Can I make an offer to a collection agency to pay even after receiving a notice for a civil hearing?

UPDATED: Aug 15, 2011

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Can I make an offer to a collection agency to pay even after receiving a notice for a civil hearing?

I had a credit card in my name and my ex-husband was an authorized user. Before the divorce he bought appliances. I have asked him to pay this, he refuses. The card was in my name and is my debt. I rec’d a letter there will be a civil action hearing. Can I call and make an offer for less than the $800 they are asking for prior to the court date? Last time I spoke to someone they told me I was a horrible mother for not paying my debts. I’m nervous to call. I’m a stay at home mom. I don’t have extra money.

Asked on August 15, 2011 Pennsylvania


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Oh my goodness!  That is absolutely horrible and really it violates the Fair Debt Collection Pracitces Act.  Do you have the name or id number of the person to whom you spoke?  I would call back and ask to speak to a supervisor directly.  I would  advise that you wish to settle the claim in total prior to the court appearance.  I would make sure that you take really good notes on the matter.  Offer them to settle the amount in full for what you can afford. If they refuse make sure you go to court and tell the judge your story and let him or her know that you tried to settle for what you can afford.  Now, listen if the debt is a joint debt it should have been addressed in the divorce.  If it was not then you might want to consider other action to have him pay.  Even if the card was in your name only the appliances were for both of you, correct?  Or did he steal the card?  You need to determine how you want to handle this.  Write back if you need more help.  Good luck. 

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