Sued by Unifund in Alabama?
“Who is Unifund?”
“Why is Unifund suing me?”
Since Unifund claims that it owns an old debt of yours, it is suing you to get a judgment against you.
“Where does this company sue in Alabama?”
These guys sue all over Alabama — there is not any county where they will not sue you in. This means whether you live in a city or in a rural area, Unifund will sue you there.
“What court does Unifund normally sue in its Alabama lawsuits?”
Normally these cases are “bigger” or for a higher dollar amount, so normally it will be suing you in what is called “Circuit” court. This is our highest court.
While rare, Unifund does occasionally sue in Small Claims or District courts — these are our lower courts.
The biggest difference in the courts is that in Circuit court Unifund can send you “discovery” — this includes written questions you must answer. Many people ignore these and this can cause you to lose your case.
“What collection law firm represents this collector in Alabama?”
Over the last ten years or so, I have only seen Zarzaur & Schwartz represent Unifund in Alabama. Zarzaur & Schwartz is based out of Birmingham, Alabama but they handle cases statewide.
This collection law firm is a very serious firm that knows what it is doing.
“Should I take it seriously that I have been sued?”
If you don’t, Unifund and its law firm of Zarzaur & Schwartz will get a judgment against you.
This can happen even after an answer but before trial — this is known as a summary judgment.
Or if you are not prepared for trial, it can get a judgment at the trial of your case.
“How will a judgment against me hurt me?”
You will have this on your credit report for many years.
And you can be garnished:
- 25% of your wages in a wage garnishment
- Wiping out of your bank accounts — what is called garnishment or attachment of your bank accounts
“So is there any hope for me after being sued?”
Yes. Just because you have been sued does NOT mean you owe Unifund the money it claims you owe.
Just like any debt collector or debt buyer who sues you, there are several key factors:
- The debt buyer must prove you owe the debt — you took out a loan/credit card/etc and did not pay it back
- Debt buyer or collector must prove it owns the debt — if it doesn’t, then even if you owe the debt to someone, you don’t owe it to the company suing you
- You may have a valid defense such as a statute of limitations defense that would prevent a judgment against you.
The biggest danger is you simply give up.
But if you will fight back, you have a chance of being successful. We have seen this happen many many times over the last ten years.
“What are my five (5) options now that I have been sued?”
We have a very detailed video on this subject (along with a transcript) that you are welcome to watch or read. But here is a short summary:
- File bankruptcy. This is normally not a good idea but occasionally for some folks, it will be a legitimate option to consider.
- Fight the lawsuit on your own. This is doable for many if you are sued in Small Claims or District court. But if you are sued in Circuit Court then this is incredibly hard.
- Settle the lawsuit on your own. This can be a good choice — just keep in mind there may be credit reporting and tax consequences to agreeing to pay these guys money.
- Fight the lawsuit by hiring a lawyer. The disadvantage is you have to pay a lawyer — the advantage is you are trying to win the case and then potentially suing Unifund in federal court.
- Hire a lawyer to settle the case. When we do this, we settle by deleting any credit reporting by Unifund, the lawsuit is dismissed with prejudice, and you pay no money to Unifund. You do have to give up your right to sue Unifund.
We can help you go through each of these options to find the best option for you.
“What should I do now?”
Call us at 205-879-2447. If you have been sued, your time is rapidly going away. You have 14 days from when you were served to file an answer in Small Claims or District Court.
If you were sued in Circuit Court, you have 30 days from when you were served.
Especially on Circuit Court lawsuits, it will take you some time to decide which is your best option. These tend to be bigger lawsuits — sometimes the suits are for $15,000 or $20,000 or even more than $30,000.
There is no charge for us to have a strategy session with you where we help you look at where you are now and the big picture of your finances to help you decide which option is the best for you.
If you hire us, you will know exactly what our fee is and how we structure our fee to give you confidence you are only paying us when we are successful in your case. We will talk about this in our call to go over your options.
If we can help you think through your options, let us know by calling us at 205-879-2447 or by clicking on the button below.