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South Florida debt collectors give people breaks during coronavirus pandemic

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Posted at 4:45 PM, May 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-04 18:15:38-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — It's not a phrase you're used to hearing: Debt Collectors Care Too.

But that's a new campaign that a West Palm Beach collection agency is hoping people will take to heart.

"Answer the call. Say, hello. We really are here to help," is the narrative in a new video that could change people’s perception of debt collectors.

"We’ve seen a lot of people call and say, hey, I can’t make my payment. I can’t do this. What are you going to do to help me?" said Melissa Nash, President of ARI Business Collections Services in West Palm Beach.

Nash is hoping by launching #DebtCollectorsCareToo she can change the stigma behind collector’s calls.

"If you just communicate we’re in this with you, we’re going to help you defer the payment. If there is a legal process we can help you pause the process, stop the process," said Nash.

The videos are being posted around social media in English, Spanish, and Creole. Nash said she was inspired by other COVID-19 campaigns.

"The Debt Collectors Care Too is just because your banks are saying we’re here for you call us. Your credit card companies are saying we are here for you call us, but how does a debt collector say we’re here for you too," said Nash

Ted Rossman a credit card analyst at BankRate.com says getting good credit starts with communication.

"The first thing that I would suggest is validating that they are in fact talking to you the right person and figure out how much exactly you owe and who you owe it too. One of the things that’s going to let you know if you’re still in the statute of limitations," said Rossman.

Rossman added it’s important to organize and prioritize your debt.

"Besides asking lenders for a break seek other help like non-profit credit counseling. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling has great advice on their website NFCC.org. They can help you with advice, consolidate payments, lower your interest rate," said Rossman.