You may think that the debt collection letter that’s sitting in your mailbox is nothing but pain mailed directly to you. However, you have to keep in mind that for every debt collection letter that is sent, the pain goes both ways – the creditor is desperate for payment for an overdue account and the debtor is scrambling for money to meet the due date of the payment. So, just as much as the debtor feels pressure, so does the creditor. After all, every delinquent account means that the company will not be getting back some money.
So, what exactly does a debt collection letter contain? The debt collection letter is sometimes referred to as a letter of demand. This letter notifies the debtor of the outstanding balances or unpaid amounts on his account. In certain cases, the letter may also inform the debtor that unless he is able to make the payments on time, court action may be used against him.
In order to help the creditor grasp the full details of the debt, the debt collection letter must come with all the documents that are related to the account. These include copies of the contracts, invoices of past payments, and other letters of agreements made between the debtor and creditor. This way, the debtor will have the documentation that proves that he is responsible for the debt.
The debt collection letter lets the debtor know that the creditor is serious about getting his money back. And in the event that the matter goes to court, the creditor can use the letter as proof that the company did attempt to contact the debtor in an effort to settle the account.
Now that the debt collection letter has reached your mailbox, what do you do next? The first step is always to respond to the letter. You have to let the creditor know that you are not running away from your responsibilities. If you ignore the letter, you may put yourself in more trouble.
Before you respond, study the letter and the attached documents. If you need to dispute the debt, contact a lawyer who can help you. Once you and your lawyer have drafted a letter of dispute, mail it to the creditor immediately. If you agree that you do owe the debt, you should contact the creditor as well.
Once you have contacted your creditor and your responsibility for the debt has been duly established, you may begin to negotiate with the creditor. You can offer to pay several installments or you may offer to pay immediately but with a lesser amount. Since the creditor most likely wants to save on the costs of pursuing you for payment, he is bound to agree.
After you respond, the debt collection letter has done its job. It has opened a way for the creditor to reach you and inform you of your delinquencies. At the same time, the letter has made some options available to you, and you can select a payment scheme that is affordable to you.