Have you heard of the FDCPA, or the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act? It was established in 1977 to set guidelines for debt collectors. These guidelines forbid debt collectors from making harassing phone calls and calling you all hours of the day and night. If you have been unfortunate enough to encounter a debt collector that threatens life or home, know that you are protected. If a debt collector threatens or harasses you, you may have the opportunity to sue them!
You have been summoned
The day has come and the paper summoning you for court has arrived. As you read through it you will notice the words “summons” and “complaint.” This indicates that the plaintiff in the case has filed an official complaint at the courthouse against you. This paper is your official summons to answer the complaint as you deem appropriate. You should NOT ignore the summons, you MUST reply with a written letter or by going to the courthouse.
How Long Do you have to reply?
Once you have realized that you must reply to this summons if you do not want your case to be lost by default, you need to understand the time limit to answer. Going about your business for months on end after receiving this summons will get you nowhere. Your answers must be done within 20 days of personal service or in 30 days of when service by any other means is complete. However, this time line may vary by state or location so be sure to check with your local laws regarding the time restraints. If you, as the defendant, fail to respond in the allotted time the plaintiff will automatically win by default for what is requested in the suit.
The debt collectors may be calling you, mailing letters or even issuing summons and now may be the time to take responsibility and settle it once and for all. It is also understood that there are times that debts have long been paid, but the debt collectors do not have the proper documentation stating that it has been paid. All you need to do is provide them with statements, records, or cancelled checks to indicate the balance of zero! Once the burden of proof is stated they have no reason to contact you further regarding that debt.
Make A Stand!
There may be times that the debt collectors ignore the guidelines set by the FDCPA. You have the right to sue the debt collector for harassment. Know your rights and if needed contact the Federal Trade Commission if they continue to call. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act was not established to help the debt collectors it is to help you! No one should have to deal with the threats, hundreds of calls a week or harassment. Make a Stand!