If you have a past due debt that you haven’t paid, you might be afraid that you will be taken to court by the creditor or collection agency. If a bill collector threatens to take you to court, you need to document this. Under the FDCPA, which is federal law that oversees debt collection, a bill collector cannot threaten to sue you unless they actually plan to file court action. You should also know they cannot garnish your wages just because they say they are going to do so. Wage garnishment is a legal process that involves a hearing in court with a judgment being rendered.
Not all Debt Collectors Will File a Lawsuit
While not all debt collectors will file a lawsuit, some will. As an example, the debt must be worthwhile. They will not file a lawsuit over a $1,000 debt if it is going to cost $4,000 in legal fees. Local creditors who you owe might file a claim in small claims court because they can easily get to the hearings and represent themselves. However, just because you are being sued don’t assume the other party will get a judgment against you.
Ask for Evidence
The leading way to overcome a lawsuit for past due debts is to ask for the debt to be validated. That means, you just need to ask the collection agency or creditor suing you to validate the debt. Make sure they show you the original paperwork to prove the debt is real then ask for evidence that validates the amount you owe. You must make sure they are not trying to trick you into paying a debt you don’t owe or more than you owe. Also, you need to check the statute of limitations for collecting debts where you live. If it has been too long, you can argue that point. Also, if the debt collector is not licensed in the state, you can have the case thrown out.
Always Show Up in Court
Many judgments happen because the defendant, or debtor, doesn’t show up in court. Don’t let them get a default judgment just because you didn’t show up. You should show up and stand up for yourself, asking for the evidence. Often, the debt buyer will not have the proof that is needed in court to show that you owe the debt and the amount that you owe. Based on that, you could walk away with a ruling in your favor and the debt could be history.
Consult With a FDCPA Attorney
If you are facing a lawsuit from a debt collector, you should consult with a FDCPA attorney. These lawyers are knowledgeable about the debt collection process and will make sure your rights are protected and that you are treated fairly. With the help of a FDCPA lawyer, your odds of a successful claim increase significantly. Complete the Free Case Evaluation Form on this page so you can get your free case review by an attorney in your area!