Skip to main content

Some debts have gone to collection agencies, should I pay the original creditor or them?

Atlanta, GA |
Filed under: Credit score

I have less than $3000 in credit card debt that I wish to pay off with my tax refund and other refund money, but two accounts have closed and gone to collection agencies, these were done in 2012. One was closed in Oct. I think, and the other later than that. Do I pay the original creditors instead of these collection agencies? I don't want settlements because they will just report it to the IRS as income. How do I get the collection agencies off my credit report and just have the debts to the original creditors on my credit report? I want to buy a house this year and my high score is only around the 400s. Is this going to be possible to get it around 650 by May or June? I have a car, that has been late, but I intend to get it up to date this month too.

Attorney Answers 5

Posted

Everyone believes that all it takes to fix their credit is to pay off the old debt and remove all the bad stuff from their credit history. Unfortunately, credit scoring doesn't work like that. Bad history is still bad history and you can't change history. You might be better to focus your attention on burying the bad history with new good history. I published a 10 part series on credit rebuilding that you might find helpful even though it is directed towards those who have been through bankruptcy. You will have to scroll past a lot of other stuff to find it, but it is there - follow the link below.

Also, while I appreciate your feeling that you want to pay the original creditor and this "stick it to the collector," this strategy doesn't work. Many times the original creditor no longer owns the debt so you are just paying the wrong party and your payment won't get any credit on your credit report. But even if the collector doesn't own the debt, the original creditor will still pay the creditor their commission for collecting the debt - it is in their contract! Hope this perspective helps!

Mark as helpful

1 found this helpful

1 lawyer agrees

3 comments

Asker

Posted

Thanks I have unfortunately been through chapter 7 bankruptcy and so my rebuilding my credit hasn't been all that good. I still have debts with my ex husband. Two open car loans and now a third since I had to get my own car. Is there anyway i can start a home pre qualification with my credit union? If I can pay rent I can pay a mortgage. With all the foreclosures here in Ga I could get a nice home for less than $60k..what about lease with an option to buy?

Kris K. Skaar

Kris K. Skaar

Posted

Be very careful if you are considering a lease-purchase or lease-option-to-purchase transaction. I have seen far too many cases where the property owner takes advantage of someone like yourself who may have difficulty qualifying for conventional financing. Too often these deals are structured to strip the purchaser of all of her/his cash (calling that large payment a "down payment" or "option price") with impossible to meet option terms. The deal is designed so that you can never buy the property. It just winds up being a very expensive lease. There may be some good lease-purchase deals, but then again, those people don't call my office. Just if you do this, be really careful.

Asker

Posted

I had plans to have an attorney review the terms prior to signing a lease purchase. :-)

Posted

There is likely no way to get a cedit score from the 400s to 650 in a few months. And remember a 650 is only average, and would get you a turn down from many lenders. You need to get over 700 and get the bad items a couple years off. So postpone the house plans unless you find a individual that will owner finance.

In many cases, 3rd party collectors have bought debts, meaning you can't pay off debts to teh original creditor. Also, in some cases, you can do settlements that may be negotiated to change the reporting on your report.

This is a case where spending an hour being coached by a lawyer for an hour could save you money and help you. Feel free to call me at 404-768-3509 to set up a strategy appointment. Don't expect miracles, but doing this wrong will be costly, as the lower your score the harder it will be for you to buy a home, and the higher your interest cost will be.

In some cases, you may also be able to get improper items removed from your report, so explore all your options. One warning: do NOT pay anyone for credit repair - that's a scam (and illegal in Georgia).

If you find this answer helpful, please mark it here on AVVO as helpful. In answering you, I am attempting to communicate general legal information and am not representing you (and am not your lawyer). Do feel free to call me at 404-768-3509 if you wish to discuss actual representation (the phone call also does not retain counsel; that requires an office visit and appropriate paperwork). In that a forum such as this provides me with limited details and doesn't allow me to review details and documents, it is possible that answers here, while meant to be helpful, may in some cases not be complete or accurate, and I highly recommend that you retain legal counsel rather than rely on the answers here. (You can also email my office at geaatl@msn.com . An email also does not retain my office, but can help you get an appointment set if you prefer not to call). I am happy to discuss possible representation with you. Any information in this communication is for discussion purposes only, and is not offered as legal advice. There is no right to rely on the information contained in this communication and no attorney-client relationship is formed. Nothing in my answer should be considered as tax-advice. To ensure compliance with IRS Circular 230, any U.S. federal tax advice provided in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient or any other taxpayer (i) for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed on the recipient or any other taxpayer, or (ii) in promoting, marketing or recommending to another party a partnership or other entity, investment plan, arrangement or other transaction addressed herein. I am also required to advise you, if your question concerns bankruptcy, that the U.S. Congress has designated Ashman Law Office as a debt relief agency that can help people file bankruptcy.

