Articles – Sued By A Debt Collector
Alabama consumers sued by debt buyers (debt collectors) is one of the most pressing issues in consumer law because typically the debt buyers are suing without any basis and without bringing proof to court. Let’s discuss some key points….
First key — you must respond to the lawsuit or you will lose (default judgment).
This is the fate of vast majority of consumers sued in Alabama — do nothing and lose. Get a default judgment for failing to “show up” which then leads to garnishments of your wages, your bank account, and even the loss of your home.
This “do nothing” strategy ends badly. Frankly, this is what the debt collectors expect to happen when they sue you and they will happily watch the judgment amount grow and grow with the “magic” of compound interest.
Instead of doing nothing, do something.
“But what should I do?”
Great question — read on to find out your five options on what to do.
Second key — you have five (5) options on how to fix the problem of being sued.
One involves bankruptcy — not usually a good choice but occasionally it is.
The next two are do it yourself — fight the lawsuit on your own or settle on your own.
The last two are hiring a lawyer solutions — to fight the suit or settle it.
We have a long article below on this and two videos (one over an hour and one is about 25 minutes) that walk you through these options.
So to summarize:
- File bankruptcy
- Fight the suit on your own
- Settle the lawsuit without a lawyer
- Hire a lawyer to fight the lawsuit
- Hire a lawyer to settle the lawsuit
Third key — remember the debt buyer or debt collector must prove it owns the debt.
This is critical — the debt buyer is not someone you did business with or borrowed money from…
So why are they suing you?
Because the debt buyer/debt collector claims to have bought your debt.
If so, then they need to prove it in court.
They struggle with this.
We have articles and videos on this topic which we believe you will find interesting.
Final key — if you win your case, you can often turn the tables on the debt collector and get money damages for the violations of the law the debt collector committed.
The basic law is the FDCPA — Fair Debt Collection Practices Act — and it says debt collectors cannot lie or deceive.
They sue you and claim you owe the money.
But it turns out you don’t owe the money.
Pretty deceptive, right?
Combine with having no proof at trial — at least the cases we handle they don’t have proof.
Usually there is bogus credit reporting also.
This combines to create a classic situation where the debt collector is being abusive towards you — hard to think of worse collection conduct than filing bogus lawsuits!
So you can often sue these abusive collectors and get money damages.
But you can only do this if you know your rights and take action.
Bottom line — discover your rights and take action now.
Knowledge without action is worthless.
You must have the knowledge AND take action or no good will come of having your knowledge.
We encourage you to discover your rights — the articles and videos below are a good start. You can also call us at 205-879-2447 or if you prefer you can contact us through the website and we will get right back with you to set up a free consultation to go over your rights.
Best wishes and enjoy the articles/videos below.
Adjudication on the merits means debt collector who sued you cannot credit report on you or continue to collect against you!
So you have been sued by a debt collector (or even an original creditor). You get the case dismissed with prejudice and then the collector (or creditor) is still collecting against you. Is this legal or illegal? What in the world does the expression “adjudication on the merits” mean for you (hint: its a good thing!). Possibilities when you are sued by a collector in a collection lawsuit Judgment for plaintiff (the one who sued you) Judgment for defendant (you… (Read more)
Mental mindset when a debt collector calls you Recently, I mentioned having the mindset that a debt collector is knocking on your door. I wanted to elaborate on this idea some more and give you another way to think about it. Instead of being scared when the debt collector calls you (which is what they want and expect), turn it into an opportunity. My phone rings and I answer. The debt collector confirms who I am, and then says, “This… (Read more)
After you answer a debt collection lawsuit what should your credit report show? Once you’ve been sued by a debt buyer such as Midland Funding, Portfolio Recovery, or LVNV, and you’ve filed an answer, what should your credit report show? It’s excellent that you’ve answered the lawsuit. Most people fail to respond, which can be detrimental to you. So what should the credit report show about this debt buyer? There are a few important things to look for when reviewing… (Read more)
What are debt buyers and what do they have to prove about ownership when they sue me? We talk a lot about “debt buyers” in our posts. Since we discuss debt buyers so frequently, I wanted to give you a definition and some examples to help you understand what a debt buyer is. What are debt buyers? A debt buyer is somebody who claims to buy debt. These are companies like Midland Funding, Midland Credit Management, Portfolio Recovery, and LVNV. … (Read more)
Can a debt buyer truly collect against me? We are frequently asked if debt buyers can really collect against a consumer. I’ve been a consumer protection lawyer for a long time, and a big part of my practice is dealing with these debt buyers who claim to have bought a debt. They will tell you they have bought the debt, but is this true? Do they have any right to collect? Does it make a difference if they have bought… (Read more)
What happens with your credit report after you win your collection trial? When you are in court and you win, what happens with your credit report after the trial? You want the debt removed from your report, but how does this happen? Do you ask the judge? Does this happen automatically? In this post, we’ll discuss how to wrap things up after you win. You’ve won your court case. What happens with your credit report now? The judge does not… (Read more)
How to know if Rule of Evidence 106 applies in your state court debt collection case Recently, we made a post discussing Rule of Evidence 106, also known as the Completeness Doctrine. Since making this post, we have received quite a few questions. This rule says that if you introduce part of a document then you are in fairness required to submit the entire document if requested. One of our Youtube viewers commented: “I quoted this rule to the plaintiff’s… (Read more)
FDCPA: Get a statement when a debt collector calls a third party One of the most terrible violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) that debt collectors make is contacting a third party about a debt. What is a “third party”? A third party is anybody other than you, your spouse, or your lawyer. Everyone else in the world is a third party. There are very strict rules about when a debt collector can contact a third party,… (Read more)
Can I take notes with me to my collection trial to help me remember what happened? Can you take notes to your upcoming collection trial? Should you take notes to court? If you take notes to court, what does that mean? In Alabama, where I practice, you can certainly take notes with you to a trial. Anything that you take with you to court can be questioned by the other side. The collection lawyer can ask to see your notes. … (Read more)
What should I do if I want to defend my own collection lawsuit? You’ve been sued and you’ve made the decision to defend yourself in your own collection lawsuit. You’re not going to hire a lawyer, or give up, or even settle. You want to defend yourself and fight the lawsuit. What should you do? If possible, go to court and watch your particular judge. At the time of this article, in 2020, we are still in the middle of… (Read more)
Evidence Rule 106: Completeness Doctrine in Debt Collection Lawsuits In this portion of our ongoing series discussing important rules of evidence, we will be taking a closer look at Evidence Rule 106. Specifically, we are looking at how Rule 106 works within a debt collection lawsuit. This is for lawyers who don’t normally go to court or consumers who do not have a lawyer and will be representing themselves. You’ve been sued by a debt buyer such as LVNV, Midland… (Read more)
