Dawn C asked in Business & FinanceCredit · 1 decade ago

Can a collections agency sue me if I am making payments towards my debt?

Long story short, I have been through several hardships and I have an $11,000 credit card bill. They sent it to collections, and now the collections agent is threatening to sue.

My question is, can they go forward with a lawsuit if I am willing to pay? I have expressed my desire to make things right and pay back the debt I owe. I know I have to be held responsible for my actions...I'm not trying to get away with anything here.

The problem is, they are demanding almost $3000 in order to stop persuing the case against me. I don't have that kind of money and I have no way to get it. I am willing to make small payments ($100 or so) from now on. I can even put this in writing for them if they want.

I tried to look this up online - some places say they can't touch me as long as I am making some kind of payment. Other places say they can do whatever they want if I don't pay the whole $3000.

Can anyone help?

130 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Send them a certified letter with arrangments and a money order or cashiers check for like $50.00. ONCE THEY HAVE SIGNED FOR THE LETTER THEY HAVE ACCEPTED IT. You will be able to use that in your favor if it does go to court. It will also prove that you were willing to pay.

    Good Luck!

  • Cheryl
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    I know that you are trying to do the honorable thing, but these collectors are scum and they really like to scare young ladies, they will do every thing in their power to scare you. The fact is if you gave them the 3,000. tomorrow, next week they would call you back with the same BS and scare you some more, then attempt to get another 3,000. out of you. I think that you are learning a valueable lesson here, CUT UP ALL OF YOUR CREDIT CARDS, you will never get out of dept. They just keep compiling interest on a daily rate. What I would do, send them 10.00 a month, yes, I said 10.00 a month, then file bankruptcy. Your credit is already screwed, at least with bankruptcy, in seven years, you will be able to have credit again, they way it is going now, you will be paying this debt for the next 20 to 25 years and your credit will be screwed up for life. It is better to file now, than to go through all that. Stop answering there phone calls, monitor your calls, send them 10.00 a month, and find a bankruptcy lawyer. Plead the fifth, tell them you cannot afford this dept, that you now understand the problems with credit card use. You are allowed one car and even a home, not a vacation home though. Check with the bankruptcy laws and see what you are allowed to own, and what expenditures are allowed. You will have to show what all of your money goes towards. Just remember, this valueable lesson and remember if you don't have the cash, then you really don't need the item. Or you could move to a small tropical island, drive a moped to a little tropical restraunt and wait tables I guarntee, it's a much better way of life than living in the rat race. Come to the Florida Keys, where all the beautiful people live and the water is crystal clear, your life will be changed FOREVER. Good Luck No, it's not a fairy tale, the good life awaits you.

    Source(s): Palms trees are swaying, coconuts are falling
  • 1 decade ago

    Unfortunately, they do have the right to demand payment for any arrangement that has been broken. Which means that yes, they can sue you for the debt even though you want to make payments. The decision is theirs, since they "own" the debt. They can take you to court, but what you can do is make the small payments anyway. Make them via money order or check, so you have a paper trail. That way if they do eventually take it to court - the court will see that you really were making a good faith effort and try to work with you.

    Unfortunately, there are a number of collection agencies that don't care what the circumstances are, they just want their money. My suggestion is try to go to the original creditor (ie, Sears, Chase, etc.) explain that you're trying to work with the collections agency, and see if they can help come up with an arrangement you can afford. Collections agencies only get paid when they get money - which is why they want as much as possible. Creditors prefer to settle the debt, so they are more willing to work with you.

    Most importantly, arm yourself with knowledge. There are guidelines that EVERY collections agency must follow. They are available on the net through the Federal Trade Commission. If you go to www.ftc.gov look for the Fair Debt Act of 1974, this will at least show you what is expected of you and the collector. You'll be surprised to see what they can and CAN'T do. Good Luck!

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Yes. I can. I own a company that does debt arbitration. Have you called the credit card company's credit or collections department?

