Woman Sues Debt Collector, Wins $8.1 Million

At courthouses across the United States, it has become increasingly common during the economic downturn for lawsuits to be filed against consumers to collect old debts. Lawyers who specialize in the practice are filing thousands of suits on behalf of large firms that have acquired debts from other companies. Although most people don't fight the suits and lose them by default, a Dallas woman bucked the trend last October.

Chrystal A. Snow challenged the validity of a $9,000 debt in a Dallas County Court-at-Law and countersued the debt collector for making improper phone calls, her attorney Ross Teter said. In a case that has received no media attention, Snow won her suit against Midland Funding LLC and the jury hearing the case awarded her $8.1 million -- $250 for actual damages, $100,000 for mental anguish and $8 million in punitive damages, he said.

"The jury made a finding she did not owe the debt," Teter said in a phone interview. "We argued that they violated the Texas Fair Debt Collection Act by making harassing phone calls and the jury agreed."

Midland Funding is a subsidiary of Encore Capital Group, a company whose primary business is the acquisition and collection of "charged-off consumer receivable portfolios," according to its 2009 annual report filed with the Securites and Exchange Commission.

"We acquire receivable portfolios at deep discounts from their face values," the annual report states. "[W]e have invested approximately $1.4 billion to acquire 28.8 million consumer accounts with a face value of approximately $43.8 billion."

As the owner of millions of long-overdue accounts from credit card, auto, health care and phone companies, Encore has three call centers in the U.S. and one in India to make collection calls. When these efforts are unsuccessful, Encore has a nationwide network of attorneys to pursue legal action for the full amount of the debt. If a creditor wins a lawsuit, it can get a court order to seize bank accounts, garnish paychecks and claim other assets. Consumers can find themselves on the hook for the debt plus interest, penalties and legal fees.

"We generally refer accounts for legal action where it appears the debtor is able, but unwilling, to pay their obligations," the annual report states. "We pay the law firms a contingency fee based on amounts they collect on our behalf."

An April 1 New York Times story on the rising number of court-ordered garnishments told the story of Sidney Jones, a maintenance worker who took out a $4,097 personal loan in 2001 from the subprime lender Beneficial Virginia:

He fell behind, and Beneficial sued. Mr. Jones did not appear in court. "I just thought they were going to take what I owed," he said.

By default, Beneficial won a judgment of $4,750, plus $900 in lawyers' fees, with the debt accruing interest at 27.55 percent until paid in full. The bank started garnishing his wages in March 2003.

Over the next six years, the bank deducted more than $10,000 from Mr. Jones's paychecks, but he made little headway on his debt. According to a court order secured by Beneficial's lawyers last spring, he still owed the company $3,965, a sum nearly equal to the original loan amount.

Allen West, a Republican candidate running for Congress in Florida to unseat Rep. Ron Klein (D-Boca Raton), lost a $2,832 judgment to Midland in 2009 for credit card debt, the Palm Beach Post reported in March. He's "more than half way" to paying it off, he told the paper.

Kristy Welsh, the editor of the do-it-yourself credit repair site Credit Info Center, said the worst thing a person can do is ignore a lawsuit filed to collect one of these "zombie" debts. File a answer to the original suit, Welsh advised in a phone interview. "If you don't answer you lose automatically. You don't want a judgment against you. You have zero to lose [by fighting]."

She wrote a blog post Friday on the six steps to take if you've been sued to collect a debt, even if you can't afford an attorney and must defend yourself:

... by filing an answer, you greatly increase the chance the creditor will dismiss the lawsuit. In other cases the collection agency rent-a-lawyer won't bother to show up themselves -- giving you the automatic win. Some lawyers who work for big collection agencies file as many as 50 lawsuits a day. Why spend time on a consumer who fights back when there are plenty who won't resist?

In Snow's case, the attorney representing Midland Funding did not appear and the one-day trial was conducted without him, Teter said.

Welsh said that a creditor is required to prove in court that a debt is valid, a difficult task for debt-acquisition firms like Midland because they receive a limited amount of information on the debts they acquire -- sometimes as little as the debtor's name, Social Security Number, amount owed and original creditor. "They weren't around watching the original creditor. They weren't around to witness the processing of payment," she said. "The older a debt is, the less chance it has of having any kind of paperwork."

The debts pursued by these firms often are inaccurate or have passed the statute of limitations in a consumer's state and are no longer legally required to be paid, she said.

Welsh runs an online forum where members share information with each other about their legal battles with debt collectors they call JDBs -- "junk debt buyers."

In the section of the annual report where Encore discloses the risks of running its business, the fact that consumers are banding together on the web is cited as a problem:

Consumers are exposed to information from a number of sources that may cause them to be more reluctant to pay their debts or to pursue legal actions against us. ... Various Internet sites are maintained where consumers can list their concerns about the activities of debt collectors and seek guidance from other website posters on how to handle the situation. And advertisements by debt relief attorneys and credit counseling centers are becoming more common, adding to the negative attention given to our industry. As a result of this negative publicity, debtors may be more reluctant to pay their debts or could pursue legal action against us regardless of whether those actions are warranted.

