My husband and I were unemployed for nearly a year, so we got very friendly with the collection agencies. Right after we both started working, we got a debt consolidation loan for all our credit cards (which they handed out like candy at university, not to say it's not our fault, but still...)
Anyway, right before we got the loan, the Visa meanies called me and said I had to pay. I said, we're in the process of getting this loan. The guy says, why don't you just make the payment and then the loan will be less. I said if I had the $300, I wouldn't need to get the loan. He said, what will you do if you don't get the loan? Now, I knew I was going to get it because my super-responsible A+ credit rating favoured customer dad was co-signing, but I decided to cover the plan B as well, so I said we were going to a credit counsellor. The Visa guy said, I can give you some counselling for free right now; pay your Visa first! Oh, OK, why didn't I think of that?!
The most ridiculous collection agengy call I got was from Glamour magazine. I had been subscribing before we got into $ trouble, and then they sent a thing saying renew for next year. I didn't do anything, so they sent me more and more notices, each one saying this was the last notice. I still did nothing, but they apparently signed me up for another year anyway, six months before my old subscription ran out. I knew I hadn't signed up for anything, so I ignored the bill. I figured they would just cancel my subscription. Nope, they sent it to a collection agency. I told the collection agency to cancel the subscription, but they said they couldn't do it, they were just the collection agency. So I had to call Glamour to tell them to cancel my subscription, but they didn't get the info to the collection agency, so they called a few more times before it got straightened out. Finally, I got them off my back, and there were still 2 months to go on my old subscription!! I got "agencied" for mags I hadn't even gotten yet!
I'm unemployed again, but am trying to start my own business and take control of my own financial future. I hope I am never in the situation again where I am scared to answer the phone on Saturday morning.
Of course nothing can compare to my panic when our mortgage payment was taken out of the bank account four times in one month! Talk about a hassle of bounced payments and getting bank charges refunded...