Your free Podsite trial has expired, but you still have time to upgrade!

Claim your custom domain name todayClaim your domain

How to handle debt collectors, with the TikTok Mom and a legal expert

29 minutes

There's a reason Shaunna Burns went viral with her videos about dealing with debt collectors: She used to be one, so she knows a few things. (Also she's smart and funny.) We fact-checked her advice with a legal expert: Jenifer Bosco, an attorney with the National Consumer Law Center. Who said: Yep, most of Shaunna's advice totally checks out.


This one's full of useful tips—and it's fun— so please pass it around. Debt collectors are out in force, and as you'll hear in this episode, they can be super-unscrupulous. But, as you'll also learn: We've got rights.


You don't need to have heard our earlier episode about Shaunna and her story; you can just start right here. (There's lots of strong language in both this and the previous Shaunna episode, so maybe save them for when the kids aren't around.)


Meanwhile, here's a bunch of links to resources:


The National Consumer Law Center, where Jenifer Bosco works, publishes the book Surviving Debt

  • There are chapters on medical debt, dealing with debt collectors, and what to do if you get sued
  • The book is updated every year
  • It's free to read online at https://library.nclc.org/sd


Consumer-finance expert Gerri Detweiler, who helped fact-check one big question for this episode, has a VERY useful-looking site: https://www.debtcollectionanswers.com/


Shaunna's dealing-with-debt-collectors TikTok videos


Be sure to note Jen Bosco's legal caveats, but these are great and will get you in a fighting spirit

  1. Rapid-fire advice: They can't just call whenever they want. There's a statute of limitations on debt. You can— and should — demand documentation.
  2. If they can't document that this debt is valid... you've got options.
  3. You're under no obligation to give them any information.
  4. If the debt is valid, BE NICE. Take their calls. You may eventually be able to work out an OK deal.


Send your stories and questions:

See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

More episodes from An Arm and a Leg

We spend 12 million hours a week on the phone with health insurance

Yup. A Stanford professor measured it. So… we should probably learn how they actually make money, understand their incentives. Here’s one clue: A lot …

Wait, that was legal until now?!?

Hospitals in Maryland were suing patients over bills that should’ve been forgiven.

It wasn’t illegal. Until now. How a coalition changed that. This …

"We just kept right on pushing"

Manny Lanza died because he didn't have insurance. His parents fought back, with help from New York’s favorite tabloid. After years of work by advocates and organizers, laws suddenly …

The wild backstory of a tiny but crucial Obamacare provision (ft. David Axelrod)

How one Republican senator made sure the ACA required non-profit hospitals to act more like charities—and less like loan sharks—before voting against …

A legendary lawyer sued hospitals for price-gouging their patients. And got his butt handed to him.

The lawyer was Richard “Dickie” Scruggs, the lawyer who beat Big Tobacco in the 1990s. Later, he launched a series of ill-fated national lawsuits aimed at getting non-profit hospitals to …

We’re back! Starting Aug 19. And we’ve got some doozies for you.

We’ve been on a hiatus for a minute, and we are SO excited about what we’re coming back with.

These are stories we’ve been collecting for months—some …

How you can listen to this podcast

You can listen to episodes right here on the website, or if you prefer, in a podcast app. Listening in an app makes it easier to keep track of what you’ve already heard, listen without using your data plan and many other conveniences.

Recommended apps
Start listening to Mom vs. Texas
28:53
Start listening to Mom vs. Texas
28:53