Can a collection agency refuse to honor agreed upon arrangements without cause?

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Can a collection agency refuse to honor agreed upon arrangements without cause?

Received a call from a woman at an agency regarding a debt I owe. I was eager to pay down the debt, so we agreed on an amount and I gave her a post dated check via phone for the first payment, with the understanding that I would receive written confirmation prior to the check clearing. Next day, I get a call from another woman.. She said the agreement was not acceptable, I’d have to pay more and the first payment would have to be made in 24 hours. I told her I was in a hurry and unable to discuss it at the moment, she refused to end the call. She said I had to agree since I own a home. Legal?

Asked on May 29, 2009 under Bankruptcy Law, New Jersey

Answers:

N. K., Member, Iowa and Illinois Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Before you pay anything to the collection agency, you should receive any arrangement/agreement you make with them in writing. If not, you will keep experiencing what you already have: different calls from the agency demanding different terms.

Collection agencies are in the business of collecting whatever they can and unfortunately they sometimes use tactics that are less than ethical. For this reason, make sure you write down everything that is said, the names of the people you speak to, and get written confirmation from the agency.

The written confirmation detailing an agreed-upon payment plan protects you later in case the agency wants to sue you in court claiming you are not paying the debt.


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