What Can a Debt Collector Do?

what can a debt collector doWhat legal options can a debt collector exercise in trying to collect an outstanding debt?

When you do not keep up with the minimum monthly payments due on your credit cards or other unsecured debts, the original creditor may decide to charge the delinquent account off.

It may be transferred to one of hundreds of collection agencies or to a law firm that only specializes in collection of debt.

The goal of a settlement program is to negotiate settlements on outstanding debt far below the current balance.  This may be anywhere from 35% to 80%, depending on the debt and many other factors.

The first option a debt collector has is to try to get you to pay as much money as possible.  They use many illegal methods that violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) such as:

  • Frequent and harassing phone calls
  • Calling at your place of employment
  • Mailing threatening letters
  • Making threats of lawsuits or other legal action
  • Lying by saying that they never work with 3rd Party Debt Settlement Companies like DRNW, Inc.

We know how annoying these calls can be and have FREE INSTRUCTIONS HOW TO STOP THE CALLS.

The second option a creditor may exercise is to file a claim

If a reasonable settlement cannot be reached, the creditor or collector may decide to retain a law firm that specializes in debt collection to file a claim.

This is processed with your local county court (usually small-claims court) and you would receive or be served a summons.  This is a legal document stating that a claim has been filed against you for the debt you owe.

It will state that you have 20 or 30 days to “answer” the claim.  An “answer” is you responding to the claim saying that you do not owe the debt and stating the reason why.

But since 99.9% people who do receive the summons do, in fact owe the money, there is no reason to spend the court fee to file your “answer”.

It is very important that you do not ignore the summons!

If you have received a summons and would like personal, professional help in dealing with it, please let us know!

In most cases, we will work out an agreement in lieu of them going forward with the claim and that will be the end of that.

If a reasonable settlement or agreement cannot be arranged, then the creditor (plaintiff) will be awarded a judgment by default.  You do not have to go to court or hire an attorney (unless you decide to dispute the validity of the claim) and they will win the judgment by default.

Once the default judgment has been awarded, not the creditor has a couple of more options:

If you have a job and are paid normal, W-2 income, they may decide to apply for a writ of garnishment in order to have your employer pay a percentage of your paycheck to the creditor until the debt is repaid.

Each state has a little different law, but in most state, that would be 25% of your net, after-tax income.  There are also different exemptions that may or may not apply.

If you are self employed it is very difficult for a creditor to get a wage garnishment.

If you are retired, they cannot touch your retirement income (more later).

To prevent the creditor from exercising their legal option ONLY AFTER THE JUDGMENT HAS BEEN AWARDED,  you can negotiate an agreement whereby you agree to repay the debt (sometimes at a reduce balance) over time with a payment from your reserve account.

We have many years of experience in helping clients and would be glad to help you also. 

Click here for a FREE EVALUATION.


A debt collector cannot just decide to garnish you wages without going through the entire legal process and this usually takes several months, giving us enough time to negotiate a settlement or other agreement.

In rare cased, ONLY AFTER THE JUDGMENT HAS BEEN AWARDED, a creditor may apply for a writ or levy to your bank account.

In short, if you are Retired or Disabled, the creditor (again, only after awarded a judgment) CANNOT TOUCH YOUR BANK ACCOUNT!

But, you cannot CO-MINGLE funds in your checking or savings account.

If you work a few hours here or there, win some money at the casino or receive a gift, DO NOT DEPOSIT INTO YOUR BANK ACCOUNT WITH YOUR OTHER RETIREMEN FUNDS!!!!!

Click a link to a great blog of ours about EXEMPT INCOME.

Debt Relief NW, Inc. is not a law firm and does not give legal advice. 

what can a debt collector do

Tags: debt collection harassment, how to stop collection calls, what can a debt collector do

Fraudulent debt collection practices....you DON'T have to take it!

I came accross this video today and my jaw hit the floor. Here at Debt Relief, we get calls every day from people who have been threatened by their creditors.  Unfortunately, fraudulent debt collection practices happen all of the time, but you DON'T have to take it!

