Debt Collection

Debt collection is a legal and necessary practice when products or services have already been provided but the consumer has not paid for them. Some companies use collection agencies to pursue payments on debts owed by persons or businesses.

8,805 Questions
Debt Collection

How do you put a lien on someone's house when they owe you money?

A creditor must sue in civil court, obtain a judgment and then request a judgment lien that can be recorded in the land records. A judgment can be rendered for different types of debts such as default on a promissory note, credit card debt, personal injury award, wrongful death, etc. Once a judgment lien is recorded in the land records the property cannot be sold or mortgaged until the lien is paid off. Interest begins to accrue as soon as the favorable judgment is issued.

Mechanic's liens are in a different category than other types of liens. They are intended to protect contractors. A mechanic's lien can be recorded by anyone who supplied labor or materials to make improvements to a property, including plans and designs. These are exclusively a product of state legislation and vary from state to state. Most require that the lien be the result of work performed by a licensed contractor or a licensed business which normally supplies building materials to construction sites and that the amount of the lien not exceed the normal and routine value of the work performed or materials provided.

However, to have an enforceable lien, it usually must be "perfected" in compliance with with the statutory requirements for maintaining and enforcing the lien. These requirements, which contain time limits, can include the following:

  • Providing the required preliminary notice to the property owner disclosing the entitlement to the lien (some states).
  • Filing notices of commencement of work (some states).
  • Filing notices in the required public records offices of the intention to file a lien if unpaid (some states).
  • Filing the notice or claim of lien in the required public records offices within a specified period of time after the materials have been supplied or the work completed (all states). The law varies from state-to-state on both the triggering event and the timing of this. Some states require the filing within a period measured from the time when the claimant completes its work, while others specify the event as being after all work on the project has been completed. The filing time periods after the triggering event vary, with 4-6 months being common.
  • Filing a lawsuit to foreclose the lien within a specified time period.
  • Those states that do not require a civil court judgment generally include significant penalties for falsely attaching mechanics liens to property.

For any substantial amount owed you should contact an attorney who can review your situation and explain your options in your state.

You should not file a lien or begin any legal action against a person without first contacting an attorney. If you make an error in preparing and/or filing the lien documents, the lien may be voided and you may be held liable for the other party's attorney fees. Incorrectly prepared lawsuits can have the same result. If you do not have a lot of money for an attorney, look in your phone book for the attorneys (usually "sole practitioners" who do not have an ad) who offer free consultations. You cannot afford not to talk to an attorney.

Debt Collection
Letters Notes and Memos
BP Oil Spill

Where can you find a sample hardship letter to help you write to a creditor who has repossessed your vehicle?


Go to for answers to most everyday legal questions, including sample letters.

You will get more out of it if you find a book you like there and either buy it, or get it at your library. It has a great step by step manual WITH ALL FORMS (!!) to file for bankruptcy, for instance.


Here's a link to one I found:


Debtors who STAY in contact with Lenders dont usually need this. The lenders are AWARE of your payment records to them and others. Their confidence in you is built by CONTACT and exchange of info. Telling a lender of your hardship will do little if anything good AFTER they have repossessed your collateral. Money TALKS and Everyone else WALKS. Good Luck with your letters.

Debt Collection
Texas Law

Under Texas law what can the creditor do to collect the deficiency?

In Texas, they take you to court on a judgment in order to collect. Statutes of limitations on debt collection in Texas is four years. Debtors cannot garnish any wages.

Credit Reports
Debt Collection

What is a credit reporting agency?

A credit reporting agency (CRA) is a company that gathers and sells financial history information

Debt and Bankruptcy
Debt Collection

What can you take before foreclosure sale?

You can take your personal property, anything that is not attached to the real estate such as furniture, area rugs, tools, portable air conditioners, phones, computers, appliances that are not built-ins, etc. Of course you may take all your personal property such as your kitchenware, clothes, TVs, tools, furniture, plug in lamps, etc. You may not take built in appliances or bookcases, installed floor coverings, window shades, plumbing fixtures, light fixtures, towel bars, kitchen cabinets, awnings, permanently affixed air conditioning units, etc.

