What Can a Collection Agency Do to You?

When you find yourself with a debt that you cannot afford to pay, a collection agency may be given the authority to try to collect from you. While you may be used to the collection agency contact through phone calls and letters, the actions that a collection agency can take against you are limited.

Collection Calls

When a collection agency has been given authority to contact you, you will start to receive phone calls. The collection agency may try to call you multiple times every day. Although it may seem like the collection agency calls you all the time, it has to abide by rules that are set forth by the federal government. You cannot be called at inconvenient times such as before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m. If you are called outside this time window, the collection agency is guilty of harassment.


In many cases, when a collection agency contacts you, it will threaten to garnish your wages or take your possessions. You might even be threatened with jail time by the collection agency. In reality, the collection agency cannot take any of these actions against you. While actions can eventually be taken against you, the collection agency must go through the proper legal channels before anything can happen. Until that happens, all the collection agency can do is call and write letters.


After a certain amount of time, the collection agency may try to file a lawsuit against you. If the creditor files a lawsuit against you and gets a judgment, you could face some other consequences. For example, the creditor could then get a court order that allows it to garnish your wages or levy your bank accounts. In some cases, the creditor may place a lien on your property, which makes it impossible for you to sell it without repaying the debt to your creditor.

Working With Collection Agency

When you are contacted by a collection agency, it is generally in your best interest to try to work out a solution. The collection agency has the authority to negotiate with you. You could potentially negotiate a settlement on your debt. This could allow you to pay a fraction of what you owe on the original debt. The collection agency could also agree to set up a payment plan for you. This way, you could pay what you owe over a longer period of time.