Collection Defense in the San Francisco Bay Area

SummonsYou may be one of the people finding out that a debt collection lawsuit has been filed against you in California Superior Court. This may be an old debt, lately purchased from the original creditor, and the debt buyer may think there is a chance to collect against you.

Do not ignore lawsuits! Plaintiffs can obtain money judgments against you which will haunt you for years. You need to file papers in court to protect your rights; do not simply call the number listed on the Summons and try to make a deal over the phone.

You may have defenses of which you are unaware. If the plaintiff is a debt buyer, it may not have documents to prove that you agreed to pay the money. The debt buyer may even not have documents to prove  it owns the debt. Finally, the debt may be so old that the applicable period of limitations has expired.

Don’t let a debt buyer get away with representing to the court system that it is out money due to your misfortune during tougher economic times. Debt buyers file thousands of lawsuits per month alleging the right to collect the full amount of consumer debt, plus interest and attorney fees, when in fact they have not even checked to see if they have the documents legally required before requesting interest and attorney fees. And they often purchased these debts for an average of 4.0 cents per dollar of debt face value.

A new California law goes into effect 1/1/2014, requiring that debt buyers have certain documents in hand before sending written communications to the borrower. However, be aware that the debt collection industry is taking the position that the law does not apply to collection agencies or collection attorneys who are representing the debt buyers. As a result, the current practice of “sue first, check for documents later” may not change one bit.

See related post on Default Judgments.

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