Collector Threatens Jailtime Over Dead Debt

Reader R. kinda messed up his credit years ago. He’s a good boy now and his credit score is 700+, but now RSI Claims Process Services is hassling him about a 12-year-old credit card debt. They scared him into thinking they’re going to send him to jail and managed to squeeze a $100 “good-faith” payment out of him, but now he’s got second thoughts. And with good reason: the statute of limitations on the debt has well passed and threatening to send a debtor to jail is a violation of Federal law. Here’s his story and our advice…

R from California writes:

It all started about 12 years ago when I got my first credit card. I can make any number of excuses for myself but the bottom line is I was not smart with my credit. I let a Discover card go into collections and ruined my credit for the last 10 years.

I have maintained a checking and savings account in addition to many bills in my name including Verizon, Sprint, EB Mud, and PG&E. I got serious about getting my credit back in order about 3 years ago. No one would give me a credit card so I ended up getting a First Premiere Bank Master Card. I know people have terrible things to say about this company but paying there ridiculous yearly service fees, and monthly account fees in full each month helped boost my credit enough to obtain some real cards.

In the last 6 moths my credit score has inched its way into the 700+ range As a result I have received credit offers from real credit cards like CapitalOne and a BestBuy card with a surprisingly high credit limit. It was at this time i got my first call.

A company called RSI Claims Process Services, LLC called me about litigation involving me and a creditor. The “Judgment amount” was $5203.32 and didn’t go very far to explain any more. I was told they had mailed me about the issue and that I had not responded. She went on to tell me that I had probably thrown it out by mistake and that’s why they called me. It all sounded very serious. They were demanding payment or go to court. I talked to two people in the company and I realized that this was about my Discover card from 12 years ago.

Let me discuss this for a min. I called Discover in an attempt to make good on this old account. The card had a $1000 Credit limit and I figured I probably owed then $2000. Discover didn’t hold the account any more. Collections told me who did and I followed them to a dead end where they had no idea who held the account. My Credit report has not had such an account listed in the last 3 years i have been checking.

That brings me to last month, talking RSI about an account that had fallen off the planet. I panicked and asked them what I could do to postpone any litigation. They made me an offer of $4000 and I refused. I just don’t have that kind of money. I countered with $1500 paying them $100 in good faith that I would come up with the rest some how in the next 6 weeks. I have yet to pay them the remaining $1400. I planned to at the end of the month.

Keep in mind that I recognize that I owe SOMEONE this money and I DO want to make good on it assuming its a legitimate transaction. The reason I Responded to the posting was the tactics were heavy handed. I would have paid the bill without the scare tactics. I would love a payment plan but that was not an option. I know no one owes me any favors but I have worked hard to earn my credit back and I don’t want this mistake to ruin it again.

Did I make a mistake by offering to pay this account to a creditor that has offered me little to prove they actually hold the account? Was I wrong to strike a deal when the account was not on my credit report in the first place? I don’t feel as though the final sum is unfair. I guess I just wanted some insight on anything else I could have done. Was RSI was in the right to treat me this way?

Hi R.,

Ok here’s the details:

The statute of limitations for the debt has passed. In California, where you live, that’s 4 years. That means they can no longer sue you to collect on the debt. If they threatened you with jail time, that’s a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Right now you might be able to already sue them for statutory violations, something that can easily be done in small claims court.

Now, if they don’t have any proof of owning the debt, or proof that you have the debt….then that’s also illegal. You might owe the debt to “someone”, but there’s no proof that they are the people. They could have just bought your records from someone, but might not be able to provide the purchase agreement and the paper trail of debt ownership from the first piece of paper you signed to the one that allegedly put the debt in their hands. It’s very common. So you could pay off these people, who might not even own the debt, and then the real company who owns the debt could come along and ask you to pay them.

How did you pay these people? If it was a credit card, call your credit card company and reverse the charge. If it was a check, call your bank and see if you can put a stop payment on the check. You might owe these people, but right now the only obligation that you have to pay them is moral, not legal, and they haven’t done the necessary work to prove that you have any obligation to pay them in the first place.

First, bone up on your rights under the FDCPA.

Next time they call, tell them you will only communicate with them via mail from now on, and then mail them this letter to make it official. Then send them this letter to make them “put up or shutup.” Either they have to provide proof they own the debt, or they have to cease all collection efforts.

Make sure to send both these letters by certified mail so they can’t lie and say they never got them. I respect that you want to have a clean report and make good on everything, but you gotta make sure they play fair too.

(Photo: TrailofTerror)

UPDATE: R. may have put himself in a bad position and “reset” the debt clock by paying RIS the $100. Check the comments for more on this debate.


Edit Your Comment

  1. stopNgoBeau says:

    There is a good chance that if they do own the debt, the OP just reset the clock on the statute of limitations by making either a payment or a promise to pay, both of which he did.

    So, if they do own the debt, and he reset the clock in this matter, they now can take him to court and win.

    • Crabby Cakes says:

      @stopNgoBeau: I was wondering about that too. I don’t know where I read it, but I did read somewhere that even admitting to the debt resets the clock. Is this true, Ben?

      • Wormfather is Wormfather says:

        @Crabby Cakes: The way the rule goes is that if you make a payment, the clock resets. This guy is kinda screwed.

        California Statutes of Limitation

        Written agreements: 4 years, calculated from the date of breach.

        Oral agreements: 2 years.

        The statute of limitation is stopped only if the debtor makes a payment on the account after the expiration of the applicable limitations period

        If you want to see your state and more info on fair debt collection, go here:


    • Mollyg says:

      @stopNgoBeau: Since the collectors violated the law by threatening jail time, I would be surprised if a judge upheld anything that flows from that as valid.

      • godlyfrog says:

        @Mollyg: I’m curious about this, too. He paid because they held a gun to his head by cold calling him and immediately threatening him with court unless he settled right then and there. For contracts, I know that they can be nullified if they’re coerced, does the same work for debts?

