Broadly, the term "Collections" refers to the practice of creditors trying to force debtors to pay what they owe. There are numerous laws and regulations in Washington, Pennsylvania that govern collection agencies, and strictly limit the types of tactics they are permitted to engage in.
What if I Am Owed Money in Washington, Pennsylvania?
If you are owed money and the debtor refuses to pay, you have some options at your disposal. However, you must tread lightly when it comes to collecting your debts. Creditors and collectors are governed by specific consumer protection laws. Violating these laws can hurt your chances of recovering what you are owed, and even subject you to civil or criminal penalties.
The law blocks creditors from engaging in any form of violence against the debtor in an attempt to collect. It additionally bars them from using abusive language or contacting third parties about the debt owed by the debtor.
What you can do, however, is send an invoice of the debt to the debtor, along with a firm (but civil) demand for timely payment. If the debt is substantial, you might also want to hire a collection agency in Washington, Pennsylvania. You should make sure that any agency you hire is trustworthy, and has not been cited for violations of the rules governing collections.
What if Someone Is Trying to Collect Money Against Me in Washington, Pennsylvania?
If you truly owe the money being sought, and you are able to pay it, you should of course do so. If the collection caller is behaving amicably, you should do the same. Even if the caller doesn't behave in an amicable manner, you should resist the urge to respond in kind, and ask to speak with a supervisor, or simply end the conversation. Whatever you do, you should never ignore the issue. This will not make the problem go away.
Luckily, you have some options in Washington, Pennsylvania. First of all, you should try to directly contact the creditor, and see if some altered payment plan can be worked out. If this doesn't work, you can ask the collectors to stop contacting you by phone, and they will typically be obliged to do so. Of course, this doesn't make the debt go away, but it may give you some time to collect yourself and prepare a legal defense. Once this happens, the collection agency can only contact you to inform you that it intends to sue you for the debt owed.
If you have retained the services of a Washington, Pennsylvania attorney, they may advise that you declare bankruptcy, depending on your specific situation. In any case, you shouldn't consider bankruptcy before weighing other options, and discussing the matter with an attorney.
How Can a Washington, Pennsylvania Collections Attorney Help?
If you believe that the collections agency is engaging in unlawful or abusive activity, you should consult with a local attorney in Washington, Pennsylvania, as you may actually have a claim for damages against the collection agency.
If you are thinking about applying for bankruptcy, a seasoned lawyer in Pennsylvania can help you with that process, too.