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, FDCPA, dictates how debt collectors can act when collecting a debt from you. These are things a debt collector can't do.  Here is a list of 15 FDCPA Violations to watch out for:

  1. Ask you to pay more than you owe - The collector cannot misrepresent the amount you owe.

  2. Ask you to pay interest, fees, or expenses that are not allowed by law -The collector can't add on any extra fees that your original credit or loan agreement doesn't allow.

  3. Call repeatedly or continuously - The FDCPA considers repeat calls as harassment.

  4. Use obscene, profane, or abusive language - Using this kind of language is considered harassment.

  5. Call before 8:00 am or after 9:00 pm - Calls during these times are considered harassment.

  6. Call at times the collector knew or should know are inconvenient - Calls at these times are considered harassment.

  7. Use or threaten to use violence if you don't pay the debt - Collectors can't threaten violence against you. 

  8. Threaten action they cannot or will not take - Collectors can't threaten to sue or file charges against you, garnish wages, take property, cause job loss, or ruin your credit when the collector cannot or does not intend to take the action.

  9. Illegally inform a third party about your alleged debt - Unless you have expressly given permision, collectors are not allowed to inform anyone about your debt except:

    • your attorney
    • the creditor
    • the creditor's attorney
    • a credit reporting agency
    • your spouse
    • your parent (if you are a minor)
  10. Repeatedly call a third party to get your location information - The collector can only contact a third party once unless it has reason to believe the information previously provided is false. 

  11. Contact you at work knowing your employer doesn't approve - A collector is not allowed to contact you at work if you’ve let them know your employer doesn’t approve of these calls.

  12. Fail to send a written debt validation notice - Within five days of the collector's initial communication, it must send you a notice include the amount of the debt, name of the creditor, and notice of your right to dispute the debt within 30 days.

  13. Ignore your written request to verify the debt and continue to collect - A collector can't continue to collect on a debt after you've made a written request to verify the debt as long as the request was made within 30 days of the collector's written notice.

  14. Continue to collect on the debt before providing verification - After receiving your written dispute, the collector must stop collecting on the debt until you have receieved verification.

  15. Continue collection attempts after receiving a cease communication notice - If you make a written request for the collector to cease communication, it can only contact you one more time, via mail to let you know one of the following: that further efforts to collect the debt are terminated, that certain actions may be taken by the collector, or that the collector is definitely going to take certain actions.

Steps to take if a debt collector violates FDCPA

If it is found that a debt collector has violated FDCPA norms, you have every right to legally penalize the debt collector in a state court or a federal court. You can sue a debt collector within one year from the time he violated FDCPA rules.

If you win the lawsuit, you can make claims for recovering damages you suffered due to debt collectors. In addition to this, you can also make claims amounting to USD$1,000.00. Attorney fees and court costs can also be recovered from the debt collectors if it is found that they have violated the FDCPA guidelines.

fraudulent debt collection practices

Tags: fdcpa, debt collection harassment, creditor legally call my neighbor, fraudulent debt collection practices

HELP! Can a debt collector leagally call my neighbor?

It is one thing to "love thy neighbor", but it is quite another thing to share financial information with the folks next door.  However, we get calls from people all the time looking for help because their creditors have started calling their neighbors, parents, siblings etcetera. 

Can a debt collector legally call your neighbors?

Surprisinglygly, yes.  In some cases this practice is actually legal.  This is just another example of how collectors are getting more resourceful as more and more consumers become buried in debt. 

Federal law regulates only third-party bill collectors.  Calls to someone other than the debtor, such as a neighbor or family member, are allowed as long as collectors only verify the debtor's address, phone number or place of employment. 

debt collector leagally call my neighbor

What CAN'T debt collectors do?

Debt collection laws vary from state to state, but here are the basic rules that all collectors must follow.  These laws prohibit debt collectors from:

  • Calling outside the hours of 8am and 9pm, threatening violence or using profane language
  • Refusing to identify themselves, misrepresenting what is owed or falsely implying legal action has been taken
  • Contacting debtors at work if it is possible to reach them at home in the evening
  • calling more than once weekly at work or continuing to call the workplace if the debtor has told them not to

Are you being harrased by collection calls. If so, you may need the services of a professional debt relief agency.  Their solutions specialist can help you to determine whether you would benefit from a Debt Consolidation or Debt Settlement program.   

If you need help immediately, CALL NOW for assistance!