        The other thing, though; unless there was more to the OPs letter, I don’t see anything about a threat of jail time, just court. To be honest, when I first read the summary, I thought this was going to be another story about a guy who got scammed by a fake collection agency. The similarity to those scams and this collection call are so similar, I can’t believe that this sort of thing isn’t illegal in some fashion.

        • mariospants says:

          @godlyfrog: Hold on a sec. The clock reset on what exactly? So far these people have exhibitted a pretty shitty track record (threats, pretending to have sent him a letter he apparently “threw out”). As Ben replied, there has to be a paper trail that: a) proves the debt is valid and b) proves that these people are the legal holders of that debt. Anybody want to make a bet that this collection company actually legally own this debt?

          I’d tell the OP to cancel the payment and ignore them until an bona fide legal notice appears. He can deal with the judge or prosecutor who either may drop the suit once he hears the details of how it was coerced or will ask the OP to settle on the original amount out of court.

    • Anonymous says:

      @stopNgoBeau: if the OP did reset the clock, it really doesn’t matter, since he wants to pay the debt, despite the statute of limitations. The only problem that i could see with that is if they then went after him for the $5000+ they originally claimed they were owed, despite agreeing to only collect $1500. Anyway, most shady debt collectors (and these ones sound kind of shady) probably don’t want to end up in court, where their collection tactics may come under scrutiny, and they could possibly lose their case if they don’t have proof of ownership for the debt.

  2. mannyv says:

    Funny, there was a thread like this on fatwallet a few weeks ago.

    Basically, you need go get a lawyer. From what it sounds like, most lawyers who deal with these kinds of cases do it for free, because they extract their payment from the company in question.

    • Pious_Augustus says:


      Most lawyer’s love collectors because they get paid by the hour and believe me they are not going to wait and hope they get paid by a debtor who is shown they cannot be trusted.

      Most debtors lawyers end up abandoning them because they are not getting paid or late payments and every time we call its per the hour and by right if you do not want to give us your lawyers number we keep calling

    • FDCPAGuy says:

      Some lawyers take FDCPA/FCRA cases on contingency if you have enough documentation or a strong enough case.

  3. tylerk4 says:

    The reader mentions something about a judgment. Was this debt reduced to a judgment at some point? If so, then the “statute of limitations” is irrelivant. Civil judgments in California are valid for ten years, and may be extended for an additional ten upon a simple application to the court. Additionally, if the debt has been reduced to a judgment, because of interest at the legal rate of 10% per annum, he now owes more than double the original amount.

    • mariospants says:

      @tylerk4: Except that since the OP apparently is not being irresponsible any longer, he would have noted the receipt of some kind of judgement or notice of judgement against him – I’m willing to bet that the collection agency calling him is not the bona fide owner of the debt.

      However, now that he’s got their attention, they may go after the original debt holder and buy it from them.

  4. OggJoshua says:

    Is there ever a reason to talk to debt collector on the phone?

    • Pious_Augustus says:


      Yes, you can settle your debt whether its with the credit agencies or check systems plus you can also settle your debt which can be hard to do

  5. Crymson_77 says:

    Of course, that also means that since they violated several laws they will have to pay his debt for him.

  6. Preyfar says:

    Oh, wow… I totally know that guy in the picture you guys used.

  7. timmus says:

    Next time they call, tell them you will only communicate with them via mail from now on

    Ben took the words right out of my mouth. There’s no reason to talk to anyone who calls your house. If it’s important, that’s what mail or fax is for.

    • Pious_Augustus says:


      Yeah I love those people who only want to be contacted via mail once they go into that long process, so then I make them go into a long legal process by suing them got to love debtors ^_^

      • Red_Flag says:

        @Pious_Augustus: Personally, I’d prefer having the paper trail rather than expecting a debt collection agency to be honest and forthcoming.

        But if requesting communication via mail is such a hassle, would it be a terrible inconvenience for the call to be recorded?

        If I was dealing with something as massive as debt collection, I wouldn’t have any discussions that weren’t recorded through my GrandCentral. (And not surreptitiously, either. GC announces that the call is being recorded when you activate it.) If the debt collector wishes to hang up, that’s their prerogative.

        • Pious_Augustus says:


          And the debt is honest and forthcoming? Again you owe someone and defaulted on a payment and cheated someone out of there money, you have the wrong person.

          Because Debtors are weasels and will do anything to avoid contacting and paying what they owe.

          • Red_Flag says:

            @Pious_Augustus: Pretty broad generalization, there.

            I also think it’s fair to say that if all debtors were “weasels” and all debt collectors were paragons of virtue, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act never would have been passed in the first place, because with all the honest, upstanding debt collectors that never took advantage of anyone that owed a debt, there wouldn’t have been a need for it.

            • Pious_Augustus says:


              The FDCPA was enacting your local Jewel or local stores would post peoples checks in the front of the store too make sure everyone could see you cannot be trusted and are scum. Nothing wrong with that except having there bank account information in which a person can easily steal.

              Also it prevented collectors from coming and meeting you to collect only to pocket the money.

              The FDCPA was needed not only to protect debtors but also collectors

    • Corporate-Shill says:


      Never Fax, always mail. And registered mail when in doubt or critical.

      Beyond the ease of proving mail fraud, there are darn good “cover your arse and protect yourself from fraud and abuse” reasons to require mailed documents. From your perspective as well as theirs.

      A legitimate company will be quite grateful to send and receive mailed documents. Scams, frauds, and scum will be hesitant to send or receive documents.

      • Pious_Augustus says:


        No because as it is most corperations look out for their bottom line. Certifed Mail costs money, taking time to send out a second letter not only takes time but costs money.

        • Red_Flag says:

          @Pious_Augustus: I find it hard to believe a judge will accept “Yes, your Honor, I mailed it to him. No, your Honor, I have absolutely no proof that I did so” as equally convincing as “Here’s the return receipt showing it was received by the defendant”.

