Debt collectors – to put it nicely – can sometimes not be nice people. However, the inexperienced ones have a tendency to learn a little of the centerline when it comes to military personnel.
Military personnel – possibly because they move so much – often admit to their disregard or disconnection when it comes to the money they owe. That seems reasonable when their focus is on something most would consider more important. Yet, they do borrow and owe money just as everyone else.
If you are this type of debtor, here are a few things that will not work for you when speaking to a collector about a debt.
- Using your military status/affiliation. Pulling on the heartstrings of a collector may work on the ‘newbies,’ but not on the experienced, top producing collector. To them, you are a number of a page with a dollar amount attached. The goal is still the same.
- Moving will not eliminate the debt. As most military folks do, they can move around the country based upon their assignment. Some even move out the country. Realize that this does not hamper a collectors ability to find you wherever you are. The debt always sticks with you.
- Your poor credit/indebtedness can affect your clearance. Getting promoted is an integral part in your profession. You can be 100% sure that before you are promoted up the chain, your credit will be checked. This a major determining factor with those on their first tour of duty. You join and start working and when they want to move you up to a higher security level, it won’t happen if you have bad credit. Therefore, it’s to your benefit to get your credit clean and clear – ASAP.
- There are no secrets. How would you feel if your commanding officer found out about your debt? You’ve made a lot of headway trying to earn his respect. Then, one day, he comes to you and shows you a letter a direct creditor about you indebtedness. You will be nothing but embarrassed and feel foolish. (FYI: A collection agency cannot contact your commanding officer: only the creditor to whom you owe the money can.)
- Seven years is the key. Again, in the military, you may have had debt prior to joining and now, seven years and a certain number of months later, this debt may be off your credit. However, the collector IS NOT going to tell you this. Ask how old the debt it and/or ask to see a copy of your credit report showing the debt. Mistakes do happen, occasionally, and you may not owe the debt any longer. It’s up to you to check the status.
- It’s about the bottom line. Debtor collectors have the job of collecting money. The more they collect, the more money they make.
When you join the military, there’s a promise of responsibility to your country. The debt you owe is your responsibility as well as it affects the U.S. economy. Show some respect for your debtor and do what you can to get back the respect you so deserve.