Don’t Sabotage Your Debt Settlement Negotiations
By LaToya Irby in Debt Relief
Often we are our own worst enemy, even with debt settlement negotiations. What you do inside and outside of the negotiations could hurt your ability to get an acceptable settlement amount. Make sure you don’t do any of these things to sabotage your debt settlement negotiations.
Don’t tell your creditors how much money you have in your settlement account. Your creditors most likely won’t care that you’re trying to settle debts with other customers. They usually only care about the balance you owe them. If you reveal that you have access to more money than what you’re offering in a settlement, they’ll expect you to use that money for their debt. When you’re negotiating, you should make sure not to talk about how much money you have available.
Don’t put financial details on the internet. More debt collectors are using social networking sites to investigate people who owe them money. They can even pose as people you know and add you to their friends list to view your tweets and status updates. So, make sure you keep financial details, especially about purchases or income, off the internet. If you reveal that you’ve made a big purchase or received your tax refund, the collector may assume you can afford to pay your debt in full.
Don’t be rude to the creditor or debt collector, even if they’re rude to you. Debt collectors aren’t usually known for their charm. They have been known for making rude and threatening comments to debtors, even pushed some to suicide. Keep a thick skin against debt collector threats and avoid threatening them back. Ultimately, you want to reach a settlement agreement and being amicable is probably the best way to get there.
Don’t take out new credit cards or loans. Creditors and collectors can access your credit report without getting your permission because you already have a business relationship with them. So if you take on new debt, they could know it. In your negotiations, they may bring up these new accounts saying, “If you can afford a new car, then you can afford to pay this debt.” You should avoid opening new accounts until after you’ve finished settlement. Besides, the additional debt payments will probably make it harder to save up for a settlement.
Don’t make your initial offer too high. It’s almost impossible to know exactly how low a creditor is willing to settle your account. Because of that, it’s better to offer a low-end settlement than a high-end settlement. You can always negotiate up, but it’s generally much more difficult to negotiate down. If a creditor refuses to accept a low settlement offer and you can afford to pay more, you should say that you may be able to scrape together the extra money and ask them to send you a settlement agreement.
If you lack confidence in your negotiation skills, check out some books from your local library. Practice negotiating in the mirror or with a friend or family member. Once you get comfortable making an offer and hearing the rejection, you’ll likely become more comfortable asking your creditors to mark down your debt. Hiring a debt settlement company to negotiate on your behalf is always an option. You may not be required to pay until the company makes a settlement payment on your behalf.