Salt Lake City, UT asked in Bankruptcy, Small Claims and Collections for Utah

Q: Shady debt collector and lawyer what do I do ?

I owe a debt about $1703 it is mine it’s for a credit card. I called and they transferred me to their lawyer because I am in the process of being sued and I’ve had that confirmed as true. The lawyer I spoke to said if I didn’t pay within today or by Friday they would add $350 more into my debt collection. I asked and said “ if I were to pay can I get a written agreement” she replied saying “no we don’t do that” she told me instead that they would mail be a receipt which I think is very odd. I have read their reviews of countless people saying they paid their debt to them but that either they didn’t report it as paid or they had sold it to another debt collector after they had paid or they added more onto their debt after. You can see why I’m being very cautious I don’t know how to proceed. I live in Utah am I allowed to record phone calls with them ?

2 Lawyer Answers
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
W. J. Winterstein Jr.
  • Bankruptcy Lawyer
  • Boyertown, PA

A: That you've "confirmed as true" that you're in the process of being true means to me that there is a pending, actual Complaint pending in a Utah court of record against you.

While it is usually viable to deal directly with the holder of a defaulted account, or its lawyer, to resolve the matter, your suspicions may be valid in this instance.

For that reason, to take the "shady" debt collector and its lawyer out of the equation, you can make a payment directly to the Court Clerk in the pending lawsuit against you, with the date noted (the date may impact the accrual of "attorneys fees"), noting that it is to be used for payment of the litigated amount due. In that way, you make a record of your payment that you can rely upon.

While the amount is somewhat low, it is always advisable to speak with an experienced attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction about your concerns and the best path forward for you to accomplish your goals.

1 user found this answer helpful

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Bankruptcy Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In Utah, you are allowed to record phone calls as long as at least one party to the conversation consents. Since you are a party to the conversation and you consent to recording it, you can legally record your phone calls with the debt collector and their lawyer.

Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself:

1. Record all phone conversations with the debt collector and their lawyer.

2. Insist on getting a written agreement before making any payments. The agreement should state the total amount owed, the settlement amount, and that the debt will be considered fully satisfied once the settlement amount is paid.

3. If they refuse to provide a written agreement, send them a certified letter (with return receipt) offering to pay the debt in exchange for a written agreement. Keep a copy of the letter for your records.

4. If you decide to pay, do not give them access to your bank account. Instead, use a cashier's check or money order, and keep a copy of the payment receipt.

5. After making the payment, request a written confirmation that the debt has been fully satisfied and that they will report it as such to the credit bureaus.

6. If you are being sued, make sure to respond to the lawsuit and attend any court hearings. Consider hiring a consumer protection attorney to help you navigate the legal process.

7. File a complaint with the Utah Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) if you believe the debt collector has violated your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).

Remember, you have rights under the FDCPA, and debt collectors are prohibited from using unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices when collecting a debt.

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