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What Happens After I Sue a Debt Collector?

In my previous posts, I outlined the basic steps involved in filing a lawsuit against a debt collector for violating federal debt collection laws. You can read my earlier posts here. This post focuses on what happens after you have served papers on a debt collector.

Now that you have filed your lawsuit against an abusive debt collator, what happens next? You may feel a little bit stressed, or nervous. If you are starting to find this all a bit overwhelming as your court date approaches, there are professionals out there who can help you for free, or reasonable cost. Try contacting a Consumer Protection Advocate. These are professionals who, often times, help consumers even the deck with large creditors. Consumer Protection Advocates are, in some cases, completely free. Alternatively, you can get a Consumer Law attorney involved. This may be affordable option because you have already done much of the heavy lifting that would chew an attorney’s time and cost. An attorney may be better skilled at getting the debt collector to settle before trial. The attorney may also be able to get his fee included in the settlement from the debt collector.

The good news is the vast, vast, majority (over 90%) of debt collectors will attempt to settle with you before the case goes to trial. Or, in some case; they simply fail to respond, and you win default judgment. At this point, you have leverage over them. Use this to get the terms you want, and they can live with. Make sure to get EVERYTHING IN WRITING! I cannot emphasize this enough. Debt collectors will try to play games by getting you to drop your lawsuit for terms they never plan to honor. If a debt collector refuses put their settlement terms in writing; simply tell them ‘well, it looks like I’ll have to see you in court.” Do not bend on this. Any ‘verbal’ settlement between you and creditor is essentially worthless.

Now what happens if a debt collector’s responds to your lawsuit? Mostly likely, the junk debt buyer first response will be with a “Notice of Removal.” This means the creditor wants to move your lawsuit from state court to federal court. This is actually a good thing for you; especially if you intend to represent yourself. Unlike many state courts, United States Federal District Court rules of procedure are far more straight-forward. This makes things easier pro se parties to follow.

Please note, if you are dealing with a junk debt buyer, or 3rd party debt collector, nearly all the evidence they’ll submit, and testimony they give will be considered ‘hearsay’, and may be impressible in court if challenged. This is due to the fact that the loan in question was made with a different creditor. There is no direct relationship between you and the debt collector. I suggest you search our site for more information on this.

Again, the vast majority of these cases never make it to court. They do not want to spend the time and resources it takes to defend themselves against a lawsuits. Most times a debt collector will attempt to settle. You simply need to make sure that all settlement terms are made in writing.

Good luck!

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