What happens with credit reporting after you win your collection trial? When you are in court and you win, what happens with your credit reporting after the trial? You want the debt removed from your report, but how does this happen? Do you ask the judge? Does this happen automatically? In this post, we’ll discuss how to wrap things up after you win. You go to court and you win your case. What happens now? The judge does not control your… (Read more)
Rule of Evidence 408: Settlement talks in a debt collection case In this portion of our ongoing series discussing important rules of evidence, we will be taking a closer look at Alabama Rule of Evidence 408. There are Federal Rules of Evidence, but each state has its own tweaks to the Federal Rules of Evidence. Specifically, we will look at the Alabama Rules of Evidence, since this is the state where we practice. Alabama Rule 408 is very similar to… (Read more)
CFPB settles with Midland too cheap? A little over a month ago, we discussed the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and their lawsuit against Encore, Midland Funding, and its associated companies. Now, they have proposed a settlement with these companies. Ultimately, it will be up to the judge to decide whether to accept this settlement or not. Personally, I think the settlement being proposed is very weak. They filed suit back on September 8th, 2020. In this article we will… (Read more)
FCRA credit reporting: examples of technical accuracy A lot of times when we sue credit reporting agencies (Equifax, TransUnion, Experian) or furnishers (companies who provide information to the credit bureaus) under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), they love to say “Well, yeah, but you know this is technically right. It might be a little deceptive, but it is technically right.” There are ways to argue against this. We can flip this argument over on them. Here are some examples… (Read more)
Two reasons to pull your credit reports after beating a collection suit You’ve been sued by a debt collector or debt buyer such as Midland Funding, LVNV, Portfolio Recovery, and you’ve won your case. What do you do next? Pull your credit reports. Hopefully, you have looked at your credit reports before you get to the end of your lawsuit. Even if you haven’t, go on and pull them now. Whether you just won your suit yesterday or you won… (Read more)
Is it good to send a dispute letter beyond the 30-day window of 1692g? 1692g letter is what is sent to you by the debt collector which also tells you that you have 30 days to dispute. Can you send a validation notice after the 30-day period has ended? Yes, you can absolutely send a letter outside of the 30-day period. The downside is that you lose some of your rights once you are outside that 30 day period. If… (Read more)
What’s the danger in making a payment past the Statute of Limitations? Debt collectors must sue within the Statute of Limitations. If they sue on a debt that is past the Statute of Limitations (also known as a time-barred debt), they violate the FDCPA. This time period to sue will vary depending on your state and the type of debt. In Alabama, it could be 3 to 6 years. Other states can be different. Whatever the time period is in… (Read more)
Why do debt collectors absolutely hate marking your account as “disputed” on your credit report? In this article, we will discuss what this means, why they hate doing it, and what you can do when they violate the law. What does it mean to mark an account as “disputed”? You dispute a debt when you tell a debt collector verbally or through writing that you dispute the debt. This does not have to be specific. The dispute can simply be… (Read more)
The biggest danger consumers face when sued by a debt collector When you have been sued by a debt collector, the biggest danger consumers face arises at the beginning of the lawsuit. Recently, we discussed the time limits to respond once you have been served. In district or small claims court, you have 14 days to respond. In circuit court, you have 30 days to respond. But what if you don’t respond? If you do not respond, you fall victim… (Read more)
Statute of limitations: Why debt collectors who sue you will lie about a payment Why do debt collectors lie about when you last paid them, particularly when they have sued you? This happens pretty frequently. Somewhere in the documentation, in the lawsuit, or even in the courtroom the debt collector claims to have found a mysterious payment that you don’t remember making. I’ve had this happen in the middle of the trial, at the beginning of a case, and everywhere… (Read more)
Have to wear a mask in court? Then practice under the same conditions as a trial with a mask on. You have a court date coming up and you understand that either your courthouse or your particular judge requires you to wear a mask. How do you prepare for that? I understand that for some reason a mask is very triggering for some people. This article is not about the effectiveness of masks or anyone’s political views. This article is… (Read more)
Charge off: How to get one removed from your credit reports by looking for factual errors We’ve talked about charge off debts in the past: What is a charge off? Can I be sued for a charge off debt? 3 things a creditor can do with a charge off Now, let’s talk about how to remove a charge off from your credit report. A charge off is the same as any other negative information on your credit report. You want… (Read more)
CFPB sues Midland Funding and Midland Credit Management for violating FDCPA On September 8th, 2020, the CFPB filed a case against Midland Funding and its related companies which make up one of the largest debt buyers in the country. This is a big deal. We have a Republican administration with a CFPB that has been scaled back considerably. But what Midland is doing is so bad that even this scaled-back CFPB decided to file suit. The Bureau of Consumer Financial… (Read more)
Debt Buyers: why they must prove they own the debt [illustration of Apple v Samsung] When I am representing clients in court who have been sued by debt collectors or debt buyers, I’m always trying to think of illustrations to help the judge understand why, even though we may have owed a credit card debt, why we don’t owe this particular company (Midland Funding, Portfolio Recovery, LVNV, etc.) The legal answer is that the debt buyers have to prove they… (Read more)
Stupid mistake I made nearly caused me to lose a case I want to tell you about a stupid mistake I made that was almost very costly. I tried to take a shortcut and it almost blew up in my face. One day, I had a very important hearing in a big case about four hours away from my home. The trial was early in the morning and I did not want to wake up at 4:00 AM to drive four… (Read more)
3 reasons to pull your credit reports after being sued At the time of this article until April 2021, you can pull your credit reports for free every week through AnnualCreditReport.com. In this article, we discuss why you should do this regularly throughout your lawsuit. Print these to PDF, save them on your computer. Then look at them and check for errors. There are three time periods we want to look at your credit reports on compared to the lawsuit:… (Read more)
“Can a debt collector garnish my wages without a judgment?” A big part of my job is dealing with debt collectors, and helping consumers deal with debt collectors in Alabama. This question comes up often when we’re talking with consumers, so we thought we would answer it here. Garnishment means taking your money. So wage garnishment is where a percentage (usually 25%) of your wages is withheld from each paycheck. That money gets sent to the court. Who then sends… (Read more)
You are here because you have been sued by Midland Funding in Alabama Circuit Court, District Court, or Small Claims Court and you want to know what are your options. The great news is you are in the right place to find answers so you can solve this issue of the Midland Funding lawsuit instead of it creating chaos in your life with garnishments or other seizures of your property. And the good news is it is almost certain that… (Read more)
How does the statute of limitations work in a debt collection suit? What does it stop collectors from doing?
Statute of limitations in debt collection suits — how does it work and what does it do for me? Statute of limitations (sometimes abbreviated SOL) is the time period a debt collector has to sue you. If it goes beyond this time, it is too late and the suit can be easily defeated. But let’s clear up some confusion about the statute of limitations. We often get a question like this: “What is the statute of limitations for a credit… (Read more)
Debt Settlement or Adjustment or Validation Companies are Often Scams and Take Your Money and Let You Get Sued You are here because you either hired one of these (almost certainly) debt settlement scam companies or you thought about it. Here’s what we will cover in this article: You do have options — actually five of them — when you are sued What these debt settlement companies typically promise What these companies do in reality Why you got sued Can… (Read more)
Synchrony Bank files hundreds of collection lawsuits in Alabama every month — most if not all filed by the Rausch Sturm law firm out of Enterprise, Alabama. I’m assuming you have been sued by Synchrony Bank if you are reading this. You have five options when sued by Synchrony — and only one is bankruptcy. And bankruptcy is hardly ever a good choice. But before we get into that, let’s see the big picture of what we’ll cover in this article:… (Read more)
If you have been sued in an Alabama collection lawsuit by the debt buyer Midland Funding, you have a lot of company. From January 1, 2019, to March 15, 2019, Midland Funding filed 3842 lawsuits in Alabama. That’s 3842 lawsuits in 74 days. Over 51 lawsuits a day — every single day of this year. And these lawsuits are filed all over the state — from Madison County in the northern part of the State to Jefferson County to Montgomery… (Read more)
Let’s talk about the following when sued by Portfolio Recovery Associates: How do you know you have been sued? What are your deadlines so you don’t get a default judgment against you? What are your five options? Most important — what should you do right now? Here’s how you normally know Portfolio Recovery Associates is suing you in Alabama: You get served by the sheriff or a private process server — they hand you the lawsuit papers. Or you… (Read more)
Having your family member or loved one in Alabama sued by a debt collector is a scary thing to happen — they come to you and ask what should they do next. Here are some thoughts for you: Make sure they respond in time . . . so that they do not get a default judgment. Understand difference in owing a debt and the debt collector owning the debt . . . so that they understand their options Go through… (Read more)
Simple answer — to claim the statute of limitations (time to sue you) has been restarted by the recent payment. So let’s take an example of how a collector tries to lie to get around the statute of limitations. Debt buyer sued you for a debt you defaulted on 7 years ago. The statute of limitations for credit card type debt is, at most, 6 years. So the debt collector has filed the lawsuit too late. But. What if it… (Read more)
This is our final part of this seventeen part series of articles where we answer your debt collection lawsuit questions. In this last part we discuss, what do you do now? You have learned a tremendous amount of information — but what do you do with all of this information? Let’s review what we have previously covered through the first sixteen parts of this series: Overview of the complaint or lawsuit filed against you What does it mean to be… (Read more)
This is our continuing series of articles where we answer your debt collection lawsuit questions. Before we jump into this article (which is about what happens after a trial in Circuit court), here is what we have previously covered through fifteen parts: Overview of the complaint or lawsuit filed against you What does it mean to be served? Overview of 5 options you have when sued Bankruptcy option Fighting the lawsuit on your own option Settling the lawsuit on your… (Read more)
Alabama Debt Collection Lawsuit Questions — Part Fifteen — After Small Claims or District Court Trial
This is our continuing series of articles where we answer your debt collection lawsuit questions. Before we jump into this article (which is about what happens after a trial in Small Claims or District court), here is what we have previously covered: Overview of the complaint or lawsuit filed against you What does it mean to be served? Overview of 5 options you have when sued Bankruptcy option Fighting the lawsuit on your own option Settling the lawsuit on your… (Read more)
This is our continuing series of articles where we answer your debt collection lawsuit questions. Before we jump into this article (which is about what happens in a trial in Circuit court), here is what we have previously covered: Overview of the complaint or lawsuit filed against you What does it mean to be served? Overview of 5 options you have when sued Bankruptcy option Fighting the lawsuit on your own option Settling the lawsuit on your own option Hiring… (Read more)
This is our continuing series of articles where we answer your debt collection lawsuit questions. Before we jump into this article (which is about what happens in a trial in District court), here is what we have previously covered: Overview of the complaint or lawsuit filed against you What does it mean to be served? Overview of 5 options you have when sued Bankruptcy option Fighting the lawsuit on your own option Settling the lawsuit on your own option Hiring… (Read more)
This is our continuing series of articles where we answer your debt collection lawsuit questions. Before we jump into this article (which is about what happens in a trial in Small Claims court), here is what we have previously covered: Overview of the complaint or lawsuit filed against you What does it mean to be served? Overview of 5 options you have when sued Bankruptcy option Fighting the lawsuit on your own option Settling the lawsuit on your own option… (Read more)
“Was I served if I was given papers, but didn’t sign for anything?” Many of the lawsuits that we deal with involve debt collectors, and this is a good question to be asking. It’s incredibly important to understand when you’re served because that triggers your deadline to answer the lawsuit. You have 14 days to answer if you were sued in Small Claims or District court, and you have 30 days if you were sued in Circuit court. All of… (Read more)
“Was I served if the papers were given to a family member?” This is a question that we receive quite often, and it’s a great question. It’s important to figure out the answer to whether or not you’ve been served properly when you’re dealing with a debt collection lawsuit. Let’s say that there were papers sent to an address where you used to live, but you don’t live there anymore. Then the deadline passes and you’ve got a default judgment… (Read more)
How do I find out if there’s a judgment against me when I receive collection lawsuit papers? So you’ve been sued by a debt collector in Alabama, you’ve been served the lawsuit papers, but you’re wondering how you’ll know if there’s already a judgment against you. “Is there a judgment automatically against me once I’ve been served?” “Have I waited too long to respond?” Let’s talk about a couple of things before we get to this. First, you have a… (Read more)
Welcome back to our continuing series of articles where we answer your debt collection lawsuit questions. Before we jump into this article (which is about general trial questions), here is what we have previously covered: Overview of the complaint or lawsuit filed against you What does it mean to be served? Overview of 5 options you have when sued Bankruptcy option Fighting the lawsuit on your own option Settling the lawsuit on your own option Hiring a lawyer to fight… (Read more)
“What should I do if I have been sued on a debt that I’ve already paid off?” You’ve paid off a debt that you may have owed, and there’s a sense of relief. You’re done with the debt collector (or original creditor), and you can breathe easy now. However, 6 months later (maybe even a year later), you’re served with a lawsuit from the same collector for the same amount that you paid in the past. What should you do… (Read more)
“What is a consent judgment, and why is it bad to agree to it in my debt collection lawsuit?” So you’re dealing with a debt collection lawsuit and you’re talking to the collection lawyer about potentially settling your case, which is definitely one of your 5 options. The collection attorney says, “Great, I need you to sign this consent judgment and we can settle this case. Then you can either make your payments or do a lump sum, and we… (Read more)
Why is it so critical to tell the truth and not guess when I’m testifying in a debt collection lawsuit?
“Why is it so critical to tell the truth and not guess when I’m testifying in a debt collection lawsuit?” So you’re in a debt collection lawsuit, you have a trial coming up, and you’re probably wondering how you testify in this case. What should I do if I don’t know the answer to the question they ask? Here’s the bottom line. Tell the truth. Everything we talk about in this article is based on this fact. That means that… (Read more)
“Will the judge swear me in when I give testimony in my Alabama debt collection lawsuit?” So you’ve been sued by a debt collector. You’re facing trial, and you’re wondering if the judge will swear you in at trial if you give a testimony. Yes, the judge will ask you to raise your hand and ask you to swear/affirm that you’re telling the truth. The reason for being sworn comes from a set of rules called, “rules of evidence.” Basically,… (Read more)
Let’s say that you have a first mortgage. This is also your main mortgage, and you have a second mortgage. Then you go through some hard times, and the first mortgage forecloses on you. You don’t have to pay off the second mortgage, and once the foreclosure happens you don’t own the property anymore. This makes the second mortgage an unsecured debt since there’s no dirt to tie to the debt. Naturally, the question is asked, “Can I be sued… (Read more)
Debt collection lawsuit: The difference between owing and owning a debt When you’re dealing with a debt collector, it’s important to know the difference between owing and owning the debt. Here’s what I mean. Debt collectors think that they just have to convince you that you owe the debt. Let’s say you’ve been sued by a debt collector. Their goal is to make you believe that you owe the debt to them. They also will try to convince the judge… (Read more)
Let’s say you own a home and you’re facing a foreclosure. Let’s also say that your house has already been foreclosed on. The price of your foreclosed home is $150,000, but you owe $200,000. What happens to that deficiency? Well, you can be sued for that deficiency. Many people are surprised by this, even lawyers. They say that once the foreclosure happens you’re done, no one can sue you. However, that’s inaccurate. You need to know how much the foreclosure… (Read more)
“What is a judgment in an Alabama debt collection lawsuit?” When we’re talking about collection lawsuits in Alabama, we mention various judgments. We talk about avoiding a default judgment, and why we don’t agree to consent judgments. We also have to wonder about summary judgments or even judgments at the end of a lawsuit. Sometimes we don’t define what these words mean, so we want to explain what exactly this document is in an Alabama debt collection lawsuit. A judgment… (Read more)
Welcome back to our series on answers to your debt collection lawsuit questions. Before we jump into this article, here is what we have previously covered: Overview of the complaint or lawsuit filed against you What does it mean to be served? Overview of 5 options you have when sued Bankruptcy option Fighting the lawsuit on your own option Settling the lawsuit on your own option Hiring a lawyer to fight the lawsuit Hiring a lawyer to settle the lawsuit… (Read more)
This is part nine in our series where we answer your questions about Alabama debt collection lawsuits. In this part, we talk all about the “Answer” which is your response to the lawsuit or “complaint” filed against you by the debt collector. In case you want to see any of the previous articles, here is a list of them. Simply click on the one you want to read: Overview of the complaint or lawsuit filed against you What does it… (Read more)
Welcome to part eight of our series. To give you the context before we jump into the option of hiring a lawyer to help you settle the debt collection lawsuit, here is what we have covered in parts one through seven: What is the lawsuit against you? What does it mean to have the debt collection lawsuit “served” on you? A quick overview of the five options you have once you are sued Option One: Bankruptcy Option Two: Fight the… (Read more)
Now we will turn to your fourth option — hiring a lawyer to fight the collection lawsuit. As a reminder here are the previous articles in this series: What is the collection lawsuit What does being served mean Overview of your five options Bankruptcy Fighting the lawsuit on your own Settling the collection lawsuit on your own IF I HIRE A LAWYER TO FIGHT THE CASE… “How will I know if I have a good chance to win the… (Read more)
In this part of our continuing series, we discuss your “third option” which is to settle the debt collection lawsuit on your own. Here are the previous parts of this series: Overview of what is the collection lawsuit What does it mean to be served Overview of your five options Option One — bankruptcy (rarely appropriate) Option Two — fighting the lawsuit on your own Now let’s get into this option and it all starts with a reminder you must… (Read more)
IF I FIGHT THE COLLECTION LAWSUIT ON MY OWN… “Who will file my answer in court?” If you say, “I want to look at the option of fighting the lawsuit, but I do not want to hire a lawyer. I want to do it on my own.” With this option, who will file your answer in court? Well, that’s easy. You will file it. You don’t have a lawyer to file the answer for you so you file the answer… (Read more)
You can find part one (what is the collection lawsuit), part two (being served), and part three (overview of your five options). You are also welcome to watch the entire video (over two hours long) on youtube. Now let’s turn our attention to your first of five options — filing bankruptcy. IF I FILE BANKRUPTCY… “Why is bankruptcy such an extreme option?” Now let’s really dive into the first option of bankruptcy. So why do I say bankruptcy is such… (Read more)
You can find part one of this frequently asked question series on debt collection lawsuits here. And part two on being served with the lawsuit is here. If you want to watch the entire video (over two hours and answering more than 150 questions), you can find it here on our Youtube channel. WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS WHEN SUED? So let’s talk about what your real options are, not using some bogus settlement company or some law firm that has… (Read more)
(You can find part one of this frequently asked question series on debt collection lawsuits here). If you want to watch the entire video (over two hours and answering more than 150 questions), you can find it here on our Youtube channel. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO GET “SERVED”? “What does being served mean?” Being served simply means that under the definition of the law, you are now required to respond to the lawsuit. You’ve been handed the lawsuit papers… (Read more)
How do I settle my original creditor collection lawsuit on my own? If you’re dealing with an original creditor lawsuit, you may have made the decision to settle with them on your own. You may be thinking, “How do I go about settling my case?” Well, I can’t speak to your specific situation, since I don’t represent you, but I’ll give you some thoughts to keep in mind about how this is usually done. First, you need to decide what… (Read more)
SUED IN ALABAMA BY A DEBT BUYER OR DEBT COLLECTOR? Welcome to Your Ultimate Survival Guide Alabama Consumer Protection Lawyer John Watts Reveals Over 150 Answers That The Debt Buyers Don’t Want You To Know About This is part one and we will link to the other parts when we get them up on this website. (This is from a book we have and shortly we will make the entire book available for consumers in Alabama). This first section will… (Read more)