          You don’t plan on using the same “certified mail costs money” excuse for serving subpoenas, do you?

          • Hyman Decent says:

            @Red_Flag: Regarding the use of certified and registered mail for having evidence of mailing things: What prevents someone who, for example, is supposed to mail a check, from mailing (using certified or registered mail) a blank piece of paper instead of a check? The sender has proof of mailing… something, but no proof of what was mailed.

        • Kloud says:

          @Pious_Augustus: Wow, where do YOU get off coming to a consumer blog and flaming “debtors” for being “weasels”? What the FUCK?

          • Pious_Augustus says:


            Because debtors are weasels you know we are all not elitist Obama worshipers and Collectors are consumers as well but the problem with debtors they are not consumers they are thieves and most of the time liars.

            If people could be trusted, didn’t lie do you think there would be a need for debt collectors?

            • Hyman Decent says:

              @Pious_Augustus: My father had an outpatient surgical procedure performed about a year ago. He has Medicare and a fairly costly Medicare Supplemental Insurance policy which together paid for everything except his Medicare deductible. The insurance company paid his hospital bill in one huge “roll-up” electronic payment with a bunch of other claims. The hospital’s billing department overlooked the entry pertaining to my father’s bill in the insurance company’s paperwork and thought they didn’t get paid. They sent us just two billing statements, with no warning that they would turn the matter over to a collection agency, before they turned it over to a collection agency. (We didn’t respond to their two statements because we had received the explanations of benefits from Medicare and his insurance company and we thought the hospital billing department was just a little slow on the uptake, so to speak.) Do you consider my father a weasel?

              • Pious_Augustus says:

                @Hyman Decent:

                You might hear this a lot from collectors in that field of collections, bad things do happen to good people.

                You know most Medical Debts require an entire company dedicated to collecting things like Medical Debts and Student Loans because they are so hard to collect on.

                I feel sorry for anyone who is in debt and wants to get out but can’t. Thats why I know I have done my best to help out and give great deals to many debtors maybe just getting released from prision or otherwise trying to get there life in order.

                As for medical bills it’s a sad story only thing I can suggest is try and settle or see if you can file a Chapter 13 which is rare

  8. Red_Flag says:

    If he made a good-faith payment, doesn’t that make the debt “alive” again? I thought that was a common tactic of collections agencies — convince someone to make a minor payment on a dead debt to allow them to make it active again.

  9. FDCPAGuy says:

    1) He did reset the clock on the SOL by making a payment
    2) The SOL does not mean someone cannot sue you it just means that if they sue you have a built in defense in court to get it thrown out.
    3) I’d find a local lawyer and sue them for their violations… has em.

    • Ben Popken says:

      @FDCPAGuy: @Red_Flag: @Crabby Cakes: Pretty sure the FTC says “resetting” the debt clock is a myth, see this post: []

      • Pylon83 says:

        @Ben Popken:
        The FTC information only goes to what’s actually reported on your credit report. The fact an item rolls off your credit report does not necessarily mean that it’s no longer a valid debt.

      • FDCPAGuy says:

        @Ben Popken:
        The SOL (statute of limitations) on a debt is determined by the date of last activity and therefor it can be argued that by paying on the debt the individual has restarted the clock by bringing the date of last activity to their last payment. The FTC info linked does apply to the time a debt can be reported to the credit report.

  10. Ben_Q2 says:

    What about them sending you a offer like this.

    Years ago (16) I had a Amex card. I had problems. Anywhoo I started to get offers to help me pay this off. What and how you may ask?

    Sign up with them for “THEIR” card. They would give me a CL+$500 over what I own them. Hmmm? Lets see. What what about their fees?

    In anycase you can see what its all about. They cannot get it, it was charged off and if I would have said yes well.

    • MsAnthropy says:


      That’s the AmEx Oasis program – if they offer you it, it’s actually a pretty good deal, assuming that you’d want a chance to be ‘in’ with AmEx again. They have the memory of an elephant, and blacklist for life – BUT the Oasis program allows you to be ‘rehabbed’ with them, and go on to be a perfectly respectable AmEx customer again. It all depends on whether you’d WANT that – you can choose not to do it, and if the original debt was so far in the past that it’s now uncollectible, the decision comes entirely down to one thing: whether you’d want the opportunity to rebuild your relationship with AmEx. There are plenty of other card issuers out there, so you don’t HAVE to. But if you do take them up on the offer, you’re going to end up with a nice, old tradeline reporting on your credit files (they’ll show the new card with the original year that you opened your first account with AmEx – this could do WONDERS for your FICO scores), and if you do everything right and make your payments on time, then you’re back in with AmEx and they’ll eventually (ie once they’ve got their money back) let you switch to a regular card.

      So – your choice. If it’s worth it to you, it’s a great deal… if not, just don’t accept the offer. If the debt’s uncollectible, I guess no harm, no foul – if it’s recent enough that they can still try and collect, then I guess you’re going to be enjoying those debt collection calls for a while. From what you say, though, it doesn’t sound like that’s the case – so it’s really up to you!

  11. Pylon83 says:

    The OP’s report indicates that they have a judgment against him. Thus, as stated above, they have 10 years to collect, plus an easy 10 year extension. Moreover, if the debt collector owned the debt, then got a judgment for the amount, the FDCPA probably doesn’t apply. They are no longer a 3rd party debt collector for Discover, but an original judgment creditor.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Without more specific information it is hard to give objective advise on this matter.

    If it is a judgment you may want to try to settle it or let the judgment run out. Check with the county recorders office where the judgment is filed.

    If this is a debt that was charged off and they never sued you, you don’t really have to worry about it and send a cease and desist letter.

    As previously mentioned the SOL may have been reactivated by making the good faith payment. So it is hard to give the right answer.

