Debt collectors are trained to to intimidate or manipulate the people they call. Should you ever give a debt collector money? and what are the legal effects if you do so?
Giving them money can be a big mistake.
Giving them Money Encourages Debt Collectors
Many people have a natural impulse to bargain with debt collectors. They hope if they give a collector money they’ll go away. This does not work.
The person calling you is a low-level employee. Usually the caller will have no power at all to make any kind of deal with you. Or they will have some limited power to accept delays or offer a small discount. On the other hand, the caller’s salary will depend to some extent on getting you to pay. If you offer anything – a promise or a payment – you guarantee that they’ll call you many more times. You are sending a clear signal that they can push you over.
Of course, it costs practically nothing to call you, so any encouragement whatsoever means endless calls in the future. Giving them nothing does not mean they’ll stop calling, however.
Legal Effects of Payments
If you give a debt collector money the legal impact is even worse than just calling them. if the debt is so old that the statute of limitations does or might soon protect you, your payment can restart the clock. If you were disputing the debt, the court might take your payment as an admission that you owe it.
And if the debt collector lacks any means of proving the debt in any way, your payment will help them past any problem.
You Can Still Fight
That isn’t to say that you have lost everything if you made a payment. You still have a chance to win if they sue you. But every payment makes the road harder.