Financial worries and speaking about debt
The truth is that most people would be in a much better financial position if they had spoken to their creditors as soon as things got difficult. But if it was so easy, wouldn’t we all have done it?!
The more important truth is that debt is never anyone’s fault. And the causes are rarely simple.
How to talk about debt
It is well known that debt and mental health are linked. Getting into debt has a negative impact on our health, and being unwell makes it easier to fall into debt. When you’re overwhelmed by anxiety over mounting bills and falling income, the last thing you want to do is pick up the phone and speak to your bank
How to speak to Debt Collectors over the phone
The majority of adults in the UK will experience anxiety at some point in their life. Much of this anxiety stems from financial worries and makes it impossible even to think about talking about debt. Add to that the stigma attached to debt in the UK and the fact that many adults feel too embarrassed to talk about it and it is easy to see why debt has such a devastating impact on health, relationships and families.
If you think about it, why would banks, credit card companies or even debt collectors want you to be afraid of speaking to them? It is in their interest to speak with you about what you owe them and come to a payment plan which is affordable to you.
Every letter they send costs them money, and every call takes time. The truth is that these companies are not scary. They employ real people who will speak with you honestly about your situation and what they can do to help – they have to do this by law.
Even if you can’t afford to make any payment towards your debts, these companies have to speak with you and they have to treat you fairly. Explain your circumstances and what you can afford to pay (if you can) honestly and you will likely be surprised about how much help there is out there.
At the very least, speaking with your creditors will stop the barrage of calls, texts and emails you may otherwise receive.
On the off chance that you speak to someone who is less than friendly, you can always hang up. Just tell them that the conversation is making you upset and you will be ending the call. It really is that simple. When you feel able to (today, tomorrow, next week or next month even) call back and try again, you will get through to someone else who will be nicer to you.
What are you afraid of?
So, why do we think debt collectors are scary? The sinister answer is that people in debt make a lot of money for companies who will speak with your creditors for you. These companies simply wouldn’t exist if people in debt felt able to speak to their creditors directly.
Many of those companies do great work and will really help you get debt free. But at what cost? And could you do it yourself? (Hint: you won’t know unless you try!)
Type the words “IVA” into Google and you’ll be overwhelmed by adverts offering you a guaranteed solution without needing to speak to your creditors. The vast majority of these companies will not provide IVAs themselves, but will instead refer you to an insolvency practitioner in exchange for a hefty fee.
If you were empowered to speak with your creditors, you may not need them, and they wouldn’t get their fee.
There is a lot of money in promoting the myth that debt collectors are too scary to talk to yourself. Simply put, it is just that, a myth.
Who can help me with debt?
We’re not saying help is bad – help is great! But professional help from friendly experts is even better (we’re biased of course!).
Getting expert help and advice is for many people an important first step to taking back control and setting you on the path to debt-freedom. So, just take some time to make sure you are getting the right help, at the right time, and for the right reason.
If speaking with debt collectors makes you anxious, think about why that is. Even understanding this will help you manage those feelings and find a good solution to your debt worries.
When you’re ready to think about getting some help, read our tips here to make sure you get the best advice from the right people.
Should I pay debt collection companies?
Many debt collection companies buy accounts from banks and credit card companies without following the rules and laws which govern consumer lending. This means that you would have a right not to pay anything to these companies.
But it is completely legal for them to buy your debt as long as they do this properly. We’ve seen a number of misleading posts online which suggest that if the company contacting you is not the company who you originally held an account with, they cannot make you pay them. This is simply not true and following that advice is definitely going to make your situation worse.
When you’re happy that debt collectors are contacting you about a real debt, you will find that they are very helpful if you contact them to agree a repayment plan. If you do not feel able to do this yourself, there are a number of debt solutions which can be very helpful and will help you manage your debt.
If you disagree with what any company says you owe you should follow the proper process to make a complaint about a debt collector. Galahad & Co. are experts at challenging debt collectors, and we’re always happy to speak with you about your options.
If you’d like to find out more about how to manage your debt, contact us.