Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Collections Lawsuit? A Lawyer Helps

No one wants to go to court to avoid paying creditors. Unfortunately, thousands of people every year face collections lawsuits. Find out what to expect, and what an attorney can do to help.

Demand Letters Are Lead-Ins to Court

If you receive a demand letter from a collections agency, sometimes also called a validation notice, it is the first sign that you may be headed to court. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), before a creditor can file a collections lawsuit against you it must first send you a notice that states:
  • The amount you owe
  • The name of the creditor
  • That you have 30 days to dispute the debt or the collector has the right to assume it is valid
  • That if you dispute the debt in writing within 30 days you are entitled to receive a verification of the debt and its amount
  • That you are entitled to the name and address of the original creditor upon request during that initial 30 days
If you receive this letter, you should contact a collections defense attorney right away. If you wait for the 30 days to go by you could be giving up valid legal defenses.

Inability to Pay Is Not a Defense

Many people choose to represent themselves in collections lawsuits based on their lack of available funds to pay their debts. There are many defenses to a collections lawsuit, but inability to pay is not one of them. If all you have to say is that you don’t have the money to pay, you will most likely end up with a judgment against you.

Instead of going in with nothing but your empty pockets, you should speak to an experienced debtor’s rights attorney before appearing in court. Many creditors violate laws and court rules in attempts to get paid. A lawyer can help you prove to the court:
  • That the debt is not yours
  • That the amount is wrong
  • That interest has been applied improperly
  • That you did not receive proper notice of the debt or the lawsuit
  • That the collections agency cannot prove the alleged debt exists
  • That the collections agency violated the law by harassing you for payment
  • Other legal defenses based on your specific facts
Many defenses must be raised within the first few weeks of a collections lawsuit. They must be included in a formal “Answer to Complaint” that is filed with the court. It is important that you talk to a collections defense attorney right away to preserve these defenses and make the best of a bad situation. 

Dani K. Liblang, at The Liblang Law Firm, PC, in Birmingham, Michigan, has been representing debtors in collections lawsuits for over 30 years. She knows how to make the facts work for you. At the first sign that you are headed to court, contact The Liblang Law Firm, PC, for a free consultation.

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