Will A Collection Agency Take Me To Court
A collection agency is a business. Suing you will cost money on lawyers and involve time spent on paperwork, so it must be worthwhile for the debt collector to take you to court. Whether a debt collector will sue you ultimately depends on whether you have assets or earn a good income.
There are a few reasons why a collection agency will only threaten to sue, but not follow-through on taking real legal action:
Weekly Or Monthly Payments
If you know you owe a debt and you want to offer weekly or monthly payments, be ready to prove your income and expenses. Offer only what you can realistically afford.
If you agree to payments, the creditor may still want to get a court judgment against you, to make sure you pay. They will want a signed agreement. They may suggest that you accept service on a court complaint . Part of the deal will be that you agree to court judgment for the amount of the debt. Again, read everything you are asked to sign carefully. Get answers to all questions you have before you sign.
If you agree to a court judgment, the creditor will most likely file a lien against any real estate you own. There are rules that the creditor has to follow about what property they can put a lien on.
After you make your final payment, get a written statement from the creditor that the debt has been paid in full. Make sure that the creditor removes any lien it has filed against your property. Keep these documents in case someone else tries to collect the same debt in the future.
What Happens During The Court Process For Debt Collection
The debt collection process for late payments generally follows three stages.
Initial collection attempts
In stage one, your creditor or collection agency will attempt to contact you to arrange a new payment plan. If your account has been transferred or sold to a collection agency, they must first send you a written notice indicating what agency they work for, the name of the original creditor, account number, when the account was transferred and the amount you owe. Five days after sending this notification they are legally allowed to call you. The longer your account is overdue, the more aggressive you can expect creditor calls and letters to become.
Court proceeding & defense
If a creditor or collection agency decides to pursue you financially through the court system, they will send you a notice of legal action or statement of claim. You have 21 days from the time this claim is mailed to dispute a debt or accept the claim.
If you do not respond with a Statement of Defense within this time period or attend the trial, the court will likely rule in favor of the creditor.
If you do owe the specified debt and do not present an appropriate defense, the judge will likely sign a Judgement Order. This is an order indicating that the court acknowledges the debt is legally owed by you and gives the judgment creditor the legal right to pursue other means of collection.
Pursuing legal recovery options
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Special Rules For Leases
Back rent is treated like any other unsecured debt, but you are subject to streamlined eviction procedures if you don’t pay. If you’re behind on residential rent payments, the landlord is likely to start an eviction lawsuit against you within a few weeks. Unless the building is found to be uninhabitable , chances are you’ll be ordered to vacate within about six weeks. A commercial eviction is quicker than a residential evictionit can be over in just a few weeks.
You can try to negotiate with the landlord to make up unpaid rent over the next several months, but do this before the landlord files an eviction lawsuit. Your landlord may be likely to negotiate if lots of properties are vacant in your area. If you can show that, while your business is short on cash, you have a believable long-term survival plan, you may be able to get a new lease with lower rent. Your chances will improve if you can possibly show that you or a private lender will invest new capital in the business if the lease and other obligations are reduced.
If you have to move out when you have time remaining on a leaseresidential or commercialyour landlord can sue you for the remaining months’ rent. However, in most states the landlord is obligated to try to rerent the space first to minimize the loss. This is called “mitigating the damages.” For more information, see Nolo’s article on how to get out of a lease early, with the fewest consequences.
Who The Legislation Does Not Apply To
The legislation does not apply to businesses or people collecting debts for which they are the original creditor or owner of the debt, a lawyer who is collecting a debt for a client, a civil enforcement bailiff or agency while seizing security or people working in the regular course of their employment while licensed under the Insurance Act.
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Managing Your Auto And Home Loans
Your debts can be unsecured or secured. Secured debts usually are tied to an asset, like your car for a car loan, or your house for a mortgage. If you stop making payments, lenders can repossess your car or foreclose on your house. Unsecured debts are not tied to any particular asset, and include most credit card debt, bills for medical care, and signature loans.
Most automobile financing agreements allow a creditor to repossess your car any time youre in default. No notice is required. If your car is repossessed, you may have to pay the balance due on the loan, as well as towing and storage costs, to get it back. If you can’t do this, the creditor may sell the car. If you see default approaching, you may be better off selling the car yourself and paying off the debt: You’ll avoid the added costs of repossession and a negative entry on your credit report.
If you fall behind on your mortgage, contact your lender immediately to avoid foreclosure. Most lenders are willing to work with you if they believe you’re acting in good faith and the situation is temporary. Some lenders may reduce or suspend your payments for a short time. When you resume regular payments, though, you may have to pay an additional amount toward the past due total. Other lenders may agree to change the terms of the mortgage by extending the repayment period to reduce the monthly debt. Ask whether additional fees would be assessed for these changes, and calculate how much they total in the long term.
What To Do When A Debt Collector Calls
Make sure to ask for and write down the following information:
- the name of the person calling
- the company the debt collector works for
- the name of the company the debt collector is collecting money for
- the debt collectors telephone number
Ask for details on the debt, such as:
- the amount you owe
- who you owe it to
- when you started owing it
Tell the debt collector that you’ll call back as soon as you verify the information. Look at your bills and bank statements to help you confirm if the debt is yours and the amount you owe is correct.
You can ask the collection agency to contact you only in writing. Ask your legal advisor to send a written request to your creditor by registered mail, including an address and phone number at which you may be contacted.
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Can I Receive A Settlement Agreement
If you settle, you can negotiate to pay either a lump sum or start a payment plan. Either way, it is crucial to make sure any settlement agreement is documented and states that the lawsuit will be dismissed and the account marked will be marked as paid.
Youll also want to make sure that in the documentation of the settlement that it is not reported to the credit bureaus as a charge-off, as this could hurt your credit. Do not consider the matter settled until you have it in writing.