What happens to the collection lawsuit if the judgment is vacated? Another way this can be asked is, “What does this do to the collection lawsuit?” Let’s back up for a moment. When you’re sued, you have to be served. After you’re served, you have a certain amount of time to answer the lawsuit. If you don’t answer it, then the debt collector can get a default judgment against you. Maybe you weren’t served, though. Or maybe you were served,… (Read more)
“How do I make sure my credit reports are correct after settling with an Original Creditor?” Let’s say that you were sued for $5,000, and you agree to pay $3,000 to settle the case. Then, after you pay the money and the case is settled with prejudice, you check your credit reports and see that you owe $5,000. What?!?! That simply isn’t true, because you settled with the original creditor. You owe nothing so your credit report should say “zero… (Read more)
Debt Collection Lawsuits: What is a sheriff sale? A sheriffs sale is simply where someone takes a judgment to the sheriff and tells them they want to sell the Defendant’s car, house, etc. Then the sheriff sets up the sale. It works like a foreclosure sale, where they auction off the property and sell it to the highest bidder. Once the property is sold, that money goes towards paying off any liens that are on the house first. For example,… (Read more)
We decided to make a checklist available as we thought this would be helpful to you in deciding what to do with your debt collection lawsuit. NOTE: This is only for Alabama. Every other state is different and we only represent folks sued in Alabama. Here are some of the things covered in this checklist: Who sued you? Which court? What is your case number? Have you been served? When were you served? When is your answer due? Do you… (Read more)
(This was a webinar from a few years ago — the information is still valid and we wanted to put this out here as we hope it will be helpful to you!) We’re going to answer some questions about debt collection suits and dealing with debt collectors. It’s one of the most common areas of questions that we get because there are just simply so many collection law suits out there. We talk about this in other videos, but take… (Read more)
If I have a default judgment against me, but I wasn’t served, what can I do? Unfortunately, most lawyers will tell you that there’s nothing you can do. Or, they’ll say that you have 14 or 30 days to do something. The key is whether or not you were served by the debt collector that’s suing you. If you have questions about being served, you can read this article and also contact us about your supposed service in Alabama. If… (Read more)
Stop Frivolous Lawsuits I first heard about this issue early on in my career. I was working mainly with personal injury, wrongful death, and fraud cases (I still do) — I heard all about frivolous lawsuits need to stop. This issue has gotten a lot of publicity from places like the Business Council, Chamber of Commerce, etc. They’ll say things like, “These lawsuits are ridiculous! They’re driving up the cost of doing business!” etc. To their credit, there is a… (Read more)
You received a copy of the small claims lawsuit by Capital One and you are wondering, “What do I do now? What are my options?” We have represented countless folks all over Alabama who are sued by Capital One. From our many years of representing people in every type of court in virtually every county, we have learned a few things. Here are the questions that are probably going through your mind right now. Warning: This article is lengthy but… (Read more)
Summary If you were sued by a debt collector (debt buyer) and your case was dismissed with prejudice, then this is the same as winning your case. (I’m not talking about a settlement but where the court does this outside of a settlement). And we are only talking about Alabama law — other states may be different. As a dismissal with prejudice is the same as winning your case, this has important implications. You do not owe the debt to… (Read more)
“Can I really be sued in Alabama if I’m broke?” According to some people, you can be too broke/poor to be sued by a debt collector. Some may say, “Oh, I don’t have to worry about debt collectors suing me because I can’t pay them back in any way whatsoever.” This is a false idea. You are never too broke to be sued. Even if you have no assets or income, these debt collectors may still sue you. You may… (Read more)
Why it is critical to understand the difference in “owning” a debt and “owing” a debt! You can only OWE the debt collector or debt buyer if the debt buyer OWNS your debt. Take your house or your apartment. You owe a mortgage or rent, right? So I sue you. I sue you for your mortgage payment or rent. Do you owe it? Absolutely. Do you owe ME? Of course not!! Why not? Because I don’t own your mortgage or… (Read more)
Alabama Consumer Protection Attorney John G. Watts answers your debt collection questions We did this live webinar on June 6th, 2017, and have typed a form of a transcript below for you with some links.. Welcome to this webinar! Today we’re going to answer some questions that we’ve been asked, including several questions about the debt collector (debt buyer) Velocity Investments, LLC. Let’s get started. “What do I do if a collection lawyer is sending me debt notices at work… (Read more)
If you have been sued by a debt collector or credit card company in Alabama, you’ve probably received a letter from a company called Ferry & Nicholas (F&N), a debt settlement company. They describe themselves as a “mediation” company which is bogus — they are a debt settlement company. You may have hired F&N. It has come to my attention that F&N may be revoking their power of attorney’s in court cases and with various collection attorneys and agencies across… (Read more)
What steps do I need to take after being sued on an old credit card debt? It is scary to be sued on an old credit card debt. But the way through this is to work at figuring out your options and then taking the best possible action. Knowledge is great . . . but not enough. You must have knowledge PLUS action to get real results. Here are the steps — and we’ll look at them in more detail:… (Read more)
Are all debt collection lawsuits the same across the country? We often get questions and comments from folks living outside of Alabama wondering about the debt collection lawsuit process in their state. Specifically we are asked if we can help them directly or can explain how the lawsuit process works in another state. Let’s talk about it. The answer is no. Each state handles debt collection lawsuits differently, so make sure you are looking at the rules for your particular… (Read more)
A practical explanation of what it means that CACH has filed bankruptcy On March 19, 2017, CACH (through Square Two Financial Services Corporation) filed a voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 11 of Title 11 of the United States Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, Case No. 17-10663, and jointly administered under In re Square Two Financial Services Corporation, et al., Case No. 17-10659. OK in simpler terms, CACH went bankrupt. What… (Read more)
