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Advice on Collector Harassment

I have a loan from cashnet, they are threatening to take me to court and all kinds of action. What can they do?

I have a thousand dollar loan from Cashnet. I was contacted by Tri Financial and they told me I had to pay $2600, but if I paid it all now they'd take off fees, etc and they'd settle for $1600 but I had to pay it now. They said if I didn't agree it would be taken as a refusal and it would go to the judge on Monday. He threatened that my license would be taken away, garnishments to my wages and even a lien on my house. I am willing to pay, however I cannot just give them $1600, nor will I give them access to my checking account to withdraw the funds electronically without anything written. He told me he could send me an email that is a final demand for payment but once that was sent I am stuck paying the $2600 and possibly thousands more if it goes to court. The fair debt collections act says that they have to send me within 5 days of contact a written statement of the amount and the creditor. Can they do all/any of this? Any advice is much appreciated. I am in MN.

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Bill's Answer
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The debt collector's statements are empty threats used to frighten you into making a payment you cannot afford. Although many of the statements the collector made are possible violations of federal law (the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act), many collectors are willing to bend or break the law if they think it will increase their collections. These scare tactics work, which is why some collectors use them.

Thankfully, you are not required to subject yourself to harassment by unscrupulous debt collectors. Under federal law, collectors are required to stop calling you if you notify them in writing not to cease communications. Collectors are also not allowed to make threats of legal action if they cannot or do not intend to actually sue you.

If you feel that this collector violated your rights under the FDCPA, I strongly encourage you to consult with a consumer rights attorney in your area to discuss possibly filing a lawsuit against the collection agency; not only could a lawsuit result in your debt being canceled, but you could be awarded damages. You can locate an experienced consumer rights attorney in your area by visiting www.naca.net. To learn more about your rights under the FDCPA, I encourage you to visit the Federal Trade Commission's Fair Debt Collections Practices Act FAQ.

A creditor can file legal action against you to collect on an unpaid debt, and if the court awards a judgment in the creditorÂ’s favor, the creditor may be able to garnish your wages, levy your bank accounts, or take other action against you to enforce the debt. However, the legal process involved in obtaining a judgment is time consuming and expensive, which is why the vast majority of debtors are never sued for their unpaid accounts.

Here, even if the creditor did decide to file a lawsuit against you on this account, it is not something that would happen overnight, and certainly not something that could result in a wage garnishment as quickly as this debt collector described. Also, court costs and legal fees can be added to a debt if the creditor files suit, but these fees are not going to add up to "thousands of dollars" on a $2,600 debt; they probably would be no more than a few hundred dollars.

As you can see, this debt collector was trying to strong-arm you into making this settlement payment. I agree that you should not make any settlement payment without first obtaining a written agreement outlining the terms from the collector. In your case, the best course of action may be to send the collector a cease communications demand, try to save some money, and when you have accumulated a small fund, contact the creditor and make an offer of settlement. Hopefully, the creditor will be willing to compromise and you can resolve the debt with a significant savings. To learn more about negotiating with your creditors, you can visit the Bills.com Debt Negotiation page.

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

Best,

Bill

www.bills.com/

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6 Comments

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  • BA
    Jul, 2009
    Bill
    You need to understand more about your collections rights. If a collector demands payment of a debt an individual does not owe, or more than they owe, they can dispute the debt in writing. The formal terms are "debt verification" or "debt validation." Within five days of first contacting the consumer, debt collectors are required to notify the individual of his or her right to validate the debt. Consumers are required to write to request verification within 30 days of when they are first informed of the debt. Sending the request by certified mail is wise. See examples of these letters in the Bills.com Debt self-help page. As a general rule, get all payment plans in writing and keep copies of all collections-related correspondence. Pay debts only after receiving written notice of the amount due, and keep records of all payments. Finally, level the playing field and learn debt negotiation and settlement techniques.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jul, 2009
    August
    We have a outstanding loan from 10 years ago. We returned the vehicle once I lost my job. We didn't wait to fall behind we sent it back. Now since 1998 we have been making agreed payments. Not large ones but enough to show payment. They sold car and sent us a bill for the balance. Now we have had probably 4 different collectors over the years. We recently made arrangements with the newer company and we paid it down alot but they refuse to send us invoices regularly. My wife sent a payment and they waited 2 months and said they never received it now they have sent a letter of demand. 1. If they call me and threaten and later that evening they call again and make arrangements with my wife...then.. They sell my debt to another company and they start on us threatening telling us the amount we agreed too wasn't enough. 2. Is that not harassment if you're paying and they still are calling you for payment? 3. If you know by agreeing to a larger amount you can't afford it, isn't it best to play it safe and just stick with a payment that is a safer one? 4. This has been going on and on and all I know is everyone thinks they should be first. 5. First they give us a balance of $6000 then next time its $13,000. We are totally comfused and we still haven't found that check she sent out as payment. 6. Is it within possibility that they tore up check just to default us? I feel exactly like that.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Apr, 2009
    William
    As you had these accounts before your divorce, the creditors are still contacting the both of you. The only way to avoid the situation is to pay off all the joint accounts you and your ex have and close them. go through your credit report and see which accounts show as held jointly with your ex and write to each one of the credit card companies telling them about the divorce decree. You can get a free copy of your report at www.annualcreditreport.com
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Apr, 2009
    Karen
    My ex-spouse of 4+ years is purportedly being harassed by creditors and collection agencies for my bad debts. He stated his credit has been affected because of my bad debts and his credit limits reduced. While I am trying to get all of my debts under control, can this be true in the State of South Carolina? Our divorce decree specifically states we are responsible for our own debts. I know I am solely responsible for my own debt. It's tough when you've been unemployed, on food stamps and your home is in foreclosure. What should I do? I called that particular collection agency, got a voice mail, and left word not to contact my ex any longer and to call me with a name and address to send a certified letter to "do not call" me, family or exes.
    0 Votes

  • BA
    Mar, 2009
    Bill
    If you are looking to stave more action by paying that $20 per month, I am afraid to say that it is not going to help you cause. Given your situation, a debt settlement form of a debt consolidation would help, but you need to be really careful on the company that you choose. You certainly don't want to waste more money at this point. I would suggest that you get a free quote from Freedom Debt Relief (www.freedomdebtrelief.com), they are the leaders in the debt settlement industry. They are managed by Stanford Business school graduates and one of the founders is on the board of The Association of Settlement Companies (TASC, www.tascsite.com). We have also done a review of Freedom Debt Relief, you can read it here: http://www.bills.com/freedom-debt-relief/. All the best!
    0 Votes

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