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What is worse: Pay $5,000 to a debt collector or to have a debt collection for $20,000 in the credit for 7 years?

Tampa, FL |

These $20,000 come from a breach of a "draconian" contract not for $20,000 that debtor spent and now doesn't have the means to pay it.

Attorney Answers 3

  1. Are you the creditor or the debtor? You're question is vague.

    Judgments can last up to 12 years in some jurisdictions and can be renewed. If you are a debtor - paying 25% of the original debt to settle is, from my view, a good offer. If you're the creditor then 25% may be worth taking, or you may be able to watch the money trickle in slowly for 7+ years. The credit report is pretty much irrelevant when discussing a judgment because it is a separate issue. This is not advice on what you should do.

    But to provide a better answer, more facts about your specific situation would be needed.

    This is not legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. This is for education and informational purposes only. It is always recommended that you contact an attorney with any concerns as each individual case is unique.

  2. If you don't want to make an expensive mistake, go see one or more lawyers near you who handle these types of cases as fast as you can. I do, as well as many others. Or, try looking at for an attorney who will help you with no out-of-pocket cost to you. Good luck!

    I often take cases other attorneys won't, so call me for a free consultation. My number is 727-712-3333, or you can view my website at

  3. You need to discuss this with a consumer debt relief attorney. It sounds like the original creditor may have sold the debt for pennies on the dollar to a debt collector. The debt collector will pursue a judgment because, in Florida, that judgment can be collectable for up to 20 years. You say the debtor doesn't have the funds now, but the debt collector is counting on the debtor's circumstances improving over the next 20 years.

    There are other issues when settling a debt like this: The debtor should first verify the debt collector has the right to collect on the debt. The debtor also needs to be aware that the $15,000 in "forgiven" debt will be reported to the IRS as income and they will likely be liable for about $4,000 in additional taxes next year as well. It's worth a consultation with a good consumer debt relief attorney.

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