cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Lawsuit filed by collection agency- Next step?

tag
Anonymous
Not applicable

Lawsuit filed by collection agency- Next step?

About 2 months ago I was served with papers that I'm being sued by a debt collector. They are very close to the statute of limitations, but not quite- so I knew I couldn't use that as a defense. I knew that it was important to get a response in to the court so I followed some instructions online and filed an answer before the deadline. On the answer I put the following reasons under "Affirmative Defense"- 1. General Denial- I deny the allegations in the complaint 2.Plaintiff lacks standing and does not have the authority to bring this lawsuit 3. No business relationship with Plaintiff 4. I disagree with the amount of the debt 5. Unjust enrichment. 

I had no idea what the heck I was doing to be honest- I was just following some advice online and I knew I needed to get something in so that I wouldn't end up with a default judgment. When I log back into the court docket I do not see any further action going on after I filed my response. However, about a week ago I got a letter from the debt collector which basically just said "here's the information you requested, please contact our office to work something out". Attached to this were copies of about six months worth of statements from the card in question. Technically I did not request that, but okay. I'm kind of thinking that this is all the info they have and that they cannot provide the proper paper trail required to prove they have authority to collect the debt. I'm a bit worried that if I contact them, I will end up making things worse for myself when perhaps they know that they can't win in court and that's why they sent that letter. 

Wondering what other's opinions are on this? Should I contact them? Should I just wait to see if something else comes from the court? How will I know if it does? Do I just need to keep checking online or do they mail something? Sorry....just so confused! 

Message 1 of 9
8 REPLIES 8
Anonymous
Not applicable

Re: Lawsuit filed by collection agency- Next step?


@Anonymous wrote:

About 2 months ago I was served with papers that I'm being sued by a debt collector. They are very close to the statute of limitations, but not quite- so I knew I couldn't use that as a defense. I knew that it was important to get a response in to the court so I followed some instructions online and filed an answer before the deadline. On the answer I put the following reasons under "Affirmative Defense"- 1. General Denial- I deny the allegations in the complaint 2.Plaintiff lacks standing and does not have the authority to bring this lawsuit 3. No business relationship with Plaintiff 4. I disagree with the amount of the debt 5. Unjust enrichment. 

I had no idea what the heck I was doing to be honest- I was just following some advice online and I knew I needed to get something in so that I wouldn't end up with a default judgment. When I log back into the court docket I do not see any further action going on after I filed my response. However, about a week ago I got a letter from the debt collector which basically just said "here's the information you requested, please contact our office to work something out". Attached to this were copies of about six months worth of statements from the card in question. Technically I did not request that, but okay. I'm kind of thinking that this is all the info they have and that they cannot provide the proper paper trail required to prove they have authority to collect the debt. I'm a bit worried that if I contact them, I will end up making things worse for myself when perhaps they know that they can't win in court and that's why they sent that letter. 

Wondering what other's opinions are on this? Should I contact them? Should I just wait to see if something else comes from the court? How will I know if it does? Do I just need to keep checking online or do they mail something? Sorry....just so confused! 


I don't know what the legal proceeding is on this but I would assume you have a right to send an official DV letter to them.  I hope someone else that has experienced this will chime in though.

Message 2 of 9
RobertEG
Legendary Contributor

Re: Lawsuit filed by collection agency- Next step?

In my opinion, your next step should be to have an attorney review the facts of your case for a legal opinion.

Message 3 of 9
Anonymous
Not applicable

Re: Lawsuit filed by collection agency- Next step?


@RobertEG wrote:

In my opinion, your next step should be to have an attorney review the facts of your case for a legal opinion.


If I could afford a lawyer, #1 I wouldn't be here asking questions and #2 I would just pay this bill to make it go away. I'm simply asking for other people's experience or opinion as to why their response was to send me copies of old statements after I filed an answer in court. 

Message 4 of 9
Anonymous
Not applicable

Re: Lawsuit filed by collection agency- Next step?

OP, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my time here over the past year, it’s that when RobertEG gives you advice, you should follow that advice. You can carve that in a stone tablet and I doubt anyone here will disagree.

Contact an attorney for a consult - many will give a first-time consult for free or for a small fee (in the range of $50). Call around to a few of them to see what services they offer like this - you may be surprised. And if it does cost a couple bucks for the consult, it’s money well-spent. Anecdotal experiences from other credit customers is no substitute to finding out the real deal from someone in the legal profession. It’s not even close.
Message 5 of 9
Spotsy
Frequent Contributor

Re: Lawsuit filed by collection agency- Next step?