This list is open to modifications.

Credit and Debit Cards
Debt Collection

What is vesting assent in an estate of a deceased?

A vesting assent is given by a personal representative of an estate in the UK to convey legal ownership of property that is the subject of a bequest or devised to a tenant-for-life of 'settled property'.

'Settled property' is a complex feature of UK property law. You can read more about it at the link provided below.

Debt Collection

How do you stop a bank account freeze?

a freeze on a bank account is put there by a court of law meaning all the assets are frozen for whatever reason either due to a death of the account holder or a crime, this can only be removed by an attorney after everything is disclosed or dispersed either through a will or court order.

Student Loans and Financial Aid
Debt Collection
Income Garnishment
Money Management

Can collection agencies garnish financial aid?

I would think not, that money is to be used for educational expenses only! That money is backed by the federal gov't to be used for your education! If they did that I'm sure you would have court standing.

Debt and Bankruptcy
Taxes and Tax Preparation
Debt Collection

How does deed in lieu work?

The deed in lieu is pretty straightforward. In short, it means that the mortgage creditor will accept the deed of the house in lieu of payment when the debt owner is no longer able to pay upon the debt. When this happens, the home owner surrenders the property and moves out saving the mortgage creditor the lengthy time and legal trouble of taking an legal action upon the home owner to remove the home owner from the premises, enabling the creditor to recover the debt owed. Usually this is to the benefit of the home owner in situations where the housing market is depressed, there are many foreclosures on the market preventing the usual sale of the home, and the amount of equity in the house is not worth keeping the house, and/or selling the house under normal market circumstances.

If you have a second mortgage, you should also consider that that debt is yours because the mortgage creditor is only concerned about the first mortgage, and not any subsequent mortgages taken against the home.

Civil Lawsuits
Debt Collection

How do you find out who is garnishing your check?

It shouldn't be any secret! Your HR department should be able to tell you who is garnishing your wages, they will have a court order on file. And chances are you have already received notice of the law suit and the rest of the process that was used to get the court order.

Law & Legal Issues
Debt and Bankruptcy
Debt Collection
Real Estate

What does barred by foreclosure mean?

When a foreclosure is conducted according to law, the debtor's right of redemption is forever barred by the foreclosure. That means the debtor has lost the title to the property and the lender is the new owner. That phrase is also used when a municipality takes possession of a property for non-payment of real estate taxes through a judicial process. The final court decree in a tax title case forever bars the delinquent owner's right of redemption by reason of the tax foreclosure.

Debt and Bankruptcy
Debt Collection
Bankruptcy Law

What if a Motion for Relief from Stay is only issued for one of the debtors what can the other do?

The other debtor must either make arrangements to pay, modify or otherwise deal with the pre-petition and post-petition arrears and costs and legal fees or be foreclosed upon. A possible action is filing the other debtor's own bankruptcy, if there is not one outstanding, though this will be short-term relief if the second debtor is not able to file a c. 13 with a plan that will address the arrears. The codebtor needs to get an experienced bankruptcy lawyer - and not the same one representing the other debor.

Credit and Debit Cards
Debt Collection

Should you pay third-party collection agencies for your charged-off credit cards?

Opinions from contributors:Opinion

It depends.

Do you owe the money?

Can you pay the money?

Did you successfully complete a bankruptcy in which the debt was included? Was the law broken in any way while the original owner of the debt or the third party was trying to collect the money?

If you answered yes, yes, no, and no, then you should pay the debt. If you answered "no" to either of the first two questions or yes to either of the last two questions then you should probably not pay the debt.

