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Dave Says: Beware of Nosy Debt Collectors

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Dear Dave,

I’m working on my debt snowball, and I’m trying to settle with a pushy collector. I don’t have the $9,000 I owe, but I have $3,000 I’d like to offer as a settlement. Recently the collector has started asking for a lot of information I don’t feel comfortable providing. What should I do?

Daniel

Dear Daniel,

Lots of times in these kinds of situations collectors are trying to gather up as much information as possible in order to sue you. Even if that’s not the case here, there’s no reason for you to be supplying them with a bunch of extra info. Just offer them the $3,000, and make it clear that your financial coach—which is me—told you not to answer any more of their nosy questions.

Make sure they understand that your offer of $3,000 stands as a settlement of the debt today. If they’re willing to accept the offer, get a statement in writing saying that the $3,000 represents payment in full before you cut the check. If they choose not to accept your offer, and they keep asking questions that are none of their business, just tell them to call back when they’re willing to discuss terms. Then, hang up!

—Dave

* Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business. He’s authored four New York Times best-selling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover and EntreLeadership. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 6 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.

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