Can I decide how much to pay on a debt or can they force me to pay more?

Asked 11 months ago - Houston, TX

I was contacted by a debt collector for something from 10 years ago. They say I owe $10,000. I honestly told them I could only afford $50 a month. The person I was talking to tried to get me to pay $75. I stuck to the $50. He told me to look over my finances and call back Friday to set up repayment.

I called back today but got a different person to talk to. They claimed they didn't know anyone by the name of my first contact. I talked to the new person and she said that $50 was too low for such a high amount of debt. Then they hit me with asking to pay $1000 down and then $50 twice a month. I honestly told them that I don't have that kind of money and can only afford $50 a month. I was offered a settlement of $3000 and again I told them I don't have that kind of money.

Attorney answers (5)

  1. Peter Walter Weston


    Contributor Level 17


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Ten years is much too long to start paying, and you should NOT pay anything.
    This common practice of trying to get you to pay, is also likely in violation of fair debt collection law, because too much time has passed to allow collection of this debt, provided you have made no payment in the last 10 years.
    Even if you do settle, you likely would receive a 1099 form for the unpaid balance, which would be phantom income added to your taxable income, so a propesed settlement at $3,000 may cost you much more.
    If you talk to them, which you should not, you may ask for verification of the debt, and send the collector a letter asking they cease calling you.
    If your debts are overwhelming, you may benefit from conferring with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.
    Good luck.

    General legal advice is offered for educational purposes only. A consultation with a qualified attorney is... more
  2. Michael Glynn Busby Jr.


    Contributor Level 19


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . the statute of limitations for breach of contract in Texas is four years. They can report it on your credit for up to 7 years. I would tell them to "go to hell" and pay zero. If you have more recent debt problems, please call me, I am open Saturday.

  3. Michael Christopher Burr


    Contributor Level 16


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Be careful. First of all, some debt collectors buy up old debt just to see what payments they can get out of people. They may have no legal right to collect a debt that old, but they try to get people to voluntarily pay. I would request copies of the original paperwork to be sure they have some sort of proof of the debt. If they don't have anything, you may not have to pay at all.

  4. Edward James Kazaleh

    Contributor Level 14


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Mr. Weston is a very good lawyer on those types of matters. Please go to their website and set up an appointment. DO NOT PAY ANYTHING OR HAVE ANY FURTHER CONTACTS.

  5. Margaret Mitchell

    Contributor Level 9


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . DO NOT PAY A PENNY!!!
    The debt is barred by the statute of limitations. Payment of any money revives the debt and the statute of limitations defense is waived.

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