Checklist for The Perfect Debt Settlement Agreement
The creditor and/or debt collectors name.
The date the letter was prepared.
Can A Collection Agency Take You To Court
Yes, a collection agency that has bought the debt from the creditor can take you to court, as can a creditor themselves. However, you will seldom be taken to court for a debt that is less than six months overdue.
Also, creditors and collection agencies must heed the statutes of limitation that apply in each province. If a debt is old enough, it cannot be recovered through the court. A Licensed Insolvency Trustee is the best person to advise you on your provinces particular regulations see also this page: Canadian Debt Collection Laws.
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Can A Credit Card Company Sue You
In short, yes they can technically sue you.
After 180 days of missed credit card payments, your credit card company might do three things:
Seventy million Americans have delinquent credit card debt with third-party collection agencies, and nearly 15% of those collection efforts turn into lawsuits, according to research by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Here’s what you should do if a credit card company sues you.
What Happens If I’m Sued In Regular District Court Instead Of Small Claims Court
Start with this guide: What happens if I am sued for a debt in Maine District Court?
Debt collection lawsuits that used to be handled in Small Claims Court are moving to Maine District Court. This process will be different and more formal – but may give you a better chance to use a legal defense. We are working to update all of our debt collection guides to reflect these changes.
And remember this about District Court: When you are sued in District Court, you must file a written answer within 20 days of the day the Complaint and Summons are delivered to you. If you do not file a written answer within 20 days, you will likely lose the case by default.
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Tips For Handling Credit Card Collections & Lawsuits
There are a few ways in which indebted consumers can minimize the chances of a lawsuit, avoid losing one when brought, and prevent undue headaches in the aftermath.
- Try to Settle: If you have already defaulted on what you owe or are close to doing so, you can attempt to negotiate an amended payment agreement with your creditor. Your basic options are debt settlement and debt management .Both strategies have their corresponding advantages and disadvantages, and you can choose to handle each process yourself or with the aid of a reputable attorney or non-profit organization. In either case, adhering to an agreement reached with your creditor will eliminate the threat of a lawsuit .
- Open Your Mail: If youve been threatened with a lawsuit for outstanding credit card debt, you should begin paying extra attention to your mail. While your first inclination may be to open nothing in the hopes of hiding from your problems, that course of action makes you vulnerable to missing important communications and having a default judgment levied against you simply due to the fact that you didnt show up in court.The best way to avoid a judgment is to respond to the lawsuit, says Dalie Jimenez, an associate professor of law at the University of Connecticut School of Law, whose research focuses on consumer financial protection. The procedures on how to respond to a lawsuit are different in every state, but the notice of the lawsuit itself will indicate the proper way to respond.
What Property Can The Irs Take
The Internal Revenue Service is not bound by state exemption laws. Outside of bankruptcy court, the only property that the IRS cannot take is:
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If I Am Married Am I Responsible For My Spouses Bills
Texas is a community property state. Community property is anything that the couple acquired while they are married. Sometimes, a married person may have to pay the debts of his or her spouse. For more information, see Texas Family Code sections 3.202 and 2.501.
Community property can usually be used to pay a spouses debts incurred during the marriage. A person is liable for the debts of his or her spouse for basic necessities such as food, clothing, shelter, and medical expenses. Separate property is anything that a person owned before they were married or that is inherited during the marriage. A persons separate property is not usually taken to pay the debts of a spouse unless both people owe the debt, for example when both spouses have signed a contract.
What A Collection Agency Cannot Do
A collector cannot:
- use threatening, profane, intimidating or coercive language
- give any false or misleading information including references to the police or a law firm, credit history, court proceedings, lien or garnishment or imply that the collector or agency is part of a law firm or legal department of the collection agency or client
- threaten or state an intention to proceed with any legal action where the agency does not have the legal authority and consent of the creditor to do so
- discuss your debt or the existence of your debt with any person except you , a guarantor of the debt, the creditor or someone you have identified in writing as your representative
- if you want the collector to contact your representative to discuss your debt, you must provide that persons current address and telephone number
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When Will A Creditor Take You To Court
You may be wondering will a debt collector take me to court? While it is a possibility, a creditor rarely uses legal action as a first attempt to collect an outstanding debt. There are usually many warnings ahead of being sued, mostly in the form of collection calls and letters. These calls and letters may persist for many months before debt collection agencies try to sue you for the money.
How often do collection agencies take you to court over outstanding debt? The answer may vary from one province to the next, as different provinces give creditors and debt collection agencies different limitations on when they can sue for their money.
If you are taken to court, it can be by a debt collection agency acting on behalf of a creditor, the creditors themselves , or even a third party who bought out the debt from the original creditor.
Exempt Propertywhat A Judgment Creditor Can’t Take
Although a judgment creditor can usually grab cash from your bank account or force the sale of most business assets, a judgment creditor can’t take personal property that is legally exempt from creditors. Most states provide that a certain amount of your personal assets, such as food, furniture, and clothing, cannot be taken by creditors or by the bankruptcy trustee in bankruptcy court. In addition, most states exempt from creditors:
- the equity you own in one vehicle, up to a certain amountcommonly from $1,000 to $5,000, and
- a significant amount of the equity in your houseoften between $10,000 and $50,000, depending on the state.
Find your state’s exemptions. To find out how much your state exempts for your vehicle and house, and a complete list of exempt property, see our section on bankruptcy exemptions.
Most states also let you keep a couple of thousand dollars’ worth of business equipment and tools of the trade, as well as money in tax-deferred retirement plans. Also, in most states , a creditor can’t take property that belongs to you and your spouse if the debt is in your name only. The practical effect of these exemptions is that, no matter how many debts you have and no matter how many judgments are entered against you, creditors can’t grab much essential property.
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