Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

2.1. Make contact with debtor

ryanrori January 21, 2021

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A debtor is an entity that owes a debt to another entity. The entity may be an individual, a firm, a government, a company or other legal person. The counterparty is called a creditor. When the counterpart of this debt arrangement is a bank, the debtor is more often referred to as a borrower.

If X borrowed money from his/her bank, X is the debtor and the bank is the creditor. If X puts money in the bank, X is the creditor and the bank is the debtor.

EXAMPLE:

How to contact the Sundry Debtors Team

 By Post

Should you wish to contact us by post, please make sure that you quote your Sundry Debtor invoice/account number in your letter, so that we know which invoice you are referring to

By Telephone

Should you wish to contact us by telephone, please call (01302) 734454 and choose Option 3 for the Sundry Debtors Team. A member of staff will be pleased to help you. Our office is staffed between the hours of 8:30am and 5pm. A messaging service is available outside these hours for customers who are unable to contact us in normal working hours: please leave your invoice number, name and telephone number. Please have your account details available so that we can deal with your enquiry speedily.

By Fax

Should you wish to contact us by fax, please ensure that you provide your account number and details as well as details on how to contact you should we need further information about your query. Our fax number is (01302) 734373.

By E-mail

Alternatively you can contact us by e-mail using the following link. Please make sure that you quote your Sundry Debtor invoice number so that we can resolve your query and get in touch with you:- 

A debtor is someone who owes money to someone else. Generally it is not a crime to fail to pay a debt, although failure to pay some court-ordered debts such as child support may lead to criminal charges. Except in certain bankruptcy situations, a debtor can choose to pay debts in any priority he or she chooses.

If you have failed to pay a debt, you have broken a contract or agreement between you and a creditor. Most oral and written agreements for the repayment of consumer debts (debts for personal, family or household purposes, and debts secured primarily by a person’s residence) are enforceable. However, most debts that are for business or commercial purposes must be in writing to be enforceable. If the agreement requires you to pay a certain amount of money, then the creditor does not have to accept a lesser amount. Even if you have lost your job, become ill, or just cannot afford to pay the bill, you still owe the amount stated in the agreement. Also, if there was no actual agreement, but the creditor has lent you money, performed services, or provided you with a product and you have kept the product or benefited from the services, you must pay the creditor.

If you owe money, the creditor may assign the debt to a debt collector, which is typically a collection agency. The creditor may hire an attorney to collect the debt. The attorney may also be considered a debt collector. The debt collector may send you a letter or other notice requesting payment. A federal law called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act requires that the first notice from a debt collector describe the debt and additional charges, costs and expenses according to the agreement between you and the creditor. If you orally dispute this debt, or any portion of it, within 30 days after receiving the notice, the debt collector cannot assume it is valid. If you dispute the debt in writing within this 30 day period, the debt collector must stop any further contact with you until the debt collector sends you proof of the debt. The fact that you do not respond to the debt collector’s notice cannot be used as evidence that you owe the debt.

An Oregon law called the Unlawful Debt Collection Practices Act also controls how a creditor may try to collect a debt, whether by letter or phone call. Unlawful debt collection practices would include the use of obscene or abusive language. The creditor cannot call your employer about the debt or call you at your place of work if you have notified the creditor not to. The creditor may call you at work only after he or she has in good faith, but unsuccessfully, tried calling you at home during the day or between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. A creditor can write to you at work only if your home address is not available. In either case, the creditor may contact you at work only once a week. A creditor who willfully violates this law may be liable to you for minimum damages of $200, your legal fees, and in some cases punitive damages.

A creditor may sell your debt to a collection agency. This means that the collection agency buys the right to collect the debt. A collection agency may be operated by one person, or it may be a nationwide business. A collection agency has no greater rights than the original creditor and cannot make you pay any fees that could not be charged by the original creditor. Generally, however, the amount of your debt will be increased because it has been assigned to a collection agency. Debt collectors — both collection agencies and lawyers who try collecting debts — must comply with the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, as well as Oregon state law. The federal law prohibits a debt collector from communicating with anyone about a debt except for those involved in the debt collection process. These include you, your spouse or your parents if you are a minor. The debt collector may not harass you or call you at work if the debt collector knows that your employer prohibits that type of communication. A debt collector is also subject to the same collection rules as an original creditor. You may prevent a debt collector from calling or writing to you by notifying the debt collector in writing that you either will not pay the debt or want to stop all further communication with them. You should keep copies of any such communication, as well as any envelopes. If a debt collector violates this federal law, it may be liable to you for all actual damages you suffer and additional damages up to $1,000.

If you have purchased something on credit and signed an agreement called a “security agreement,” and you have failed to pay the debt for your purchase, the creditor may try to repossess or take it back. This will usually only happen when you purchase a major item like a car or furniture and agree to pay the price in installments. Even though the creditor can repossess your property if you do not pay your debt, the creditor cannot enter your house without permission, assault you or take your property if you physically try to prevent the repossession.


If you have not signed a written security agreement, the creditor does not have a right to take any of your property unless the creditor has first obtained a judgment against you. In order to get a judgment, the creditor must go to court. Either the original creditor or a collection agency may sue you to collect a debt. If this happens, you will be served with a summons and complaint. If you want to dispute the existence or the amount of the debt, you must file a timely response with the court. You must file a response within 14 days if you are sued in small claims court. You must file a response within 30 days if you are not sued in small claims court. Filing a response means filing a motion or answer. There is generally no court appearance that you, the debtor, must attend. If you do not respond to the complaint, or if you file a response and ultimately go to court and lose, the creditor will obtain a judgment. This judgment will include the amount of debt and may include interest, court costs and the creditor’s legal fees. It may also create a lien upon any real property, such as a house, that you own.