    Also you may want to check out the FCRA if they are reporting it on your credit incorrectly. I am assuming since you have such a high FICO though that this debt is not reporting.

    Again without more clarity the actual answer to this person is vague at best.

  13. Sam Glover says:

    Yes, he probably reset the statute of limitations on the debt, which would allow the debt collector to continue collecting. Mistake.

    On the other hand, if they threatened him with jailtime, that is an FDCPA violation that has nothing to do with whether or not he owes the debt. If he can prove that threat, he can sue under the FDCPA.

    However, I did not see him say that they threatened him with jailtime, just with taking him to court.

  14. ShariC says:

    It’s admirable that the OP wants to pay this off and own up to his responsibility, but appalling that they want so much more money than he originally owed. We all make mistakes and it’s rare in this day for people to own up to them when they can wheedle out of it.

    Four years seems like an awfully short statute of limitations on a debt like this. Escaping responsibility for your debt shouldn’t be as easy as waiting things out for a little while.

    • Pious_Augustus says:


      Its not appauling if your late on something you signed up and had a legally binding agreement if you miss payments that you’ll owe fees.

      For example US BANK each and every day your in the red there is a seven dollar fee and some people don’t like that and they wait a couple months till that has turned into a 4,000.00 debt.

      Again if the man is willing to pay it all off in a month, I would of offered a settlement. You want to make a good faith payment and also pay off your debt in a month, let me speak to the collections supervisor and make sure to approve this.

    • stopNgoBeau says:

      @ShariC: Around four years is typical for “revolving debt”. In Louisiana, its only 3 years.

  15. Pious_Augustus says:

    If they are the orginal creditor and own the debt then yes they can sue and threaten to sue you that is there right by the law. The only people who cannot sue are 3rd Party Collectors but anything in house they have every right to sue you as a debtor.

    Honestly, as a Collector the way this guy is speaking he is a debtor but he is a good guy who happened to have gone through a hard time. I would of offered him a good faithment and to cut his debt in half if he managed to pay half within the month.

    If he pays anything over a thousand in a month he has a better chance of settling the debt.

    They did not violate the FDCPA and debtor collectors have to be rough but also ethical. Remember, you owe them money and they have every right to get that money back.

    The man wants to pay it back, thats good but sir you should note debt collectors are NOT customer service. They do not have to be nice, they do not have to talk to you with respect. You are a debtor but you know if you offered to pay the debt back within the month I myself would of gave you more respect and offered you a settlement

    • Red_Flag says:

      @Pious_Augustus: If the original creditor was Discover and the collection agent is RSI Claims Process Services, LLC, I am at a loss to see how that does not fall under “3rd Party Collectors”.

      • Pious_Augustus says:


        Because if it’s an old debt they bought the debt so offically it’s there debt now.

        • Pylon83 says:

          And if there is a judgment against him, their position as original creditor is further solidified.

        • Sam Glover says:

          @Pious_Augustus: If they bought the debt after default, they are not the original creditor, they are a debt collector where the FDCPA is concerned.

        • MsAnthropy says:


          And that alone makes them bottom-feeding scum who have no right to expect payment of money they are “owed”. Why should the debtor feel any responsibility to pay some extortionate sum of money to a company that’s bought it from either the original creditor, or one in a line of collectors that the debt’s been sold on to, most likely for a fraction of the original debt?

    • DaoKaioshin says:

      @Pious_Augustus: if threatening jailtime is an fdcpa violation, then i dont see why you claim they didnt violate it.

  16. The_Legend says:

    1. The collector stated there was a “Judgement amount”, not the OP. I doubt he would be this much in the “700 Club” with an active judgement on his CR.

    2. You cannot “reset” the SOL on a debt that is past the SOL. Simple as that.

    3. This is a typical tactic of one of the boiler room Junk Debt Buyers. If they owned actual judgement paper on him, they could get easy money (garnishment, attaching bank accounts) without resorting to these sleazy tactics.

    4. You still cannot “reset” the SOL on that old of a debt. Have I said that before?

    5. OP, get yourself a good attorney experienced in FDCPA and dealing with these slimeballs. Enjoy the money you get in court. You may not get the hundred bucks back, depending on how long you sent it to them and what form of payment, but you will get more than that in violations and the satisfaction of making a creepy JDB pay up.

  17. waybaker says:

    I had a similar situation a few years ago.

    I was going to school and when I filled out my FAFSA that year, I mistakenly indicated that I was a ward of the court.

    It wasn’t until the first semester was over and I went to get my books for the second semester that I found out my account was in the negative, not the positive. After researching, I found out what had happened and corrected the FAFSA for the second semester, but they would not award me for a semester that had already lapsed. This left me owing the university $2400.

    At that same time, I became layed off from work for 6 months and as such, could not afford even a dime to pay on the debt and cancelled all my classes until I could get it sorted out.

    As soon as I got back to work, a debt collection agency called. I explained that I had no money. She was able to wrangle about $400 out of me over the next 6 months through repeated calls and harrassment. When my car broke down after that, I again was completely broke. She again called and I offered her every last cent in my bank account which was about $52. She told me it wasn’t enough and threatened to have my wages garnished. I told her to do what she had to do and hung up.

    I haven’t heard from them since, but am very worried that they will eventually take me to court over the debt.

    It does show on my credit report, and I would be more than happy to take care of it now as I am in a much better place financially, but when I try to contact the number listed on my credit report, it comes back disconnected. The companies name is not listed either. I don’t know what to do about it. The last phone call I had was back in 2004.

    • mythago says:

      @waybaker: Challenge the entry on your credit report. If there is a legitimate, existing agency that owns the debt, they can speak up to say “no, this is a legitimate debt,” and then you can work it out with them.

      • Pious_Augustus says:


        It is an legitimate debt, for one it’s not no one’s fault he went to collect believing in the hype it will make you set for life. Also it’s not the creditors fault you as a debt messed up and checked the wrong thing screwing someone else out of their money.