Snow, who did not return requests for comment, has reached a confidential settlement with Midland, her attorney Teter said.

Teter said that it's rare to achieve a result like hers in a debt collection lawsuit, but "I think it's not going to be so rare in the future. A lot of these debt collectors are making lots and lots of phone calls for no reason. The jurors are beginning to understand."


So how is she going to collect this $8.1mil? Is she going to hire another debt collection agency to go after Midland Funding LLC? That would be poetic justice!

Thanks for this, Rogers. I sent it to my client the bankruptcy lawyer. He has people come in who haven't answered their phones in month because of creditor calls.

Interesting article, especially the research on Encore!

Unfortunately, the FEDERAL collection laws do NOT contain a provision for PUNITIVE damages.

And it's too bad that they settled with a confidentiality agreement, it would be nice to know what Midland paid.

The jury instructions are really interesting if you're into legal issues:


Hopefully people realize that the FREE advice at credit repair websites is NOT likely to be very effective when dealing with debt collectors. Many people actually get sued and LOSE in court when they follow the advice to send "cease and desist" letters and disputes.

I stopped paying MY credit cards and I couldn't care less whether a creditor sues me and gets a judgment. And I hope that millions of (near) judgment-proof people will stop paying their unsecured debts.

There simply is NO to pay the bankers if there's nothing they can take from you. Research your STATE law!


Nice, you borrow the money...and then look for ways to not pay it back. Both parties, lender and borrower, should be reasonable....the lender should not gouge with trick financing or outrageous interest rates...and the borrower should recognize they owe what they borrowed. A bank is in business to make money....

So here's how I understand it. She could spend that money that she borrowed on anything... flat screen tv, beer, diapers, whatever... and then just decide that she didn't want to pay it back... so she took money and spent it with a promise to repay and now she isn't liable?!

Isn't that basically theft?! and for $9,000 that is a least FELONY theft. So ALL these people with all this debt are just going to get away without paying anything?! This is a prime example of why our country is such bad shape financially and morally. Nobody has a sense of consience. They spend money and buy stuff like it is going out of style, OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY. Where do they think it comes from a TREE?!

The man of the family that financed that IDIOT is probably out of a job because the original lender is going broke becuase of their blind faith that people are good and responsible. When in reality those people barely are worth the paper that their contract/application/note is written on.

TRUST ME! I have debt, quite a bit in fact, and it is my fault. I am taking care of it. I get calls and lots of them. There are people to help, if you just TRY. If you just listen and attempt to make amends, 99% of the time they work with you but if you ignore them, scream at them, etc... what do you think will happen? Cause and effect, people.

I understand that it is my responsiblity to pay back the money I have borrowed from the lenders/banks/etc who borrowed THAT money from hard working American families. I know plenty of people just like me. Who know they have done something stupid and are taking care of it, not ignoring it. People who do the RIGHT thing and accept responsibilty for their actions.

I hope that woman really enjoys the money she was "paid to steal" and her reward of $8.1 million?! Why don't just make bank robbers, Judges and President?

Seeing this on the web, no wonder America is becoming the laughingstock of the world. It all sounds like a lawsuit over hot coffee to me... ha. ha.

I tell the collection agencies that I do not owe THEM a dime, inasmuch as I did no business with them and the transaction between them and my original creditor was without my permission or knowledge. I tell them that when I get money to pay this debt back, I will be paying it to my original creditor. Tell them this a few times, and they quit calling.

Can some of you people not read, or comprehend, or just looking to gripe about everything? In a court of law, it was found that she did NOT OWE THE DEBT ("The jury made a finding she did not owe the debt,"), and these people still harrassed her. ...some of these people's comments here that she borrowed money and didn't pay it back are asinine.

If anyone's ever had a creditor call them to collect a debt, whether to collect a debt they owe or to "collect information on someone" that you may know, they are tyrannical and out of control. It would be one thing if I owed the debt, it's another when I get calls from a debt collection agency looking for someone that has the same last name as mine and my info was generated in a search of possible relatives (by last name), and they start the my harrassment with "this phone call is being recorded", like a cop saying "anything you say will be used against you".

Besides, it's not like companies don't make mistakes, especially as they blindly swap debts and cripple themselves and the economy in the process...

Jane, please read the article again and try to grasp the facts presented. I get the impression you have bought into the red herring that only "irresponsible" consumers can do wrong while corporations are only trying to get what was promised them. Your willingness to remain ignorant is what makes us the laughingstock.

Midland tried their tricks with me on an account I never owned, and had never opened. They used fraudulent tactics to attempt to get me to pay. I not only sued them, but covered the story on local and regional news letting the country know what crooks they are at Midland. I easily won my case, and even received an apology. Apparently, Midland and their low life attorneys don't like to be exposed on TV...

