate organizations might come through your phone as “Blocked” and it’s an internal thing. For example, my husband works for the State of Florida and when he calls from his office, it comes through that way.

    Now I know who the collectors are and I simply do not answer. Life is good!

    • cwc6161 says:

      What a great idea! Thanks for sharing that with us 🙂 Your poor hubby LOL I, too, worked for the good ol’ State of Florida for not quite 11 years, back in the Dark Ages. In my last job before layoff/cancer/etc., I worked for a private non-profit agency that had several contracts with the State. I don’t miss it one eensy-beensy bit ! Especially with our illustrious (NOT) Governor at the helm! <> to your husband! lol

  6. Ron Fritsch says:

    When I was still working as a lawyer, I represented persons like yourself who, through no fault of their own, could not pay their bills on time. You’re right when you say it does no good to argue with a pig. All those pig collection agencies want is money. They don’t care why you are in the position you’re in. My advice was always the same: ignore them — and if you receive court papers, bring or send them to me. Sorry I can’t say the latter now, but I can still agree with you on the former.

    • cwc6161 says:

      Ron, you’re so very right. It’s hard, when you’re on the receiving end, to separate out your emotions and to look at the thing logically. At least in my case, I have the advantage of being old enough to know what’s going on and how it all works. Luckily for me, too, the sums of money we’re talking about are barely enough to buy a week’s groceries for a family of 2, so I doubt I’ll ever receive papers from the Court. The stupidest thing is that the sums a couple of agencies have expended to try to collect from me already far exceed the amount I owe them — in one case $118 and in another less than $400! Go figure 🙂

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