Debt Collection Lawsuit Defense & Negotiation
Debts and paying bills are part of life. These expenses come in the form of credit cards, student loans, car loans, mortgages, medical bills and many others. Things happen in life that lead to bills going unpaid.
When debts pile up, it may just be a matter of time before you are sued. If you are served court papers, your stomach will likely sink and a new form of stress will set in. Many consumers will simply give up and think there’s nothing they can do. This is the worst thing you can do.
Many collection cases are far from “open and shut” cases. There’s a shady world of buying and selling your debt (called “paper”) from the original creditor to another company and so on down the line. There are companies whose business model is to buy “bad paper” for pennies on the dollar. Then they go out and try to collect it, often by filing a lawsuit.
Quit often, the buying of paper is defective and illegal. Documents needed to prove the case get lost. The collections industry keeps doing it, however, because they make money. They make money in many cases because consumers don’t know enough to challenge them. They rely on fear, despair and ignorance to make their money.
In the worst instances, your creditor or another company they sold the debt to may rip off their debt purchasers by selling the “exclusive” rights to your account to more than company. Because of these practices, you may never be sure if the company you’ve never heard of suing you to collect actually has the right to sue you. In the legal world, this is known as “standing.” Anyone trying to sue you is required to prove they have standing to bring the case.
Here’s what the collector suing you (known as the “plaintiff” in court) is hoping happens. In despair, you fail to respond to the lawsuit and don’t appear in court. You give up your rights to defend the case and the court signs a default judgment against you. This means the collector wins the case without a struggle and they judgment they get gives them the right to try to take your money for up to 20 years.
After a judgment, you have no leverage. The court will require you to fill out detailed questionnaires about what you own. You can be forced to attend a deposition in which an attorney can ask you questions under oath with a court reporter taking every word. In many cases, you can have your wages garnished, with up to 25% of your earnings sent to the collector until the entire judgment, plus interest and attorneys’ fees is paid in full.
Here’s what can happen if you fight back. First, you might win. It’s possible the case against you has no basis for several reasons, including the plaintiff doesn’t have standing, as discussed above, or they’ve lost the evidence needed to prove the case.
If the case turns out to be air-tight, you may be able to work out a deal to pay the debt at a steep discount or through a workable payment plan. Remember, if your plaintiff bought the debt for pennies on the dollar, there may be enough cushion for them to make money even if you pay a discounted settlement amount.
As President Theodore Roosevelt said, “The best thing to do is the right thing. The next best is the wrong thing. The worst is nothing.”
If a debt collector sues you, speak with an attorney and know your rights.
At CPC Law, we have the knowledge and experience needed to effectively defend these suits. We’ll help you defend the case and negotiate settlement when it makes sense to do so. What CPC Law will provide in the event you are sued by a debt collector:
- A review of your case and what to expect in your lawsuit, including defects that can be attacked.
- Representation in court so you don’t have to show up to hearings. This includes taking the case all the way to trial if the circumstances are right.
- Regular updates on your case so you’re fully informed.
It is important to remember that the debt collector is not automatically entitled to payment from you. They have to prove their case. Call or email CPC Law now for a free consultation.
When you struggle to make ends meet, it can lead to some of the most stressful times in your life. Collection actions will make you feel threatened, harassed and scared. CPC Law can help you end that stress and sleepless nights and take back your life.
When you fail to pay debts, you’ll suffer the assault of collection calls and letters, either from your creditor, another company they sell the debt to or a collection agency they hire.
None of these players makes money unless they get you to pay. While some are honest and reputable, too many are predators who will stop at nothing to collect the debt, regardless of whether their tactics are legal or ethical.
There are state and federal laws that protect you against illegal collection practices. Unfortunately, few consumers understand their rights and what to do about violations.
State and federal laws protect Florida consumers from harassment by debt collectors. Whether it is repeated phone calls, threats or contacting friends and family about a debt, there are many activities debt collectors are prohibited from engaging in when attempting to collect a debt. Collectors often use psychological tactics designed to break you down and pay. Illegal behavior includes (but is not limited to):
- Calling or mailing you attempting to collect a debt when they know you have retained a lawyer
- Telling third parties about the debt
- Telling your employer about the debt or threatening to tell an employer unless they have a judgment against you
- Repeatedly harassing you or family members about the debt
- Contact regarding the debt after 9PM or before 8AM
- Creditors giving the impression they’re an attorney when they are not
- Communications that appear to be letters from an attorney or look like government documents
- Abusive language when speaking to you or your family
- Trying to enforce an illegitimate debt
- Pretending to be the police or that the creditor is acting on behalf of a government agency
- Use of force or violence or threatening same
- Where you disputed the debt at issue: reporting or threatening to report, negative information about a disputed debt to a credit reporting agency without also disclosing the existence of your dispute
What’s important to understand is that you can gain control, end the illegal harassment and in many cases, have a court award you money damages and make the other side pay your attorney’s fees. The first step is to be aware of your rights. The next step is to call CPC Law to help you enforce those rights.
Contact CPC Law at (407) 851-0201 and speak to an attorney now!
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