To JANE: you do realize credit card companies loan you money that they don't even have that is why it is so hard for them to get it back if you fight. Please You really think any credit card company is going broke because people dont pay? get real do you not even read the article the part where is says they paid $1.4billion to get $43.8 billion in owe-able debts? you realize that if 5% of the people pay they are making money? considering the article also says most people don't even fight I'm betting they get over 50%(most) of the $43.8 billion. damn yeah they are really hurting not having 49.9% of people not pay them back. oh and in case you didn't already know ever time you go into a store and swipe your card the credit card company makes a % of the sale right away. why else would they let you pay it off at the end of the month without paying interest for the 29 days you borrowed it. don't get me wrong if you owe a debt you should pay it I always pay mine and I'm glad to have the good credit just make sure your argument is valid before you troll a web page and tell everyone how the person who gave them the loan prob lost their job because they didn't pay, right

And for my experience I have been fighting with a medical bill. I keep asking for an itemized bill so i can see what I'm being charged for the only answer i get is ask your insurance company for it. ??? seriously why would my insurance company have the bill that I am try to get for them from the hospital/debt collector. I would pay it my self if I just knew what I was being charged for. it has just been sold to a new collection company so maybe they will be more helpful in the matter.

Good post, I'm going through this now. A collection agency is trying to sue me for more than what the account is worth. I refuse to pay anything I don't owe. I don't believe a account balance can double in the amount within a year. I guess they think I wasn't going to show up for court, but I did. I want to see what the balance was before they got the account, how much they paid for the account, and what the interest rate is for the account. I'm not letting some company I've never heard of throw some amount in my face and expect me to handle it. They stopped calling me when they realized I didn't have a job, and said we will see you in court with an attitude like its their account. Plus, I believe the statue of limitation for them to sue has passed, so this information was every encouraging.

And for my experience I have been fighting with a medical bill. I keep asking for an itemized bill so i can see what I'm being charged for the only answer i get is ask your insurance company for it. ??? seriously why would my insurance company have the bill that I am try to get for them from the hospital/debt collector. I would pay it my self if I just knew what I was being charged for. it has just been sold to a new collection company so maybe they will be more helpful in the matter.

Don't get worked up about Jane, guys. She's obviously writing on behalf of the debt collection companies. The all-caps words sprinkled throughout are standard in marketing copywriting, and she has no sympathy for debtors even though she claims to be a debtor herself. It's basically a debt buy company trying to rebut the woman who won money without having the cojones to identify themselves.

When faced with a very persistent series of debt collectors trying to collect someone elses debt, I came up with the following tactic.

This of course only works if you're not the one who owes the debt, but an innocent party whose number/address they've obtained and linked to the debt.

1) warn them verbally that any further calls will be charged to them.

1a) this can be difficult - find out which debt collector they represent. Get a business address. This might take some serious digging.

2) before they call again, send a contract to them outlining the charges. I used $100 per call (for "quality control"), $1000 admin and setup fee on the first call. They agree to the contract if they contact you again. (offer-acceptance-consideration). Specify that jurisdiction will be your local town (make them travel to you).

3) if the same debt collector calls again, send them a bill payable in 10 days.

4) if they fail to pay, sue them in small claims court in your own jurisdiction.

5) as a creditor, you can now demand payment or force them into bankruptcy.

Do so.

It's a bit of work, but once word gets out, you'll not have any more problems with rogue debt collectors. I know I don't.

ps: I eventually got curious and found the person they were actually calling for. Turns out the phone number the debt collectors were using, with a different area code, did in fact belong to her. If I, as a non-professional skip tracer, could do this, then these companies are basically just parasites without even basic knowledge of how to do skip tracing. They're idiots, scum, parasites, and deserve to be taken down hard. Every single one of them.

Thanks for the info, I am going thru debt consolidation and getting threatening calls at work. I told them not to call me and gave them my debt consolidation info. The girl said they dont respond and they still did call me several times while at work and its been a week or so now but if they call again Im getting all their info and sue them. People at my work heard me and it was extrememly stress full.

I'm a debt collector. And some of you are fools. Just by reading your nonsense I can tell you are worthless, irresponsible do-nothings. Perhaps if you could spell better, you might fool me otherwise... ;)

LUCKYBUNNIE: Getting calls at work? Puh-lease. Like you don't have the ability to just hang up and spare the embarrassment from these coworkers you claim heard you talking about your debts on the phone. You're an idiot, and deserved what you got for doing what you did. Stop being a pansy and pay your bills. First off, you have a job and can afford it. Secondly, you're paying a debt solution company to do the same thing you can do by yourself, except you're paying them more money to do it for you. You have every opportunity to save money by relieving them of their services and settling with debt collectors directly. It will probably save you alot more money. All you need in this world is a bit of intelligence to get by. Have you considered gaining some? Here's your chance.

As for the gentleman with the "skip-tracing" skills...Fred...sounds like you've got it all figured out, champ. What was the name of the company you sued? I'd encourage them to counter-sue you for entrapment. These are people's jobs you're affecting. YOU think collectors are parasites...apparently...which is why you chose to be an ***hole about an honest mistake. All you really had to do was inform them they have the wrong person, but being the dishonest and spiteful man you are, you had to take it to an unnecessary level. I'll bet you're really proud of that. :( So, Fred, how many debts did you legally owe which drove you to hate collectors this much? Nobody's fault but your own, buddy. I hope you have fun in Hell. Satan has a dark, lonely place reserved for spiteful people. Especially ones who don't pay their bills.

