NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Fielding calls from debt collectors may be the least favorite part of your day, but handling them strategically may be the most important thing you do all year. Here's what to say to get debt collectors to back off and settle for less than what you owe.
1. “How are you? Let's talk about my debt.”
Call them every day to talk about your debt, says William Waldner, a bankruptcy attorney in New York City.
"It's an age-old sales tactic. Call them every day and ask them over and over again for what you want. Tell them you want to settle, and give them a number. Don't back down. These people are good negotiators, but they aren't used to someone calling them," Waldner says.
You'll probably end up speaking to different people every time you call. Be diligent about keeping records of whom you speak to and where you left off. Eventually, they're going to get sick of hearing from you.
"If you ask someone to settle every day for six months, they're going to want to get you off the books," Waldner says. "Just know that going through this process isn't easy. It wears on you to be a telemarketer, making the same call every day. But it's worth it in the end."
2. “How low are you willing to go?”
Sometimes less is more. Before you say anything, ask what they are willing to do for you, suggests financial attorney and debt specialist Leslie Tayne of Tayne Law Group in Melville, N.Y.