Remember three things: 1) familiarize yourself with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act linked above 2) aside from income tax debt, most debts cannot be collected if they are older than seven years; so, if you haven't paid on a debt or made arrangements to pay a debt in the last 7 years, don't make arrangements now, it will restart the clock on collectibility of the debt and it will be another 7 years before you can claim the debt as noncollectable 3) FAX or send a registered letter with a request to the collection agency telling them that they may not contact you, your work, or your family by phone. When you have proof that they have received the FAX or registered letter, they are legally required to stop contacting you by phone.


You will find more benefits dealing directly with the creditor than the collection agency. If you pay the original creditor, this would eliminate the having two negative entries on your credit report. The collection agency is just a middle man who will get a % of what he recovers for a fee. Go to It is a wonderful message board with everything you need to know.


If the amount shows "charged off" on the credit report, do not pay anyone more money. This renews the account and delays the time when it would not count on your credit report. These third party collectors buy the account for cents on the dollar in hopes that they can resurrect an old debt.


A charge off does not indicate the debt is not valid and collectible. The SOL for debt begins at the DLA of the account.

Any collection agency that owns the debt can file suit against the debtor in the debtor's state court. The SOL for debt applies to the time in which a creditor or collector can file suit, but it is not to be considered a valid defense by the debtor, as all states allow the "tolling" of the statute of limitations.

Any payment of any debt where the original creditor is not involved should be entered into by written agreement only.

Debt Collection
Commercial Bank and Checking Accounts

Can you freeze your own bank account?

The bank can freeze any account that is held by a customer with the bank. But, this does not happen at the banks wish. Usually a legal order by law enforcement agencies (police or cops) is required to do so. Usually cops and federal authorities freeze bank accounts of terrorists and known malicious elements of the society.

You cannot ask the bank to freeze your account. But, you can ask them to close it if you want.

Debt Collection
Debt Consolidation
Income Garnishment

Can you can make a payment arrangement to stop garnishment of wages?

Garnishment of Wages

Yes, you can make payment arrangements with almost anyone to whom you owe money. In fact, they would probably prefer that to the giant pain in the ass garnishing wages can be. Companies, health care professionals and even the IRS are willing to set up a payment arrangement with you. However, to be sure you don't miss a payment and force the creditor to "call" the whole amount (try to force you to pay in full), they may ask for checking account information so they can take it out on the day of the month you tell them is best.

1. All creditors/ collectors will threaten to sue you and garnish your paychecks. I would suggest, first look up you r state laws and a little bit of common sense before getting afraid. For example, no one can garnish your disability allowance, Social security Income, no one can garnish you if you are self employed or un employed.

2. More and more banks try to settle matters out of the court, as they also know that jobs are unstable and property is losing value these days, so things like garnishment or lien on mortgage doesn't help them much.

Don't feel that you have to agree to all they say. Go ahead and negotiate, they will agree to it. I recently had a friend who was in a similar situation. He had a debt of some $20000 with a Credit card. He was being garnished, the bank gave him an offer to settle out of bank. They finally agreed on the following terms. $50 a month for next 5 years. THATZ IT. So, the point here is, if you are being garnished, dont let your chances of negotiations go by.

Debt Collection

If you don't receive a summons or any documentation regarding a pending lawsuit by a collection agency how do you know if it's really true?

If you are being sued, you will always receive a summons. Sometimes it is delivered by a process server sometimes by registered mail. A collection agency telling you, you are being sued, does not necessarily make it fact. Only attorneys can file suit and they have to adhere to the state laws where the person resides. A collection agency cannot sue you regardless of what they claim. Sorry, I should add you need to be aware of the difference in collection agency and collection attorney. For instance Mann-Bracken LLC, are collection attorneys and/or arbitrators. They can initiate a lawsuit.

Credit and Debit Cards
Debt Collection

If a lawyer says he has taken over a charged off credit card debt and will sue you unless he can collect should you pay him?

Debt-Collecting LawyerGood question. The answer is yes, he can file suit against you. However, based on his statement in your question that he has taken over a charged off credit card debt, what he is really saying is that he or the firm he works for are junk debt buyers and he has purchased the rights to collect your alleged debt from the original creditor for pennies on the dollar. If he genuinely represents the original creditor, then you need to hire yourself an attorney.

