While you may find this hard to believe. You have all the control! Yes, you do!
If you are experiencing problems with your creditors here are a few tips:
- Talk to someone with authority. Whenever possible speak to the branch manager or a supervisor.
- If you are dealing with a collection agency and cannot get satisfaction, call the creditor you owe the money to.
- If the person you speak with is not helpful, ask to speak to his or her supervisor.
Don’t get angry
- Always keep a record of the person you talked with, company name, date, time, phone number and what was said. Keep a journal.
- Keep in touch with the person you spoke with until the problem is solved.
- Avoid making promises you can’t keep. Do not promise to make a payment if you know you cannot afford to. This will only make things worse.
- Keep your temper and always be polite. Ask for your creditor’s help, rather than telling them what to do.
- If you feel the collector is harassing you, you do have rights, lots of them. Contact your Provincial Government to find out your rights under the Debt Collection Act.
Remember an agreement or contract over the telephone is not necessarily legitimate or legally binding unless you make a payment or put in writing your acceptance of the debt.
If you choose to write a letter, outline the following:
- Your reason for the letter
- Your employment status
- Your intentions regarding the debt
- Your reduced repayment terms
- Your condition as to why your cannot make a payment
- Your request for interest relief
- Your request for the creditor to pull the account back from collections
- Your offer on a settlement amount
- Your request for the termination of the debt (medical reasons) provide proof.
Photocopy paystubs etc. Remember, you are letting the creditor know where you work or at the very least what you earn. Create a monthly expense sheet (show creditor where your money is going).
Be accurate. There is no right or wrong when it comes to a budget, but it must balance.
Be realistic. If you offer to make a payment, make sure you can afford it. Missing any payment could jeopardize your proposal. If you cannot stick to an arrangement, don’t offer one.
Be reasonable. Creditors want to get paid back within a reasonable amount of time.
Be specific. Tell the creditor when you will contact them in the future. Tell them which month or which specific day. Don’t give them the idea you are not going to follow-up with your letter. Do what you say you will.
Remember, the creditor has a right to expect to be repaid. If you cannot make a payment you should explain why.
SAMPLE LETTER TO CREDITORS
ATTENTION: RE: Account Number
This letter is to request a temporary change in the repayment terms of my account.
Since I have become unemployed, (or other) I have had to make some financial adjustments. I do have some income from (social assistance, spouse’s employment, severance or part-time earnings), however, it is necessary to ask each creditor to accept a reduced payment for the next few months.
My monthly net income is $___________. My minimum monthly living expenses are $_________. As you can see, I have only $____________ left each month for credit payments.
Your monthly payment will be $_____________. You can expect a cheque for my first payment on _____________(date). The payment amount will remain the same, until my circumstances improve. I will keep you advised bi-weekly on my situation.
I request that my account not be placed in the hands of a collection agency. I wish to deal directly with you. I also request that you suspend or reduce the interest on my account for the next 90 days while I am awaiting employment (other). I will notify you immediately if my situation improves.
Attached is a list of all my creditors, the outstanding balances and the payments I can pay each one.
Thank you for your co-operation with this proposal. Please sign below, your acceptance.
______ Yes, I/We accept the payments offered
For _______________________________________________ (Company Name)
Authorized Signature (Title)