Mark as helpful

1 found this helpful

2 lawyers agree

Posted

You should pull your credit report and see who owns the debt. Pay the owner of the debt ad get everything in writing. I suggest you get a lawyer to help you ad it is not uncommon for debt collectors to try and collect ob settled debt

Kazerouni Law Group, APC is a law firm concentrating its efforts in the area of consumer law, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692 et seq. (“FDCPA”), and California's Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, California Civil Code §§ 1788-1788.32 ("Rosenthal Act"). Our lawyers are specially trained in the Federal FDCPA, Consumer Defense, and other consumer related matters. Our goal is to protect you against unfair, deceptive and abusive debt collection practices. Creditors, professional debt collectors, and attorneys who violate the law are subject to paying damages, statutory penalties, and the consumer's attorneys fees and costs. If you feel you have been abused, deceived or treated unfairly, you may need a lawyer. We can be reached at 800-400-6808, or through one of the evaluation forms on this or at our own website at www.kazlg.com. The information provided on this website is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or as forming an attorney-client relationship. No attorney-client relationship between the reader and Abbas Kazerounian has been formed. If you are in the State of California and would be interested in a formal free consultation either visit Kazerouni Law Group, APC website at www.kazlg.com or call me toll free at 800-400-6808.

Mark as helpful

1 found this helpful

1 lawyer agrees

1 comment

Asker

Posted

I will get my free credit report before I pay the two credit cards off. At least, I'm not overwhelmed and they are at least within my ability to pay them off. I will have one open credit line I can still use. Much easier to handle $300 than $1400 worth of credit cards.

Posted

1) Generally, it is better to pay the collection agency than to try to pay the original creditor. In my experience, there is a greater chance of an accounting error when you pay the original creditor on an account that they have placed in collections.

2) If the possibility of tax reporting is the only reason that you don't want a settlement, then I suggest you consider that a) only principal reductions greater than $600 are reported, and b) since tax rates do not equal or exceed 100% of you income, it is still a better deal to take a settlement than to pay the full amount of the debt.

3) You can ask in negotiations for the collector's trade lines to be removed. (First, of course, pull your credit reports to make sure that the collectors are even reporting.) Maybe the collectors will cooperate, maybe they won't.

4) I am not an expert in credit scoring, but from what I have seen, the move in your score that you asked about (400 to 650) seems less than likely.

Skaar & Feagle, LLP maintains offices in Marietta (770 427 5600) and Decatur (404 373 1970), Georgia. The information ("the answer") provided above is for general information and educational purposes only. The answer should not be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. Posting the question and reviewing the answer does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. My firm will ask you to sign a written contract prior to the commencement of representation in any attorney-client relationship. Please contact 770 427 5600 or 404 373 1970, if you wish to discuss your situation further. Skaar & Feagle, LLP accepts select consumer rights cases. These cases include, but are not limited to, cases of abusive and unlawful collection activity, debt defense, credit reporting of false or obsolete (old) information, high interest lenders (title pawns, payday loans), debt management plans, and fraud or unfair practices in the sale and financing of automobiles.

Mark as helpful

1 found this helpful

1 lawyer agrees

3 comments

Asker

Posted

Great advice. The debts are credit cards that had limits of $750 and $700. Both have fees that are nearly $200 to $300 over the limits. I will consider the settlements only if they won't report it to the IRS as income.

Gary D. Bollinger

Gary D. Bollinger

Posted

To the Asker: Review IRS form 982

Asker

Posted

Thank you sir. I will. I have been through this before and I am just taking precautions. Those forms are too much of a hassle when tax filing comes around.

Posted

If you want to settle the debts, i would get proof that the party that wants the money actually owns the debt so you do not have someone else come back later and try to collect. You can either ask for written documentation of the debt ownership or get an indemnity agreement from the party you pay that they will indemnify you in the event someone else comes after you for the same debt. You can ask for the creditor to remove the item but they may not do that or want to do that. I

This is not intended to create an attorney client relationship and none is to be implied either. You must contact an attorney and present all facts before you can and should act on this response

Mark as helpful

1 found this helpful

1 lawyer agrees

Bankruptcy and debt topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics