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new here and really need HELP!!!!---long


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Hello, I have been visiting this site to get tips on getting rid of my debt, but today I need help and of course it is Saturday and no one is open to help me. Here is my situation: Last year my husband got sick and we got behind on some bills. A few of them went to collection agencies and we are working with them. This one particular company has been a horrible to deal with, they call several times a day, they force me to give them money now. We are on a debt management program and have included them in the program. They were currently receiving $20.00 a month. They never signed a proposal that they would be a part of the debt management plan, but the sure keep the $20.00 every month. I have tried several times to pay a settlement and end this nightmare with them, but if I need to alter it they would not. In fact they would run the checks through anyway. Causing them to be returned. Last month I set up settlement with them and thought this would finally be over, well I missed a few days of work and did not have money to make the settlement to them. I called them again and begged them to alter it because I did not have the money. They were rude, one gentleman who I refuse to deal with calls me names every time I call like "you aint nothin but a check bouncer". In fact he even answered the phone "What Mrs Davis you calling to bounce another check". Anyway, they would not alter the plan. As I am sure you all aware once you get behind it takes forever to get caught up. In the meantime, the account that I authorized the payment to be taken was closed by the bank because of a negative balance. So, when they tried to run the check of course they found out it was a close account. So, they processed a check to my other bank account which had money in it and they got their payment. They had this account in their files from previous payments. I did not authorize them to use that account for this payment. Can they do that? Is that illegal to run a check through a bank that I did not authorize? This stuff has never happened to me before and I do not know what my rights are? Please help and thanks for listening.

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I think that the first thing that you ought to do is write them a letter stating that from this point forward they are only allowed to contact you via US Mail. This will help take some of the pressure off of you and give you some time to think in between letters.

IANAL, but I don't believe that they can automatically debit an account without your authorization. All you need to do is call your bank and let them know that you did not authorize that transaction. I believe that you have up to six months (or something crazy like that) to dispute the transaction. (My knowledge is based on the fact that I used to write software that dealt with ACH transfers.)

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As ShortBus said....NO TALKING ON THE PHONE! And no, they can not take money out of your bank account w/o your consent. However, you have little chance of getting your money back, since they will just claim you gave consent.

So first of all, get a new checking account and close the one the CA knows about. NEVER GIVE A CA BANK ACCOUNT NUMBERS! This includes sending them a personal check.

Send a letter to the CA (CMRRR) letting them know that you can not receive calls at work and that you no longer conduct financial business over the phone. Let them know any calls to your home are recorded (even if they are not.) Since the CA know that you won't deal with them on the phone, they have no reason to call you other than to harass you.


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First, calm down. You are not alone. Understand that the bad ole debt collector is trained to scare you and intimidate you.

If you did not give them authorization to access an account, then no that is illegal. Nothing can be done this weekend so, go into your bank on Monday and explain the situation to them and get some advice. Most likely, you need to open a new account and close the old one so they can no longer access your account. Then, never, never, never pay that CA by personal check again NOR authorize them to do a electronic withdrawal. Only use money orders. Actually, you should never pay a CA with a personal check or automatic withdrawal. Why? Because many CAs will do exactly what this one has done to you.

At the top of this page there is the link FDDCPA. Select it to read the law that protects consumers from abusive debt collectors.

Now, by calling you several times a day, the CA is violating FDCPA 806(5).

(5) Causing a telephone to ring or engaging any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number.

Read section 806 carefully and get familure with it. Sounds like several things may have been violated already. Learn what your rights are.

FOr further reference, read FDCPA section 808 paying special attention to the information about postdated checks or other postdated instrument (authorized withdrawal).

You have rights, but you have to take a little time and learn them. Then learn how to enforce them.

Now, the letter ShortBus is reffering to is called a limited Cease & Desist letter. The purpose is to stop them from calling you and only deal with you via mail. That stops the intimidation. If they do not stop calling, then each call is a violation. For your case, it needs to basically say that based on the FDCPA violations they have performed they may only contact you by mail from this point forward. YOu are not telling them no contact, just limiting that to mail only. You can list references to the FDCPA section/paragraphs they violated if you want but it is not required. Object is to let them know your getting hip to their abusive tricks. It's all intimidation.

You said you were working with a debt management outfit like CCCS. For reputable outfits, you typically pay the debt management company a lump sum amount monthly and they pay each creditor with their own checks. You indicated this CA was being paid via the program even though they did not agree to it. You also state they are taking your checks. Are you saying you are writting all the checks for each account and then giving them to the debt management company and they mail them? That is not the normal approach for a reputable debt management company.

Take the time this weekend and, from the top of this page, read the debt validation, settle debt, credit repair, debt rebuild, and other links. Get educated and then come out swinging. DOn't let them get to you. Your owning up to your debt and activily working to fix it. Your not ignoring them therefore your NOT A DEADBEAT. Now repeat that 100 times, a 1000 if you have to. Then realize the FDCPA was specifically written to combat the CA scum that is currently abusing you.

