Settlement Paid

by Heather

I just paid a settlement amount on an old debt because the collection agency was calling my husband's brother in another state and his wife was making a big deal about it and of course, I was embarrassed. Did I make a mistake paying this settlement? I believe the debt was from 8-10 years ago. I don't even know how they obtained my brother-in-law's phone number or knew we were related unless the browse the obits and found out from their mother's obit?

Comments for Settlement Paid

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Nov 26, 2010
settlement on old debt
by: Gerri


If this was a personal debt and not a business debt, then it was illegal for the collector to discuss it with your relatives unless they were cosigners on the debt. A debt collector is only allowed to contact third parties to find out how to contact you. Once they know how to contact you, they are not allowed to talk with a third party again. In addition, they are now allowed to discuss the debt with that other person.

The other concern here is whether the debt collector misrepresented the character or status of the debt. It sounds like the debt may have been outside the statute of limitations and therefore the collector couldn't successfully sue you to collect. (In some states, collectors aren't allowed to try to collect on "time-barred" debts at all.)

You can certainly talk with an attorney to find out whether you have any recourse with this debt collector. Find out how to get FREE or low cost legal advice about debt collection from a consumer law attorney here.

If the attorney tells you it's not worth pursuing, then at least file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission ( and your state attorney general's office. If they get enough complaints about a particular collection agency, they may take regulatory action.

Thanks for your debt collection question, and please let us know how this turns out.

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