Originally Posted by debtmonger
If they take you to court, what are they going to get. Unless you have some cash hidden in some bank, you are judgment proof. I simply would not claim BK for 10K. Your parents are not liable for your debt and should not pay it.
You need to stop worrying about this cc debt and worry only about getting healthier. Once your health has improved you can clean this mess up. At that time they may accept a lump sum payment of 10-20 cents on the dollar. Don't allow them to abuse you and good luck with your health.
There is no telling what a collector will do, no matter if you ignore them or if you don't. There is always the possiblity that they will sue.
If you send a cease & desist, you would be stopping them from trying to collect. If that happens they may return it to the original creditor, but chances are better that they would file suit instead.
You shouldn't send a "I can't pay" type of letter either. If they receive that it may push them into filing suit, plus, by your stating that you would basically be acknowledging the debt, which can be used against you.
Texas does allow the collection SOL to be reset IF you send a written and signed (by you) acknowledgment of the debt. Also, if you ever make a payment by check, that is signed by you, than that could be considered a written acknowledgment.
Texas Statute for re-aging debts - § 16.065.
Texas SOL statutes is 4 years. It begins to run on the last payment or charge on the account before the account is charged off.
Texas SOL statute - § 16.004.
Texas is the "only" state, as far as I know, where you can request validation "at any time" and not just within the first 30 days from the first contact from the collector.
But, if the charge off was recent, which it sounds like, requesting validation without being able to pay at this time could be a double edged sword. With the charge off being fairly recent, chances are great that they will be able to provide the information.
You need to do your homework and read "as much as you possibly can" before you decide to do anything.
You also need to order hard copies your credit reports from each CRA and look them over.
If you had just filed for SSDI, it could take a couple years before approval, if you are approved.
If you are approved then they will back pay you to the date you filed for SSDI. At that point, you may be able to offer a settlement to the collector, and for quite a bit less then the amount due, since it would be much older.
If they do end up filing suit, and win, they cannot garnish wages in Texas and they cannot seize your SSDI, no matter what state you live in. If you do receive SSI or SSDI, you really need to file a paper with the bank that you deposit those funds with saying that those funds come from SSDI/SSI and are exempt. Be sure you "never" deposit money from any other source into that account!! If you do, you will have problems with them seizing the money in that account.
If they do sue, you "need" to answer the summons and show up in court. By doing that you can further protect your funds since you will be able to inform the court of exactly where your funds come from.
What you need to do now is research and read. (just recently out of college, you should still be in learn mode)
Learn your rights under Texas laws and under federal laws. If the collector violates any of those laws then you would have ammo against them should they sue.
Start with buying yourself a cheap recorder so you can record any calls you receive from the collector. If they violate in any call, transfer the tape to disk and "keep it safe". You do not have to tell them you are taping, by not telling them they will probably be more willing to violate your rights.
Texas info about taping: "Can We Tape?"
To learn what is or isn't a violation, you need to read the federal and Texas laws.
Start with the FTC's FDCPA (also browse through the FDCPA Staff Opinion letters, that are linked on that page, as they can be very helpful)
FTC Office of the Secretary - Fair Credit Reporting Act Links
Texas law links:
LINKS TO TEXAS CONSUMER PROTECTION STATUTES
(http://www.peopleslawyer.net/consumerprotection.html - broken link)
The above link is packed with extremely informative links to Texas statutes.
Be sure not only read through all of the consumer protection links listed in there, but to also read the Texas FCRA.
Texas also requires that collectors MUST be bonded to collect in Texas. (§ 392.101.) You can find if that collector is bonded through the following link, or the phone number to call if you cannot find that particular collector. You can also find info on what to do should that collector not be bonded. The SOS is extremely harsh on a collector who is not bonded but tries to collect, if a complaint is filed
Debt Collector Search
The main page for the SOS:
Texas Secretary of State
A Texas FYI site: Frequently Asked Questions
To learn if what they are reporting is a violation, read the FTC's FCRA
(eta: Google the FTC FCRA Staff Opinion Letters and read those also, they are very helpful in explaining the FCRA)
The Texas Finance Code (TFC), Texas Business and Commerce Code, Chapter 17, Subsection E for Deceptive Trade Practices, Texas FCRA, etc. are some of the strongest laws in the country for consumer protection, even surpassing the FTC's versions.
Using them, along with the FTC version, can go very far in protecting your rights.
If you have any questions or need clarification on something, please continue to post and ask.
I hope I covered most of what may be needed
If anyone else can think of anything to add ... please add it.