Question: After feeling pressured by a Law Firm about a debt I sent them $1000 towards a debt of $3349.47. I told the guy on the phone that the original creditor and amount did not “ring a bell” for me. He said that they were going to garnish my wages if I did not make a payment.
I have made many poor financial decisions and owed a lot creditors money. So I was questioning myself when he pressured me (maybe the debt is mine and I just don't remember).
After talking with a few people they all told me I was crazy for giving them a $1000. I called them back and told them that I could not make any more payments until they prove to me that this debt is mine. I sent a certified letter, they did respond but with no more information than they had before.
They said they cannot produce and statements from the original creditor because the debt is so old. After doing some research I found out that legally I don't have to pay the debt. What is the chance of me getting back my $1000? How should I proceed?
Answer: First, your wages cannot be garnished for debt without a judgment. And, only a court action such as a lawsuit will produce a judgment. It’s unfortunate that you did not do some research before you paid, especially if you truly do not recall the debt. Debt collectors, including debt collection law firms, will use any tactic, legal or illegal to get you to pay a debt. Never trust what they tell you.
From this day forward, if you have additional unpaid debt and a collection agency contacts, always request debt validation. Even if you do not receive it, you may gain further knowledge on how to proceed depending on the collection agency’s response.
In your matter, the debt collection law firm admitted they have no proof. The issue now is whether or not the payment on the debt re-started the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is the amount of time a creditor has to sue you for a past-due debt. The statute of limitations varies from State to State.
If the statute of limitations has been re-started there is a possibility non-payment of the debt could lead to a lawsuit.
I suggest you seek legal advice from a consumer law attorney. On the website naca.net consumer law attorneys listed by stated who are experienced in Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and debt collection. They may be able to better advise you.
I hate to be the one to tell you this but the chances of you getting your money back is slim to none. It’s pretty much gone at this point in my opinion. You can make a 2nd Request for Debt Validation and refuse to pay any further money until you receive proper debt validation. They will probably not respond favorably but at this point you want to create a paper trail in case you have to bring a lawsuit or defend yourself against a lawsuit.
Complaints to your State’s Attorney General, Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau regarding lack of validation and the fact the debt collection law firm admitted they have no proof may move them to stop collection efforts. Good luck to you.