I need to make money somehow so that I can pay my taxes and my bills. I do it by sitting on the phone all day and getting death threats, and listening to deadbeats tell me how they are going to hurt my family. I also put up with others who threaten to sue me simply for doing my job (yes, people can sue me directly regardless if they sue my company.) My daily job generally consists of putting up with the scum of this nation--all while being prohibited from throwing it back into their faces the way I wish I could. In short, if I were half as much of a jerk on the phone with other people as they are to me, I would lose everything I own.

It takes a special breed to put up with this crap.

So I guess here is my chance. Here's a lineup of the types of deadbeats I have to deal with all day.

1. The Mutes: people who answer the phone right away, but go silent immediately when you ask for their name, and then hang up.

2. Indigents: people who use other people's money, goods or services and then don't pay them back because they know that the law protects them from being held accountable. These are the people on SSI/SSDI whom your taxes pay to feed, clothe and shelter. Then they have the audacity to steal on top of that. Isn't it pathetic? Other times I can convince an elderly man or woman to pay what they legally owe, but then a snide family member gets wind of the arrangement and convinces them to not pay it--simply because they are "judgment-proof." Usually this is a son or daughter, and you can guess why they don't want their parents using their savings to pay off old debts...probably because it means they will lose that much in inheritance. You would not believe how many phone calls I get from angry sons and daughters of debtors threatening me to cancel their parents' repayment arrangements. And the debtor CAN AFFORD to pay it! That's sick! My favorites are the ones who demand a refund after the payment has been made. lol

3. Gatekeepers: family or friends of the responsible party who answer the debtor's phone all the time and tell me they are not around (after asking who I am, of course). Last week the debtor was in the hospital because of a bad car accident and in critical condition, yesterday they were out looking for a job (gotta admit, its a good story), and TODAY they are not home from work yet....depending on who you talk to. Unless everybody in the family can keep their lies organized and consistent, it's usually easy to catch these kinds of cover-ups.

4. KIDS: Yes, people put their kids on the phone to get out of paying their debts, for crying out loud. But I usually have fun with this one. A collector is almost always smarter than a child, and usually knows that the parent is right there next to the kid telling them what to say. So when I ask why mommy and daddy are not there and why he/she is being left all alone, or if I get the kid to tell me where mommy or daddy works (yes, it is entirely legal to ask this and it is entirely legal to call a debtor's work) it usually prompts an angry debtor to magically appear and demand to know who I am. :) I only feel sorry for these kids, whose irresponsible parents probably punish them for being honest. Kids will tell you anything if you let them think that it's smart of them. "Say, you sound smart. Does your mommy/daddy still work at...?" "YES!!!"

5. No speaky English: They speak English fluently enough to open up an account for goods or services, yet when people start calling to ask for that money back, "No speaky English!!!" In this country, it is not required that anybody speaks English, so luckily most agencies have a Spanish-speaking collector. This usually puts a kink in people's plans who think they can get off by pretending not to understand what is being demanded of them.

6. Take Me Off Your List: The debtor used to have this number, but changed it....probably because they kept getting collection calls. So now some poor person has to put up with the calls, because they got a new phone and...guess who's number they got? So I answer the phone and half the calls are people screaming at me because they get 7 calls daily for somebody they don't know, and I'm the only person they are able to scream at about it. "TAKE ME OFF YOUR LIST, YOU ***HOLE!!!" I don't have a list, idiot. Telemarketers have "lists." I will mark this as a bad number, thanks for being so nice about it.

7. I owe the debt, I CAN pay it, I just hate bill collectors: self explanatory. I think somebody's post earlier described this nonsensical approach. People think they can incur a debt and pay it back whenever, wherever and to whomever they please---and in whatever amounts. It does not work this way, people. Creditors have their rights, too (although these rights are being stripped more and more by the day, and the will and whim of the irresponsible debtor is gaining more and more sympathy--as demonstrated by this story)

8. I didn't open this account: Very common. Usually it takes one or two pieces of the debtor's personal information on the account to remind them that it is most certainly THEIR debt. Some people are defiant by nature and demand that it goes even further in validation, demanding that they see some kind of itemized statement or a copy of their signature on a contract--which I can't provide as a 3rd party collector. That would be information which my client (the debt buyer) has. Yes yes, the one who has the attorney retained and is about to sue your ***. They would not gone to this length if they didn't have the evidence to back up their claim.

9. I have an attorney: people can legitimately hire law firms to stave off bill collectors (as if collectors are the most horrible blood sucking people on this planet, haa haa.) The funny thing is, half the people who tell you they have a lawyer wont give you a name or number, citing "IT'S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS, ***HOLE!!!" (It actually is my business. In fact, it is why I get paid.) In reality, a hired attorney will encourage a debtor to give their name and number so that the collector will confirm representation and work directly with the attorney to resolve the debt, either through a settlement or bankruptcy. So the people who tell me they have an attorney and then don't give a number for that attorney are just dumb.

