Previously, on this blog …
“Let the answering machine take the strain”.
Follow this strategy (negotiating only in writing), summon up your reserves of patience and persistence, and the huge benefit is that you avoid verbal discussions. They are just too stressful right now and, thanks to that wonderful invention the telephone answering machine, you need never speak to a creditor in person.
NOW READ ON …
When I say this, I am not advocating that you ignore telephone calls. No, you should respond if a creditor leaves a message but you do it in writing, referring to any previous correspondence and repeating your previous offer, if you have made one, or perhaps making an offer, if you have not done so. Alternatively you could simply state your position and ask for their understanding and for more time.
One slight disadvantage of the telephone “bubble” concept (Seve Ballesteros again – see my last post on this subject) could be that your friends might notice that you are never in, even when they expected you to be so. Is that a major problem? Probably not. If you have an actual answering machine, rather than the service from your telephone provider, then you can use it to filter your calls, by listening to the machine before deciding whether to pick up. If you have “caller display” on your home phone, or you are being called on a mobile, problem solved: you can be 100% selective about which calls you accept and which you allow to go through to voicemail.
Now I do recognise that there are some people who simply cannot resist answering a ringing phone. If you are one of those people and you can’t break the habit, then all I can say is that I hope you are someone who is not stressed out by this kind of situation, in which case you are in the lucky minority. In such a case, carry on following your instincts and answer the phone, but I would still urge you not to conduct a negotiation on the phone. Simply take in what is said and offer to think it over and reply – but in writing.
Always respond both to written correspondence and to phone messages and do so Promptly, Politely, Professionally – and Persistently (i.e. sticking to your guns). In the resources section at the end of my book (see link below) there are some examples of letter formats you could customise to your situation.
To be continued …
The above is an extract from Chapter 2 (“Mind Over Matter”) of “Back to the Black: how to become debt-free and stay that way”. [LINK]