Bill Collector

Can a bill collector demand payment of a bill if my wife and I collect Social Security only?

Can bill collector demand payment of bill if my wife and myself only collect social security. We are retired with small income? How do I back them down. Thank you!

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Bill's Answer
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Updated: Sep 18, 2014

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The fact that you and your wife are retired and collecting Social Security would not prevent a debt collector from contacting you and asking you to pay an outstanding debt. The fact that you are on a fixed income would only be an issue if the creditor forward the account to an attorney in your state to file a lawsuit against you to attempt to collect on the debt. Many retired people are what creditors call "judgment proof," meaning that they have no major assets and have no garnishable income, so even if a creditor obtains a judgment against them, the judgment is nearly impossible to enforce. I do not know enough about your personal financial situation to tell you whether or not you would fall into this "judgment proof" category; while a judgment creditor would likely not be able to garnish your wages, if you own a home or other property, the creditor may be able to place a lien on the property. If you are being contacted by debt collectors, I encourage you to contact an attorney in your area to discuss the potential impact of a judgment against you; an attorney should also be able to recommend the best course of action in regard to this debt based on your current financial situation.

If you find that you are "judgment proof," or if you simply do not have the money to repay the debts these collectors are calling you about, you may want to send a cease communication letter to the collection agencies that are calling you. Bills.com offers sample cease and desist letters.

Under federal law, if you notify a third party collector, such as a collection agency, in writing that you no longer wish to receive telephone calls from them, they are required to stop calling you. Sending this letter should stop the phone calls you have been receiving, but it will make the debt go away. For this reason, it is important that you consult with an attorney to find out the best way to resolve these debts. To find an attorney in your area, you should contact your county or state Bar Association's attorney referral service. If you explain your legal problem, they should be able to refer you to an attorney in your area with experience in the area on consumer rights law.

I invite you to visit the Bills.com Debt Help page where we offer a wealth of information about the various debt relief options available to consumers struggling with debt.

I wish you the best of luck in resolving your debts, and hope that the information I have provided helps you Find. Learn. Save.

Best,

Bill

Bills.com

7 Comments

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  • BA
    Dec, 2009
    Bill
    I do not understand what "decision" the collection agent wants you to make. They asked if they could accelerate their payments, and you said no. Now they are giving you 24 hours to make a decision? Contact your bank or credit union now and explain the situation, and that the collection agent is violating the agreement you made for paying a debt. You want the bank or credit union to halt all ACH payments from your account. If the bank or credit union cannot comply with your request, close the account and take your business elsewhere.
    0 Votes

    • FS
      Jan, 2011
      Frenk
      Nice comment.I really like it.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Dec, 2009
    catiria
    I am real late on my bill pass my limit to where I had the collection agency call so I made arragements to pay it off and clear the debt by having them take 500 a month and in febuary they would take 740 which would be the last payment which they set up and now they want to take out the month of January and Febuary out in January which comes out to 1240 I said I don't have that kind of money to dish out all at once and that this wasn't the payment arragement that was made, they said that the last payment was febuary now they want it all now and I have 24 hours to make my descison. what can I do? I do still get my billing statements where now I am not late anymore nor am I over my limit I am actually cought up with the bill. what can the collection agency do if I don't do what they want me to do.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Feb, 2008
    Nithin
    Not sure about the number of times specifically, but the Fair Debt Collections Practices act (FDCPA) restricts debt collectors from making repeated telephone calls or telephone calls at unreasonable times. The act defines unreasonable times as contat before 8:00 AM or after 9:00 PM, unless you have given the debt collector permission to contact you during those hours. For more information please visit the FTC's information page.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Feb, 2008
    JI
    How often,once you speak with a collector,can the collector call you in a 24 hr period?
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Feb, 2008
    bgstroh
    NOPE! THey cannot 'draft' your checking account unless they have an authorized levy, which can only happen on unsecured debt by first obtaining a judgement and then appyling that. If it is IRS debt or student loan debt then the collection process is easier, but you must first still be notified. Call the collector and depending on the amount you may want to hire an attorney to pursue them.
    0 Votes