        You went to college and you’ll most likely owe money your entire life, hopefully you wont inspire your kids telling them college is the way to go

        • crashfrog says:

          @Pious_Augustus: It is an legitimate debt

          Sure, it’s a legitimate debt. But possibly not a debt owed to the collector.

          That’s the legal issue at stake, here. It’s fairly commonplace for shady collection companies to aquire everything but the actual debt.

          I could easily determine, from public records, about how much money you owe on your house. If I call you up asking to pay that debt, there’s no reason you should pay me, even though it’s a legitimate debt, because you’re not in debt to me and the original lender hasn’t transferred ownership of the debt.

          • MsAnthropy says:


            Exactly. It really wouldn’t be that hard to find out details of someone’s debts – anyone could then call threatening all sorts if you don’t pay up RIGHT NOW. Doesn’t mean you owe them a penny. They need to start by proving that yes, this debt is owed to them – at that point it’s worth talking to them, negotiating with them, whatever. But anyone who calls you in your own home making threats without backing this up with firm proof… well, that sounds like standard practice for a particular kind of bullying, bottom-feeding collection agency to me.

    • FDCPAGuy says:

      Shame you didn’t have this recorded (if you are in a one party state):
      She told me it wasn’t enough and threatened to have my wages garnished.

      They cannot threaten this. It’s over reaching their bounds. They FIRST need to take you to court and obtain a judgment. They can threaten to take you to court but not wage garnishment.

      • Pious_Augustus says:


        Again if they bought the debt, if they are the orginal creditor OR IF THEY ARE A BUISNESS you can threaten to sue.

        If the debt is a commerical debt for example I can call every one of your employees and put your debt on blast. Hell, I can even tell your customers

        • FDCPAGuy says:

          Sorry but you might need to read my comment again. I said they can threaten to take you to court but NOT threaten to garnish your wages. Also yes commercial debt is different and not under the same regulations. So on one hand I agree with you but on the other I think you need to read more thoroughly.

  18. mythago says:

    IF they own the debt.

    Make them prove it first. As the original article says, you don’t want to pay these people off and find out they were scammers….and you really owe the money to somebody else.

    • Pylon83 says:

      It can be difficult to get them to send you proof of the debt by asking. Get their address and mail them a letter demanding proof that they own the debt, or proof of the judgment.

      • Pious_Augustus says:


        Actually a collector has to send you a letter claiming they are collecting and who they are. That’s per the law and to safe guard them but they do not have to keep sending out copies because you keep losing the mail

        • Red_Flag says:

          @Pious_Augustus: That’s why you send it return receipt requested.

        • Pylon83 says:

          I suppose that was my point. If they claim they have already sent a letter, and believe they can prove such if necessary in court, they will just refuse to send another.

          • mythago says:

            @Pylon83: A legitimate collection agency will send you another copy. A sleazy boiler shop won’t. The legitimate agency doesn’t want to go to court if it doesn’t have to; if sending you proof that they are the legitimate debtholder might get you to pay, then they will.

  19. RoZo-D says:

    IF this “collection agency” did indeed threaten the OP with jailtime then they obviously violated the FDCPA since they hare a third party collector. However, as previously mentioned OP needs to request proof of debt and request all further communication be sent via mail or fax for record purposes. These folks who were unable to find a real job will say just about anything to get a weak willed individual to pay up. My ex was horrible at managing her finances and was constantly getting calls from debt collectors and these people are a real piece of work. Even AFTER I broke up with her they would constantly call my phone looking for her or claiming that I was responsible for her debt. it got to the point where sending out letters and requesting not to be contacted anymore wasn’t working that I had to change my number. it’s ridiculous. and the amusing thing is these collectors believe their own BS and think they are gods among men, it’s a joke.

    I have little tolerance for people who don’t pay their bills or are unwilling to work with the original creditors. But 3rd party debt collectors? i’m sorry but they’re a joke.

    *steps off my soap box*

  20. thegiantstone says:

    This happened to someone else:
    Don’t give them any more money!

  21. Pious_Augustus says:

    If you believe you owe them, settle the debt with them and get a precentage off but remember if you ask for proof of the debt by law the FDCPA protects debt collectors in this instance meaning if they prove the debt is real you cannot settle by law and need to pay the balence in full

    • EmperorOfCanada says:


      Something seems awfully fishy about your post… I find it funny you are defending these sleazy tactics.

      • Pious_Augustus says:


        It’s not sleazy, if you want a Collector to prove a debt okay fine but now we have proved it too better serve our clients you owe the balence in full. You waisted time and money to waste to prove the debt is real now you pay in full.

        I remember working with a debtor and helping him out and offering him a settlement and gave him a good deal if he paid his debt off within three months.

        Problem is last month he wanted to mail in debt and then he demanded.

        So he refused to pay but then when he broke his promise and deal with me with his last 500.00 payment it went from 500.00 too 2000.00 more and I stopped the interest but yeah you break your deal interest each and every day you don’t pay your bills.

        • Red_Flag says:

          @Pious_Augustus: Um, no. If they request validation of the debt, that is the debtor’s -right- as guaranteed by law. You find that to be too inconvenient? Well, I hope you don’t find compliance with the rest of the FDCPA too egregious, or your company might be liable in civil court.

          If the law says: the creditor must provide validation, then you goddamn do it.

          • Pious_Augustus says:


            Oh yeah, you want validation fine, but pretty much there is no deals after that point. You then wont get any deals or settlements, period and depending on the company you might have interest still on the account and or fees.

            No one would deny validation at all but what would be denied at that point is helping you as a person get out of debt quickier.

            You want to go on the internet and have a site tell you what you should do to give you the upper hand, okay we will grant that request but note since you want to delay the process we get the chance to play with your life and not help you at all.

            Being a Debt Collector there is a whole other world out there and the reasons for those in debt sometimes its completely insane some people believe they are above the law and they can do as they please. Being a Collector Opens your eyes any collector will tell you that.

