March 05, 2021
Summary: Your original lender has sent your debt to collections. Should you pay the debt collector? The creditor? Neither? Make the right decision when it comes to paying old debts.
Summary: SoloSuit can help you determine the truth about whether you should never pay a debt collection agency.
You've heard that you should never pay a debt collection agency, and now you want the truth. What happens if you never pay collections? Should you pay the debt collector or the original creditor?
Debt collection agencies can employ a variety of shifty tactics. They may start with harassing phone calls and escalate from there. But depending on your situation, you may never need to pay a debt collector. Not sure where to begin? SoloSuit can help.
There are usually two parties in debt collection cases. First, there's the party who allegedly owes money, called the “debtor.” Then, there's the party to who the money is allegedly owed. This party is known as the “creditor.”
Often, a lender finds they can't collect a debt from a borrower. Interest keeps piling up on the borrower's loan, and there's no money coming in to pay it. A lender now has two options:
A debt collection agency is a company that buys unpaid debt from a creditor. Debt collection agencies usually buy these debts for pennies on the dollar. Then, they attempt to track down a debtor and force them to pay.
Because these companies specialize in tracking down alleged debtors, they're better suited to collecting unpaid debt than lenders themselves. They employ a small army of sleuths equipped with the world's best search tool: the internet. Against these odds, an alleged debtor is hopeless. Debt collection agents can track their prey using anything from bank records to voting data - even internet providers!
At first glance, it might make sense to just pay off a debt collection agency. After all, that's the easiest way to make them leave you alone, right?
Not exactly. Sure, paying a debt collection agency may get them off your back. But that's all it'll do. Evidence of the unpaid debt will remain on your credit report for another seven years. The actual amount of the debt doesn't matter. Collections raise the same red flag on your credit report, regardless of whether the debt is for $100 or $100,000. This can affect your ability to secure loans in the future.
What's worse, intent doesn't matter in debt collection cases. Many debtors aren't trying to dodge their creditors. They just don't know they owe money. This happens all the time. A creditor may send an unpaid debt notice to a borrower's old address. The borrower never receives it and goes on with their lives, unaware of the debt following them.
This lingering debt can have some surprising effects. It'll make getting new loans more difficult. Securing financing for a car, mortgage, student loans, or home improvement is significantly more difficult with bad credit. But that's not all. Bad credit can also make it difficult to rent a home or even open an online streaming account.
Paying an outstanding loan to a debt collection agency can hurt your credit score. Yup, you heard that right. Any action on your credit report can negatively impact your credit score - even paying back loans. If you have an outstanding loan that's a year or two old, it's better for your credit report to avoid paying it.
There's no “silver bullet” in a debt collection case. While ignoring a debt collector may be an option in some cases, it's not available to some debtors.
If you refuse to pay a debt collection agency, they may file a lawsuit against you. Debt collection lawsuits are no joke. You can't just ignore them in the hopes that they'll go away. If you receive a Complaint from a debt collector, you must respond within a time frame determined by your jurisdiction. For most areas in the US, that time frame is 14-30 days.
If a debt collection agency wins their lawsuit, they have several options available. For example, debt collectors may garnish earnings to collect a debt. A garnishment is a court order that takes money directly from a debtor's earnings. This money goes towards repaying the debt they owe. Consider this possible outcome before ignoring a debt collector's payment demands.
Here's one more thing to keep in mind. Interest on your unpaid debt will continue to pile up as time passes. If you don't pay a debt collection company, the amount of money you allegedly owe will keep increasing.
Sometimes, paying a debt collection agency makes sense. Remember, these agencies buy debt for pennies on the dollar. As a result, you may be able to negotiate paying off your debt for a much lower amount than you owe. Debt collectors may also send you a letter stating that your debt is paid. You can use this letter to remove evidence of the debt collection from your credit report.
One last piece of advice: pay the right person. If you receive a letter from a debt collector demanding money, do your research. Often, debt collection agencies sell debt to one another. Don't just assume you're paying the right debt collector. Make sure your debt hasn't changed hands.
Regardless of how you decide to pursue your debt collection case, SoloSuit can help. We've helped clients save more than $2 million and help them achieve that debt-free feeling.
SoloSuit makes it easy to respond to a debt collection lawsuit.
How it works: SoloSuit is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your answer. Upon completion, you can either print the completed forms and mail in the hard copies to the courts or you can pay SoloSuit to file it for you and to have an attorney review the document.
"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James
Here's a list of guides for other states.
Being sued by a different debt collector? We're making guides on how to beat each one.
Is your credit card company suing you? Learn how you can beat each one.
Need more info on statutes of limitations? Read our 50-state guide.
Need help managing your finances? Check out these resources.