Unfortunately, he may falsely tell you that he represents the original creditor. You need to find out. One way to determine this is if and/or when he files suit against you, he will list himself/his firm or the original creditor as the Plaintiff. If it's NOT the original creditor, this means he is a junk debt (stressed debt) buyer. If he or his firm has purchased the "rights to debt collection", then you stand a much better chance of defending yourself. But I recommend that you still hire a Lawyer. Also, if he misrepresents himself as working for the original creditor and he does not, he is in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

A "charge off" does not mean the debt is not valid. It means the credit card issuer, or original creditor, has written it off their books for tax purposes as noncollectable. They receive insurance payments and tax credits on the charge off. That account may then be purchased for pennies on the dollar by a third party who will attempt to collect the debt.

There are Attorneys and Law Firms (Mann-Bracken) who specialize in collection lawsuits to recover payment in full but their success is limited against the informed. If you do nothing a default judgment will be made to the Lawyer. There are many things these Lawyers do not want you to know! Read further! If you fail to respond/answer the complaint/summons, and a default judgment is won by the third party collector, they will initiate action(s) to collect. Some of the ways for them to collect are, garnishment of wages and/or bank accounts. Liens against real estate, requests to have non-exempt assets liquidated. All states have a set of exemptions to protect specific amounts of the defendants property.

If you are sued:

Always file an answer to the complaint/summons within the 30 day period!

The first thing you should know and check is that you are protected by various consumer laws depending on what state you live. There are certain time limits, called statute of limitation, in which a Lawyer/Debt Collector has in order to claim remedy. For example it is four (4) years in California from the "Date of Occurrence" or when the account is in default or the date of last payment. Generally the default date is when the first payment was missed if there are no subsequent payments. So if you live in a state where the statute of limitations has expired, you should file an answer to the summons, stating that your debt is beyond the statute of limitation and move that the case be dismissed with prejudice.

Pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, (§ 803.4) these Lawyers or Debt collection agencies are NOT the original creditors. The Lawyer must establish a creditor/debtor relationship with you and establish a course of business dealings between you and he in order to claim remedy. DON'T AGREE TO OR SIGN ANYTHING! The Lawyer must also provide viable validation of the alleged debt beyond his own records. Since the Lawyer is not and does not represent the original creditor, the records they keep are hearsay. This includes affidavits since said records or documents upon which the affiant or the Lawyer relied is not the original creditors or not admitted into evidence or attached to the complaint or affidavit. This means he must provide the original creditors complete records of the alleged debt. As a rule, he will not be able to do this.

He will also claim "breech of contract". In order to sustain the burden of proof for a Breach of Contract the Lawyer must attach a copy of his contract with you (not the original creditors), with your signature on it, to the complaint. If he does not, he fails to establish a contractual relationship between you. Additionally, if implied, it must be established that you, was sent a statement and that you expressly consented to the statement by failing to object. (meaning he sent you letters that you did not reply to) There needs to be a copy of a statement and proof of mailing (registered mail) to establish a presumption of no objection. For an account to exist between the Lawyer and you there must be proof of an agreement between you that a certain balance is correct and due and an express or implicit promise to pay this balance exists. There must be evidence that the parties agreed on any balance due and owing.

Most damaging is that according to the doctrinal law, Volenti Non Fit Injuria, a legal principle that states that one who knowingly and voluntarily consents to and takes on a risk cannot ask for compensation for the damage or injury resulting from it, you cannot claim remedy for an injury which you inflicted upon yourself as the Lawyer has done by willingly purchasing debt on an account that was defaulted and deemed non collectible by the original creditor. Based on this, most cases are dismissed once it is established that the Lawyer is suing on his own behalf (since he purchased the debt collection rights to your account) and not that of the original creditor which is what HE wants you to believe!

Mobile Phones
Debt Collection

What do you call a person who collects watches?

