Does a bill collector have the right to see your personal financial information?

I received a letter from an attorney about a medical bill I have in collections. They are saying that they are going to pursue a lawsuit against me if I don’t pay them in full or make payment arrangements within 30 days and they do not have to wait the full 30 days. When I called to see what the payment arrangements would be they want me to send them all of my personal banking and finance info in order to tell me how much I can afford. Bank statements, taxes, check stubs, etc. I don’t think they have a right to see all of that. My worry is that I have a car that’s paid off.

Asked on June 6, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Wisconsin


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

A reg flag went up and it is good that you saw it.  No, a collector does not have the right to financial information.  A judgement creditor, however, may indeed have that right when collection on a judgement.  You are not there yet.  Do not let the attorney intimidate you.  Tell him that you can pay x for x long to pay it off.  Tell him that if he continues to threated you - which is a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act - or continues to act "unethically" by asking for information he is not entitled to you will report him to the bar association in the state in which he is licensed.  Then get a lawyer yourself.  Good luck.

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