+1 on listening to RobertEG...you will probably end up in front of a judge with about 50 other people in a room.   The daily dockets for this kinda stuff is usually busy. Don’t let that scare you though..it’s a business of collecting money from somewhere for these people...other than that they usually don’t care about you, your situation, etc....

 

First of all...stay calm, relaxed, and focused.  Burden of proof is on them, focus on the dollar amount, where did it come from, how did they get to the amount of money they are asking for.  If you don’t know of this debt or the dollars don’t make sense...ask questions and get details. If it’s your and you owe it...make payments arrangements...but double check the numbers.

 

1) Are you sure SOL is not expired?  What is the proported date of delinquency from the original creditor?

2) What are the SOL in your state?

3) Does that dollar amount contain fees, service charges, interest, etc?  How did they get added into the original balance?

4) What is the original balance? What type purchase was it? Do you recall the purchase and is it yours? Have they received any info from the original vendor that charged the amount to confirm it was actually you that used the card?

5) Did they provided statements of complete lineage from a zero balance to the claimed amount in the court documents? No gaps?

6) Did they provide a chain of ownership of this debt if they are not the original creditor?

 

They may push back on this as being over bearing and too burdensome to produce...if so, push back that THEY are the ones that filed the complaint seeking relief and should have this info already. If not, file a motion to dismiss with prejudice.  

 

Each state has has different requirements for filing such claims in court....find out what those requirements are and make sure the plaintiff has met those requirements and ask for the details proving that. 

FICO 8: TU:831 / EQ:837 / EX:827 as of 12/25/2023
Message 6 of 9
Spotsy
Frequent Contributor

Re: Lawsuit filed by collection agency- Next step?

P.S.  a lot of state have free legal advocacy offices in/near the court house that help with filing the necessary papers and process.  They usually won’t be able to offer legal advice..but can help on the process.

FICO 8: TU:831 / EQ:837 / EX:827 as of 12/25/2023
Message 7 of 9
DaveInAZ
Senior Contributor

Re: Lawsuit filed by collection agency- Next step?


@Anonymous wrote:

@RobertEG wrote:

In my opinion, your next step should be to have an attorney review the facts of your case for a legal opinion.


If I could afford a lawyer, #1 I wouldn't be here asking questions and #2 I would just pay this bill to make it go away. I'm simply asking for other people's experience or opinion as to why their response was to send me copies of old statements after I filed an answer in court. 


1- Well, that's what RobertEG provided you, his opinion, and his opinion is highly regarded around here.

2- If you can't afford an attorney Google "legal aid" for your city or area, for example in my near Tucson area it's Southern Arizona Legal Aid, legal aid provides free or low cost legal aid. Collectors who file a law suite in court usually know what they're doing, and it seems like they're pretty confident they'll get a judgement against you that will include the amount they say you owe plus court cost & attorney fees.

3- They sent you copies of bills saying you "requested it" because in your answer to their complaint your disputed the amount they claim you owe, and they get notified by email of your response filed in court.

4- You might consider taking them up on their offer of contacting them and see what you can work out. If they win a judgement against you in court they can use that to garnish your wages and even possibly sieze your property.

5- If you want to proceed in court keep checking the docket to be safe, but they filed their complaint and you filed your response, so the next step should be the actual court hearing on the date & time the court specified. If you get legal aid if needed you can file a request to delay the hearing to give your legal aid time to review the case.

6- If they debt is near the staute of limitations the collector probably bought the debt from the original lender for pennies on the dollar but should most certainly have documentation that they bought the debt and accordingly have the right to collect it. If they added excessive fees, which collectors often do, the court might disallow those fees.

Message 8 of 9
Anonymous
Not applicable

Re: Lawsuit filed by collection agency- Next step?

OP, RobertEG is correct that you need a legal opinion at this point. Only a trained legal mind can review the complaint to determine whether or not it states a "cause of action" and whether or not "standing" exists.

If either of these are lacking or if there is a defect in service of process, you may be able to prevail on a motion to dismiss. However this is not something that can be easily taught. If you are that determined, "standing" is defined by the USSC in Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555 (1992). If you can read and comprehend this, it will teach you all about standing.

For the elements of the cause of action, see jury instructions.
Message 9 of 9
Advertiser Disclosure: The offers that appear on this site are from third party advertisers from whom FICO receives compensation.