If you need the answer to the joke it is "a watchman"

Debt and Bankruptcy
Credit Reports
Debt Collection

Can a foreclosure be removed from your credit report after the property has been taken back?

  • No, the foreclosure will stay on your credit report for 7 years. After you will probably have to request it be removed by submitting a written request to the three major credit reporting agencies.
  • I lost my job, and had to sell my house. My lender filed a petition of foreclosure on my house the same time I sold it. The house was paid off before any foreclosure was done. But it still shows on my credit report. Now I can't get a mortgage loan to buy another house. What can I do? "...the lender filed foreclosure at the same time I sold it...What can I do?"
  • Since foreclosure proceedings were actually filed against you, their appearance on your credit report is correct. This type of information is supposed to show. This is what credit reports are all about. There is no legitimate way to have such information removed.
  • All legal proceedings are public records, open for viewing at the courthouse, thus available to anyone who searches. So even a gimmick method of credit report would only yield temporary results. There are existing safe-guards which ensure that this type of information is reported for its' full time period, which is 7 years from date of filing.
  • Instead of spinning your wheels at this hopeless endeavor; why not educate yourself on the reality of finances and credit. Re-build your savings and credit. In a few years, you will still have the foreclosure showing, but you will also have a record of efforts to recover from this disastrous financial and legal event.
  • 1) There is a difference between a bank filing a foreclosure suit, and actually having your house foreclosed.
  • 2) If you sold the house before a foreclosure judgment was made final in court you were not foreclosed on.
  • 3) Go to your county courthouse and get a copy of your cases dismissal. If one was not filed by your old mortgage company, get them to file it. (They are obligated to dismiss it after they've received payment)
  • 4) After you get a copy of the dismissal, contact all major credit reporting bureaus, and dispute your credit profile by reporting the negative entries on your credit report as inaccurate (because they are).
  • 5) The Credit reporting agencies will validate your information with your old lender, after a few weeks, the will let you know the outcome of your dispute. If the old bank does not modify the information, then send the copies of the dismissal to the credit reporting agencies, and have them notate the inaccuracies right into your report.
Debt and Bankruptcy
Debt Collection

Can you stop a foreclosure once sale date is set?

Yes. There are generally 3 ways to halt or postpone the sale:

1) File bankruptcy

2) Negotiate with the lender for a postponement. This is usually done to allow time to work on a loan modification.

3) Take legal action against the lender. If you have legal basis, you may file suit or complaint against the lender for fraud, breach of contract or procedural errors that would cause the sale to be postponed.

Remember that unless you will ultimately be able to afford the home, these are merely going to postpone the inevitable. If you are trying to buy time in the home these methods may work, but may further damage your credit (additional late payments reporting). There have been cases where borrowers negotiated with their lender for postponements repeatedly and successfully for over a year, sometimes 2 or more.

Credit and Debit Cards
Debt Collection
Civil Lawsuits

Can a collection agency sue you?

If a collection agency has either purchased the debt from the original creditor, or obtained an assignment of it from the original creditor (to collect on its behalf), generally, it can sue for collection.

Debt and Bankruptcy
Credit and Debit Cards
Debt Collection

Should you file bankruptcy if most of your debt has been charged off?

Filing bankruptcyI may be wrong on this, but my understanding is that "charged off" simply means the creditor has written the debt off (as in written it off as a loss on their taxes, or turned it into their insurance company as a bad debt, etc.) but in no way affects the collectability of the debt. I suspect if they later collect on a charged off debt, they have to claim the money they receive as income on their taxes since they wrote it off earlier. I may be wrong about this though... I definitely don't think that "charged off" means "forgiven," though. Please note that nothing in this posting or in any other posting constitutes legal advice; this is simply my understanding of the facts, which I do not warrant, and I am not suggesting any course of action or inaction to any person.
Credit and Debit Cards
Debt Collection

What happens if you cannot pay off your credit card debt?

