If you have a payment arrangement with a creditor, can they still send you to collections?

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If you have a payment arrangement with a creditor, can they still send you to collections?

We had a payment agreement with our doctor for the amount that our insurance didn’t cover. We have been on time as agreed, but they sent us to collections. The doctor said even though they are a collection agency, we would not be “sent to collections”. The agency called my husband at work and told him that we could continue the $25 a month payment, after trying to get more out of us, but he had to come down to their office. He was to give them a $75, good faith payment and sign some sort of contract. Also, since I am unemployed, I will be sent directly to collections as they only make arrangements with employed people. My husband pays the bills. I am on his health insurance. We are in debt to the point of bankruptcy. We still pay everyone as agreed..

Asked on July 20, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Nevada

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If you have a payment agreement, that agreement is enforceable--as long you honor your commitments, the creditor and its collections agents must honor their committments. However, if thhere was no actual agreement, but instead the doctor and/or collections was simply accepting partial payments for awhile, without making a committment to do so, they may now take more aggressive collections actions. A creditor is not obligated to accept anything less than payment in full on time, unless and only to the extent that they voluntarily agreed to accept some other amount or payment schedule. Therefore, if you can prove you have a payment agreement (e.g. any correspondence or emails on the subject, or better, a formal agreement as to the terms) and you can also show that you have honored your obligations, you should be able to enforce it.


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