You have questions — make sure before hiring a lawyer that you get all of your questions answered The primary reason you consider hiring a lawyer is because you have questions about the law or how the legal process works. Especially when you are considering being in court — it is natural that you would have questions. So here are some suggestions as you go through the process of finding and hiring a consumer protection lawyer. Make a written list… (Read more)
“A debt buyer claims to have bought my old debt and has sued me now. Does the FDCPA apply if the debt buyer owns the debt?” This is a question that gets asked fairly often by Alabama consumers. Let’s talk about this. The FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) covers debt collectors. Companies such as Asset Acceptance, CACH, LVNV, Midland, Velocity, etc. are covered by this. These guys are also known as “debt buyers.” There are plenty of them out… (Read more)
“I’ve been sued by a debt collector. How will I be notified of my trial date?” This is a very important question because if you miss your trial date, you will almost certainly lose your case. It really depends. Are you handling your case on your own, or have you hired an attorney to handle your case? (By the way — in Small Claims or District Court either can be a good option). If you’ve hired a lawyer, then the… (Read more)
“I have been sued by a debt collector in Alabama. I want to settle the debt, but I’m afraid I’ll be sued again on the same debt. Is this possible?” Some people may think this is silly, but this is a legitimate concern. How could this be, you may ask? Debt collectors have done this exact thing in the past with other consumers. Here’s an example. Let’s say that you owe $8,000. Then, to settle the debt with the collector,… (Read more)
“Should I show up for my debt collection lawsuit trial in Alabama?” This is a reasonable question, because trial is a big deal. It really depends. Are you representing yourself, or have you hired a lawyer to handle your case? If you’re representing yourself, then you must show up for your collection lawsuit trial. If you don’t, then you’ll almost certainly lose your case by getting a default judgment against you. Even though you answer the lawsuit (which most people… (Read more)
“I’ve been sued by a debt collector. Should I hire an non-lawyer firm such as Ferry & Nicolas to handle my debt collection lawsuit?” This type of firm is called a “mediation firm,” except they’re not really a mediation firm. They aren’t lawyers, but they will advertise to people who are in debt collection lawsuits and say that they can help. Here are a few thoughts on this issue. You are in a lawsuit. Take this very seriously. You’re in… (Read more)
The Five Secrets Debt Buyers Who Sue You In Alabama Don’t Want You To Know About! INTRODUCTION Debt buyers (debt collectors) are flooding our Alabama courts with lawsuits where they claim to own the debt that they are suing on. Often, when you are sued, you are confused as you never did business with the debt buyer (Cavalry, LVNV Funding, Midland Funding, Unifund, Velocity, and many others) but you find yourself in the middle of a lawsuit. The debt buyers… (Read more)
Debt collection trial in the morning — what do you do now? Discover the critical keys to success. I often get these calls to my law firm — you have trial with CACH, Calvary, LVNV Funding, Midland Funding, Portfolio Recovery, etc. and the trial is in 30 minutes or is in the morning. So let’s strip everything away except the critical keys to success. The first thing to do is to remember the difference in owing a debt and the… (Read more)
“How do I file my answer in an Alabama Small Claims debt collection lawsuit?“ This is a great question, especially if you’re handling your debt collection lawsuit on your own. I can’t tell you what to do, but I can show you how the form works. And I can help you think through the issues. Four boxes. When you get your answer form (which you should get when you are served), you will first see 4 boxes. Box A This… (Read more)
How is it legal to get sued by National Collegiate Student Loan Trust when I discharged my student loans? Consumers in Alabama ask, “I filed bankruptcy several years ago, so why is NCSLT suing me for a discharged debt?” This is a good question, because it doesn’t make sense to get sued if you received a discharge.. When someone files a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, their student loans can be discharged. They’ll talk with their bankruptcy attorney, and the attorney will… (Read more)
What happens after I file an answer in my Alabama debt collection lawsuit? When you’re sued by a debt collector, whether it be Midland Funding, LVNV, Portfolio Recovery Associates, you may wonder what the next step is after you’ve filed your answer. Typically, there are two paths your lawsuit can take. Your case can either be set for trial, or set for status conference. 1.) Set for Trial Setting your case for trial usually happens in Small Claims or District… (Read more)
In Alabama, courts are flooded with one debt collection lawsuit after another (sometimes hundreds per week) from various debt collectors. Normally, people wait until they’re served, or until their time is almost out, to file their answer. We encourage consumers to file their answer before they’re served. You may be thinking, “Why in the world would I file it before I’m served?” Our reasoning is that filing your answer as early as possible removes the danger of getting a default… (Read more)
If you’re dealing with a debt collection lawsuit, and a default judgment is entered against you, you may wonder, “Is there any way to get rid of this?” The key to setting aside a default judgment is to prove that we could not have been served properly. We have to prove to the court that the court records showing us as being served is wrong because we weren’t served and could not have been served. Here are a couple of… (Read more)
If you’re handling a debt collection lawsuit on your own, which is certainly one of 5 options available to you, we recommend that you go to the courthouse before your trial and watch other Small Claims or District court trials that your judge handles. (If your case is in Circuit Court, we recommend that you talk to a lawyer as it is incredibly difficult to handle a Circuit Court case on your own). You may wonder, “Why should I watch… (Read more)
Great news — you’ve settled your debt collection lawsuit with an original creditor. You may wonder, “What should I be do with my credit reports now?” Generally, consumers think that since they’ve settle with the original creditor, the company will remove the debt from your credit report. Unfortunately, this is not correct. But often creditors don’t accurately report on our credit reports. For example, since we now owe the creditor nothing or $0.00, then our credit report should state that.… (Read more)
“What is garnishment after a judgment when I’ve been sued by a creditor or debt collector?” Garnishment is a scary word for good reason — it means a judgment in Alabama has been entered against you and someone is trying to take your wages and/or the money in your bank account. We’ll do this: Talk about how we get to the garnishment stage What is a wage garnishment What is a bank garnishment Talk about if you have options to… (Read more)
LVNV is a debt buyer who files many lawsuits in Alabama. For over a decade LVNV has been suing consumers in Alabama, claiming to own old defaulted debt. The hope of LVNV is that you will simply pay it (even if it doesn’t prove it owns the debt) or you will allow it to get a default judgment by doing nothing. So let’s get started helping you figure out what you need to do. Congratulations for taking action! Many people… (Read more)
