How to Handle a Creditor Who Threatens to Sue

Опубликовал Admin
7-10-2016, 02:40
In a debt collection attempt, a creditor may threaten to bring a lawsuit, or sue, in order to force payment on a delinquent debt. Collection agencies can, by law, sue those who default on a debt for the amount of the debt plus any accrued interest and/or penalty fees. However, creditor harassment, as it is defined by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), is illegal and punishable in a court of law. If you are dealing with debt collection agents, it is important that you know how to handle the situation appropriately, so as to protect your rights and stay on the correct side of the law. Follow these guidelines for how to handle a creditor who threatens to sue.


  1. Determine if the creditor is acting within legal guidelines. Attempting to collect a debt under any of the following circumstances is considered creditor harassment:
    • Business debt. Creditors can only make collection attempts on consumer debt.
    • Inappropriate times. Collectors cannot call you on Sundays, or anytime between 9 at night and 8 in the morning.
    • Abusive or foul language. Harassing creditors often use curse words and/or threaten personal or property damage, or to put you behind bars.
  2. Take action against harassing creditors. If you find that the creditor is not acting inside the law, then you may take steps to hold the creditor accountable for illegal actions.
    • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC will investigate the creditor's business practices for free and, if the creditor is found guilty of illegal business practices, the FTC could remove the business's credit license. However, the FTC cannot do anything to settle your issue with the creditor.
    • Take the creditor to small-claims court. This is a cost-conscious alternative to hiring an attorney, as small-claims cases are relatively inexpensive and you do not have to hire legal representation to file a small-claims case. In small-claims court, you may sue the creditor for harassment, for pursuing a debt that you do not owe, for attempting to collect an inaccurate amount or for incorrectly reporting your account details to credit agencies. Just remember that you will still be held accountable for any money you owe the creditor.
  3. Work with the creditor to clear your debt. If you owe the debt, then you will have to resolve the matter, whether you have the money to pay the debt or not. Find out the account number, account balance and the length of time the account has been past due so that you can evaluate your ability to repay the debt, then consider the following options:
    • Ask to establish a payment plan with the creditor. A debt collection agent should be prepared to set your account up under new repayment terms, as agreed on by you and the creditor. Once you enter into a payment plan, the debt collection attempts should end. However, if you do not honor the agreement, the creditor will start contacting you again, and could eventually sue.
    • Tell the creditor you have filed for bankruptcy. Once you are able to give the creditor your attorney's name and/or bankruptcy case number, that creditor can no longer attempt to collect the debt.
  4. Send the creditor a certified letter requesting an end to contact. You may do this in addition to, or instead of, working with the creditor to clear your debt. Include your name, current address, previous address (as listed with the creditor), account number and a detailed account of the creditor's attempts to collect and your inability or unwillingness to pay, and close the letter by instructing the creditor not to contact you anymore. By law, the creditor will no longer be able to contact you regarding that debt after you send a written request to cease communication. However, the creditor may still opt to sue you.


  • If you are unsure of your rights, the nature of your debt or about whether or not you are dealing with creditor harassment, consult an attorney.
  • Creditors will often settle a debt for a fraction of the balance if you can offer a lump sum payment. If you can afford to settle, ask the debt collection agent to speak to a manager about making a settlement offer.


  • Be aware that you have to prove the actions of harassing creditors in court.
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