Can a collection agency accept payment and then change its mind?

UPDATED: Jun 19, 2011

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Can a collection agency accept payment and then change its mind?

It refused the second payment and told me that I was under legal review and possible wage garnishment.

Asked on June 19, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If there was an agreement between you and the collection agency (or between you and the creditor which hired the collection agency) that you would pay according to a certain schedule, then as long as you honored your terms of the agreement, they have to honor the agreement, too, and accept the payments.

On the other hand, if you were in default (i.e. had missed payments, paid late, etc.) on the original debt and then did not have an actual agreement with the collection agency, the agency is free to reject an offered paymen from you and consider suing you. Without an agreement, once you are in default, the creditor or its representative(s) may go to legal action and don't have to accept offered payments.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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