NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Just about everyone has gotten a call from a collection agency at some point. It's stressful to say the least. You want to get the collection off of your credit report so that you can get your credit score back on track. But you don't want to get taken advantage of by an unscrupulous collection agency. So how do you pay off your collection account the right way?
Be Aware of What You Can Pay
John Heath, directing attorney with LexingtonLaw, says that before you do anything else, you need to know what you can pay. "A lot of creditors will use two tracks," he said. "They'll cut you a deal if you can pay a larger amount sooner. If you make payments, they might not give you a discount." The problem is that if you can't stick to your agreed upon payments, you lose any deal you had. What's more, you're extending the statute of limitations on the debt. So don't agree to anything you can't actually pay.
Get It in Writing
One place where a lot of consumers trip themselves up is not having a record of everything they do with a collection agency. It's not that every collection agency is unscrupulous. It's just that some are, and the ones who aren't will have no trouble putting everything in writing. Mike Sullivan, director of education with Take Charge America, urges people to keep their bank statements and cancelled checks from any payments made to a collection agency. "If they keep coming after you, the law is very protective of consumers who are getting harassed or abused by collection agencies," he said.