Can a collection company still sue after offering a payment plan?

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Can a collection company still sue after offering a payment plan?

I have a civil case pending against me for 5,000. I contacted the collection agency and explained that I could only pay 330 a month which they said OK. They then asked if I would sign a notice of confession saying that I was guilty for their case, I said I don’t feel comfortable signing that and they said there’s no deal if I don’t sign. If this goes in front of a judge can I still have my wages garnished even if I started paying?

Asked on March 25, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The issue is whether they did accept your offer and form an enforceable agreement. That is a questino of fact, timing, and circumstance. For example: if you offered $330 a month; they said "yes" without any reservations, then later wanted the confession, that would probably constitutute an enforceable agreement--they accepted the offer as it was stated. Once the offer is accepted, it's too late to modify it or add other conditions unless the other party accepts. (Though note: if the offer was made and accepted orally--e.g. over the phone--it can be very difficult to prove.) If there was an accepted offer and you pay according to it, they should not be able to sue you.

On the other hand, if you offered $330 and they said, "Yes, but only if you sign a confession," then there was no acceptance of the offer; instead, they rejected the offer and counteroffered, which you then apparently rejected. In this case, they could sue.


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