Can debt collectors and creditors refuse my payment?

See Payment refusal options below.

Some people believe that collectors and creditors cannot legally refuse your payment or payment offer. Others believe that as soon as collectors and creditors refuse your “tender of payment” they forfeit the right to collect on the account and the debt is discharged.

The law that is often misquoted is called the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) and, when it is misquoted, people are led to believe that if a payment offer is refused, the debt is wiped out. Using this logic, I could offer a $5 payment on a $10,000 debt and if the creditor or collector refused my offer, the debt is discharged. If this were the case, everyone would be making $5 offers and clearing their debt. Heck, if we all did that this country would be debt free in no time.

Below is the section of the UCC that is always misinterpreted, but first, understand payment arrangements are about leverage, and you need to know your bargaining power before going into any negotiation. Get FREE answers and a FREE financial analysis from experienced Debt Help Lawyers today.

U.C.C. – ARTICLE 3 – NEGOTIABLE INSTRUMENTS , PART 6. DISCHARGE AND PAYMENT

§ 3-603. TENDER OF PAYMENT.

(a) If tender of payment of an obligation to pay an instrument is made to a person entitled to enforce the instrument, the effect of tender is governed by principles of law applicable to tender of payment under a simple contract.

(b) If tender of payment of an obligation to pay an instrument is made to a person entitled to enforce the instrument and the tender is refused, there is discharge, to the extent of the amount of the tender, of the obligation of an indorser or accommodation party having a right of recourse with respect to the obligation to which the tender relates.

(c) If tender of payment of an amount due on an instrument is made to a person entitled to enforce the instrument, the obligation of the obligor to pay interest after the due date on the amount tendered is discharged. If presentment is required with respect to an instrument and the obligor is able and ready to pay on the due date at every place of payment stated in the instrument, the obligor is deemed to have made tender of payment on the due date to the person entitled to enforce the instrument.

From my research, this law does NOT apply to the cancellation of credit contracts. Article 3-603(b) refers to the tender of payments using negotiable instruments (checks, bank drafts, and so forth) and, if the payment is refused, the amount of the tender is discharged. So, even if this rule did apply, the only amount that is discharged is the face value of the negotiable instrument.

So, in my opinion anyone quoting this law as a means to discharge credit contracts are misinterpreting the law. Learn more here…

Uniform Commercial Code

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So what are my options when debt collectors refuse my payment offer?

First, you need to know that there is no law that compels collectors to accept your payments or payment offer or agreement letter.

Second, recognize that negotiate with collectors on the phone is difficult at best because they are trained to control the conversation. Unless you are a very skilled negotiator, you’ll only end up angry, scared or frustrated. Use this script for when bill collectors call, and you may want to enlist a Debt Help Lawyer to handle your negotiations .

Third, always check the Statute of limitations on debt collection BEFORE making any payment offer.

If you want to make a payment offer, PUT IT IN WRITING! That way you and the collector have a record of your “good faith” effort to resolve the issue.

Use these sample letters:

Debt Payment Agreement Letter
Use this letter when you want to make a payment offer.

Payment Termination Letter
Use this letter when you have been making regular payments and the collector suddenly demands more money.

Using letters becomes extremely important if you have to defend your actions in court. Judges want to see what you have done to take care of the debt and written payment offers are strong evidence of your good faith.

When collectors first attempt to collect they can be very aggressive and may refuse to cooperate! They are trained to only accept certain types of payments such as full payments, post-dated checks, electronic payments and so forth. Send your payment offer in writing and let them accept or decline your offer. If they accept, you’ll probably never receive anything in writing that says they accept your plan however, the sample letter covers this with a statement that says, “Please note that accepting (cashing) this payment constitutes a payment agreement between us according to the terms outlined above.”

KEEP ACCURATE RECORDS! Keep copies of every letter you send and everything they send including the envelopes.

What about creditors who refuse payments?

Most creditors will work with you if you call them BEFORE the account goes delinquent! Letting them know ahead of time shows that you care and helps maintain your credibility. Mind you that not all creditors will work with you regardless of your previous payment history. I’ve seen people miss a payment for the first time in 10 years and their creditor had no mercy.

Early intervention may get your creditor to: See these guidelines for negotiating with creditors

  • eliminate late charges on your account.
  • not report your delinquency to credit reporting agencies.
  • permit you to make interest-only payments for awhile
  • Prevent your utilities from being cut off.
  • Not turn your account over to a collection agency
  • Defer payments to the end of your contract.

Failing to contact your creditor is a big mistake but it happens and eventually they call demanding the full balance or payments much higher than you can afford. Keep in mind that, just like collectors, creditors are not compelled to accept your payment offer. The idea that they have to accept your payment or discharge the debt is a myth (see first paragraph).