10. I can't talk about this right now, I am at work, my mom just died, I just lost my job, I dont have any money (yet I can afford a phone) blah blah blah: You have had 3 or more years to get this debt taken care of. Why, now, do you tell me that you still cannot? Why not just NOT answer your phone and NOT waste my time? Deal with the attorney then, not me.

People hate bill collectors simply because they don't like being told what to do. This is a very independent nation. Unfortunately independence and irresponsibility do not mix, and that is where I come in: to remind irresponsible people that other people have their rights as well.

The people who pay their bills are the nice, responsible people--and I have absolutely no trouble with them. (Most come from Minnesota and Wisconsin. People are just nicer and more responsible in these parts. I am Minnesotan.)

The moral of the story is pay your bills. Most debt collectors will work with you as long as you are willing to pay, and if you're not copping an attitude. As a matter of fact, most will settle with you and let you close the amount out for less than what you legally owe. (Don't act like you're entitled to a settlement though, this will not win you a discount--the difference between what you owe and what you actually pay to satisfy a debt is completely discretionary) They still make money (they or their client probably bought the debt for pennies on the dollar), you save money and clear up a bad debt at the same time. As long as a person admits they are in the wrong and shows intentions of clearing things up, a debt collector will be your best friend in a time of bad debt. And if you find yourself talking to a debt collector who seems less than cheery, keep in mind somebody else probably just threatened to kill their family.

As if debt collections is a bad thing. As if recovering billions of dollars for the economy annually via debt collections does not have an impact. As if that many jobs generated by the collections industry are not important. As if it's not important to enforce consequences for not paying your bills. Grow up, people. Get a clue, and quit being a bunch of sissies.

Debt Collector you are the most anal full of sh#t poster I have ever read in my life. I pay my bills but I don't wanna hear a rant about why you can't stand your job... why do you do it then? The day that tragedy hits your perfect bill paying life and you are not able to afford something YOU will learn the moral of the story. It will happen, trust me... people's lifes are different than yours and you cannot expect everyone to act like machines or like you. Truth is you annoy people and you are a blood sucker because you are not the business who's money is being owed to. You are just part of an independent company who specializes in pressuring people to pay. It's very simple.

What a &*^tch!!! She has no clue of what its like to lose a job and all of a sudden become snowballed in debt. Then you have people like her calling you end over end about the debt. Yes, this is why people hate debt collectors. The inevitable happens and it sucks when it does. Thats why the government is making changes to the collection laws to protect the consumer. I wonder if SUPER COLLECTOR B^&TCH knows what kind of margins her company is making on zombie debts, wrong debts, etc... because people don't know their rights? I wonder if she is married? God, I feel sorry for her husband. They must be miserable up in Minnesota! It does get pretty chilly up there...

For all of you who feel sorry for the banks and credit card companies, remember that 1.7 trillion dollar bailout that was so needed that our economy would fail without it??? Glad to see the money went to help the economy by giving millions of dollars in bonuses and sending financiers retiring... Wow us, our kids, our kids kids, will all be paying for this bill... Sorry no sympathy for the banks and credit card companies..

One more thing I must comment on because I find it hillarious it is the long blog by "# 16 | Luckybunnie | 2010-11-02 05:36 PM | link"

Ok first off you say some of the people are on here are fools because they disagree with paying a collection agency??

They are fools if they pay a collection agency, for the simple reason they do not owe a collection agency by law!! They never contracted with the collection agency they did with the creditor. Collection Agencys are PURE PROFIT companies.

The company who sold the debt to the collection agency sold it for pennies on the dollar and in most cases wrote it off as a loss hence "charge off status" on a credit report. What this means is they will write it off as a loss on their books for tax purpose, so they basically get the money you spent back plus they sold it for pennies and made out one and a half times what they would have in most cases.

Then you pay a collection agency who has nothing to do with the debt whatsoever except they bought it in hopes of collecting above and beyond what they bought it for, theres the business guys. Oh and did I forget to mention the collection reports as a paid collection on your credit report for 7 years from the date you pay it off, so it still bruises your credit!!

So yes Luckybunnie people are fools if they pay a collection agency that is!!!

At comment #5, "Jane", and others:

I understand your righteous indignation at people trying to get out of paying legitimate debts (I guess).

But you do realize that in this particular case the jury found that she *did not owe the debt*, right?

As in, the debt collection agency or someone else had made a mistake, she didn't actually owe them money, and she was being harassed for no reason?

I'm yet another collector commenting here...

We do work with and often give the "DEBTOR" or DEADBEAT as I say when off the phone (this call is monitored and recorded!), many great options to get out of debt. I've offered $25/mo on a $7,700 bill....They REFUSED to pay, and yes they had the money. Those are the scum.

I'm 22, a full-time debt collector. And yes give me your attorney's number, I'll tear him/her a new ass TOO!

It's a hard economy....That's everyone's excuse! But look, I'm thriving :) Thanks for getting into deep unsecured debt America! I'm loving my career choice and every night I sleep well, knowing I have job security for the next 5-10 years easily.