Tags: fair debt collection practices act, debt collection harassment, creditor legally call my neighbor, common collection practices, debt relief solutions, credit counseling

Help me understand the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

It seems as if debt collectors can get away with about anything.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is supposed to protect consumers, yet few people know anything about it.


Most collectors are trained professionals who will:

  • call you several times a day
  • call at early, late or even at work
  • berate you for the debt you owe
  • make false statements about their intention to bring legal action
  • call family or neighbors about your situation

And these are just a few of the unlawful, yes, UNLAWFUL tactics used by most collection agents.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) spells out what a collector may or may not do, and even though you do have rights and it may be possible to bring a lawsuit against the collector for violating those rights, most people just don't have the time or money to proceed.

So, what can you do? Here's some tips that will help:

1.  Stopping collection calls at you home

The FDCPA states that if a collector receives a letter requesting that all calls stop concerning the collection of your account, they must STOP!

To get more information on how or what to do, click here.

2.  Stopping collection calls work

Not only is getting collection calls at your place of employment embarrassing, it may also get you in real trouble with the boss!

You may be able to stop the calls at work by simply telling the agent that your employer does not permit calls to the employees.

Although this may work, you should also state in your letter (above) that this request also includes your place of employment.

HOWEVER, if you have not receive calls at work yet, then don't request it in your letter (above) as it tells the agency that you hav a job!  You don't really want them to know that for as long as possible.

3.  Most of the letters you receive from a collector state something like:

"unless you dispute the validity of this debt in the next 30 days, the debt will be deemed valid".

Even if you think the debt is valid, it doesn't hurt to request validation.

WHY?  Because the FDCPA states that if you send a written request for validation, the collector must cease all contact until the debt is validated by a statement or some other form of validation.

If you owd much more that you can repay, it may be time to seek professional help. 

Programs such as Debt Management, Debt Settlement, or even Bankruptcy may provide you with a way to finally put an end to the harassment from collectors and get completely out of debt once for all.

For a FREE, Financial Analysis, click here.


Tags: fdcpa, debt collection harassment, debt settlement, debt collectors, stopping debt collection calls

What can a debt collector do and not do?

The phone rings again and the debt collector tells you that unless you send money now...What can I do?

The debt collection industry is a collection of professionals at one end and low-class, say anything-to-make-a buck low lifes at the other.

We get calls everyday from clients who are almost in tears after receiving a bad call from a collector.

Usually, the collector will tell you how much you owe and how its your responsibility to pay this bill, regardless of how hard things are.

Problem is, the collector usually goes beyond what the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act (FDCPA) states what they can and cannot do.


Harassment is the single most prohibitive action. 

They cannot harass or use abusive language to you or any third party that may be helping you.

That a debt collector may not:

  • Use threats of violence
  • Publish a list of names of people who refuse to pay their debts
  • Use obscene or profane language
  • Make false statements, such as:
  • You will be arrested if you don’t pay
  • That they will seize, garnish, attach or sell your property without legal authority
  • Threaten to take legal action if they don’t intend to do so 
  • A creditor is not permitted to call you before 8am or after 9am
  • Cannot contact you at work after you have requested them not to by mail or fax


If you feel the collector has violated your rights, you may contact your state Attorney General’s office (www.naag.org) and the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov).

To learn more about debt collection practices and your rights under the law, visit www.ftc.gov/credit and MyMoney.gov .

You have several alternatives to take care of your debt problem. Don't be intimidated by a collector. 

If you need help, you should contact a professional debt management company.

Tags: debt collection, fair debt collection practices act, fdcpa, debt collection harassment

What Can I Do to Prevent a Wage Garnishment?

help stop wage garnismentA collector threatens you with a possible wage garnishment.

What can you do?

Let's say you receive a call from a collector, and he says that unless you send money right away, then they will start the litigation process to sue you.  A little scary, right?

Of course, that's why they do it! Their job is to collect money from you, and they will use most any tactic possible, especially intimidation.

I won't get into what the collector, legally can and cannot do in this article. You can read more about that in previous posts. Let's focus on what you can do to prevent this.

For more information, visit the FDCPA Guide for Consumers.

Tell the agent you need a couple of days to raise the cash (even if there is "no-way") and get a phone number to call back.  This will stall them from moving forward.

