Settlement Information

by Lisa M
(Albuquerque, NM)

I am trying to settle a debt from a debt collector/law firm company and they will not even take a settlement offer unless I give them my employer information - Name, address, phone number and annual salary. I have contacted them several times and they are unwilling to even attempt to work with me unless I give them this information. I have read that they can attempt to use this information against me. Am I "OK" to give them this information without fear of them using it against me later (garnish my wages or contact my employee excessively)? I would very much just like to settle this debt. Also, if I only have one joint checking account, could they still go in and try to freeze or take funds even if it is not a solo account (I have not offered ANY financial institute info to them), but I am just not sure what they can and can't do. (I live in NM if that helps). And just one more - if I received a summons without a court date, and am not able to settle this within the 30 days I was given, can a judgment just be issued against me without a court date? Thanks!

Comments for Settlement Information

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Jul 26, 2012
Settlement Information

If you want to try to settle your debt and the collector insists on your employer's information, you really don't have any choice but to provide it. As for whether giving them the information mean that your wages might be garnished, the collector cannot do that without suing you first and winning the lawsuit. And, you could be sued even if you don't settle the debt. So having your wages garnished is a risk either way.

As for your concern about the collector contacting your employer, the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits the collector from contacting your employer about the money you owe except to find out how to reach you. And, since the two of you are in communication, the collector obviously knows how to do that and therefore, if it does contact your employer, he has violated federal law and you would have grounds for a lawsuit.

The collection agency cannot try to take money from your checking account, seize any assets you may own or garnish your wages to collect your debt without suing you and winning the lawsuit first. Even so, do not share any financial information with the agency, like the name of your bank, your account number, etc. Some disreputable companies might use that information to take your funds and then you would have to try to get the money back. However, if you are able to negotiate a settlement and once you have all of the terms of the agreement in writing, you will probably have to share information about the checking account because the collector may want to debit the settlement amount from the account.

Finally, if you receive a summons related to the debt you are writing about and you are unclear about the court date, call the clerk with the court and find out. If you do not show up for the hearing, the judge will probably issue an automatic (default) judgment against you for the amount of money you owe plus court costs and attorney fees.

If you are sued, I recommend you contact an attorney in your area who helps consumers resolve their debt problems. You stand a far better chance in the court room with an attorney representing you than you do trying to represent yourself against the creditor's attorney. Also, your attorney may find problems with the collection agency's paperwork or some other issue that could work in your favor.

You may want to work with a reputable settlement firm rather than try to negotiate a settlement yourself. For information about what the firm we recommend offers, go here get expert information on how to negotiate with your creditors and collectors.

Another option that may be appropriate in your situation is to file for bankruptcy. Find out if you are a good candidate and how bankruptcy could help you by scheduling a FREE initial evaluation with a bankruptcy attorney.

Good luck!

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