Debt collector trying to collect parent's debt

by Ashley
(san diego)

When I was 16 I went to the hospital. Later we got a bill for the services. They billed my mom and after she didn't pay the collection agencies started calling her but she still hasn't paid. Now Im 18 and there trying to collect from me and saying if I don't pay it will go against my credit. Is this legal??

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Feb 06, 2011
Debt collector trying to collect parent's debt

Thanks for sharing your collection story with us.

The debt your mother incurred when you were 16 years old is her debt, not yours. You were a minor at the time and so you cannot be held liable for something your Mother did back then. Therefore, the collection agency has no right to contact you about your parent's past due hospital bill; you are under no obligation to pay it; and if you do not, that fact won't show up in your credit history. The collection agency is just trying to scare you into paying your Mother's debt.

I recommend that you write the debt collector a letter stating that you do not want to be contacted about the debt again. Be sure to include the account # related to the debt in your letter. Make a copy of the letter for your files and send the original to the debt collector via certified mail, with a return receipt requested. The return receipt is your proof that the debt collector received your letter. You may need it later if you end up having to take legal action against the collector. The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act as well as your state's own debt collection law says that if you tell a debt collector not to contact you again, it must cease all contact with you other than to let you know that it received your letter or to tell you what steps it may take next to collect the debt. Here is our advice about using a cease and desist letter to stop a debt collector.

If the collector continues to threaten you after receiving your letter, get in touch with a consumer law attorney who helps consumers resolve their debt collection problems because the collector is breaking the law and therefore, you may have grounds for a lawsuit against the collection agency. We recommend that you contact CA attorney Robert Brennan by going to his web site, He has a lot of experience resolving debt collection problems for consumers and he can advise you about what you should do. Your initial consultation should be free and I am sure that he can consult with you by phone. Once he has all of the facts related to your problem, he may recommend an attorney in your specific area of CA (Brennan is located in CA) or he may tell you that he can help you himself.

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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