A Lie A Debt Collector Once Told Us

One time we had this huge credit card debt that we just let sliiiiiiiiiiide. When we finally owned up to it, the debt collector told us that the credit card company said we could just pay 85% of it if we paid it all at once.

We took out a loan through school and told him that we were ready to pay up. He then came back and said he checked with the credit card company and they had changed their mind and we would in fact have to pay in full. Not knowing our ass from our elbow, we shrugged and agreed.

Now we know that this was a complete lie. After a debt collector buys your debt, the credit card company doesn’t have any more contact with him regarding that amount. It’s his. This guy just saw how comparatively easy it was to get us to come up with the cash and figured that if we could come up with 85%, he could easily squeeze us for the full 100%.

A lot of debt collectors are full of shit. Learn your rights and how the process works or just do what we do now nearly without fail: pay our bills on time — BEN POPKEN

“I Will Threaten Bodily Harm,” A Loan Shark’s Confession
Make Debt Collectors Prove They Own What They Say You Owe
Things Debt Collectors Can’t Do
(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Crazytree says:

    you mess with the bulls… you’re gunna get the horns.


  2. JustAGuy2 says:

    Yeah, that slimy debt collector convinced you to PAY THE MONEY YOU OWED! Nasty, nasty man.

  3. skrom says:

    This is fine as long as they also update his credit report as paid in full. If they dont even do that then why pay at all.

  4. DerrickKwan says:

    How do you mean? What is so wrong about a debt collector to collect the full amount that you borrowed? That is whats wrong with our society no one owns up to anything anymore. Next time pay your bills in full like you agreed.

  5. stanfrombrooklyn says:

    We got a call from a debt collector a few months ago about a debt my wife supposedly incurred on a credit card 10 years ago. She said she knew nothing of it. They kept telling us, “Do you want to settle? Do you want to settle?” I said I didn’t want to settle a debt that didn’t exist. So we sent them a registered letter asking to see proof of all debts on this credit card including how the card was obtained, a copy of all statements, and proof that they owned the debt from the card company. We’ve heard nothing.

  6. asherchang says:

    This is the most blatant use of the journalistic we I have ever seen on the Consumerist. I thought you were better than the rest of Gawker, but we were wrong!!!

  7. mac-phisto says:

    if you are going to negotiate a debt, do so with the original lender. you can often “settle” on accounts, but bear in mind that crb’s treat a settlement much like a charge-off (plus the lender could opt to send you a 1099 & tax the write-off amount as income).

    & make sure everything’s in writing (payment amounts, terms, etc.). saving an account from hitting collections saves a company upwards of 30% of recovery – an in-house collector could knock as much as $1300 of a $5000 debt before they are actually losing money.

    essentially, this guy was just playing the margin for you & siphoning his share for negotiating off the top. either he doubled his fee, or the credit company told him to get bent on his offer on your behalf. either way, it’s a lose-lose for you.

  8. Thrust says:

    F**K Debt collectors piss me off. I have do deal with about a dozen of em every week, aint even my debt. All the numbnuts in the factory at my workplace keep using the office phone number as a contact for all their credit-related crap and I end up having to tell the SOB’s to piss off. The collector gets mad at me telling em to f’off, and ask to speak to payroll. Again that’s me, and I tell em to f’off. They typically call back three or four days later.

  9. Ex-Network-Geek says:

    Interesting. I got a letter offering to settle something for 85% but I didn’t take the offer, so I didn’t know that was what they were up to. I was concerned that taking the 85% offer would result in a greater negative hit on my credit rating (and if so it would be a stupid strategy when I was able to pay the entire thing) and that’s something I’d like to hear more about.

    In the end that wasn’t why I didn’t take the offer, though. In my case I actually was not sure what the bill was I allegedly hadn’t paid. I never got whatever bill it was before it went to the collection agency. So I asked them to verify it. Not to get out of it, but just because before I pay a bill I’d like to know what it is and why I owe it. But I never heard back from them. The letters stopped and it has not showed up on my credit reports.

    That experience makes me wonder. Apparently they didn’t have the information needed to verify the debt. So it appears they find it cheaper, or more effective, to simply rely on people not to question them. I wonder how often they’re getting people to pay debts that are really not owed? E.g. wrong person, identity theft, or just a clerical error where the person paid but it got sold to the collection agency anyway.

  10. FLConsumer says:

    Don’t buy shit you can’t afford.

  11. dbeahn says:

    @JustAGuy2: Yeah, he convinced them to pay the money “owed”, but it was money the debt collector had “bought” for pennies on the dollar.

    If I buy $1000 in debt from a credit card company for $100, then what do I care if I only get $500 of what is “owed”?

  12. Thrust says:

    @FLConsumer: Like telling these morons not to smoke or drink. They know you’re right but don’t give two shits.

    The trend right now is that morons are paying more per month for their cars than rent or mortgages.

  13. happymeal says:

    I worked for a debt collection agency that did not buy debt, our clients paid us 30-50% to collect it for them. We offered settlements all the time but had to get client approval first.. Not all debt collection agencys buy their debt!

  14. JustAGuy2 says:


    Totally irrelevant. The fact that the entity to which Ben owed money gave up on his living up to his obligation doesn’t in any way reduce or mitigate his obligation. He owed the money, he should pay the money. Period.