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redinsmb

Are settlement offers real?

7 posts in this topic

My husband owes a debt that is about $5000. Periodically he gets notices from the collection agency (Asset Acceptance) that bought the debt (he has a court judgement against him) stating that if he pays within the next 30 days the debt would be reduced to $2200 and closed.

I'd like to get it squared away, but I'm worried that we'd pay $2200 (which would provide a bit of hardship for us) and then the collector would come after us for the other $2800 more aggressively (perhaps seeking garnishment). My husband will not call and speak to the collectors to work out an arrangement and I am worried because I have read several threads about this particular collection company using deceptive practices and even trying to collect on a debt after the statute of limitations.

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Your post appears to raise no legal issue. Whether the offers your husband has received are "real" or not is something only the collector can answer. If your husband doesn't want to communicate with the collector, then your question seems to be moot.

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Collection agents will lie, threaten, cajole, yell and scream to get you to send money. Then, as soon as the get it, they'll start all over again to scare you into sending more.

As far as I'm concerned, the only way to make a settlement offer real is that you bring a cashier's check to the collection agency's office and not turn it over until you get a written settlement agreement signed by someone in authority that releases you from any further obligation for the debt.

Try suggesting that to the dimwit on the phone and you'll likely get 9 yards of s--t as to why that can't be done.

Then you just hang up and take your chances with whatever collection efforts follow.

One thing that's important, though, is how old the judgment is. Depending on your state, judgments are enforceable for just a certain number of years and then they are unenforceable.

Determine the date of the judgment then look up your judgment limitation at the following site:

http://www.cardreport.com/laws/judgement-sol.html

Please understant that the site might be of questionable accuracy so if you want to post your state I can look up the statute for you.

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Thank you Adjuster Jack for the information. I'm very appreciative of folks who reply with actual knowledge, which is why I posted this question here, whether is bears and "legal issues" or not.

My state is Illinois, but the judgement was entered in Michigan sometime around 2007 (I can look up the exact date if it matters).

The cashier's check suggestion is a great one, except that since I no longer reside in that state there are some issues with logistics. It might be worth a detour on our next visit "back home" though. The debt was entered in at a smaller amount and fees and interest have bumped it up absurdly, I understand that the collector has a right to these but if I don't have to pay them and I can get this settled all the better, which is why I'm interested in one of these settlement offers - if they're for real.

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My state is Illinois, but the judgement was entered in Michigan sometime around 2007 (I can look up the exact date if it matters).

Michigan judgments are enforceable for 10 years and, unfortunately, renewable. See 600.5809 (3):

http://law.justia.com/codes/michigan/2011/chapter600/act236of1961/236-1961-58/section600-5809/

Illinois allows judgment creditors of other states to file and enforce the judgment in Illinois in the same manner as it would be enforced in Michigan. See 735 ILCS 5/12-620:

http://law.justia.com/codes/illinois/2010/chapter735/073500050HArt_XII_Pt_6.html

Which means that being renewable in Michigan means it's renewable in Illinois. Which, I expect, is not good news.

The cashier's check suggestion is a great one, except that since I no longer reside in that state there are some issues with logistics. It might be worth a detour on our next visit "back home" though. The debt was entered in at a smaller amount and fees and interest have bumped it up absurdly, I understand that the collector has a right to these but if I don't have to pay them and I can get this settled all the better, which is why I'm interested in one of these settlement offers - if they're for real.

Well, if bankruptcy for your husband is not in the cards then, yes, a detour on your next visit could be beneficial.

I suggest you educate yoursel about the company's corporate structure so you know who the "authorized" people whose signature on the settlement agreement you want.

Apparently Asset Acceptance is publicly traded so you can find out all about that on their website under the "investors" page:

http://investors.assetacceptance.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=148416&p=irol-govManage

They use a PO Box in the contact information but Yahoo Finance has their street location in the stock profile.

http://finance.yahoo.com/q/pr?s=AACC+Profile

I hope everything works out for you.

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Thanks Adjuster Jack! Filing bankruptcy for a $5000 debt seems excessive, we can and will pay it, I just want to be wise about how we go about it. The link for Asset Acceptance is exactly what I needed (but didn't know I needed) to get this taken care of, I'll find someone who can authorize this payment arrangement and get it all in writing. If they're not willing to do that then I assume the offer is just a devious way of getting some of it taken care of in one large chunk, which is fine, but if they're going to be coming after us for a monthly amount I'd rather just set that up from the start, not drain the savings with a big payment and then pay monthly. It's just easier on the budget to roll it in, but I need to handle this in the smartest way possible before it gets to the point of garnishment because any amount awarded via garnishment is going to be much larger than a payment arrangement (we look ok on paper, but like most people we struggle monthly and student loan debt is killing us).

Again, thanks so much for the useful reply!

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