I know collectors making 5-8k monthly, including base pay plus bonus pay. You don't need a degree, but you'll need thick hide and a good dose of ruthless, fast talking, lightening fast statements to counter each "Stall" that a debtor uses...

I have no sympathy for the people who maxed out their CITI Home Depot charge card for home improvements. Losers.
Nobody said you NEEDED new cabinets and that spa-tub with heated jets....RIP IT OUT AND SELL IT.

Tell me there's no jobs.
While working 40 hours a week earning base plus bonus in collections I worked overnights at a big box story...

Tell me there's no jobs. Yeah, right.
But did I get over my head in DEBT? No.. I do have debt in fact, I pay it monthly. I made deals with ALL my creditors and they're happy I'm still a customer!

Answer your phone, make a deal....get on with your life!

I've offered $25/mo on a $7,700 bill....They REFUSED to pay, and yes they had the money.

The fact you'd offer that shows how little the debt is worth to your company. There's little point to paying $300 a year on a debt some collector has bought for pennies on the dollar. It would continue to hit your credit rating for the entire time the full debt is considered unpaid.

But did I get over my head in DEBT? No.. I do have debt in fact, I pay it monthly. I made deals with ALL my creditors and they're happy I'm still a customer!

If you had to make deals with your creditors, you did get over your head in debt.

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These stories make me sick. Somehow it's always the banks' fault. Those big bad banks didn't seem so bad when you were swiping your card did they? Whether it was for luxury or necessity, whether you think the bank "created" the money or not, you still spent it. You knew what you signed up for. If you didn't read the contract you signed, that's your fault.

As for the "harassing" calls, let's be honest folks: If someone owed you $100 or $10,000, I think you'd call and ask for it back.

If you run into trouble and you have income, work with your creditors. If you can't pay, just file bankruptcy and move on with your life. Take responsibility for your actions and please stop blaming the banks for your problems. If you don't like the way banks operate then don't take the money.

I have been on the receiving end of collectors calling from my credit card company. I tried to work with them at one point and offered them an amount that I could afford each month--they basically told me that it wasn't good enough and they would not enter into an agreement with me until I could pay the amount THEY told me I had to pay!! I was trying to be responsible and accept that I needed to pay off the debt and NOT try consolidation or a lawyer, and they basically told me that they didn't care and had to meet their terms "or else".
YES, some companies will work with you--others could care less and will take you for everything you have and DON'T have. Find one credit card company that you like and trust and stay loyal to them. The card that I have had since college not only allowed me to miss payments after Hurricane Katrina, but HALTED MY INTEREST AS WELL. They worked with me when I couldn't find a good job in the current economy after graduating with my Masters. I currently work 2 part-time jobs, one at minimum wage just trying to make ends meet, because it was all I could find. The economy would be a whole lot better off if people would just suck it up and pay what they owe...what happened to adult responsibility??

Yes, I agree the money is owed, but if you can't pay it you just can't. Heck, if I won the lotto one of the FIRST things I would do is pay all of my old debts, but the reason everyone hates creditors and banks isn't because they loaned them money - heck, they're happy about that! It's because of how nasty they get when your life has already been derailed.

When my husband lost his job the FIRST thing we tried to do is contact all of our credit cards. We wanted to work with them and make sure our credit wasn't ruined. We cut up all but a couple cards for emergencies, and started making payments and promised payments with whatever money we could. Most of them were ok, some of them were just downright nasty. We have 3 kids, when one of them gets sick or hurt and it comes down to medicine or making a credit card payment, I'm sorry! Keep in mind we lost insurance when he lost his job! We lost everything! And there is no new jobs in this economy, not even places like McDonalds. He made too much money before so the 'cheap' jobs don't want to hire him because they think he'll be stuck up and hate making less money, and there are no jobs doing what he was doing... what he has a degree in! If it wasn't for food stamps we seriously wouldn't be eating right now.

The reason people 'hate' creditors is because we have a conscience! We already know we're doing badly by not paying. We already feel like crap about it. Heck, we wish we had the money to pay. By gouging us with crazy interest and 'late fees' and then refusing to work with us and then being hateful about it - I mean seriously! Way to kick someone when they're down.

I want to pay my debts. But right now, I just don't answer the phone.

I just read this (little late now huh?) - the debt collectors should too.

TO THE DEBT COLLECTOR: No matter how you try to justify it you are just as sleazy as the worst of anyone you attempt to collect from. Trying to reason in morality or ethics is complete nonsense as you know that you do it for money not honor.

TO THE MORAL CITIZEN: "So ALL these people with all this debt are just going to get away without paying anything?! This is a prime example of why our country is such bad shape financially and morally"

The economic elite have at least $46 trillion in wealth.
The majority of this wealth is held within the upper one-tenth of one percent of the population. This is who benefits from the nations debt and disparity. Save your speeches for the big offenders, those with wealth beyond normal comprehension.

"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous than standing armies...if the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of currency...the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of their property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered" --Thomas Jefferson 1743-1826

They have turned every citizen into a slave, they have robbed us of property ownership, and they continuously squeeze us by forcing more dependence on a system they run. They control our children, our food, our health, and our minds.

