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.


(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 .

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

Can debt collectors refuse my payment?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.


  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.

      • David says

        I am in this same situation. I made 2 offers, one was a lump sum of roughly 40% of the judgment amount. It was refused. The second was a series of monthly payments totaling the full judgment amount. Also refused. They said “it’s not enough. We will only accept payment in full”. Since they already have a judgment my guess is they are just wanting to add interest. I submitted a final offer of payment in full with the amount THEY sent me in a letter dated a week before I made the offer. This most recent offer has not been acknowledged. If this is refused, would I have grounds to have the judgment overturned? I also disputed their statutory interest since the statute in my state requires a signature from the person being charged (me), and there are NO documents to be found with my signature on them and the judgment does not state an interest rate. The judgment says “by agreement” however I was not served as the address on the summons was incorrect and I did not appear in court. Alas it was 6.5 years ago.

        • says

          You likely have experienced some sort of Fair Debt violation(s), and even if not, it sounds like you would benefit from re-prioritizing your debts through debt settlement, and the Debt Help Lawyers at this site can provide you a free, no obligation Fair Debt consultation. The worst thing to do is nothing, so call us now at 888-595-9111 and we will get started figuring our how to help you!

  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.

  4. Tim says

    Recently I had a conversation with a collector who was trying to collect on behalf of a creditor.
    I made a settlement offer, and the collector outright refused to present that offer to the creditor, stating that it was just too low and they didn’t want to waste the creditor’s time with it.
    Are they legally allowed to refuse to present my offer? Can I side-step them and make an offer directly to the creditor?

    • says

      You sure are. The problem is creditors often give debts to outside collections, so they may likely choose not to communicate with you. Its often a different game when you have a debt help lawyer on your side, whether it be to enforce the FDCPA and other consumer protection laws, to help you settle your debts or to just dispute stuff that makes no sense to you. Call 888-595-9111 and we’ll set you up with a free, no obligation case review to see how we can solve your debt troubles.

  5. RC says

    I was approximately 90 days behind on my auto loan with Wells Fargo Dealer Services. 4 days ago, I had managed to get together enough money to pay the total 3 month delinquent balance, so I called the number the had left on my voicemail instructing me to call them back because I was behind. When I called, I immediately gave the representative all my identifying info and she pulled up the account. I then told her verbaim “Hi, I’m calling to pay off all my late payment in full and bring my account current.”. She then said “Oh, so-and-so is handling your account and you have to speak with her I can’t accept payment from you, only she can work with you because she’s assigned to your account.”. She then said that that person was not in, and did I want her direct line and did I want to be transferred. I said to her “Well, my car’s about to be repo’d and I have the full payment and I don’t want that to happen. She again stated “I can’t even fully open your account so there’s nothing I can do”. I then asked for a different manager, and she said no one else in management was there. She then asked if if like the rep’s number and if I’d like to be transferred to that rep im charge of my account, and I said “ok”. She transferred me and I left a message explaining once again that I had full payment and I needed to pay iit. I tried calling back to see if a different agent would pick up, but now for some reason it was going directly to the rep in charge of my account’s voicemail almost like they were avoiding me. I left her 2 more messages that I was trying to reach them to pay. The next day, they repo’d my car. What rights do I have here? I greatly appreciate any help you can give!!

    • says

      There is not a “one size fits all” set of rights as to repos and your best options depend on a fast analysis of your state’s law and the loan contract’s terms, so we better get the Debt Help Lawyers here on your FREE case review right away. They will need info specific to your situation, you can get them this info by calling 888 FDCPA LAW now. Meanwhile, You can learn some basics of repossession laws here.

  6. david says

    I went to pay my loan. I tried to pay half of what was owed. Two different people told me I had to pay it in full. Now they are trying to garnis my wages. Can they do that in Alabama.

    • says

      They can not garish your wages without first suing and being awarded a judgment by the courts. If you have been illegally garnished, you may be entitled to get that money back as well as have a valid claim for up to $1000 in statutory damages against the debt collector under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Wouldn’t it be nice if the collector had to pay you? Call 888 595 9111 for a free, fast no obligation case review.

  7. Kim says

    My doctors office wanted me to make a higher than i can afford and i offered a lower payment and it was refused. I’m on disability and can only afford so much. What are my rights as far as them refusing my offer?

