If they are not contacting you, but you know about the debts, then you need to contact the original person (doctor's office, hospital, whatever) to whom the money is owed. Give them your name, and you may need to give them your date of birth or SS number so they can find your account, and then they can tell you how to contact the agency it's been handed to. Ask if they have an account number while you have them on the phone.
The next step is simple--you have the name of the collection agency, and the phone number given to you by the people who did the original service or sold the original product--you simply contact the collection agency and tell them you need to set up payment arrangements.
I will tell you, from having to deal with a lot of extra medical bills when my husband had surgery, that they will try to strong arm you, and will often say things like, "Well, looking at the balance, I can see we're going to need a payment of $225 per month." Figure out how much you can afford to pay before you
call them, and if their "target" payment is too high, simply tell them that you cannot come up with that much. They will offer you a slightly lower number. All you do is be honest with them and say, "Look, I can afford $75 a month, and that's the maximum I can afford." Don't let them push you around, or force you into a payment situation which you cannot maintain. What many people don't know is that collection agencies are usually required by law to take whatever payment you can give them, regardless of what payment they'd like you to make.
Once you make the payment arrangement, be sure to make your payments on schedule, and for the agreed upon amount. If something in your financial situation should change, and you cannot make the entire payment, contact the agency immediately, tell them you have had a life-altering change, and that you need to reduce the payment amounts. If you happen to have a little extra money at some point, and you have a payment due, kick in the extra, which will help pay the debt off faster.
Bronwen · 8 years ago