I am constantly getting calls from a collector. it has gotten so bad that if I don't have the number saved I don't answer the phone. I have missed multiple important phone calls because of these calls and am just beyond my wits end and most the time put my phone on silent so I don't have to listen to it consistently going off. This is harassment but without proof there is nothing I can do. And telling them to stop calling doesn't work they just call MORE. everyone has debt but no one deserves to be harassed or hounded by constant phone calls every single day. A couple of times they have left voice messages for odd things like a transaction against my checking account they wanted to confirm was me without actually identifying themselves which is the first thing they are supposed to do. The transaction was just a lure to get me to call them back because I wasn't answering their calls. Deception to receive payment on a debt (also illegal) learn the Fair Debt Collection Laws in your state so you can protect yourself against them!

I got a call from a collection agency trying to collect for a $3000 debt on a Citibank card. I have never owned a Citibank card or a card from any of their affiliated companies. There are debt scammers out there that will file A wrongful suit against you to get money. I watch my credit report like a Hawk. A lot of people assumed she owed the debt but too many of these debt collectors and debt buyers prey on the misfortunes of others. They will go as far as lying about serving you notice of a suit to win a default judgement in court. What a lot of people don't know is that you can vacate that judgement and sue for damages.

Contract law 101:
In order for a valid contract to exist two things must be in place.
First and foremost you must have two HUMAN BEINGS in agreement.
Since junk debt buyers don't have this they have to resort to grey area legalities to obtain an unlawful judgements to extort money they did not earn. Second equal consideration (exchange of value).
Whatever they paid for your file will be pennies on the dollar.
The $5000 they might want from you probably cost them maybe $300-500.
Does this sound like equality to you?

Your original creditor whom may have your wet signature on a valid contract is the ONLY entity that you are lawfully obligated to pay.
If they decide to write it off then that's on them.
It's only out of pure ignorance that these junk debt buyers are still in business. Ignorance on our part, get educated on the real law.
I paid Doan Law firm $2500 for a chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Then I learned they weren't telling me the whole story.
I did not need them...
I never filed...

And to you junk buying creditors who believe you are entitled.
Get a real job and stop extorting money from humans!
Vultures the lot of you, don't you know our money is created by our signature?
The banks do not loan their money, it's created by us!

I do not condone irresponsible financial behavior however no matter what you do not follow the law as well as FDCPA codes. This is why JBC's are losing millions in courts! Karma is a bitch isn't it? The actual contract holders are the ONLY lawful creditor to have a say in how we must repay our debts.

Every day judges around the country are becoming wise to JBC's tactics.
They are not trained to discern between JBC's and real creditors.
It's up to us to get educated and in doing so also allows us to educate court personnel.

Just remember real creditor= real debt

Secondary or Junk debt buying creditor = extortion

999 times out of 1000 they do not follow the law because frankly they cannot.

Recently I made a supervisor from Midland Credit admit on the phone they had no claim or way to collect said debt.
This was after I let her know she as well was being recorded.

Don't be a sheep, be a lion... What happens when you corner a lion?
They bite!
Good luck fellow humans!

Please tell me no one falls for these FAKE loans? first of all none of these people are Americans. Uhh we know you can here the accent just in the grammar. Yahoo and gmail accounts seriously?
These people are trying to collect information to steal identities. The one mentioning internet scams was especially creative...LOL

I won't tell you how we give our names and locations however that is also obvious.

There was a lot of good information in this thread. It is appreciated. One of my relatives with a learning disability ( a form of Tourettes) got ripped off by Midland funding. Not only was he garnished, the debt was still showing as owed and a lien was still on his house 6 years later. The bank has totally taken advantage of his fear and ignorance about financial matters. He pays exorbitant interest on everything due to poor credit he didn't really create until these junk collectors garnished him so he could no longer pay his mortgage!!! . It wasn't even his debt. It was his mothers who got extremely ill, lost everything including her home. It went to the state when she could no longer afford the medical bills. He went through a period where he wasn't talking to anyone in the family. I wouldn't have allowed this. I'm still cleaning things up & learning. The fact that these things can affect your FICO score is sick and wrong. Through this process I've learned that these credit services are consumer education scores. It is a "trade secret" with how the Actual FICO scores are calculated. Collections knock several points off. I hope they make it illegal for them to report these. Especially the ones that don't report 20 years of good faith payments like utilities, medical and cell phones. You don't have your score increased by paying on time for years on end but the second someone hits a rough patch they are sold to the junk debt collectors.

He wasn't responsible for it. He had 3 separate judgements and almost lost his home due to garnishments. He gets really agitated and doesn't really understand cause and effect. He took ownership of the debts over the phone. Her name wasn't even the same. The tactics used were out right unethical. He is very principled and thought he must have owed the money or why would they be able to come after him? I appreciate this information. He doesn't owe anything else but it is difficult to get refinanced with the negatives on his credit report. Some have been quite helpful while others could care less.

