So You’ve Been Served By A Debt Collector

Not all people whose accounts are sold to debt collectors are cheats and scalawags. Sometimes they’re just people who made a mistake somewhere… or sometimes the debt isn’t even valid

Regardless of guilt, you need to take some immediate steps if a debt collection suit lands on your doorstep, and reader and consumer lawyer Sam Glover is here to tell you what they are.

Unsurprisingly, he you advises to get a lawyer. It may come as a surprise that in this case they’re not very expensive. — BEN POPKEN

In the event of a lawsuit, please head for the nearest lawyer [Caveat Emptor]


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  1. Bokonon says:

    And under no circumstance should you fail to appear in court.

    Always, ALWAYS, A L W A Y S appear in court.

    Often, the collector won’t show up, and you’ll win by default.

    If they show up, and you don’t, they win by default.

  2. Bokonon says:

    A common tactic, if you cannot afford a lawyer, is to allege hearsay. If you’ve never heard of the debt collector, how do you know it’s not a scam? The answer is, you don’t.

    The debt collector must prove that the debt is valid. Each state has a standard for what that is. For example, in my state, the collector must provide a full and complete accounting of charges, consisting of monthly statements and a signed agreement.

  3. Bokonon says:

    Slight important addition to the previous comment: if they don’t show up, and you also don’t show up, the debt collector still wins. So absolutely, ALWAYS ALWAYS show up.

    A common tactic in court is to claim that the debt is hearsay. How do you know that the debt collector has a valid claim on the debt? How do you know it’s a scam. Without evidence, the answer is, you don’t.

    In my state, for a debt to be valid in court, the claimant has to provide a full and complete accounting of charges with, at the very least, monthly statements and a signed agreement.

    If the debt collector cannot establish that the debt is valid in court, they lose.

    Of course, lawyers know these things very well. I’ve dealt with and done well with defending against shady debt collectors in court by hiring a good attorney. I strongly recommend it.

  4. RandomHookup says:

    Welcome to the Wikipedia version of Consumerist comments.