It occurred to me recently that I've pretty much mastered the art of dealing with collection agencies. To be fair, I'm not referring to overdue credit card balances, or anything else that potentially would harm you long term. I'm talking about instances where you haven't been actually charged by your bank and had a credit deposit, I'm talking about instances where you basically owe money in theory. To use an old example, the now defunct Columbia House Record Club and their "12 CDs for a penny" deal. You signed an agreement to buy CDs later at full price, but you hadn't actually been charged anything.
So here now are Pete's tips for beating a collection agency:
Tip #1: You don't owe the Collection Agency fucking shit
Collection agencies are hired by the company you owe money to. Those inflated bills that they mail you/call you about includes their fee they've added in, because that's the amount they are charging the company for their services, and so it follows that the company that hired them wants you to foot the bill. If you choose to pay the company anything, pay them directly and ignore the collection agency notices. Once that happens, the notices will stop coming, because you personally don't owe the collection agencies fucking shit.
Tip #2: You can wait out the calls, and they'll eventually stop
It used to be that a collection agency could call you at home 15 times a day to collect, which would result in more bills being paid to avoid nervous breakdowns. Nowadays with cell phones being the norm, you can see who's calling you and choose to not pick up the phone. Oh, they'll still call you 15 times a day, and on top of it they'll call using different phone numbers. I found a relatively simple solution: Label all the unknown numbers you get, so they're easier to ignore. I had a list of "Jerks #1-#7" on my phone, many of which who have been trying to collect for several years now. Instead of furrowing my brow at an unrecognized number, I got the satisfaction of seeing the word "Jerks" show up on my caller ID every time one of those jerks called. So hang tight on that $400 bill from 2004 that you owe the Ohio State Medical Center, they'll eventually wear themselves out and stop calling.
Tip #3: Read this article I found, which sums some things up nicely: http://www.debt.org/credit/collection-agencies/secrets/
Tip #4: Check this Love in An Escalator outtake, from 2010. (The song eventually became what is known as "Reagan's Got the Bomb."
I won’t pay, kiss my ass
I’ll just sit at home and laugh
You’ll just have to take a bath
On what you say I owe
I won’t pay a bit
For this made up shit
Get your records straight
And get the fuck off of my phone
Tip #5: Fuck the collection agencies, they're a bunch of wimps, stay strong, you can do it