When a Collector Calls: Paying for Furniture Without Incurring Debt

No one wants to be in a position where they have to deal with debt collectors. If you’ve been in one, you’ll know they’re relentless in their pursuit of the debt repayment. Some will stop at nothing.

You may have seen a bizarre story online about a lady in Malaysia who was on the receiving end of some especially fierce harassment from a debt collector. The lady, whose husband had disappeared and left behind the debt, discovered her daughter had answered a telephone call from an unknown man who demanded 27,000 Malaysian ringgits (RM), which is approximately £5,000.

The man was a debt collector and was determined to get the money. Not content with demanding it over the phone, he had also threatened to break into the house and take the family’s belongings. Additional threats include the slightly old-fashioned (and somewhat sinister) approach of splashing the family’s door with red paint.

Of course, this debt collector’s actions were highly illegal and although the furniture company had hired the debt collector, they were shocked to find out just what was going on.

When a Collector Calls

How can you stop this from happening to you?

It’s an unpleasant story and you don’t want to fall into that kind of situation yourself. A home is a costly affair, but there are straightforward ways to pay for your furniture and not have debt collectors come chasing after you. Here are a few suggestions:

Save up your cash

Perhaps the safest option is to just save up your cash until you have enough to buy the furniture. Browse a store or website and if you see something you like, just keep putting your money away into a savings account until you can pay for the item in full. This could take a while, unfortunately, and there’s nothing to say the item will be in stock by the time you’ve saved it up for it, but at least you’ll have a tidy little sum put by and the debt collectors won’t be on your back either.

Get a second job

You can steer clear of a debt trap by taking a second job. See something you really like? Don’t scrimp and save and rely just on the income from your day job to pay for it. Get a second job and designate all this secondary income to that luxurious bed, sofa, wardrobe, dining table or other item you want.

Get a second job

Finance the purchase

A lot of furniture companies will offer financing options. This makes the purchase much more affordable by allowing you to spread the cost over a set time period and make small, regular payments. Although different companies may operate differently, the chances are you’ll have to pay a small deposit and then it’s a mere question of making the payments agreed to the furniture company.

Ask for a cash discount

Cash is a powerful negotiation tool when it comes to big purchases. Who wouldn’t want to receive payment sooner rather than later? If you have the cash to settle the payment outright when you walk into the furniture store, ask if they’ll make any discount in return for cash. Even if it’s just a small discount, it’s still more money in your pocket.

Prioritise rooms

There’s no rule that you have to furnish your whole house within the first three months of buying it. You can take as long as you like. Since you don’t feel so rushed, you’ll make better decisions, too, and give yourself time to save up for furniture. You may want to prioritise the master bedroom because that’s where you’ll need to be the most comfortable. Alternatively, you could make your living room the top priority because it’s where you might be spending of your time in the house. It’s up to you.

Prioritise rooms

What to do if you land in debt?

If you really want that piece of furniture and take out a personal loan or use a credit card to pay for it, but then discover your finances aren’t as healthy as you first thought, try not to panic. You don’t have to spend the rest of your days drowning in debt or do anything too drastic to pay for the item. Here are a few ways to get out of the situation:

Make more than the minimum repayments

Paying the minimum may make the debt more manageable, true, but it also means you’ll pay more interest over time. Whether you’ve taken out a personal loan or have paid by credit card, you should try to pay back more than the minimum when making repayments. This will save you money in interest over time. If you have more than one credit card, look at paying the one with the highest rate of interest first to free up more money. You can then put this newfound capital towards your furniture.

Negotiate a lower rate of interest

If you’ve paid by credit card, you don’t have to settle for the rate of interest you’re currently paying. Contact the credit card provider and inform them you wish to discuss a new, lower rate of interest. You’ll need to shop around for credit cards with lower interest rates or other better terms and conditions first, though, to use as leverage when negotiating. Remind them you’ve been a customer for a long time and would prefer not to have to switch your balance over to a lower interest credit card. You’ll be surprised at how they can accommodate you.

Cut up your credit card

You don’t want to compound your financial woes by continuing to spend on your credit card. Cut up your credit or dispense with it in some way to rid yourself of any temptation to keep using it. If you really can’t stand the thought of doing away with your credit card, hide it or, better still, leave it with someone you trust so that you don’t have immediate access to it.

You might have to spend a bit of money for good quality furniture, but you don’t have to get in debt over it. You most certainly don’t have to reach the point of intimidating phone calls from unscrupulous debt collectors or return home to find they may have splashed red paint across your front door. Follow the tips above and you can spend your time enjoying your new furniture rather than worrying about how you’re going to pay for it.

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