    • says

      Blood cannot be gotten from a stone, and though the doctor isn’t legally required to accept a smaller payment, you cannot be forced to pay what you don’t have. Further, your disability income are “exempt” funds meaning they cannot be garnished or seized as long as you do not commingle the exempt funds with non-exempt funds (for example, a spouse’s paycheck). You can read more about exempt funds here or call us for a free, no obligation debt settlement consultation at 888-595-9111. And depending on where you live, you may have state law rights against creditors like your doctor’s office and may be able to make the doctor pay you.

  8. peggy paradis says

    i recieved a call from collector wanting full payment i said i could pay 10 a month they refused saying they could only except 25 and i havent recieved anything from them in writing on this bill, i cant pay 25 she gave me 2 days or it will be rufusal to pay, cant i go back to the debtor and ask them if i can pay them?and shouldnt they have sent me a bill instead of a call first

    • says

      The FDCPA requires the collector to send a “G” notice within 5 days of the first communication. The G notice tells you:
      (1) the amount of the debt;
      (2) the name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed;
      (3) a statement that unless the consumer, within thirty days after receipt of the notice, disputes the validity of the debt, or any portion thereof, the debt will be assumed to be valid by the debt collector;
      (4) a statement that if the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty-day period that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, the debt collector will obtain verification of the debt or a copy of a judgment against the consumer and a copy of such verification or judgment will be mailed to the consumer by the debt collector; and
      (5) a statement that, upon the consumer’s written request within the thirty-day period, the debt collector will provide the consumer with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current creditor.
      Additionally, if they are charging you interest, that may be illegal if this is a junk debt buyer as opposed to a collector on behalf of the original creditor. Call us at 888-595-9111 and discuss your situation with a legal assistant, you may be entitled to up to $1,000 statutory damages.

  9. Steve Granados says

    Can a landlord refuse payment of rent from a person other than the listed tenant. In other words can I pay my Mothers space rent @ her mobile home park? Does the landlord have any legal status to refuse my check? Or is it simply stupid on the parks behalf ?? Or does Mom simply get a month rent free?

    • says

      Thank you for your question. Is your mother’s account in collections? It seems there are more facts that would help us answer your question more specifically, call us for a free, no obligation consultation at 888-595-9111.

  10. john says

    what if I sued 2 attorneys and they hired one of the attorney’s brother, he got the lawsuit dismissed, won a judgment because of it and then the brother hired back the collection agency where the other attorney works to collect? The collection agency where one of the attorneys that I originally sued filed a writ of execution to have the sheriff come and take my property and sell it to collect. It seems like a conflict of interest. Is there any th ING illegal about what they are doing?

  11. Nicole says

    My car dealer finance company refuses to accept payments from me because the car is in my husband’s name. Is this legal?

    • says

      Thank you for question. Consumers do have rights under a variety of laws designed to protect you. The tactics of the finance company sound questionable. Take advantage of this site’s FREE, no obligation case review and let’s figure out how to get you some real help, call us at 888-595-9111 and we’ll get you taken care of.

  12. Shannon says

    My boyfriend went to renew his licence in Florida, they told him he had to resolve a ticket in Maryland, he called to find out what it was and found a judgement has been entered against his license for an accident where he banged up a car. (He was uninsured) This was three years ago or longer, he never even knew about the court case or judgement. They have suspended his license. We offered to make monthly payments, offered to pay yearly out of taxes. The lawyer (for the other people) said they have to have our bank account info, statements and all, work info, and pay stubs to even attempt to figure out what the lowest “down payment” might be. I don’t know what to do, is there a minimum monthly payment in Maryland? Do we have to make a down payment? If we do, do we have to do that AND monthly payments or can we pay out of taxes? We have to do something because they won’t lift the suspension without a payment arrangement of some sort, but the lawyer was very short with us on the phone and kept rushing us off as we tried to get answers. We’re a family of six, barely making it on 10 dollars an hour.

    Thanks for any help you can offer.

    • says

      Blood cannot be gotten from a stone, and though the judgment plaintiff isn’t legally required to accept a smaller payment, you cannot be forced to pay what you don’t have. You can read more about exempt funds here or call us for a free, no obligation debt settlement consultation at 888-595-9111. And depending on where you live, you may have state law rights.

  13. Jaron says

    Atlantic credit is telling me I have to set up an automatic withdrawal with them. They will not accept individual payments month to month. I want to pay the debt but if they won’t even let me make a payment what am I supposed to do. So far today they have called me twice and my wife twice and I doubt it will stop there. What should I do?

