Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.
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4 Reasons to Pay Bills Even When You Don't Want To

It’s a basic fact of life that you’ll have to do things you don’t want to do. Wake up early when you really want to sleep in. Postpone vacation because you have other financial priorities. And, pay bills that you really wish you could just blow off.

It’s easy to think that we can skip certain debts because they’re owed to big companies who won’t miss our pocket change. Maybe they won’t miss your money. But, that doesn’t mean they’ll let you walk away from a legitimate obligation to pay. For your sake, there are several good reasons to pay bills even when you don’t want to.

Keep the bill from going to collections. There was a time that you could get by without paying a company and face no serious consequences. That was then. Now, more businesses are using third-party debt collectors to recoup payments from deadbeat customers. Even libraries and school lunchrooms have turned to debt collectors when fees go unpaid. If you want to keep your bill out of collections, just pay it.

Stop collectors from calling you. You may have already had a bill sent to a collection agency. In that case, you know very well just how much of a nuisance debt collectors can be, calling daily and sending letters to get you to pay up.

While Federal law allows you stop collection calls with a cease and desist letter, the letter only works for one collection agency. When a new collector gets the debt – and they probably will – you’ll have to start the cease and desist process over again and then again with a new collector. Paying the debt completely is the best way to stop collection calls for good.

Prevent damage to your credit score. Late payments on certain bills will affect your credit score once the payment is 30 days past due. The more delinquent you become, the worse the damage to your credit score.

You won’t escape credit score damage simply because you skip payment on a bill that’s not listed on your credit report. Any past due account can be listed on your credit report, especially if it’s the type of account that gets passed on to a collection agency. You might want to dodge a payment because it seems frivolous, but it will affect your ability to get credit-based products and services in the future.

Continue using services from the provider. Many services that don’t report monthly payments to the credit bureaus will penalize your nonpayment by disconnecting your services. That includes cell phone companies, cable and internet service providers, and the electricity provider.

You might brush off payment because you’ve decided to use another provider. However, if you ever come back to that company, you’ll have to clear up the past due balance before you can re-establish your account. And, depending on the company, the balance may wind up on your credit report.

The decision not to pay a bill often stems from a dispute over charges. If you ever have questions about charges, call the company to find out. Push for an investigation into the charges. In the case of credit cards, submit your dispute in writing no more than 60 days from the date the billing statement containing the error was mailed to you. Be aware that if the company decides you actually do owe the charges, you’re responsible for paying. Otherwise, you’ll have to deal with the consequences.
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Monday, 21 October 2019

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