Most people know credit cards are unsecured debt(s). And some are under the mistaken idea that the companies have no recourse if a card holder defaults. That is, of course not true. They have the legal option to sue to recover their monies. Not being able to pay is unfortunately not considered a defense in a creditor lawsuit. If the creditor wins a judgment they can garnish wages, and levy bank accounts. Place liens on real property (sometimes force the sale of that property). Petition the court to liquidate any non-exempt assets of the debtor. Every state has a set of exemptions to help protect a debtor's property. It is a good idea for everyone to be informed of what those exemptions are (just in case).

Amount of debt

A lot depends on the amount of the debt. If it is only several thousand dollars they will sell your account to a collection agency who will start hounding you at home and work. They will also place a negative report with the credit reporting agencies and all future credit will probably be denied for the next seven years.

If it is a substantial amount then you will probably get a letter from an attorney and they will take you to court. When they get a judgment it will be collected in accordance with the laws of your state.


Any real property that YOU OWN, such as land, houses, business property, and inventory, can have a LIEN put on it, so that if and when you sell that property, the amount of the lien has to be paid off, before you get any money from the sale. Liens are registered at the county or state level.

What to do

Writing a hardship letter to your credit card companies can result in lowered interest rates and lowered payments.

Debt Collection

What are your rights in dealing with a collection agency?

According to the "Fair Debt Collection Practices Act", a collection agency must submit to you in writing who the original creditor was, the original creditors contact information (if account was sold who owns the account now), and the amount owed. After you request this information, they must send the information to you via letter. You also have rights that state the collection agency must not threaten you in any way. If they do, you can prosecute.

Additional Iformation

You have rights, but you are still responsible for your debts. If you refuse to pay the debt, whether you think you have a valid reason or not, the collection agency has a right to get a judgment and garnish your wages or bank accounts. Having had something repossessed does not mean that it was "taken care of." It was your responsibility to make sure your name was cleared rather than just assuming that it was. If the furniture had decreased in value from normal wear and tear, it is very likely that you owed more on it than it was worth at the time it was repossessed.

Most collection agencies train their employees in collection laws and they know what they're doing. Nobody likes a bill collector, but we all know that they're necessary.

Clarification: Of course, only the original creditor or their assigned legal agent (a lawyer, NOT a collection agency) can get a judgement against you. A non-lawyer collection agency can NOT get a judgement against you because they cannot threaten to sue you. Read the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act which you can get from the Federal Website (see links below). If something was repossessed, and someone is still trying to collect on it, check with a lawyer. The circumstances vary too much to be answered here without getting bogged down and missing the point of the original question.

Remember, while collectors train their people in the law of collection, they also teach them how to skirt the laws that they think people are unfamiliar with.

Individual States

Each state has a statute of limitations (SOL) for debts incurred. If your debt is outside the SOL then you are not legally required to pay it. Period. A debt outside the SOL is an affirmative defense in a lawsuit.

Rights are retained in writing only. Do not settle for telephonic exchanges, decisions, or promises. Some states, particularly Ohio, have more severe rules regarding violations of the FDCPA.

Do not ignore the DC or the dunning letters. Some DCs follow the law, but your are responsible to ensure any contact with a DC is lawful. If they violate your rights, they sure won't sue themselves over it.

When dealing with collections agencies, make sure you are familiar with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), at minimum.

Debt Collection
Business Accounting and Bookkeeping
Accounts Payable

Prepare Debtors control account and Creditors control account?

The financial year of Ali & Co is closed on June 30, 2007. Data regarding Ali & Co is

given below:


Opening balance

Debtors 75,000

Creditors 125,000

Closing balance

Debtors 100,000

Creditors 150,000


Cash 100,000

Credit 130,000


Cash 80,000

Credit 100,000

Purchase returns (From credit purchases) 5,000

Receipts from debtors ? 88500

Payments to creditors ? 65000

Discount allowed 2,000

Discount received 5,000

Bad debts written off 13,000

Increase in provision for doubtful debts 2,500


Prepare Debtors control account and Creditors control account.


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