Can I Negotiate With Credit Card Companies Myself?

by Mark Brinker

Yes, absolutely. But there are a few things you’ve got to know to be successful. Here are 6 items right off the top of my head:

  1. Timing is everything. If you begin your settlement efforts too early, you’ll be wasting your time. If you wait too long, you could miss a great settlement opportunity or possibly get sued.
  2. Don’t get cocky. Some people think that you have to play “hardball” with credit card companies to achieve any results. Wrong. Double wrong. In fact, just the opposite is true. You usually get better results if you’re humble and down to earth. As the old saying goes, “You can attract more bees with honey than you can with vinegar.”
  3. Written or verbal? Depending on the financial institution sometimes the preferred mode of communication is written, but with others it’s verbal. Sometimes it’s a combination of the two.
  4. Credit card company or collection agency? Believe it or not, there are some credit card companies where you’re much better off letting your account be outsourced to a collection agency if your goal is to obtain a settlement. On the other hand, there are some credit card companies where you’ll do much better by settling with them directly (before they outsource your account to a collection agency).
  5. You’ve got to have the right personality and “temperment”. It’s just a plain fact that not everyone is good at negotiating. I’ve assisted doctors, lawyers and Ph.D’s over the years that openly acknowledged that negotiating just isn’t their cup of tea. Nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, just the opposite. Give those people credit for recognizing that you can’t always be an expert at everything, and that there might be people that have more skill and expertise in a certain area than you do.
  6. You must get proper documentation. Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes that people make when they attempt settle outstanding debts on their own is that they don’t get proper documentation to confirm the settlement. So they end up paying a certain amount of money thinking that those funds will constitute full and final settlement, then they get a statement 6 months later for the remaining balance! Be careful here. Some creditors can get sneaky. Therefore, make sure you get proper  documentation before you pay any money to settle an account.

In summary, it’s kind of like hiring a real estate agent to sell your home. Do you have to hire a real estate agent if you want to sell your home. No. But if you lack the time, desire or knowledge it might just be worth your while to pay someone a reasonable fee to do it all for you.

~ Mark

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