When creditors refuse payments, it’s usually because company policy prohibits it. It can’t hurt to ask and if your first offer is declined, ask what they feel is an acceptable payment. You may have to negotiate for awhile and what ever you do, DO NOT agree to terms that you cannot afford. Agreeing to terms you cannot afford is dangerous and only leads to another broken promise down the road and ruins your creditability.

As a last resort if they refuse to work with you, send a written payment offer anyway. They may just accept it even after refusing your plan on the phone.

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Comments

  1. lauren says

    What can you do if a plaintiff wins a civil case against you and refuses payment in full? I have tried to pay the court directly and they only do that for small claims. Can I take the plaintiffs to court or have the debt be dismissed if they refuse payment in full? I need this off my credit because it is hurting my job opportunities.

    • says

      If you are trying to pay a judgment in full and the creditor refuses, that may be an unfair or deceptive trade practice and an unconscionable act under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. But someone refusing payment in full I an odd situation and it would seem doing so is only aimed increasing interest.

      It sounds like you may need the backing of a Debt Help Lawyer to square this debt away. Call 888 595 9111 for a free no obligation consultation.

  2. Pat says

    Via certified mail, I sent a letter offering payment in full for a debt and my only terms were that they remove the ‘in collections’ status from my credit report and that they accept this to send this to me in writing. Their reply was to send me a stock ‘this is an attempt to collect a debt’ letter and didn’t say if they accepted or declined my offer and they ask that I call them. I am willing to pay in full, but they are refusing to put anything in writing. What should I do?

    • says

      Sounds fishy. Don’t pay anything without adequate assurances. You can try to get those assurances yourself (for example, write the conditions in the memo part of the check, or send a letter with the check stating acceptance of the check constitutes an agreement), or you can just get a Debt Help Lawyer to assist you, whether it be in negotiating down the balance or suing under the FDCPA. These guys will consult you for free and represent you at little to no cost to you.

  3. Carol says

    I have been treated in a very rude manor by NES (Debt Collection Agency). I wanted to clear my credit as I lost my job and was unemployed for a period of 6 months. I paid off all old debt after being re-employed and contacted each debtor on my own – I contacted each debtor and most worked well with me, though paying off all credit card was a mistake. It had no effect at all on my credit but still showed as “Negative” due to payments (even if paid off) was late. CareCredit with GE Captial turned me over to NES collection agency. I called them and I told them I could make arrangements, pay them monthy, etc..or a lump sum, but I was told by the rep with NES that they would not mail me a statement, a receipt or anything and that they HAD to AUTO DEDUCT from my bank acct every month. I allowed them to do this, until my 6 mnth contract job – paying fairly good money – ended. I called NES and asked if they could delay the ACH payments from my acct as I was once again unemployed and they began to get too personal with me, making statements, asking questions: such as, “Okay, we can charge you double the amount from your bk acct next mnth!” I assured them the money would not be there. The rude lady on the phone then stated, “Hmmm, so I bet you’re on unemployment, right??? You are aren’t You…” She was very rude. That’s none of her business, but, the answer was absolutely “No” – no unemployment. Only a lot of bills, rent, and I’m a single mom with a son in college with Asperger’s syndrome of whom I help financially. They did not care. I called – finally – the original debtor (CareCredit – a small loan for emergency dental work that had to be done…) I explained the situation to them, though I also, as they told me, let them know that I was also recording the call. (I have it on my phone now) In short, I’ve paid well over the amount of the loan ($1000.00) and am now only paying interest. 2 more payments left of 137.00 per mnth auto deducted from my account. I am about to call NES again to NOT deduct from my account until I have some kind of receipt, statement or proof of payment. I was told by CareCredit (original debtor) that NES wouldn’t give me a statement or mail / email any proof of payment. How do I know that CareCredit will receive notice that I paid them off??? I honestly don’t know the credit protection laws in Texas and would like to know if they can demand Auto Drafts from your bank account. I am again unemployed and my son needs help…i haven’t paid my health insurance premium in 2 mnths and have health problems. Would love to know TX law in regard to NES demanding to deduct from my bank account!

    • says

      No one can demand bank account info, least of all a debt collection company like National Enterprise Systems (NES). So don’t give it to them, and don’t fall for their bullying.

      What’s more, the things they said to you sound like they are on the cusp of, if not past the point of, violating the FDCPA. Violations of the FDCPA entitle you to up to $1,000 statutory damages, plus actual damages, plus attorney fees, so it costs nothing out of pocket, win or lose, to retain a Debt Help Lawyer from this website.

      Please contact us today, your story is troubling and we’d like to help. You may even qualify for our debt settlement services. Call 888-595-9111 or just enter your info into our easy online case review form.

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