Are Courts Today Helping Debt Collectors Thrive?
You may find yourself looking at piles of bills—along with watching one unknown phone number after another ring away—and wonder how in the world you got into such a stressful mess. When signing on for that first credit card (and perhaps even then the second and the third), both you and the creditor were probably feeling quite positive about your income. As most of us know all too well though, life is full of ups and downs that can cause serious financial fluctuations. And credit cards can be a slippery slope for sure, as delinquencies pile up very quickly (along with all those late charges) and may lead to collections lawsuits.
Corporations Suing Consumers Do Not Expect Them to Respond
Once a summons and complaint have been delivered to your door by a process server, you may be wondering what your options are—and leaning toward doing nothing. Responding to the complaint is in your best interest though, with the help of a skilled collections lawsuit attorney who can also help you either fight the lawsuit or settle the debt. Without legal help, you are at the mercy of major corporations whose lawyers spend a lot more time in court than the average consumer. And as one news article pointed out, the courts may even be responsible for facilitating this imbalance and allowing creditors and collectors to use the court as ‘a collection tool,’ while they continue on their way to thriving in the big business of debt collection—with so many US citizens continuing to struggle.
“While thousands of the companies involved are small, the industry is dominated by a few big players, most notably Encore Capital and Portfolio Recovery Associates,” states Chris Albin-Lackey, a senior legal adviser at Human Rights Watch. “In recent years these two companies have each recovered $1 billion in debts annually. Encore claims that one in five US consumers owes them money or has owed them money in the past. As a group, debt buyers big and small file hundreds of thousands of lawsuits across the country every year. The way their business model boils down, if they can collect even 10 percent of these debts they can reap enormous profit.”
The Case Against You May Be Rife with Errors
As we have pointed out in previous blogs, so many of these cases and accounts are disorganized, in error, and often leave the creditor or debt collection agency unable to win a case should the defendant follow through with a response and fight the collections lawsuit. Many defendants who do show up to court are struggling due to unforeseen problems such as illness or an accident, or they may have lost their jobs. If they do not have legal representation, the corporations suing them are able to use the system against them skillfully—even when the debtor may have had valid reasons to fight and win against them.
“We know that many of the lawsuits are severely lacking in evidence. Debt buying companies have sued the wrong people, for the wrong amounts, and in many instances, do not have meaningful evidence to support their claims. The companies are the ones that calculate how much is owed and many courts do not even require them to show how they reached that calculation. It is not surprising that some of these companies have been hit with lawsuits by state attorney generals—but only after they have already won tens of thousands of dubious judgments in courts that didn’t ask the right questions,” stated Albin-Lackey.
Work with a Skilled Attorney for the Best Outcome
If you have been served with a collections lawsuit, consult with an attorney from an experienced firm like Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC as soon as possible to consider your options and avoid being taken advantage of in a system where hundreds of thousands of lawsuits are filed against consumers each year, with judgments expected to be granted quickly due to lack of action on the part of the defendant.
With legal help, you may be able to negotiate the debt—or see the court dismiss the case altogether if the creditor is unable to verify the debt, show the proper paperwork and accounting, or prove that they are in good standing to sue you at all. Taking an empowered stance against the creditor may result in the prevention of a default judgment that could make your financial position much harder with wage garnishments, freezing of checking accounts, and property seizure.
Contact Us for Help
If you are finding it difficult to pay your bills, or are being sued, or have judgments granted against you, contact us at Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC. We can review your current situation and discuss your options with you, whether that means fighting in court, negotiating a settlement, filing for bankruptcy, or more. Our attorneys have decades of experience representing clients in all types of financial matters, and we are here to help you! Call us today for a free consultation at (855) 709-5788 or email us at email@example.com.
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