How to Talk to a Debt Collector
Find a way to settle
If you establish you do indeed owe money, you'll need to find a way to pay it off. How much of the debt you actually need to pay off will depend on who owns it. If it's your original creditor (for instance, a bank), you have very little leeway; if, however, several months have elapsed and the bank decided to sell off the debt to a third party, you have a lot more wiggle room. Bartmann notes that in situations such as these, a creditor will sell the debt for as little as a nickel on the dollar. So even though the collection agency will likely ask you to pay the full debt, the truth is that they can get a fraction of the total amount and still turn a profit.
Let them know you're aware of this -- that you know they only paid five to seven cents on the dollar for your debt, and that they should be willing to settle.
"Demonstrating that you're savvy, that you know the game and you know how the market flows -- you bet that's an advantage," Bartmann says.