    • says

      If you owe the debt, and plan to pay it, consider setting up automatic withdrawals. Most automatic withdrawal forms violate the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (violations of which entitle you to up to $1,000 statutory damages plus actual damages, and post dated payments (which they are asking for) have strict notice requirements under the FDCPA which if violated also entitles you to up to $1,000 statutory damages plus actual damages! TURN THE TABLES on these guys, and the Debt Help Lawyers at this site will represent you under both these statutes at NO COST YOU! If you don’t plan to pay the debt, just tell them to stop, and if they don’t, call us at 888-595-9111 for free help to recover damages for you.

      • Richard Fulton says

        Boro tax collector doesn’t want my money?

        Cathe and I forgot to pay local taxes this last go round and got a notice I think last week of Dec or first week of Jan with the tax rate and penalty, so we sent off checks for the full amount. including the amount of the penalty, each in a separate envelope.

        We got the checks back today with a note saying I can’t pay my taxes now because it had been turned over to a collection agency. Really? You can’t accept payment IN FULL now as the tax collector for the boro? Also, he didn’t return mine separately and just stuffed mine in with Cathe’s and sent both back to her.

        I’ve paid taxes in half a dozen states over the years and never had this occur. Of course, I never made out a tax check to a person rather than a municipality either.

        We’re talking $30 here…

  14. Carrie says

    I was sued by Personal Finance Company in April of 2014. I entered into a consent judgment with their attorneys, Miller & Steeno, P.C. (technically a debt collector) for $115.00 per month. When I was required to take medical leave, I was unable to make any further payments and a garnishment was issued. However, at the end of January, I made a settlement offer of $2,500.00 and it was accepted. I was not made aware of a 15 day deadline and was told that there was not going to be any paperwork provided to me for this agreement. Due to issues with my bank and financial manager, my payment was delayed until February 24, 2015. They have had the check for a week and have refused to cash it because it was “late” and have actually issued a second garnishment. What can I do about this? They have consistently refused to provide any paperwork and have bounced me from person to person. The person who set up the agreement did not advise me of the 15 day deadline and told me that I would have to get all documents from the court. However, being a paralegal in the field of litigation, I have never seen one of my clients agree to a settlement without signing at least one document. Does this make the agreement null and void? Also, would I have standing to sue them for their refusal to cash the check after their client agreed to the settlement?

    • says

      You may have experienced some sort of Fair Debt violation(s), the Debt Help Lawyers at this site can provide you a free, no obligation Fair Debt consultation. The worst thing to do is nothing, so call us now at 888-595-9111 and we will get started figuring our how to help you!

  15. Jennifer says

    I recently received court papers via sheriff from a debt collector who had in the past relentlessly harrassed me over a debt but didn’t bother to tell me i had another debt with them. When i called to start making payments, they used double language. They said they couldn’t accept any payment less than 50 dollars a month, I’d offered 25, said that they were still going to sue me and that i actually owed almost twice what the court papers said.

    • says

      You may have experienced some sort of Fair Debt violation(s), and even if not, it sounds like you would benefit from re-prioritizing your debts through debt settlement, and the Debt Help Lawyers at this site can provide you a free, no obligation Fair Debt consultation. The worst thing to do is nothing, so call us now at 888-595-9111 and we will get started figuring our how to help you!

  16. Brittany says

    I live in TN I am almost 30 days late on a title loan. I just lost my job and told the loan company. my payment is 103.00 over the past few weeks I have managed to gather 90.00. at first I offerd 45.00 they said no then a few days later I offerd another 20.00 again they told me no I also tired yesterday to give them a total of 90.00 to put on my payment so they wouldn’t repo my car but once again I was told that they are not allowed to except any form of payment other than the whole payment amount. is there a law against this refusing a payment. im at least trying to show them I do want to pay on my bill…. can anyone give me any answers I really cant let my car get repoed… thank you.

    • says

      Is this debt still held by the original creditor? Or Has the account in collections? It sounds like you would benefit from re-prioritizing your debts through debt settlement, and the Debt Help Lawyers at this site can provide you a free, no obligation Fair Debt consultation. The worst thing to do is nothing, so call us now at 888-595-9111 and we will get started figuring our how to help you!

  17. Thomas says

    I fell behind on a student loan. It was passed off to a debt collector. They are trying to say I have to pay $430 a month when I can’t afford that. Do I not retain the right to determine what I CAN afford over them?

    • says

      Is this a federal or private loan? The tactic you have described is one we have heard many times. It is possible that you have experienced some sort of Fair Debt violation(s), and even if not, it sounds like you would benefit from re-prioritizing your debts through debt settlement, and the Debt Help Lawyers at this site can provide you a free, no obligation Fair Debt consultation. The worst thing to do is nothing, so call us now at 888-595-9111 and we will get started figuring our how to help you!

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