If you’ve received a default judgment in your collection lawsuit, you may wonder, “Is there any way I can get rid of this?” Here are two ways that a default judgment can be set aside in Alabama. 1.) Ask the judge to set aside the judgment within the time limit we’re given. If we were served in Small Claims or District Court, then we have 14 days to ask the court to set aside the judgment. If we were served… (Read more)
If you have a judgment against you from a long time ago, you may wonder, “Is there any way I can settle this old judgment?” It’s really a 3 step process to settle an old judgment in Alabama. Step 1: Negotiate a settlement. You can either hire a lawyer or you can do this on your own. Normally, it will be a lump sum settlement that you will pay. And you should get a discount off of what you currently… (Read more)
If you’ve had the unfortunate experience of getting your car totaled in a car wreck, you may wonder, “I can’t be sued for deficiencies on this car, right?” Many people say that you can’t be sued, because you weren’t responsible for your car being totaled. However, the reality of the situation is that you do owe a deficiency on your car. If the loan on the car is $15,000, and the insurance company only covers $12,000, then you still owe… (Read more)
In a previous article we talked about whether or not your spouse can argue your collection lawsuit for you in trial. Since they can’t represent you, you may wonder, “Well, can they come into the court room with me to support me during the debt collection trial?” It depends. There’s a unique law that it is sometimes simply called, “The Rule.” The Rule states that if anyone in the courtroom can take the stand as a witness, then they can… (Read more)
When you’re facing a collection lawsuit, you generally have 5 options that you can choose from. One of those choices is to handle the lawsuit on your own. Among other thoughts, you may wonder when it comes time for trial, “I’m not comfortable arguing my case, but my spouse is able to handle it. Could they go to trial for me instead?” No, your spouse cannot argue your collection lawsuit for you. Unless your spouse is a lawyer, they can’t… (Read more)
This type of situation is becoming more common. Let’s say that our first mortgage company has foreclosed on us, and we’ve moved out of the house. The first mortgage company will collect their money from the foreclosure sale, but they don’t pay the second mortgage company except in very unusual circumstances. We move somewhere new and started a new phase of life. Years later, a company sends us a letter, claiming that we owe them money from our second mortgage,… (Read more)
One question that may come to mind when you’re dealing with a debt collector is, “What is Circuit Court, and at what point can my case be filed in Circuit Court?” In this article we will help you understand this particular court. “How much does a debt collector need to sue me in order for the case to be filed in Circuit Court?” If you are sued for below $6,000, then your case will be Small Claims Court. If it… (Read more)
A subpoena in your Alabama debt collection (debt buyer) lawsuit means that you have to show up at court for your trial or there are serious consequences. Let’s look at this and what it means for you. You were sued and you filed an answer to the debt collection lawsuit Otherwise there would be a default judgment against you. So you did a great job — answering the lawsuit. Especially in Small Claims or District Court, the next thing that… (Read more)
A natural question when you are sued by a debt collector is whether the statute of limitations is a good defense to the lawsuit. The statute of limitations defense is when the plaintiff — here the debt collector or debt buyer — waited too long to sue you. But when do you start to count the time for statute of limitations — from when the lawsuit was filed or when you were served? Sometimes it can be weeks or months… (Read more)
District court is the mid level trial court in Alabama between Small Claims and Circuit Court. (We are not talking about appellate courts — just courts where cases are tried). This is the least common court to be sued in but we do see some collection lawsuits filed here. What is the dollar amount in District Court? Here’s the basic gist — if the amount sued is $6,000 or less, you will be in Small Claims Court. If the amount… (Read more)
If you’re dealing with a debt collection lawsuit, you may wonder, “Do I have to show up for my trial? If you’re defending yourself, then you do need to show up for trial. If you don’t show up, you’ll lose your case. Why? Well, if you don’t show up and the collection lawyer does, then you’ll get a default judgment against you, which is bad. If you’ve hired a lawyer, you should ask them if you should show up or… (Read more)
If you’ve gotten a letter from a firm called Nathan & Nathan, you may be wondering, “Why did I get this call or letter from them?” Nathan & Nathan is a debt collection law firm based in Birmingham, Alabama. They file lawsuits all over the state of Alabama, and they represent original creditors, such as Capital One. They also represent debt collection agencies such as National Collegiate Student Loan Trust, which is a student loan collection agency. You may also… (Read more)
When you’re dealing with a debt collector, you may wonder, “Is it even legal for a collection company to buy my old debt?” Debt buyers claim to buy old debt. They go around and buy old credit card debt, car loan debt, and defaulted debts. That’s why they’re called debt collectors, or debt buyers. After they acquire the debt, they usually send us letters, sue us, and/or credit report on us. It makes sense for us to wonder if it’s… (Read more)
You may be wondering, “What should I do if I’m getting a letter from Ferry & Nicholas, a bankruptcy lawyer, or a sheriff’s deputy?” This is a natural question, because getting letters from places like Ferry & Nicholas, or bankruptcy attorneys, about being served in a collection lawsuit can be disturbing to us. Well, the sooner you know about it, the better. Personally, we would never hire Ferry & Nicholas. You can do whatever you wish, but we would never… (Read more)
A natural question when you are sued by a debt collector (such as Asset Acceptance, Cavalry, LVNV, Midland, Portfolio Recovery, etc) is “How is it legal for a company to buy an old debt and sue me in Alabama?” Let’s look at this in a couple of ways. First, is it legal for someone to buy your old debt? Second, if it is legal to buy an old debt, is it legal for a debt buyer to sue you? Third,… (Read more)
You have been sued by a debt buyer (debt collector) such as Asset Acceptance, Cavalry Portfolio, LVNV, Portfolio, Unifund, etc and you are thinking about ignoring the lawsuit because someone told you that you are “judgment proof”. Is this smart or not so smart? Let’s take a look at this together…. What does “judgment proof” mean? The idea is that if a judgment can’t hurt you or impact you in any way, then it doesn’t matter. So you are “judgment… (Read more)
“Who is Unifund?” Unifund is a company (or several companies with related names) that allegedly buys old credit card debt. It is based out of Ohio. This company is known as a “debt collector” or a “debt buyer”. “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… (Read more)
