I live in California, and I had an ER visit in November 2010.
- I originally owed ~$800. I've been contacted by a collection agency, and offered a settlement of ~$400
- I have verified with the original creditor (the hospital) that it is legitimate.
- Would accepting the settlement of $400 damage my credit any further?
- Would paying the full amount of $800 help me in any way? I'm buying a car very soon and although I have a co-signer with excellent credit, I would rather do the least damage possible to my credit rating.
- From this answer to a similar question it looks like it might be wise to check to make sure that the loan hasn't been sold--and if not, try to pay the hospital instead.
- Lastly, I see a lot of mentioning to never pay a collector with a credit card or personal check. Whoops, already did with a couple of other agencies. What would you suggest for a payment method?
Thank you so much for any advice!
Update: So, I've asked the collector some more questions.
What other payment methods can you accept besides card or check?
Has this delinquent account been reported to a credit bureau? If so, can I have it in writing that it will be deleted from my credit report upon receipt of the payment in full?
We do not deal with credit bureaus, we cannot give you any sort of promise like that. We are simply collecting for our client
Who's your client? What's their phone number?
FFIFH LLC. They will not speak with you until the debt has been payed. You must speak with us.
And yet, you cannot provide me with any assurance in how this will be reported to credit bureaus?
Did your company purchase the debt?
No, our client did.
All the while, they are extremely rude and urgent. The more I talk to them, the more scammy and contemptible they get.
So they are collecting for their client, who purchased the debt from the original creditor (the hospital). I'll be checking with the hospital to make sure that the debt was sold, and to whom. Searching for "FFIFH LLC." yields no results.
So, do I pay via Western Union? Or another way? Since they are being particularly difficult about it, what steps can I take to help ensure a minimal impact on my credit score/report? Thanks!