I'm not sure if there has been a post on this already, but it's something I've had serious trouble with in the past. Granted, I could pay off all my past debt and there wouldn't be anymore trouble, but I get paid 50 cents over minimum wage, am in college, and can barely afford new work clothes. So I was just hoping that people here could post some tips on dealing with them, negotiating with them, and maybe past experiences and what you've learned. I have a couple things to share: 1. If you owe money, do NOT NOT NOT keep money in the bank. They can go to court and put leins on your accounts [which results in crazy bank fees also!!] and if you use your account/debit card for everything [as I used to do], you will probably starve. The only way I could get the leins removed is to pay a large sum right away out of your account, and then to do 1 or 2 more payments after that. Seriously-- don't put your money in the bank!! It ruined my life for many months, as the debt collector was very rude and uncooperative and constantly made me go in circles. I should have known that something was going to happen too, as I receive email alerts when there are changes to my credit reports, and I started receiving about one per week. 2. Secondly, debt collectors lie!! I was one for like 2 weeks. When they put you on hold and return to say "my manager says you have to pay the full amount now", they are lying. They are literally sitting at their desk twiddling their thumbs during that period you're on hold. Also, this is very important: They have the ability right on their computer screen to decrease your debt by up to 40% in most cases. Haggle with them, get the upper hand! Play "hard to get". They don't need any approval to reduce the debt amount. They often don't like to as it totals less collection amounts for them and they get less bonuses, etc. You can also haggle with them to pay the amount in payments instead of one lump sum (they usually want you to pay in in 3, which isn't bad). I've heard trouble with getting gas/electric companies to accept more than one payments though, but it could be just have been a stubborn collector. But know if you haggle, you can get definitely get the amount decreased! I know this for fact. This is pre-legal action though, keep that in mind. I'm not sure if post-legal action they settle for anything, as the guy I dealt with was awful. 3. Also, there are certain legal rights that collectors have to follow, i.e. Identifying themselves as a debt collector. Some states limit the amount of calls per day/hour. If you're being harassed against your states law, you have the right to sue. Also, don't give them your address, parent's name or number, where you work, how much you make, ANY INFO. They will use it against you. I'm not being paranoid either, lol. Please post away with your experiences or tips! :) Edit- This is a recollection of my own personal experiences, I don't speak for everyone [which I thought was obvious as its my "personal" experiences, but apparently I must specify]. I know people who still work in debt-collection who have the ability to reduce debt amounts, whether your company allowed it or not. Also, I never claimed to be an expert. At all. You will also not convince me that debt-collectors are "good". This post isn't about debt evasion, once again, it's my experience that if you leave money in the bank, they will make it unavailable to you [as opposed to paying the debt when you can], and therefore possibly causing you to not be able to pay your rent/eat. This post is meant as a tool/poorskill for others to read personal experiences and gain knowledge from them on dealing with collectors, as opposed to feeling victimized by them. If you think anything otherwise, you obviously havn't read the post, its about posting your tips on: "dealing with them [debt collectors], negotiating with them, and maybe past experiences and what you've learned." I'd still love to hear some experiences on this stuff, as I'm sure a lot of us are in the same boat.