Unless you have extra money coming out of your ears, dealing with bills and finances is never particularly pleasant. And if you are like so many other consumers in the US, your household debt may extend to a mortgage, a car, student loans, as well as one or more credit cards—with the average settling at $15,654 owed. Although you may have had everything covered for quite some time, and long enough for lenders to enjoy extending more and more credit to you, when a major issue rears its head the bills may pile up with no way to pay them. Ultimately, credit cards may spiral out of control with late fees, extra charges, and even minimum payments that seem to skyrocket beyond your ability to pay.
Some creditors and debt collection agencies will allow delinquencies to drag out for months, or even indefinitely. Other companies are quick to pump out the collections lawsuits though, and once you find yourself served, here are five things you should know:
- You will usually have 20 to 30 days to respond to the lawsuit, and it is important to do so. Consult with an experienced collections lawsuit attorney from a firm like Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC as soon as you are aware of the issue. Legal assistance is highly recommended for creating and filing a response to the lawsuit.
- The creditor may be willing to negotiate on the debt right away. With the help of your attorney, you may wish to settle this and other debts (and often for pennies on the dollar) if it is possible to come up with a lump sum.
- Collections lawsuits are often rife with error, and although you may be aware you owe the debt, the figures may be incorrect or padded with a long list of fees and extra interest that can—and should be—challenged. In asking the company to suing you to verify the debt and provide the history of the account from beginning to end, you may find that they back down immediately as they do not have the paperwork required. While the original creditor probably would have all the proper paperwork, many accounts have already been sold multiple times over in an ‘as is’ state, and they will receive little support from the company they purchased the account from in terms of trying to provide documentation.
- The statute of limitations may have run out on the debt. Although it may seem difficult to believe, many times the dates are not checked properly, or creditors may attempt to push through bad debt—and get away with it. With the help of your attorney, if you can prove the debt has already expired, the creditor suing you has no case.
- Ignoring a creditor lawsuit is usually a very bad idea, and especially if you have anything to lose, whether that is part of your paycheck, a bank account that is vulnerable to being frozen, or valuable property that would not be exempt in the case of a judgment granted against you.
Speak with an attorney from Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC as soon as possible to examine your options. Our attorneys have decades of experience in serving clients as they navigate through challenging financial situations, to include student loan issues, bankruptcy, and other debt management processes. We are here to help! Click here to schedule a free 30-minute consultation, call us at (844) 431-3851, or email us at email@example.com