Tips On Dealing With The Pirates Of The Banking Industry :: Debt Collectors

Stephen Bis is a senior debt analyst with the USCA/Roll Law Firm which specializes primarily in credit card debt settlement.

Every year more and more Americans wake up one day to find that their financial position is becoming impossible to handle. The tell tale sign of a major problem on the horizon is when they open their credit card statement and are surprised by a late penalty.

Once this begins to snowball out of control your personal ocean of debt becomes filled with the, Pirates of the Banking System, the debt collectors!

This industry has evolved into a ruthless, obnoxious and down right nasty business, especially for the majority of the recent companies that spring up like dandelion weeds on a beautiful lawn.

As anyone can tell you who has been in this situation it is not very pleasant, such as embarrassing calls to your neighbors and relatives from debt collectors is enough to make most people not sleep at night. So, if you feel like these Pirates are trying to make you walk the plank read on, you will become enlightened to some of their tactics and discover ways to beat them at their own game.

First you must be able to recognize who the Pirates are; names like NCO, OSI, LVNV, ARROW, SHERMAN and COLLECT AMERICA are the most common companies that have been grabbing the booty for a long time. Collectors like these slither around like an octopus in the sea, these large companies create tentacles of smaller companies owned by them just to be able to continue harassing consumers without losing the grip on their claim to your money.

Another type of Pirate on-board is the Law Firm, a huge percentage of these collection companies are basically, “rent a lawyer.” This is a common practice where a lawyer allows a collections company to use the attorneys letterhead to intimidate consumers into the mentality that they are about to be sued. A common illegal tactic used by slime collectors is to contact a consumer and pose as a lawyer this is a felony. For the most part the lawyer on the letterhead is nothing more than a money grabber and would sell his soul to the devil if the price was right. By simply Googling the lawyer on the letterhead or the phone number will usually give you a ton of information to whether the lawyer is a bottom feeder or a legit firm.

Now you need to understand some of the tactics when it is concerning receiving phone calls.

TACTIC: The first thing you must realize is that collection agencies have limited resources when it comes to phone calls. The shortage of people to make calls means that most companies resort to a tactic that utilizes automatic dialing machines. The advantage for them is that it gives the naive consumer the appearance that an individual person has been trying to reach them 20 times a day. This method works well because the unsuspecting consumer will get mad and pick up the phone to argue with the collector. Once you pick up the phone it is routed to the person that you spoke with in the past. So from your perspective it seems as if there is one person on the other end of the phone with just you in sight and mind who’s out to get you.

TIP: If you are receiving calls from a number you do not recognize frequently here is a simply solution to find out if it is a collector. To tell if it is a collector when you pick up the phone do not say anything not a word, when you say hello it triggers the dialing system through voice recognition and then gets routed to a collector to pick up. So the next time you receive a call, pick up the phone and be silent, it usually takes about 15-20 seconds to pass by of silence before the phone will either disconnect or someone will pick up and start saying hello a bunch of times, if they answer just hang up they will assume it was the answering machine.

Now you need to understand some of the tactics when it is concerning making phone calls.

If you feel that you must speak to the collector and you are going to call them back take heed.

TACTIC: You know that when you are arrested and police officer reads your Miranda Rights and says that “anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law.” So obviously it would be smart not to continue talking to the police because what you say could potentially harm you. Well the same principle applies when dealing with debt collectors. No matter how friendly and caring they may sound it is just a ploy to befriend you. They will probe you for as much personal and financial information they can get from you as possible. The longer you stay on the phone speaking with them and giving them information the greater chance they have of collecting debt from you. They are all aware that the odds are in their favor the longer you are on the phone. All of the information they extract from you is kept on file and in most cases is the determining factor if they decide to bring you to court.

TIP: Before calling back a collector dial *67 first then dial the number, most phone companies provide this services which blocks your outgoing phone number to be viewed by the collector. By doing this procedure first and before identifying yourself to the collector if the call turns out nasty and the collector becomes abusive then you can just hang up. If you must talk to them keep it brief and do not let their abusive, demeaning and offensive language get you worked up they are just trying to get you to jump in their boat and that’s a sinking ship. Do not explain to them anything about a job or even if you have one this can be used against you if you refuse their deal.

Beware of Pirates bearing gifts!

TACTIC: After a long hard day at sea harassing, plundering and reeking havoc on its victims these Pirates, the collectors, need to eat too so they resort to fishing. Collectors have a large array of tactics that they use to collect debt, especially older debt. One very slick tactic they use when fishing is a using a type of bait known as “token payments,” most people are completely oblivious to this bait and switch tactic. To show good intent and in hopes of keeping the collector off their back they will end up paying less than $50 just to satisfy the collector and get them off the phone. This will only reset the game clock and give the collectors another 3 to 6 years to keep trying to collect the debt and possibly sue the debtor.

TIP: You see every state has its own Statue of Limitations on collecting debts, two thirds of all the States is less than five years from the time you made your last payment, many States, (14) are only 3 years. This means that after the SOL period has expired on your debt if they attempt to take you to court you can request a dismissal because it’s past the SOL. However as little as a $10 payment can reset the clock on the Statue of Limitations, so when they tell you that by sending them whatever you can to show “good faith”, it is nothing but a pile of you know what.

The bottom line everyone wants to know is, will I be sued!

No one knows for sure what all the factors are that go into whether the collectors will sue you or not. This is private information that they will not give up to the general public. You can however put yourself at a higher risk by speaking with them. Take into mind that everything you say to them they record and take notes on. So you might naively give them the information they are looking for to help them determine to sue or not.