            Sometimes there are people like this guy, he has a legit debt and he understands it and wants to pay it off. Then one day he gets on the internet and gets an idea put in the head things should go his way and we are here to serve him.

            WRONG! A Collector is not acustomer Service he or she is there to get money owed and in turn also do you a service get you out of the hole your in.

            Like I said, I have had many debtors who wanted to pyay and I offered them a good settlement in which in turn they saved thousands of dollars from a debt and then they get on a site people give him bad advice and then he screws himself out of a deal.

            This man NEEDS to settle not delay the collection

            • Pious_Augustus says:


              If any debtor had a 5,000.00 dollar debt would you rather pay that in full or pay at least 3,000.00 or even 2,500.00 to settle the debt?

              If a collector offers to settle or if you can bring it up SETTLE not fight. Your in debt/mess for a reason get out as soon as possible!

              • AlexTheSane says:


                I have just read through all of your posts on this matter. I sure hope your grammar is better when you write legal documents. YIKES!

              • DaoKaioshin says:

                @Pious_Augustus: legitimacy is important. for instance, if i were to tell you “pious augustus, you owe me over 9000 dollars. please pay up or you will be sentenced to the thunderdome,” you wouldnt pay this debt until you knew that you owed it to me.

                • Pious_Augustus says:


                  Hold on telling someone they are going to be sentenced and punished you know that is a problem for any collector and a no, no. Legal Action can be suggested but regardless you don’t make that threat to often. Often even in cases of debts in which you cannot threaten to sue you can still stay in the area of saying something like we will take ‘further action’ and have the person guessing.

                  For example I used to work with US BANK they could not understand each and every day there were in the red they owe 7 dollars per day. Get over it and pay up

            • Red_Flag says:

              @Pious_Augustus: So are you saying that there has never been a case of a “collector” scamming a debtor out of money? Are you saying that every “collector” is legit and actually owns the debt? Are they all bonded? Registered with the state?

              For that matter, do you pay a “bill” that is only verbal and you’ve never seen evidence you actually owe that money?

              Or the debtor is just to take your word for it that they owe you X dollars, and oh, by the way, if they dare exercise their legal rights, you’ll “play with their life”. Nice.

              Y’know what? Any time a story like this comes up, I’m going to advise the poster to request validation and exercise every legal option they have. Just because your kind can’t be trusted when you view -verifying a debt- as a horrible burden because it costs too much to mail a letter or certify it. Well, and to spite you and your ilk, but that’s just icing on the cake.

              Hey, R! Worst case scenario, declare bankruptcy!

              • Pious_Augustus says:


                Yes there are times in which there is a bad debt out there. I know I have had plenty in which the debtor has paid off the debt and I let the debtor know really quick that I don’t want to collect on a bad debt. It’s wrong and improper if you have anything proving that you indeed paid the debt or it’s a bad debt you can fax or mail it and we can set the record straight.

                As a Collector I was more then happy to take any information possible and fix possible mistakes past companies or current companies have made, it does happen.

                However, if you want us to prove the debt is indeed correct, fine. However if we do find the debt is indeed still there then yeah balence in full no deals no nothing.

                However if you want to send a collector information cause you think the debt is bad. Go ahead the more information the better and ususally debtors who go ahead and send information and sometimes when we show the debtor they are in fault they most likely will honor the debt and for being a good sport I almost always used to reward that with a settlement if everything is paid on time

          • RoZo-D says:


            The guy probably works on commission so yeah, mailing out proof of debt is a big inconvenience for him cause it’s going to take longer for him to get paid.

    • bobpuppet says:


      Here is what the FDCPA say about validation

      “If the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within
      the thirty-day period described in subsection (a) that the
      debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, or that the consumer
      requests the name and address of the original credi-tor, the debt collector shall cease collection of the debt,
      or any disputed portion thereof, until the debt collector
      obtains verification of the debt or any copy of a judgment,
      or the name and address of the original creditor, and a copy
      of such verification or judgment, or name and address of
      the original creditor, is mailed to the consumer by the debt
      collector. Collection activities and communications that
      do not otherwise violate this title may continue during
      the 30-day period referred to in subsection (a) unless the
      consumer has notified the debt collector in writing that the
      debt, or any portion of the debt, is disputed or that the consumer
      requests the name and address of the original creditor.
      Any collection activities and communication during the
      30-day period may not overshadow or be inconsistent with
      the disclosure of the consumer’s right to dispute the debt or
      request the name and address of the original creditor.”

      Please show us where in that text or anywhare in the FDCPA or any other law that it says if a debtor requests valitaion they can not settle “by law”.

  22. maverickuw says:

    You can’t reset the statute of limitations once it has passed. That’s exactly what it means.

    You can reset it IF it hasn’t expired. Let’s say it was 3 years 11 months, that in another month he’d be clear of the debt. If they got an agreement to pay from him then, it would reset to zero.

    Statute of limitations means just that, once it has passed, it has passed.

    • stopNgoBeau says:

      @maverickuw: Not speaking strickly about debt, but you can reset the statute of limitations once it has passed by various acts, depending on what state you are in.

      For example, certain crimes that have statutes of limitations can have the clock reset after they have passed if the violator admits to the crime.

      To me, this would also be valid in a debt arguement, but it really depends on how the state courts interpret it.

  23. cordeduroi says:

    Debt collectors play on people’s guilt of having messed up in years past then add some lies to it to get them scared. Guilt + fear puts people into “I’ll do anything you say” mode.

    In my opinion/experience, there is no reason to even respond by mail (and NEVER by phone) to a debt collector unless (#1) they’ve ALREADY put something on your credit report, (#2) you have the CASH in hand to play ball with them and (#3) they have stated IN WRITING that they will remove the credit report blemish upon payment of an agreed amount. Otherwise, talking to them or paying them any money will gain you ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, regardless of what they say or what threats fly from their used-car-salesman mouths.

