Can debt collectors tell you how much you have to pay on a payment plan? 9 Answers as of October 14, 2012

I owe $2,000 for my last month's rent. I no longer live there. I moved out at the end of my lease but didn't give them a 30 day notice. So I'm getting charged for those 30 days. The bill has been sent to a collection company. The debt collectors told me that I have to at least pay $200 a month since this isn’t a credit card debt. They can't or won't go any lower. When I told them I could pay $100 a month, they said no. They would put refusal to pay on my account and report it on my credit. I'm trying to pay them but they want more money than I have right now. Do they have the right to tell me how much I can pay a month or do they have to accept whatever I can give them? If they can't tell me how much I have to pay, what should I do?

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The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
They do not have to accept your suggested payment but if you file a chapter 7 bankruptcy, then you can have their debt wiped out.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 10/14/2012
Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
They can tell you what to pay to avoid getting sued. It may or may not be enforceable pursuant to the credit agreement.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 10/12/2012
Dennis P. Mikko Attorney at Law | Dennis P. Mikko
They can set a minimum payment but you don't have to pay it. You could send them what you can afford each month, however, this will not prevent them from taking further action to collect the account.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 10/12/2012
Law Office of D.L. Drain, P.A.
Law Office of D.L. Drain, P.A. | Diane L. Drain
Yes they do. They also have the right to sue, get a judgment and garnish wages or bank accounts. Find out what the exemptions are in the state where you live. That will help you understand what is protected from your creditors. Be careful.
Answer Applies to: Arizona
Replied: 10/12/2012
Law Office of Kristen Allard Shier
Law Office of Kristen Allard Shier | Kristen Allard Shier
There isn't any difference between a debt such as yours or a credit card debt. Both are unsecured debts are treated equally under the law. However, the debt collector can demand that you pay a certain amount on the debt each month but there isn't any legal reason behind it. They want to collect as much money as possible from you each month because it is likely that they get paid a percentage of whatever they collect. They would rather get something from you than nothing, so if you are consistent in your offer to pay $100 per month, they will most likely accept that amount. If they agree to accept your $100 monthly payments, it is not a good idea to give them access to your bank account. In other words, do not let them make monthly withdrawals from your account because that can be abused.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 10/12/2012
    Victor Varga | Victor Varga
    It shouldn't be with a collection agency as the debt isn't validated. You have a defense- that you're not responsible because you didn't have possession for the 30 days they are demanding. They need to sue you and obtain a judgment first.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 10/12/2012
    William Bidwell, Attorney at Law | Bill Bidwell
    The lease controls whether the lease automatically renews for failure to give notice. Debt collectors are professionals at collecting by intimidating or frustrating people. They arbitrarily determined the $200/month payment. Whether the debt is a credit card is irrelevant. If you acknowledge owing the money, then send the landlord $100 per month along with a letter stating your intentions as well as your refusal to talk to the collections company any longer. They would be foolish to decline accepting payment and would probably be less inclined to sue you.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/12/2012
    Aldrich Legal Services, PLLC
    Aldrich Legal Services, PLLC | Brad Aldrich
    It is completely a negotiation, which means neither party can force their position on the other. Only a Court of Law can order a party to pay a specific amount. We would be glad to speak to you about this matter in greater detail and we do not charge for consultations.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/12/2012
    Scott Goldstein | Scott Goldstein
    If you are trying to negotiate a debt, you can offer whatever you want. The creditor/collector, however is under no obligation to accept your offer. If they do not want to work with you or accept the offer, you can either pay it, or fight the inevitable lawsuit.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 10/12/2012
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