By the way, don't be surprised if they tell you they can't wait and that they need a down payment right now using check-by-phone or else they will start the litigation process.

Again... this is their way of trying to INTIMIDATE you.

Get their phone number and hang up the phone!

I am going to assume you do not have a large sum of cash to make a lump sum offer to settle.  (If you had a large sum, you probably wouldn't be in this situation!) It is very important that you know how much money you can afford each month before you make a repayment offer. 

Take the time to complete a detailed Budget so you can know exactly how much is coming in and how much is going out each month.

The goal is to arrange a settlement for less than the full amount paid out monthly with payments you can afford.  You may not get a huge reduction (maybe down to 75%-80%), but its worth asking.

Once an agreement has been negotiated, make sure you get the agreement in writing...PERIOD!  No written agreement...No deal! If you cannot get the agent to agree, ask for the supervisor.  You may not have any better luck, but it's worth a try.

Most creditors would much rather agree to a settlement repayment plan rather than being forced to go through the litigation proccess.

  • DON'T be intimidated
  • Know what you CAN afford to pay monthly
  • Get the agreement IN WRITING
  • Prevent any judgment/litigation

Hope this helps!

Prevent Wage Garnishment


 Photo by Caston Corporate

Tags: fair debt collection practices act, debt collection harassment, wage garnishment, common collection practices, stipulated agreements

Credit Card Debt Negotiation

credit card debt negotiationCredit Card Debt Negotiation


When faced with extreme financial hardship, making it almost impossible to pay the minimum payments due on your credit cards, you may want to try credit card debt negotiation. 

But before you jump in, you need to understand a few things:

  1. Credit card companies, and especially collection agencies, DO NOT CARE about you or your financial circumstances! Don’t waste time trying to explain.  
  2. If your account has not been charged off, you are probably not going to get a very good offer or any offer at all.  Creditors usually wait 120-180 days before giving up and charging off an account. 
  3. Once the account has been charged off, it most likely will be assigned to a collection agency.  The agency will begin to call (incessantly) in order to get as much money from you as possible. 
  4. Collection agencies can make agreements (within their client’s guidelines) to settle accounts for less than the full amount.   
  5. But BE AWARE!  The collection agent has been trained to get as much money out of you as possible!  They will use all kinds of tactics (many that violate the FDCPA) in order to intimidate you. 
  6. You may be told that they never settle for less than the full amount, but this is not true. 
  7. They may say that they settlement agreement must be in a lump sum and usually by the end of the month.  This is not true.  Term settlements can be arranged. 
  8. If you agree to a settlement, GET IT IN WRITING!  Do not be tricked into a verbal agreement. 
  9. Keep records of payment.  If there are any discrepancies or disputes in the future, you must have proof.

Credit card debt settlement is not easy!  It takes many hours and precise follow up to successfully negotiate with your creditors, so you may want to consider seeking the help of a Debt Settlement agency.

Photo By SqueakyMarmot

Tags: debt collection harassment, debt settlement, debt elimination without bankrupcy, Credit Card Debt Negotiation, settling credit card debt on your own

What a Debt Collector Can and Cannot Do

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) clearly states what a debt collector may and may not do when contacting you in an attempt to collect a debt.  Harassment is the single most prohibitive action.  They cannot harass or use abusive language when speaking to you or when speaking to any third party that may be helping you.

For example:

  • A creditor is NOT permitted to contact you before 8am or after 9pm.
  • A creditor is NOT permitted to contact you at work after you have requested them not to by mail or fax.
  • A creditor is NOT permitted to use obscene or profane language when speaking to you.
  • A creditor is NOT permitted to make false statements, such as threatening to take actions that they cannot take or have not intention of pursuing.
  • A creditor is NOT permitted to use threats of violence.
  • A creditor is NOT permitted to publish a list of names of people who refuse to pay their debts.

If you feel a collector has violated your rights, you may contact your state Attorney General's office www.naag.org and the Federal Trade Commission www.ftc.gov.

To learn more about debt collection practices and your rights under the law, visit http://bit.ly/9SxgYF.  

Tags: debt collection, fair debt collection practices act, fdcpa, debt collection harassment, wage garnishment, ftc, federal trade commission, credit card debt