Cannot pay bill for $1200.00. Law firm sends letter adding $300 fee

by Pat
(Alabama)

How should I negotiate with a law firm that has sent me a letter to collect a debt that I owe. I am not diputing that I owe this $995.00. However presently I cannot afford to pay them or the extra $300. attoney fees. What can I do?

Comments for Cannot pay bill for $1200.00. Law firm sends letter adding $300 fee

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Sep 21, 2010
Can't afford to pay $1,200 debt
by: Mary & Gerri

Thanks for submitting your debt collection question on our Q&A page.

We recommend that you explain to the law firm that you cannot afford to pay what you owe in one lump sum and propose that you pay your debt over time in regular monthly installments. Another option is to try to get the firm to allow you to settle your debt for less than the full amount.

Regardless of which option you decide to pursue be sure to review your budget to determine exactly how much you can afford to pay before you contact the firm and don't agree to pay anymore than that. If you and the law firm reach an agreement ask the law firm to put the terms of the agreement in writing and to send you a copy. If it refuses, then you should put the terms you agreed on in writing, sign and date the agreement, and mail a copy to the law firm.

If you and the firm both agree that you will resolve your debt via a payment plan, be sure to discuss not just the amount of each payment but when each payment will be due, what will happen if you don't make a payment on time and so on.

For specific negotiating tips, we suggest that you get our ebook Debt Collection Answers. We provide negotiating advice in the How to Settle Your Debt for Less section of the book. We offer a Pay What You Can Afford option and you can read the first chapter of Debt Collection Answers online for free.

Please share what happens with your situation in the comments section for this question. We are very interested in hearing how this turns out for you, and your experience can help others who are struggling with debt collectors.

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