    I would try to go around the bill collectors. The credit card co probably has not authorized suit. And they probably don't know the strong arm tactics being used on you. If you call the credit card company, have a friend listening on the other line or record the call. Ask the creditor if you can send them $100 a month until you get back on your feet. Even if the collection agency initiates asuit, and goes to court, you don't have to show up. They will get a judgment against you, but will still have to collect.

    Stop taking any calls from the collection company. Start dealing only with creditor, and try to work this out. Email me, if you can't. You do not have to pay 3000$ to avoid suit. They are just trying to make fee on the bill. Stop answering their calls, and let them go to voice mail . If you're lucky they will threaten you. Did you know it's against the fair debt collection law to threaten lawsuit unless you are going to sue. So call the creditor you owe and ask them if they are going to sue you? Bet they don't know anything about it at all. Be tough. Don't let them scare you. I'll help you if they do.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 1 decade ago

    Dawn, I hope you dont take this in the wrong way, but put yourself in their place. If someone owed you money and didnt pay you for over 180 days, which most companies considers enough time to write off a debt to profit and loss. Now they come to you and say they are willing to pay. Are you going to take their word and let that happen, probably not. Not when you know their are other avenues that you can take to get your money. One of those avenues is by garnishment of wages. That simply means they can attach your wages a certain percentage and get X amount of dollars on a monthly basis until the debt is paid. The other way is they can take you to small claims court and sue you . If Im going to get sued that would be the way I would prefer. The judge usually ask you how much you make and then decides how much you can pay. I think they take other bills and your reasons for not paying into consideration as well. The third way is to settle the debt. Ask the collection agency to take say half of the debt and settle it as paid in full or at least show it settled with no nothing else owing. It will show on your credit as settled, but at least its paid and they dont call you anymore or threaten you. Some collection agencies will leave the account open and send you letters and call once in awhile to keep the account active, then just sit back and wait until you buy a home and then the lender either forces you to pay it off or you dont get the loan. I think I would try to settle the debt and borrow the money from a relative or friend and pay them back if at all possible. Some agencies can get pretty nasty. I really hope you solve your dilemma, and good luck.

  • 1 decade ago

    One thing is fact in the USA - you can sue anyone for anything. Winning - now that's a different matter.

    Collection agencies are often a creditor's last resort. If you're serious about getting out of debt, call the agency to whom you owe the money and work out a deal with THEM about it. If you do so, you had better stick to it, though. You've already let them down (regardless of the cicrumstances that led you to do so) so they won't feel good about working with you if you don't live up to your end of the bargain.

    Also, know this: being sued isn't the end of the world. The worst a collection agency can do is get a judgement against you for a dollar amount and then try to collect on it via garnishment, etc. In other words, less than they are doing now. If they DO sue you and win, they have to stop harassing you. They have to work within the guidelines of whatever judgement is handed down. It's not like we throw people in debtor's prison...

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I work in collections and while I'm sure there are some differences in how certain places are run, I have to tell you that I hear this same story all the time. The only way you are going to get them off your back is to come up with the $3,000 by secure method of payment which is a check by phone. Small payments off $100 make no difference, if you were willing to make those payments you would've made them to the credit card company to meet the minimum payment and never been put in this situation. As far as sending a letter, what difference does that make? Just because you send them a letter doesn't change the situation, and you aren't the one dictating the way this will be handled from now on, the collection agency will. If you can't find it in yourself to cooperate then prepare for legal action to take place. Sorry to sound so harsh but I deal with this all day every day. That's how life in collection goes.

    It's also really amusing to see how much people think they know. If you are sending payments we can legally still call you- it's not a secure form of payment nor an acceptable payment plan. FDCPA is Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, it states we can't call before 8 AM and after 9 PM but that applies to the AREA CODE of the phone we are calling you at, not what STATE you are in. There is no certain time we try to catch you at we call every account at different times to get a hold of someone. A supervisor has no more power than a collector besides it makes the debtor feel better. A cease and desist letter will end you right in the legal department. But, the fact that just verbally saying "Don't call" is that we are going to keep calling.

