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Need advice on how to handle Debt collection

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    Need advice on how to handle Debt collection

    My husband and I took out a loan to get my Mom into assisted living. We paid on the loan for three years. When she passed 2 years ago our income dropped dramatically. Illness, accident & loss of wages contributed to this. My husband was forced to declare Chapter 7 and we had to sell our house. I still continued to make whatever payments I could on anything in my name only. We didn't hear from the creditor on the loan and thought it had been forgiven as my husband was on that loan as well. Recently we were contacted by a debt collector (part of a legal office) who said they had been hired by the original creditor to collect. They were not rude. They said the creditor was willing to negotiate. I made an offer..a lump sum (of which I would be borrowing from family) and payments for a year. They accepted the offer but said they wanted it all and if I made payments the amount went up substantially. I don't have it to give them. The balance was about 4800 and they settled for 3k. It would have been a hardship but I was trying to pay them. They will not bend on the lump sum or my payment offer. Now I am at a loss at what to do. I have no wages for them to garnish and am renting. My checking is enough to get by and I have nothing else. We are in our 70's.
    If anyone has had a similar experience I would really appreciate hearing about it. I am so afraid of being pulled in to court and not be able to pay. I have a letter from them saying they would accept the 3k but want it in two weeks in full. If I had it I would pay them in a heartbeat. We are not deadbeats and are trying very hard to make good and get by. I know they have the right to sue, but what are the chances? Can anyone offer any advice? Thank you

    #2
    If it was included in bankruptcy, then it was probably discharged. If you continued to make payments on it for awhile, that was nice of you. But making payments does not make the loan magically come back to life.

    Consult the attorney who did your bankruptcy.

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      #3
      I don't mean to sound flippant, but what is the worst they can do? You don't have any assets they can take. They are playing hardball, so play hardball right back. Tell them that you haven't paid because you don't have any income, and you lost your house. This is your best offer, and if they don't take it you will just let it sit without paying it. Even if they pursue a judgement against you, you can prove to the court that you can't pay.

      Do you have any elder care services in your area? They may be able to offer some advice or speak to the agency on your behalf.

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        #4
        Help with debt collection

        Thanks for your replies. This loan was included in my husbands BK but because my name was as well they only forgave him. I didn't file because I wanted to try to maintain some credit so we could at least rent somewhere to live since we had to sell our home. So, the rental and our car is in my name. I have never shied away from from debt that we legitmately owed and really tried to make good but it just scares me because the credit collection dept they hired is part of a legal team and the last thing I want is to have to go to court like some deadbeat that is trying to get out of paying. True, we have no assets but heard they can take the money from our bank account, as little as it is, even though its a joint account since I own half of it. I guess when they call me the end of the month I will make one last ditch effort to offer them at least something. If they dont accept there isn't much left to do.
        Again, thanks for taking the time to reply.

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          #5
          Did they specifically say that they are a legal team? Because a lot of collection agencies try to make you believe they are attorneys for the very reason that you are worried about, and they are not. It is illegal for them to say that they are attorneys unless they actually are, and I have yet to see a real attorney call up a debtor and set up a payment plan. Specifically ask them if they are attorneys, and then ask them why they are pretending to be attorneys when they are not, and then say that your offer has been reduced to $2,500 and you can't pay anything more.

          There is something called The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Read up on it, especially the parts about communications and misleading tactics. Call your Attorney General if they violate any of the rules.

          What agency is this? Have you googled them?

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            #6
            Help with debt collection

            No, they didn't say they were a legal team just that they were hired by the creditor to collect. However I have received letters from them and looked them up..Weltman, Weinberg, & Reis Co., LPA and handle all kinds of legal matters. They are scary because the complaints say they are ruthless and even if you prove you cannot pay more than you can afford or are in dire need they will drag you to court. They have a whole contingent of attorneys to do that I guess, but if they were hired by a creditor I would imagine its up to them to make that decision. I am guessing that they buy some bad debt and also get hired so maybe they handle it differently. As i said they accepted my original offer but in order to accept the payment plan they added an additional 500.00. Only way to avoid that is to put more down which isn't possible because I have to borrow the down payment as it is. I am managing to pay off other debts slowly but just found out today I may be responsible for a 2k medical procedure which takes priority. I certainly don't want to forced into BK because I can't come to terms with this company.
            I may have to find some pro bono legal advice or something.

            Thanks again for your thoughts!

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              #7
              Of course, it's possible that all of those reviews about how ruthless they are and how they will drag you to court are fake and put up by the company itself to try to scare people into paying.

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                #8
                Retain a BK attorney for a small fee. When they call, refer everything to the BK attorney. No matter what they say, you tell them to call your attorney. Then hang up.

                What you are telling them implicitly is if they pursue you, you will file BK and they will get nothing. Even if you don't intend to file, it usually gets these people off your back. I knew someone that successfully deflected over $20k in credit card debt using this tactic after his income as a real estate agent went to zero in 2009-2012. Eventually the lenders wrote it off and the statute ran. He never had to file BK.

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