For example, telling them that you do not make enough money at your job. Now they know that you work and can possibly garnish your wages if they decide to sue. Or say you tell them that after you make your auto and mortgage payments each month you simply do not have the money to keep up with your other debts. Well now they know you own a home and car and potentially might have more assets they can look to go after in court. So the best advice is to not speak to them at all if you don’t have money to settle your debt immediately.

If they are willing to work on a payment plan it usually has no consideration of your other bills, most people can not maintain their outrageous payment request. These people are not your friends and couldn’t care less about you all they want is your money.

Over the years I have heard numerous stories from people about their various experiences with debt collectors. I’ve heard everything from threats of jail time, which cannot happen, all the way to threats on ones family. So anyone who reads this post feel free to comment and share your experiences and tips on how you dealt with these people. I hope the information above will help some people from making a mistake when dealing with debt collectors.

You may also like...

6 Responses

  1. Graham says:

    Wow. Pretty ignorant stuff. So if I wrack up a bunch of debt, then the guy calling me to get a payment is a “pirate”? Thats pretty twisted. You owe the debt; you need to pay it.

    • mnc says:

      Graham, I am in complete agreement with you that you need to pay any debts that you have incurred.

      I think Steve was trying to provide a few tips and suggestions on how to deal with debt collectors if you find yourself facing collections. I’ve never had a debt collector after me but I have read numerous stories of how ruthless and harassing they can be.

      Now that doesn’t mean you can or should wash your hands of the obligation to pay the debt, but there are things you should and should not do with regard to debt collectors.

      Hopefully Steve will stop by to share his thoughts on your comment.

    • Steve says:


      Hmmm…I smell a rat commonly found on Pirate ships. A common remark left from a commission driven debt collector on blogs like this is, “You owe the debt; you need to pay it.” Ignorant!! Where does the article mention not to pay back your debts!

      Matter of fact after talking to thousands of Americans over the years I rarely speak to someone that has sizable assets and a good income that just doesn’t want to pay back their debts. These people are not reading this post they are doing the easiest thing, change their phone number! Fact, less than 2.25% of all revolving debt is in 30 day default out of over 50 million cards issued. Fact, 99% of Americans I speak to want to pay back their debts but need help to stop the abusive treatment from a commissioned debt collector trying to fill their debt book.

      Tell me Graham what do I say to this woman from New Orleans I spoke with yesterday, “You owe the debt; you need to pay it.”

      I’ll refer to her as Anita; her elderly mother was very sick with no health insurance and needed expensive medication to survive. Anita exhausted all of her assets and used all of her credit to keep her alive. Anita’s mom just died last month, and to make matters worse she lost her home to Katrina. She is being harassed by a debt collector, Unifund, for a 2005 credit card debt of $2,500. They have threaten to call her job to get her fired and they now what a $1,000 a month on what they now claim is a $18,000 debt. They won’t explain why it’s that much they told her its private information. She wants to pay it back but her health is now under attack because she can’t sleep at night worrying that one day someone is going to walk into her job and get her fired!

      But I guess if I were you I should just say, “You owe the debt; you need to pay it.” Hmmm… I guess we can ignore the abuse and violations of the FDCPA and just walk the plank, something that would just make your day.

  2. Nick says:

    These are some useful tips, but hopefully I won’t ever have to use them!

  3. Russ says:

    I really appreciate the tips. And I smell a rat too!

    I have found that generally the people I have talked to on the phone are courteous and understanding. Perhaps I was a bit naive in what I said to these people, as Steve points out that whatever I say may incriminate me!

    As I reached a point where I could not make all my minimum payments to various creditors, I started calling to see if I could negotiate. Some of these people allowed me to immediately get a reduced rate, after the teaser rate I used for a transfer had expired. Others said I had to be at least a few months late to get into a “hardship” program. One obnoxious “supervisor” I got transferred to, did say “you have to pay up! Use another card to pay us off!” Another one said he was a VP, and offered a 15% payoff settlement! If only they had all agreed to that together.

    After a while, I was able to get most cards negotiated to lower payments, but some companies would not budge. In the end, even after a better paying job, I realized that with increased interest rates late fees, and cards that I just could not make the minimum payments — that my total debt was still not decreasing at all. So I have gone the route of bankruptcy.

    I am creating a web site My Bankruptcy Story to journal my adventures through bankruptcy and back.

    Had all of the creditors realized together that I could not afford to pay, that some negotiated payoff would be better than bankruptcy, then they could have gotten me to pay them off at say 15-20% (I would have cashed out my IRA or borrowed from relatives). I suspect that they will now get nearly zero through my bankruptcy proceeds.

  4. Sarah says:

    I went to a tanning salon a couple of times before my wedding. I signed up with them knowing that at any time I needed to I could cancel my contract. Well After I got married my husband was stationed in an entirely different state so we had to move. I tried calling the tanning salon numerous times to cancel my contract but was told by a snotty receptionist that I could not unless I did it in person, which was impossible. So, in order for them to stop withdrawing money from my account which they did up until after I moved I canceled my card. Then months later I started getting phone calls from Transworld systems saying that they were collecting a debt from me for all my missed payments to the tanning salon. I wasn’t even aware that my stuff had even been sent to a collections agency let alone the fact that they were still trying to get money for something that I wasn’t even using. I just don’t know what to do now cause I still am constantly getting calls from them and know that I wasn’t informed like I should have been to even be able to fix it before they sent it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *