Other than reporting a debt on your credit report and make angry phone calls, the only real power an attorney or a collection agency has agaisnt you is the power of fear and the ability to file a lawsuit. If the collection or attorney files a lawsuit and obtains a judgment against you, then your property could be taken or your wages garnished. But if the debt is disputed, time-barred or included in a bankruptcy, they cannot touch you in most casses. Knowing your rights and standing up to the attorney or collection agency will often get them to back down.
I found a great website that offers free sample letters to dipsute old debts. The letters are professional and should stop the harassment in most cases. If you are in California and still need further assistance handling a disputed debt, please feel free to contact us.
About the Author: Carl H. Starrett II has been a licensed attorney since 1993 and is a member in good standing with the California State Bar and the San Diego County Bar Association. Mr. Starrett practices in the areas of bankruptcy, business litigation, construction, corporate planning and debt collection.