Help with bills in collections

What is the best option if the bills have already gone into collections?

What is the best option if my bills have already gone into collections?

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Bill's Answer
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There are definite rules and regulations regarding the handling of collection accounts by creditors and by the collection agencies themselves. The Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act guarantees you specific rights as a consumer when a personal debt has been turned over to a debt collector. These include:

  • The right to stop them from contacting you except to notify you of specific actions being taken by writing them a letter requesting this.
  • The right to receive a full written notice explaining the amount you owe, to whom you owe it, and what action you should take if you believe you do not owe the money.
  • The right to sue in state or federal court, if you believe that the debt collector has violated the law in its handling of your account (within one year from the date that you believe the violation occurred).
  • If you have had an ongoing problem with a collection agency, you should probably contact the agency one more time to request a specific, written statement of their proof that you still owe on the debt. Insist that they also include instructions for disputing their statement if you do not believe you still owe the money, as the law requires.

You might also consider reporting the collection agency to your state Attorney General's office and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Many states have their own debt collection laws in addition to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and your Attorney General's office can help you understand your specific rights.

For more information about the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, visit the FTC's Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Web page.

If you are struggling to pay your debts, you may want to consult with a professional debt resolution firm to discuss the options available to you. If you want a free debt consultation with one of Bill's approved debt help partners, visit the Bills.com debt relief savings center.

I hope the information provided helps you Find. Learn. Save!

Best,

Bill

Bills.com

29 Comments

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  • JB
    May, 2013
    Jasmine
    I rented an apartment in MD where we left a 60 day notice before we vacated the apartment the end of Jan. Fast forward to March and a collection agency is calling about breaking a lease because the apartment says we never gave notice and so they want to charge for a break lease fee as well as the concessions we'd received on our rent! No notices were sent and no phone calls were made prior to this contact! The apartment claims they can't speak on it, and the collection agency is doing a bunch of lying! How should I proceed?
    0 Votes

    • BA
      May, 2013
      Bill
      If you gave notice in writing, this should be simple case to clear up. If you handled everything on the telephone, then proving your version of events will be more difficult. Consult with a lawyer in your state who has consumer law experience to learn your rights and liabilities here.
      0 Votes

  • JB
    May, 2013
    Jasmine
    I rented an apartment in MD where we left a 60 day notice before we vacated the apartment the end of Jan. Fast forward to March and a collection agency is calling about breaking a lease because the apartment says we never gave notice and so they want to charge for a break lease fee as well as the concessions we'd received on our rent! No notices were sent and no phone calls were made prior to this contact! The apartment claims they can't speak on it, and the collection agency is doing a bunch of lying! How should I proceed?
    0 Votes

  • JL
    Dec, 2010
    Jane
    my ex roommate and i ended our apt lease in bad term. i moved out a month and a half earlier than she did when i kept paying my rent till the end of the lease. recently i tried to apply for a credit card and got rejected. That's how i came to discover that the apt had put a collection of 1/2 of month rent on my credit report. i called the collection agency and they said we owe 1147 originally and now it's 1247 becuase of the interest. how much longer can they continue to charge interest on it. so my ex roommate and i tried to solve it by going into our former apt's leasing office. and the accountant gave us a ledger stating that we only own 473. so we paid it off right there. a week later, the collection agency attorney called me again said that the accountant made a mistake and we still owe the remaining of 700 something. i asked the apt to give us the new ledger they are looking at. and it's been couple days, i haven't received it. so there's not validation of debt. should i let them summon me to court and tell the judge? does that give me a better chance of wining this case? Thank you
    0 Votes

    • BA
      Dec, 2010
      Bill
      Take the facts you expressed here and add dates, times and names. Write a letter with this information to the collection agent. Explain that if they do not cease and desist in their collection efforts and remove the derogatory entry on your credit report, you will sue the collection agent in your state's small claims court for a declaratory judgment. If the collection agent does not comply, go your local courthouse, get the forms for filing a small claim, complete the form, and file them with the court according the court's instructions. Do not wait passively -- the derogatory on your credit report is harming you now and will continue to do so until you rectify it.
      0 Votes

  • BA
    Sep, 2010
    Bill
    These seem to be typical collection practices. However, this does not mean that they are legal or in compliance with the regulations set forth by the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act). I encourage you to read an article I wrote that discusses Payday loans and the FDCPA. I think you may find more information here. With respect determining whether their behavior is legal, I encourage you to speak with a licensed attorney in your state.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Aug, 2010
    Kelly
    I have several payday loans that I did from the internet, I had some medical bills and a wedding to pay for. I have learned my lesson....but I am currently working with Relief LLC and they have contacted all the payday lenders and now I have received 2 calls from collection agents, one was United Legal Services (all reps from there spoke with an accent and each number they called me from was a different number and when I call it back it says it's not a working number) this company wouldn't give me any loan details or anything, I do not recall doing a loan with them and they then in turn threatened legal action by having the cops come to my employment place and have me arrested and call my employer to inform them of everything. The other company Lighthouse Recovery Assoc. (LRA) called me three times and after I told them I was working with Relief LLC, they again were rude. The first company United Legal Services called me 20 times after I told them not to call me anymore and to call Relief LLC for payment arrangements. Are these practices legal in Michigan?
    0 Votes