Here's a sample:
You must keep a calm, reasonable and well-modulated tone of voice. Any yelling, name-calling or other verbal tactics will erode the image you're working to project.
If they speak to you in any way that you find objectionable, give them one warning, as mentioned in your opening statement. The second time, ask to speak to their supervisor. When you're connected, start again from step one.
Write down everything--the date and time of the call, data on the rep calling you, what they want, what you're offering, etc.
Many times the names of the collectors are not their real ones. One way to figure it out is to send the signature receipt letter addressed only to that one person. If they sign back with their signature on the letter, they must be that person (otherwise it becomes a federal offense of mail fraud).
Sometimes you just can't win, they won't listen to reason or acknowledge that you legally are not obligated to the debt. In this case, establish a long paper trail indicating that they did not wish to collect on the debt in good faith. When they file your collection with the credit agencies, mail copies of your paper trail to all three, with documentation that they violated the Fair Debt Collection Act and demand removal of the claim from your credit report immediately.
Be very careful about making any payments if the debt is past the statute of limitations or about to be since that may restart the clock and you may then owe the full amount even if the collector told you that you would only have to pay a small amount and then they would leave you alone.
Remember, your goal is to take, and keep, control of the conversation so that you can both get what you want. By losing your temper, sounding panicked, or whining, you are giving control of the phone call back to them.
Things You'll Need
A complete script, as described in step one
Paper and pen by your telephone (or in your pocket, in case of a cell phone)
A telephone with a recording device. Radio Shack has some good options.