Settlement with Debt Collector

Question: Should I settle with a debt collector? The payment plan they proposed sounds doable for me. But I’m worried they will start increasing payment amounts and wonder if I should wait until I can pay the full amount.

Answer:

  1. If this is an original creditor, settlement may not be a bad idea. If it is a debt buyer, it would be unusual for them to be able to prove anything, including ownership of the debt.
  2. A settlement should be exactly that — it should not allow one side to increase payments unilaterally. What you are describing does not sound like a settlement. I would never suggest that you enter into a program to pay money without any resolution of the total amount owed and how that amount will be paid. The agreement should specify whether you are agreeing to pay interest and at what rate.
  3. Debt collectors will often try to get you to make small payments to hold off collection activity. Making such payments restarts the statute of limitations and constitutes an admission. It is never a good idea to make such an agreement with a debt collector. If they are bothering you, you have the right to direct them in writing not to contact you (I suggest fax or certified mail or other means that provides proof of receipt.) They can still sue you but if a debt buyer claims to owe the debt, they are unlikely to be able to prove anything.
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