Do you have Caller ID on your phone? Normally, those have the phone number, and day/time of call. You can take pictures of each time they called to show the excessive calling. You need to make a log of when they called and what was said if you can remember. THe goal in assembling, recording, documenting all of this is if you decide to take them to small claims court over all this you will have the documentation to support you.

Good luck - D

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Thanks everyone for you advise on this. I am going to read the laws and learn what my rights are. No, the debt mamagement company takes a lump sum payment every month and they write out checks to my creditors.

The checks I was giving to them was extra money above and beyond what my credit counselors were sending to them. I have surely learned a lesson here. I called my bank this morning, just happens that this bank is located out of town so going there is not possible, they are sending me the paperwork to dispute the transaction. Although I have to agree with you that I may not get my money back. Thanks

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Beware of debt managment companies (DMC) otherwise known as debt elimination and or debt settlement companies...

These guys are worse than the CA.

Many if not most people that go thru one are sorry in the end.

They take advantage of, and make a lot of money off people who are trying to do the right thing but don't know any better.

They take credit that is salvagable and really F$%% it up.

You think you credit sucks now?... what a few months it is only going to get worse.

Secondly, they can't do anything that you can't do yourself. You wouldn't pay

someone to tie your shoes, so you shouldn't pay someone to negotiate your debts.

You are here at this site trying to fix your credit, you didn'y pay a credit repair service and you could have... You are trying to do it yourself, the same thing holds true

with DMC's ... you can and should do it yourself.

Here is how MOST operate.

1. They sign you up giving you a big sales pitch how awesome they are

and how everything is going to be just great. They say don't worry and they say to ignore CA calls...

HELLO ... ignoring your creditors is what put you in this situation!!!!

2. They take your monthly payments and put it in an escrow... but what they don't tell you is that they STOP making making all payments to your creditors or they make less than the minimum payment.

That's right, they STOP making any monthly payments on all your accounts, open or closed or make less than what is required.... in the meantime your open accounts become 30 days late, then 60 days late, 90, 120days late and then sent to a CA and you don't know it because they have you forward all your mail to them... everything seems great for a few months until it hits the CA and they start calling...

Oh, btw.. you just can't sent any payment you want, if the creditor 'minimum payment' is for $40 a month and you send in $20.. the account will be closed, labeled as in default and sent to a CA.

If you had some OK open accounts, they are closed at credit grantors request for non payment or not paying as agrred and sent to a CA. That is not to your advantage!

3. After the escrow account is large enough and AFTER they

take their large cut, they start negoitating with the CA's. They claim they can get great reductions with most creditors and CA's .

... duh, so can you if you negotiate with them.

What they don't tell you is that they wait and wait and wait to ever pay the debts, sometimes up to a few years.. and that whole time interest and late fees etc is being added on every singe month. So lets say you had a

$2000 debt and it takes the DMC one year to finally make an offer and pay it,

that $2000 debt has ballooned to about $2700 or more and all negotiations are based on the current balance, not the original balance so even a 50% reduction is $1350.

Had you done it a year earlier, you could have negoitated a it down to

about $1000 and made small monthly payments and you could have negotiated that no more interest and fees be added as long as you do agree to do,,,, you also could have negotiated a PFD.

Also, as long as you are making your agreed payments, there is no fear of getting sued... Just because you are in a DMC doesn't stop your creditors from suing you!

What they DON'T do is protect you from law suits and they don't negotiate PFD's, and what you need are those bad TL's deleted, and not to get sued.

A DMC just focuses on taking your money and divvying out payments

at their discretion and taking their cut..... that's it.

You are trying to do the right thing and this is what really errks me about DMC's.. they are a total scam ripoff.

Bottom line... Avoid DMC like the plague.

Drop them now, take the $$ hit otherwise you will be really hurtin later on.


Credit is about keeping yur promises.. If you say you are going to do something.. do it! period.

Don't agree to something that you know you can't do.

You can't keep altering agreements repeatedly.

Otherwise you will never have good credit.

If your life is one crisis after another, than you had better take a long hard look in the mirror and

make some severe life style changes


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I wouldn't only close the accounts you have given the CA access to; I'd change banks.

Let me get this straight. You gave them access to not one but two accounts at the same bank? Why two accounts?

If you are having trouble coming up with a $20 monthly payment, I'm thinking settlement might not be the way for you to go. What's the total cumulative debt you are trying to pay?

When assessing your sitution you need to consider all options and choose whatever works best for you. There are options other than paying when someone calls demanding payment.

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Hi blues,

There are 2 type of debt repair organizations. The one you described is a debt settlement company (DS). The one the OP described is a debt management company (DM like CCCS). A DM does not put your $ in escro. Like the OP said, a DM makes monthly payments to each creditor in the program. It can take up to 5-6 years, depending on ones situation, to pay off the debts. There is a downside in that the fact you are using a DM gets reported on your CR. While I do agree with you that you can do this yourself without the need for a DM or DS company, one needs to learn how to do this first. In the interest of the OP, she needs to learn how to do this first so she doesn't dig a deeper hole (giving her creditors the wrong message) so that she can move forward. She is already intimidated by all this so don't scare her more. She does not know enough to know that much of what you said does not apply in her case.

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