Protect yourself from unethical debt collectors

If you ever settled a debt with a creditor or debt collector, keep the documentation - forever. I am not exaggerating. It is the best way to protect yourself from future claims on the same old debt. Always get settlements in writing for disputed debts. Most people have contacted a creditor with questions about a bill at some point in their adult life. Probably in most cases, the issue is resolved without further problems. However, if the creditor turns over unpaid invoices to a debt collector, you may have to deal with the same issue all over again. Even if you settled the debt with the creditor, it may end up in their “uncollectible pile.” And it does happen. Eventually the company sells their outstanding account receivables to debt collectors who then try to collect on those invoices again.

I have seen it happen quite often. It is easy to take care of if you still have the original settlement paperwork with the original creditor. Usually a letter to the debt collector will stop the onslaught of “attempt to collect” letters. If you reach a settlement with the debt collector, make sure that you get it in writing. However, that may not be the end of it. Wait about a year and the first debt collecting agency sells their uncollectible debts to yet another debt collecting agency. Your settled debt may end up in the “uncollectible pile” again. Don’t ask how that can happen. It just does. Obviously someone made an error. There may be some violations of state and federal law on the part of the debt collector but that is of little consolation to you at this point.

You then start receiving “attempt to collect” letters on an account you vaguely remember. Often these letters have an attractive payment plan or offer to cut the debt in half if you pay within 30 days. Some people will pay just to get the debt collector to stop calling or sending letters. Or they mistakenly believe they really owe this debt and pay it. However, that may not end the issue – just wait another year. Always keep good records.

If you have any questions or need assistance with debt issues, please contact us.

Curtis & Curtis, P.C. is a full service law firm located in Jackson, Michigan providing superior legal services and advice to individuals, families and businesses throughout mid-Michigan since 1901.

This publication is provided for general informational purposes only and does not constitute formal legal or other professional advice. No attorney-client relationship is created with you when you read this information. The above information may be changed without notice and is not guaranteed to be complete, correct or up-to-date, and may not reflect the most current legal developments. If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact Curtis & Curtis, P.C.