by Mark E. Godbey, Lawyer Referral Service Panelist
It is up to each individual creditor—whether a bank, credit card company, car dealer or other organization—to decide how much patience they want to have with customers who are in arrears. Sometimes, a collection agency will call if you are just 30 days past due. If you do get a call from a collection agency, theoretically you haven’t been sued yet, though this may not always be the case.
Say, for example, you are getting a call from a collection agency because you are behind on your credit card. If you know that is the tip of the iceberg and you owe another $50,000 in credit card debt, you should consider calling a bankruptcy attorney. If it’s the only debt you owe and you owe $2,000 to that credit card, but you are out of work right now, and you can’t afford to pay much now, I would call them or answer the phone when they call and tell them the truth.
Once you have retained an attorney, you can refer any debt collection calls to your attorney who will handle them for you.