    Just how I see it. I’m not a lawyer by any means but I did have quite a few accounts written off some years back during a financial fallout and I’ve learned/used my ‘rules’ based upon that.

    • Pious_Augustus says:


      No it’s not guilt you bought something or owe money to someone and because you did not do the honorable thing someone lost out. Your thinking of the guy who screwed the person off as a victium which is crazy.

      If you wait chances are depending on if it’s a bank or credit account you might have Check systems canceling all your bank accounts or a nice stain on your credit report.

      Basically when you pay off a debt you always have a balence due letter sent to you noting that you paid off your debt

  24. Ashcan says:

    OK folks, here’s the poop from a California lawyer I know. If he paid anything on the debt (which he did), it does “reset the clock” on the debt. Had he known the law, the statute of limitations had passed and he could have told the collectors to get lost.

    But by paying any money on the debt, he affirmed the debt and started a new four-year clock. He can now have his wages garnished, etc., to collect the debt. Yes, he should make RSI Claims prove they own the debt, but the odds are high that they do. Filing against RSI in court will get nowhere unless if RSI does NOT own the debt.

    Bottom line, if RSI owns the debt, you hosed yourself by paying them anything at all.

  25. Roycester says:


    It’s these losers – they pretend to be in Georgia by using VIOP – but are in Buffalo – don’t ever give them a dime. They are all threats and lies and can never pursue you…

  26. kenblakely says:

    “Keep in mind that I recognize that I owe SOMEONE this money and I DO want to make good on it assuming its a legitimate transaction.”

    That’s gotta be the most retarded thing I’ve ever heard. If you don’t know about the debt, and THEY don’t know about the debt, then there’s NO DEBT. Don’t pay ANYTHING!

    Geez. No wonder some people are poor – they’re so freaking eager to give their money to someone!

    • Pious_Augustus says:


      Yes it’s retarded because he wants to make right and pay his dues what do you recommend him do nothing? How bout someone come and borrow things or buy something from you and not pay you or just take it and then play the victium?

  27. the_gank says:

    This is quite interesting….. I just had a similar situation like 24 hours ago. Move out of my apartment 1 month b4 the lease expired and notified the apartment complex in writing. They never acknowledged and I handed them the keys at the beginning of the month my lease should actually expire. Then I called 20 days after seeking my security deposit. Then the property manager tried to extort me by saying I owe rent for the last month in my lease which I already vacated the previous month.

    Then I told her no way!! then she says it’s my lease agreement that if I move out 5 months b4 leave expired, I will still have to pay for the 5 months even thought I didn’t live there. I thought this was a bit spooky. So I asked her 2 mail me a copy of my original lease w/my signature on it as well as highlight the section that says that I have to pay rent when I didn’t stay there n already moved out.

    Then she sent the bill to collectors, now they contacted me trying 2 bully me but I bullied them back and they wrote me in the mail and now I’m sending them a notice saying I don’t owe the creditor and the creditor actually owes me my security deposit, and I also demanded they don’t contact me again in the future.

    Also, they had the wrong amount in the bill as it was $50 short of my regular rent…. consequently, the manager sent 7 days before the date on the collectors notice saying she will use my deposit towards the rent of which I already responded to.

    It sounds like she’s trying to fraud me of my deposit and she has no way to prove what she said…as she hasn’t mail me the documents I requested (the original lease saying what she said)

    Anyone here has ideas what direction to proceed?

    • Pious_Augustus says:


      Okay, did you have a legally binding contract? Let me get this straight your trying to move out the last of the lease? If that is correct you are in violation if though its the last month.

      The month after your lease expires is fair game but to pay five months after when the lease expires?

      • the_gank says:

        @Pious_Augustus: what she is saying is even if I moved out 1 month after i’ve signed the lease, I will still need 2 pay for the remaining 11 month. That sounds retarded to me…especially when I spoke with her and she requested that I put it into writing and it was no big deal.

        Do note that this property manager did not have any intentions of contacting me since I moved out until I started asking for my security deposit…this is where it became clear she was trying to extort me…. besides, why would she send my name to collections w/o even tryin 2 resolve the situation directly? Is that a fair biz practice?

    • mythago says:

      @the_gank: Not knowing what state you live in, there’s no way to know exactly what the applicable laws are. Generally speaking, though, if you have a lease for a fixed term (say, a year) rather than month-to-month, you are liable for that entire term no matter when you move out. If you signed a contract for a year, you owe for a year, no matter when you move.

      You should contact your local tenants’ union or other tenant-rights group for direction.

      • the_gank says:

        @mythago: the state is FL. I still think she’s trying to rob me for my security deposit as the property manager has yet to send me a copy..which i requested a while back. It is a contract – 1 year..

        From a normal human standpoint, if you have a contract say, cell phone and you decided to cancel, the worst that could happen is you pay early termination fee, n you r happy n the carrier is happy… now it doesn’t however make any sense that a normal person will pay 6 months for service they already terminated just cuz they’re in a binding contract? has any1 done this?

        • caj11 says:


          I don’t know the law in Florida but here’s how it generally works, gank: your landlord needs to make reasonable efforts to re-rent the apartment you vacated before the lease ended. If she’s able to rent it out for that last month to somebody for the same rent you were paying, then you owe her nothing. If she can rent it out for less money, you owe her the difference between what you were paying and what she got the new tenant to pay. If she can’t rent it out at all for that last month, you owe her for the last month because you did have a binding lease, from the facts you are giving us.

          Just because you didn’t actually live there doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay – if it was a month that was still part of your yearlong lease, you are responsible for it.

          Where you start to talk about five months is wher you lost me.

          • the_gank says:

            @caj11: Thanks for your response. I don’t think it’s fair. Do you honestly think the landlord will tell me if they were able to rent out the unit to someone else? I doubt it. I mean, I’m no longer in that state, and how do I find out if someone else is living there?

            besides, if I really owe her $, why hasn’t she contacted me? why was it that it was until I contacted her for my deposit that she realized you can tell me I owe her $$? or is it not part of her job?

