Eviction Attorneys


Glossary of Collection Terms


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Acknowledgement of Satisfaction of Judgment

A form signed by the judgment creditor that states that the debtor has paid the judgment debt in full.

Allege (or assert)

To claim or maintain that something is true (for instance, that the debtor signed something).


To transfer a claim from the original creditor to a debt collection agency or other party for collection.



A federal court process that discharges most or all of a debtor's debts in exchange for the debtor's non - exempt property; see also wage earner plan.

Bargaining Power

Control over the situation, sufficient to affect the results.


Prevented; for example, a statute of limitation may bar (prevent) the filing of an old claim.



To back out of, rescind, extinguish or terminate.


Any amount added to a debt, such as interest, court costs, attorney's fees, or collection fees.

Claim (or amount claimed)

The amount that a collector believes is owing.

Claim (or assert)

To demand payment of an alleged debt, or to assert a defense to an alleged debt.


Property given by the debtor to the creditor to secure payment of the debt (see secured debt).

Collection fees

Fees that a debt collector will attempt to add to the debt to cover the expenses of collecting it.


A business or a person who attempts to collect a debt; may be a creditor or a debt collection agency.

Complete defense

Where the person against whom a claim is made has no legal obligation to pay anything.

Consumer debt

A debt incurred by a natural person, in a marketplace transaction, for personal, family, or household purposes.


A legally enforceable agreement.

Corroborating evidence

Facts or documents that help to support a party's position in a case.


Someone other than the debtor who has promised to pay the debt if the debtor does not pay it.

Court costs

Certain court related expenses of the prevailing party, which the court may add to the debt.


Reputation for honesty.


The right to incur a debt, or the right to delay repayment of a debt.

Credit record

A history of one's use and repayment of credit, including any delays in payment, compiled by a credit reporting agency.

Credit report

A summary of a person's credit record prepared by a credit reporting agency and sold to prospective creditors and others.

Credit reporting agency

A business (sometimes called a credit bureau) that compiles and sells people's credit reports to other businesses.

Credit standing

A person's reputation for the payment of debts, as documented in his or her credit record.


A business or individual who extends credit, or to whom a debt is owed.


A legal obligation to pay money, often resulting from a purchase on credit or a loan of money; generally means an obligation arising from a consumer transaction.

Debt collection

Activity that results in payment of debts.

Debt collection agency

A business that collects debts that were originally owing to some other creditor -

Also called "debt collector".

Debt counselor

A professional person who is an expert in personal finance and financial problem solving.


A person who has a legal duty to pay money to someone else.


To harm someone's reputation.


Where all or part of a claim is not legally enforceable (a partial defense or complete defense).

Demand for payment

A creditor's or debt collection agency's request for payment of an alleged debt.


To assert that one does not owe the amount claimed (or when used as a noun, a controversy).

Dunning letter

A letter from a creditor or debt collection agency that demands payment of a debt.


Where a court would find the claimed debt to be lawfully owed to another, and would issue a court judgment that declares that the debtor owes it.


An oral or written statement, or a document, photograph or drawing (etc.), that is offered to prove a position.


The enforcement of a judgment by a sheriff, pursuant to a writ of execution, against the debtor's earnings, bank account, or other property.


Earnings or property that is protected by law against being seized to satisfy a judgment.



One example is a false statement that is made knowingly, intended to be relied up on, and relied upon justifiably by another, with resulting loss.


Garnishment of earnings

A levy of execution by a court officer on someone's earnings, a portion being taken each pay period to pay off the judgment.

Good faith

Honestly, based on a reasonable belief that something is authorized and legitimate.

Grace period

The number of days after a due date within which the debtor can pay without paying a penalty.



The total of the debts that the debtor owes.

Installment or installment payments

Monthly or weekly payments to a creditor or debt collector.


A charge for using or delaying repayment of money (amount x rate x time = interest).



A court document that states the amount that the court has determined that a debtor owes.

Judgment creditor

A party to a lawsuit, who was awarded a court judgment against another party.

Judgment debt

The total amount that will pay off the judgment, including: (a) the original debt;

(b) and pre-judgment interest, court costs and other charges; and (c) any interest and court costs after judgment.

Judgment debtor

A party to a lawsuit, against whom another party was awarded a judgment.

Judgment lien

A security interest in real property which prevents its sale until the judgment debt is paid.

Judgment - proof

Where, since the debtor has no income or property, a court judgment is worthless.



To vex, trouble, or annoy someone continually or chronically.



Lawful, authorized, honest, genuine.

Levy of execution

Action taken by a court officer to enforce a judgment against a debtor's earnings, bank account or property, pursuant to a writ of execution.

Lump sum payment

Payment (usually in full) by a single check, money order, or cash payment.



To help the parties to a dispute to reach a voluntary settlement of the dispute.

Negative item

An entry in a person's credit record (maintained by a credit reporting agency).


Interact with someone (as by talking with that person), in an attempt to reach an agreement.



A legal duty owed to another person.

Original creditor

The business or person to which the debtor first owed the debt, before the business or person assigned it to the debt collection agency for purposes of collection.


Partial defense

Where the person against whom a claim is made has a legal obligation to pay part of a claim, but not all the claim.

Payout agreement

A written agreement between a debtor or collector that expresses the promises of both of them regarding the payment of a debt.

Preponderance of evidence

Evidence that is at least a bit more persuasive than the contrary evidence.


A requirement that must be met before a claim is legally owing, or before some other right exists.

Principal amount

The amount owed, before adding interest or other charges.


A person's interest in being left alone, or in not having others know things they have no right to know.



A legal method of enforcing the payment of a debt, or of enforcing some other right, as by filing a lawsuit, or by arranging for a levy of execution to enforce the judgment of a court.


To take possession of property (such as a car) that secures repayment of a secured debt that had not been paid.


An interest protected by law, such as a right to possess property, enforce a contract, recover money, receive information, or enjoy privacy.

Right to cancel

A legal right to back out of, rescind, extinguish, or terminate, a contract.


Secured debt

Where the debtor has given the creditor a legal right to take certain described property of the debtor (such as the debtor's car or home), using proper procedure, if the secured debt is not paid.


An agreed solution to a problem, usually including payment of money, and release of claims.

Settlement offer

An offer to the other party to resolve a dispute by some kind of compromise.


A court officer whose job it is to enforce court judgments, as by a levy of execution on earnings.


Rules of conduct, often set by law -- for example, the fair debt collection practices statutes.


A rule adopted by a legislative body, such as a law that regulates debt collection activities.

Statute of limitation

A statute that limits the time within which a lawsuit can be filed to enforce a claim.

Subprime lender

A lender who charges very high interest rates to borrowers with poor credit.


To provide substantial evidence that proves or verifies the truth of something.



The entire contract, including all agreements that are related to its subject or purpose.


Unsecured debt

Where the debt is not backed by collateral, and the creditor therefore has no right to take the debtor's property if the debt is not paid.


Verification notice

A written communication from a collector to a debtor that invites the debtor to inform the collector of any defense to a claim (sometimes called "validation notice").


Subject to cancellation (rescission) at the election of a party; if a contract is "void" it is altogether invalid.


Wage earner plan

An arrangement for the repayment of creditors under bankruptcy court protection.


To forgive something, such as interest, court costs, part of a claim, or a deadline for payment.

Writ of execution

A court order to the sheriff to levy execution on the debtor's earnings and property.