Funny how you're reading an article, then some informative comments. Then all the posts are computer generated ID thieves that don't even realize we aren't trying to get a loan. Hilarious.

Anyway, to the debt collectors posting in 2011. It's been 5 years since that 22 year old snot nosed debt collector posted. My guess, is he now receives debt collection calls. Karma. Enjoy sweet cakes.

My story: Someone used my identity not only for credit but also when committing a crime. They spent a year in jail. So now my credit is messed up with charges I don't owe and I can't get a job because I don't pass a background check.

This woman in the story is lucky as she was able to obtain a lawyer. I'm broke and can't afford a lawyer.

In addition to the Identity theft, I get calls all the time for Stephanie Foust and Kylie Foust. FRAUD. These people rack up credit and use my address and phone numbers. I actually googled Riley. He got arrested in Big Bear for selling Meth. Great. Never met this jerk yet I'm constantly harassed. I inform the creditors that they have the wrong number they don't believe me. I change the number yet they somehow get the new number.

Midland Credit LLC contacts me occasionally about a debt I had settled with the original credit card company about 12 years ago. I had lost my job and fell behind so once I got another job I couldn't catch everything up. The credit card company offered me a settlement for half of what they said I owed, after about a year and a half of late fees and extremely high interest charges. So when they offered me the settlement it was right around what I owed in the first place. I jumped at it because they allowed me to make payments on it. Now Midland is trying to collect the other amount that was written off which I even paid taxes on.They waited a few years (probably hoping I have forgotten that I settled it) to contact me. So yeah I think second hand debt collectors are scumbags. I paid my debts and they are trying to collect money that was written off by the original credit card company.

In my credit report appears that I owe to Mindland funding and that my account is in collection. I contacted them and they told me that they have a judgment against me from 2012. The total amount now is close to 9000 dollars. I asked them about the original creditor and they told me they dont have to give me any information because they have a judgment and if I want some information to contact my local court. The only account that I have in the past 2004-2005 was with City Bank but we settled the account and I paid in full. I even paid taxes in the portion that was settled. At this point I dont know what to do. Any one please help!

I've been on both sides. As a collector and debtor. As a collector I never belittled people, raised my voice or threatened them in any way and I was top collector of the medium size firm for many months. I found listening to prople and working with them produced more than attitude, aggressive tones or down right trashing them.

I have one bit of advice. Once contacted-admit nothing-that you owe the bill or not-ask for itemization. Find out the date of the original bill. Research your state laws. Many debts are past the statute of limitations and if you make a payment on it or enter into an agreement it starts the clock all over again. Another thing is-some states require the company doing the collection to have a local office that is open during business hours.

Know your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Laws. Collectors cannot call during certain hours, they can not harrash, intimidate or tell you anything they do not really intend on doing such as "Well I'll just give it to our attorney and tell him to sue you" when in fact they have no intention of suing for the amount owed. Alot of attorneys won't file unless there is something to attach such as homes,paychecks, etc. and debt owed is 5000 or more.

You have the right to tell the collector not to call you at work ever again. Follow it up with a letter and keep a copy. A collector can be sued as well as the company and the FDCPA does not consider ignorance of the law a cop out and are very hard on them. You do not have to make payments of what they demand you do if its a hardship on you. Ask to speak with a supervisor. If you are out of work or work part time and will try to pay 25.00 until you get on your feet, they cannot demand you pay 100.00. Some collection agencies are contracted by the original debtor and whatever they collect they keep a percent-usually 25-35%. Others are agencies that buy bad debts and the original debtor has written it off as a bad debt and gets nothing.

I worked all my life keeping good credit, always found a job somewhere no matter how belittling until I got good stable employment later for years. A family tragedy, and death of a child and parent plus emergency major ilness and surgery all at the same time, whiped out my job, savings, and retirement.

I took the last of the money and settled on debts I owed. There was only one who was the smallest owed, yet the office mgr was nasty, aggressive, abusive and heartless to me. I explained all and told her this was the last of my money that if she couldn't settle I would offer it to another debtor. She refused. I paid the other debtors, she got nothing. Since all I had was gone, including job, and what I owed her co was barely a couple hundred it wasn't worth them pursuing or even reporting to the credit bureau because it cost $ to report bad debts.

Most people just get in jams and are willing to pay if treated with respect. Maybe the nasty collector who posted here of all the scums would change her attitude, she'd make more bonus and excel in the company. You'll find that most nasty collectors don't last on their jobs and continue to have problems in jobs thru life.

Research your State and rights before saying a word! Make sure the debt is valid and not past limitations. SOme states medical and unsecured loans are 5 years and 10 years on secured. Some states its more. If they are trying to collect and your state requires a local office they are in violation of state collection law. No robo calls allowed. etc

my account was garnished for a debt I had 19yrs ago. This debt was paid in full to BOA. I have proof; check cleared and all. So if you think it cant happen to you your very mistaken. It has turned my world upside down. I got to mortgages and student loan on default becuase of this and I had to hire an attorney.

The really sad thing is that these big banks loan out our own money; 90% of whats in our bank accounts.

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