  28. albear says:

    Um, CapitalOne is not a real credit card. It’s a company that deals in not so good subprime customers.

  29. Anonymous says:

    If the payment was made under coercion or duress, such as by false threats of imprisonment, I find it hard to believe that it would be seen as a voluntary payment such that it could reset the SOL. They should be sued for penalties for each violation. Stack enough, and it could pay the debt!

    Regarding speaking to collectors, it really depends on who is calling. Most CA’s hire McDonald’s rejects with attitude problems to harass people. But some collectors are individual attorney’s or small firms. These can often actually help and conversely have real power to collect.

    I’m an attorney and I collect debts as part of my practice. Debtors are shocked that I’m actually pleasant and work with them without charging fees or marking up the debt. The problem is that most people expect the worst and just avoid me, and thus never find this out. I end up meeting those people at court, often with the aid of a capius–people are pretty surprised then, too–and at that point I’ve incurred unnecessary costs in money and time, so I end up with attorney’s fees on top of the debt.

    Most collectors’ bark is a lot worse than their bite, but some speak softly and carry a big stick.

  30. Anonymous says:

    You used my photo! Awesome! I feel so honored!

  31. banmojo says:

    isn’t he f4#@ed now that he’s sent in a ‘good faith’ payment, thereby resetting the time clock on the debt? damn, that’s a really ill thought out mistake to make. we DO have resources nowadays to learn about this kind of bs. I feel bad for the guy, but much in the same way as I do for anyone who is willfully ignorant (ignorance IS a choice, except for those with IQs below 70-80 range, in which case they may be excused. unless they GOT there by taking drugs/doing stupid things which resulted in static brain damage, chronic, making them go from ‘normal range iq’ to ‘MR range iq’. in that case it was their own damn ignorant fault and I don’t think society owes them a damn thing.)

  32. MarcoVincenzo says:

    Yeah, never give these slimeballs a dime. I too screwed up back in ’95 and ended up ~2,000 in the hole to American Express. They (at the time) wouldn’t extend my payment period and I just couldn’t pay them so it went into default.

    Not too long after I started getting letters demanding payment, but they weren’t from AmEx–they were from a collection agency. At the time (~96-97) I didn’t have the money to pay them so I just ignored the letters. A few years later my finances had improved (I had started working on fixing my credit) and I decided to “square it” with AmEx so I wrote them. They informed me that they’d sold the debt and that I no longer owed them anything. Then I started reading (online) and I realized that if I paid the collection agency (assuming they really owned the debt at that point) I’d really screw up my credit; at that time over 4 (almost 5) years had gone by and if I paid them it would be on my credit report for _another_ 7 years or so whereas if I ignored them it would be off in just over 2.

    Of course, I then decided to ignore them. If my original creditor didn’t want the money I wasn’t going to mess up my credit for even longer by paying the old debt.

    Long story short. It’s been almost 13 years and I still get the occasional letters from a “collection agency” looking for payment on this debt. It’s been off my credit report for years and there is no way I respond to any of these letters–they’re the _kiss of death_.

    And, FWIW, AmEx is now sending me “pre-qualified” letters asking me to open an account. I haven’t sent one back so I don’t know if they’d actually give me a card again, but…. There is no way I’d ever consider responding to a “collection agency”.


    PS I’m not sure who’s reading this, but if you’re a “policy maker” consider letting debtors actually pay their old creditors without penalty. I’d happily pay AmEx what I owed them (plus reasonable interest) if I could do it without taking a hit on my credit report and having a 13 year old debt “start over” for another 7 years.

  33. BeFrugalNotCheap says:

    Great, he just know acknowledged this debt by paying the 100 bucks in “good faith”. Now they can argue that since he paid then he agrees with his ownership of said debt. Goddammit, I wish this guy checked with the consumerist first.

  34. Squeezer99 says:

    why don’t you just point the guy over to they have a dedicated forum for dealing with debt collectors.

  35. caj11 says:

    Can we ban this PiousAugustus guy from posting on this website? A lot of his postings don’t make sense grammatically, and he sounds like nothing but a corporate shill for the debt collection companies, making a lot of generalizations such as anyone who borrows money is a “weasel”. One of his previous postings said, I quote “You went to college and you’ll most likely owe money your entire life, hopefully you wont inspire your kids telling them college is the way to go”.

    Real nice, suggesting that we not send our kids to college in order to avoid debt collectors. Whatever.

    Nor does he seem to care about the fact that some of us have mentioned getting calls from debt collectors for debts that never existed or the debt collectors happen to have called the wrong number, or have the wrong address, or are trying to collect on a debt that was already paid but the payment was overlooked, etc. (yes, PiousAugustus, even debt collection companies like yours make mistakes once in a while).

    Oh and for the record, I pay all my bills, on time and have never had anything sent to a collection agency. My credit report has always been clean. I *did* once get a couple of unfriendly calls for some debtor who happened to have previously rented the apartment I lived in but I had never met them, much less knew who they were. I assume the collection agency called my number through some reverse lookup service. The debt collectors called me early in the morning, accusing me of knowing where the person was and not telling them about the calls until I called their office myself and told them that person does not live here, I do not know them, never knew them and could you please stop calling me. The calls stopped the next day.

    Even us people who pay their bills on time and have no credit problems have to deal with these unprofessional, unpleasant companies staffed heavily with jackasses who make ridiculous and unfair assumptions (you know who I’m talking about PiousAugustus).

  36. mwahaha says:

    Just looking up their company on 800notes and pulls up a lot about them. Here’s an excerpt from a poster —

    “This is a criminal organization, not a law office, and they are ripping off consumers at an amazing pace. NOTHING they threaten will ever happen.”

    Here’s the links: