If you are receiving calls, emails or postal notices from your creditors, you are likely frustrated and feeling overwhelmed. No matter what your unique situation is, dealing with creditors is never fun and is rarely easy. You may not know how to start communicating with them effectively and may even be wondering if it is safe for you to pick up the phone when they call.

If you are in doubt about whether or not you should be answering your creditors’ calls, it may benefit you to speak with an attorney who is experienced in matters of creditor harassment, collections and debt settlement. An attorney with this background should be able to explain your rights as a consumer and help you craft a plan of action. This plan of action may include you speaking with your creditors directly and it may include your attorney handling these communications moving forward.

Whether or not you choose to contact an attorney about your situation, it is important that you craft a plan of action sooner rather than later. The longer you wait to communicate with your creditors, the fewer options you will be granted. For example, your creditors may be willing to negotiate a settlement with you early on in the delinquency process. However, if you wait for weeks or months to respond to their efforts at reaching out to you, you may face lawsuits, wage garnishment and other realities that do not afford you the option of any kind of flexibility.

Successful communication with creditors often means responding to their calls, attempting to negotiate in ways that work for you and reaching out to an attorney if these methods do not resolve the situation.

Source: Michigan State University Extension, “Communicating with creditors,” William Hendrian, Aug. 29, 2014