I am 52, single, have a decent paying job, but am struggling to pay my current bills. I live paycheck to paycheck. I am trying very hard to catch up and get ahead. I was contacted at my work last week by JD Enterprises about a debt from 2001.
They said their process server was on his way to my office to serve me – unless I called them immediately to speak with them. I called. As I mentioned, this debt of $1300.00 was originally from AT&T back in 2001. They say they sent me a notification a couple of times in all these years, but honestly, I don’t remember receiving anything from them. (I’ve moved a couple of times.)
I offered to make payments to them, but they insist on $300-500.00 right now to stop the lawsuit. I don’t have that kind of money. I could make small payments that I could gradu ally increase, but they refuse. I also have two other collection agencies I need to address that are more recent, but they haven’t threatened lawsuit yet. I’m sure that is just around the corner as well.
I don’t want to file bankruptcy, I had to do that 10 years ago after my divorce and besides, I don’t want to file bankruptcy on my smaller accounts that I am keeping current and paying on, and I can’t afford to pay them off in order to file on these big ones. I do not have anyone I can borrow money from either and I am already paying on a loan from my bank.
Is there anything I can do to stop JD Enterprises from suing me and convince them to let me make payments without a big down payment?
Do you have an address and phone number for JD Enterprises? The first thing I’d do is send them a letter by traceable means asking them to show proof of this debt if you feel you don’t owe it or are unsure about the amount they claim.
These old zombie debts that come back to life after long periods of time are sometimes not valid claims. Depending on the state you live in they may not be able to sue you since the statute of limitations for taking legal action my have expired. The threat to sue may just be a bluff.
Of course you can legally terminate any claim for the debt by considering bankruptcy. I know you mentioned you did not want to go bankrupt because there are several smaller bills you are paying on. But there is nothing that prevents you from going bankrupt and repaying any creditor. The advantage of bankruptcy in your situation is that it would break the cycle of just making it month-to-month and close the door on the other debts you know are looming.
If you have not met with a local bankruptcy attorney you should consider it. The appointment is free but the advice is priceless. Meeting with a bankruptcy attorney does not mean you are filing. You can actually meet with an attorney, get advice, and not be obligated to file. In your situation, the more knowledge you have about your options, the more power you have to make the best decision for you.