Consumer Credit and Debt Collection
What to do if a collections company files a Complaint against you
When you receive the Complaint, you have 20 days to file a Response with the court and send a copy of your Response to the collections company.
The Complaint will have numbered paragraphs and will say that you owe these amounts. In your Response, you can either admit each statement, deny, or say that you don’t have enough information to confirm or deny the allegations.
After you file your response, you will have 30 days to send a copy of your Initial Disclosures to the other side.
What collections companies typically do is they file a Motion for Summary Judgment. The collections company is basically asking the court to enter a judgment against you without having a trial.
You can defeat a motion for summary judgment.
Collections agencies often file these lawsuits without the proper paperwork. They need to show that they were properly assigned the debt. If they cannot prove that, they can’t sue you.
When you get their motion for summary judgment, you have 20 days to respond to it, just like your Response to the Complaint. You admit, deny, or say you don’t have enough information.
However, there is a difference at this stage. In addition to filing a response and sending a copy to the collections agency, you also need to fill out an Affidavit in Support of your Response to the Motion for Summary Judgment.
An Affidavit is a statement you write. You can deny that you owe the entire amount or you can deny that you owe part of the amount. You can also attach documentation showing you have been paying on the debt or that you paid off the debt. You then sign it in front of a notary.
You attach that to your Response and file it with the court and send a copy to the collections company.
If the court denies the Motion for Summary Judgment, then your case will proceed to trial.
It is highly recommended that you obtain representation for your trial.
Before trial, you need to send the documentation you plan on introducing at trial to the other side.
Fair Debt Collections Practices Act
The FDCPA limits what debt collectors can and cannot do to you regarding your collections account.
15 USC 1692 c- Communication in General
Debt Collectors cannot call you at inconvenient times. The Act only allows debt collectors to contact people between the hours of 8 am. to 9 p.m.
Debt collectors CANNOT contact you it knows if an attorney is representing you.
Debt collectors CANNOT contact you at your place of employment if it knows your employment prohibits you from being contacted by debt collectors.
Debt collectors CANNOT contact third parties aside from you, your attorney, a consumer reporting agency, the debt collector, or the debt collector’s attorney.
If you notify the debt collector that you refuse to pay the debt or that you want the debt collector to cease communicating with you, the debt collector Must cease communications with you EXCEPT:
- To advise you that they will stop further efforts to collect from you
- To advise you that the debt collector or creditor may invoke specific remedies
- To advise you that the debt collector or credit will invoke specific remedies
Harassment or Abuse
- Debt collectors CANNOT use violence or other threats of criminal activity to harm person, reputation, or property
- Debt collectors CANNOT use obscene, profane, or abusive language to you
- Debt collectors CANNOT publish a list of consumers who allegedly refuse to pay their debts
- Debt collectors CANNOT advertise a sale of the debt to try to make you pay the debt
- Debt collectors CANNOT cause a phone to ring all the time or call anyone repeatedly to harass them
- Debt Collectors CANNOT call you without revealing their identity
Legal Actions by Debt Collectors
If a debt collector starts legal proceedings, they must file suit in the district in which the consumer lives or the district in which the original agreement was signed.