    We don't lie, we don't break laws, we don't charge interest on bills (that's all at the original client where the debt was incurred), we try to get you to PAY YOUR BILLS which is what you are supposed to do.

    You would be pretty mad if you lent money to someone, provided services to someone, or sent someone to school and they never paid you back. Put yourself in that situation, if you didn't have the money to pay it back you shouldn't have accepted the services. I understand that there are exceptions such as medical bills, but there are ways to avoid that such as always looking for your explanation of benefits, following up to make sure your insurance was billed and making sure your doctors are all in network. Easiest thing to do? Stay out of collections, pay your bills!

    Remember- I'm not saying all tihs is true of every collection agency out there, but the majority. Also there are differences between first and third party collections- I work in 3rd party.

  • 1 decade ago

    Collection agencies are often smarmy companies that will do anything, say anything, to scare you into paying. The amount they are paid is based on how much they get from you. They get a percentage of the money you pay them.

    There are, believe it or not, some honest agencies that can help you with this kind of stuff. The Consumer Credit Counselling Agency is one. They will negotiate on your behalf to reduce payments to your creditors. They will have you close down your existing credit card accounts and work out a low monthly payment that you will pay to them and they will ensure that the other companies are paid. They can often get the companies to waive finance charges and things like that.

    In many cases they can help you avoid bankruptcy.

    However, there are cases where bankruptcy is the best bet, and those counsellors will help you make that decision. You'll need to reveal your debts to them and talk honestly with them about it, but they can really help.

    You can tell the creditors not to call you at work and they are required to comply. You can also tell them not to call you at home. I would never answer a telephone call from a collection agency. They typically won't negotiate with you and no matter how willing you are to pay what you can they will try to scare you with threats of lawsuits and such.

    Here's a link to CCCS. If you go with an organization like this, be sure it's a non-profit agency.


    Good luck to you. I went thought this years ago and it taught me a lot. I am no longer in debt and it feels great, but you really do have to learn some new money management skills that will prevent it from happening again. I think CCCS would be worth a call.

  • 1 decade ago

    I went through the same situation. I went through a really hard time and found my self in debt. When I finally got my head above water and was able to start paying it off, I was met with some very scary prospects. The collection agencies were all telling me that they were going to go to court unless we settled the account. I had been looking into some debt management programs and the collection agencies kept saying that they wouldn't work with them. Well I was scared and I called a debt management company and they were really helpful. The person I spoke with even told me that he had trained to work at a collection office and they trained him to try and scare people into giving them the settlement. However, settlements look really bad on your credit and they are really hard to come up with. I ended up going through the debt management program and the collection agencies stopped calling me. They all worked with the debt management program and they even lowered or stopped charging interest. A year and a half later, I still haven't been sued and I am 3yrs away from being debt free. The accounts went back to the credit card companies and they send me statements every month. No more hassle from the collectors. It was a hard lesson to learn, but I recommend not talking to the collection agencies because they will just try to scare you and in my experience, they can be really mean too. Sorry for such a long answer, but I hope it helps you.

  • 1 decade ago

    They can sue if they want but it is mostly a threat. They can demand full payment if they want but once again it is a threat. Three years ago I owed American Express $3000 and they turned it over to collections. The threats came and they always wanted the full amount. So I started sending the collections agency $100 a month. They always sent a letter threatening to sue me but always showed how much I had left to owe. So just keep sending them $100 or more every month and ignore their threats. They do this to scare you into borrowing money from friends and family. As long as you pay something they will not sue because going to court is more expensive.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    First I am sorry that you are having a hard time and I know this sounds goofy but if I had lots of money I would send you a chunk and solve your problem. You need to send a certified and return receipt letter to the creditor stating that you will be paying them $100 a month until the debt is paid. Make sure you make the payment every month on time. I doubt they will pursue a case against you because you can always declare bankruptcy and then they will not get any of their money. You might want to look into personal bankruptcy, it will harm your credit but it might help a bit also. I wish you luck. I think that the information that I gave you is correct but try to check with a free legal service to make sure. Good Luck.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.