I have a Discover chargeoff. The initial amount was $4200, the last payment was 2/09. I have cleaned up everything else from a bout of medical debt except this and today I got a random call from a collections agency and they offered to settle for $2900. I asked them to send me the offer in writing, and I wouldn't confirm anything over the phone. The agent then transferred me to her supervisor and he said he could email it to me today and I said, no, please mail it to me. He said I had to act on this within 24 hours, and I said that I am going to need the information in writing. He then started going on about how it had to be resolved today and it had been almost four years and I said, I'm not confirming anything or agreeing to anything and if you have a request I need to see it in writing, via the mail. He raised his voice and I said I wouldn't be pressured into doing anything without all the facts and I hung up.
Did I do the right thing? This is the only thing left on my report, they're sending inquiries every month and wrecking my score even though I have good payment history for two years now on three different cards. I'd like to get it taken care of, since we'd like to buy a house soon. Soon it'll be uncollectable, right? So if I offer a lower amount in settlement and a PFD, should that work? I figure that I want to see something in writing and verify with Discover that this collector does own the debt, because any random collector could pull my credit report and try to BS me.
Did I just really mess that up?
I made the mistake of paying a debt without first receiving a letter, I just trusted that the settlement they offered was fair and we were being recorded so it was all good. A week later I receive a letter saying thanks for my PAYMENT toward the debt, and it says nothing about the debt being settled like we agreed over the phone. I haven't been able to see if the account is reporting $0 like it's supposed to but we'll see what happens. I won't do anything without letters anymore.
Yeah, that's what I thought. I have no proof of anything without a letter, and it's been nearly four years so this BS about "it has to be resolved today"--who says? Why can't it wait until I get a letter and can look at everything and make sure I'm not being scammed? I want to make this right but I don't want to be ripped off, either.
Find out what your SOL is for your state. If it's past your SOL you have more leverage because both sides will understand you cannot be sued.
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Whether you did the "right thing" is a question that only you and time can resolve.
Hesitancy in payment of any asserted debt without written terms and conditions is certainly the prudent legal thing to do. It wraps up the loose ends, and puts you in a postion to defend any later attempts, actions, or inactions they may take.
However, it is part of a negotiation, and if it kills the negotiation, you must consider their options. Is the debt still within SOL? How will the continued presence of unpaid, delinquent debt affect your future quests for credit? How long before it is excluded from your CR? Are you willing to gamble that CR exclusion alone will shield it from knowlege by other creditors? How do you answer when asked, even if excluded from your CR, whether you have any old, unpaid delinquent debt?
As for becoming "uncollectible," a debt is never uncollectible on the part of the consumer based simply on passage of time (it may become "uncollectible" if discharged in BK, or they may lose the ability to get a court judgment if SOL has expired, for example).
Being "uncollectible" on the part of a creditor is not the same as discharge of the debt and does not prevent continued collection for the full amount. It is a determination on the part of the creditor that enables them to charge the debt to loss for tax purposes. It does not excuse a penny of debt on the part of the consumer.
I'm willing to pay it, but I'm not willing to give my checking account number to someone who calls me out of the blue and expects me to take their word for it that they own the debt. I want to know I'm paying my debt and not getting scammed. If not wanting to get scammed halts a negotiation, then I don't really know what to say to that.
Well, when I made the last payment I was in CA where the SOL is four years, but now I live in FL where the SOL is five. It's almost four years but I am likely out of luck since I no longer live in CA. I can pay a settlement, and I'm happy to do so--I'm not trying to weasel out of it. I just don't want to get scammed and end up sending money to someone who doesn't own the debt.
I just settled another account and the CA e-mailed me a satisfactory settlement letter in about 2 minutes and I paid immediately following that. I like when this can be done, but these are for small amounts. You're talking 1099-C's and/or the rest of the debt popping up somewhere without a letter.