Practical guide to using the FDCPA to stop a debt collector from abusing you What is the FDCPA? It is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is a law that regulates and governs debt collectors. it tells debt collectors what they can do, and what they cannot do. It also tells debt collectors that if they break the law, these can be the consequences. 3 requirements for the FDCPA to apply One-you must be a consumer This one is pretty… (Read more)
Consumer sues LVNV and collection lawfirm under FDCPA Our client was sued by LVNV and won her case. In Alabama this means she does not owe the debt to LVNV. Pretty simple, right? LVNV lost so it leaves her alone. Except LVNV would not do that — instead it hired some out of state collection lawfirm (Budzik & Dynia) to collect against our client. And not only collect, but threaten to sue. And threaten to credit report. But. Our client… (Read more)
“How many days do I have to answer the collection lawsuit?” Being sued is very stressful — but nearly as stressful as dealing with a default judgment because we did not answer the lawsuit. You must not only know the time limits but you must commit to taking action. We’ll look at several things in this article: When does the clock start ticking on your time limit to answer the collection lawsuit? How long do you have if you were… (Read more)
“How bad is a judgment against me in a collection case?” So you have been sued by a debt buyer and you are wondering, “How bad is a judgment against me anyway?” Pretty bad. Here is a list of the negative consequences: Judgment goes on your credit reports Debt buyer/debt collector can garnish your wages (25%) Debt buyer/debt collector can garnish your bank accounts They can even force the sale of your property (sheriff’s sale) Let’s look at these and… (Read more)
You need to follow these five steps to make the debt collection lawsuit against you go away as you’ve been sued by a debt buyer such as: Cavalry LVNV Funding Midland Funding Portfolio Recovery Unifund Now you are getting advertisement letters and people offering to file bankruptcy for you. Friends and family are telling you that you have no options. So what’s the real story? Here’s the deal. We have a 5 Step Process to help you: “Five Steps to… (Read more)
“Who is Portfolio Recovery Associates and why are they suing me?” PRA (Portfolio Recovery Associates) is a debt collector (debt buyer) out of Virginia that files hundreds of collection lawsuits every month in Alabama. Let’s talk about: What type of suits does PRA file Who represents PRA What is the huge problem PRA has when it files cases in Alabama What is your biggest danger when sued by PRA What are your five (5) options when sued by PRA What… (Read more)
“Does the debt buyer own the debt that they credit report?” If you’ve been sued by a debt buyer, or collector, such as Asset Acceptance, Cascade Capital, Midland Funding, LVNV, Velocity, or any other company like this, you may have several questions that come to mind. One question may be, “If the debt buyer is reporting this debt on my credit report, does that prove that they own it?” Absolutely not. It just proves that the debt buyer reported on… (Read more)
Today we’re going to talk about how long the Statute of Limitation applies if you’ve been sued after a car repossession has already happened. This is something that we’ve started to see more often. Companies like Autovest, Velocity, and Cascade sue a consumer after a repossession has taken place, claiming that the consumer still owes money. They say you owe a certain amount of money, then they repossess for a certain amount, and then say that you owe the difference… (Read more)
If you’re defending yourself in your collection lawsuit, you may wonder, “How do I physically file a collection answer into court?” You definitely can choose to defend yourself, which means that a lawyer will not be the person filing the answer. You should also make sure that you file this answer within the time limit given. You can also call us, 1-205-879-2447, and we can help you decide what would be best for you. Here’s how to file your answer… (Read more)
“Can I see the contract between the collection lawyer and agency?” When you’re dealing with a debt collection lawsuit and a collection lawyer, one question that often comes up is, “Does the collection lawyer have to show me, the consumer, the contract between their firm and the debt collection agency?” The answer is no. Here’s where the confusion comes in. We have the original creditor, who supposedly sells the debt to another company. Then that company sells the debt to… (Read more)
You’re trying to figure out how to handle your collection case and you have been chatting with the collection lawfirm about settling. Then you get an envelope from the lawfirm with a piece of paper with the title, “Consent judgment.” They collection lawyer says in a letter, “Just sign it, because you won’t have to show up to court if you do.” What should you do? First, let’s figure out what exactly a consent judgment is. A consent judgment is… (Read more)
“What is a default judgment in my collection lawsuit?” You’ve been sued by a debt collection company for a debt that you may or may not owe, and you may have heard the term “default judgment.” You may wonder, “What is that?” Let’s start from the beginning. First, the collection suit is filed. Then, you’re served with the lawsuit, whether you’re given papers personally or it’s mailed to you via certified mail. Once you’ve been served, you have 14 days… (Read more)
“Who is LVNV Funding and why are they suing me?” You may have gotten a letter, or maybe even a phone call from this company called LVNV Funding. You may be wondering, “What do they want, and who are these people?” This is a good question, because they file almost as many cases in Alabama as Midland Funding or Portfolio Recovery Associates. The reason they’re suing you is because they claim that you owe them money. Supposedly they own a… (Read more)
You may have gotten a letter in the mail from a company called Cascade Capital. They may be claiming that you owe them money from an old car loan, where there was supposedly a repossession. You may be wondering, “What should I do?” Here are some things you need to keep in mind when you’re dealing with this company. You most likely have never directly dealt with Cascade Capital before. They wouldn’t have been the ones who let you borrow… (Read more)
“Should I hire Ferry & Nicholas to handle my collection case?” You may have received a letter in the mail from this company called Ferry & Nicholas. They’re a company that advertises “non-lawyer” mediation services to supposedly help you with your debt collection lawsuit. You may be wondering, “Is it a good idea to hire Ferry & Nicholas to handle my case?” You may be wondering if you should call them and give them your money. Here’s something positive I… (Read more)
You may have gotten a letter in the mail stating that you’ve been sued by Velocity Investments. You may be thinking, “Who is this company, and why are they suing me?” Who is this company “Velocity Investments”? Velocity Investments is a company claims to buy up old car loans, generally after repossession. Why are they suing me? They’re trying to get you to pay on this old debt that they claim you owe and they claim to own. Usually, they… (Read more)
You may have gotten a letter in the mail from a company by the name of Asset Acceptance. You may be wondering, “Who is Asset Acceptance and why are they suing me?” This is a good question, because Asset Acceptance files quite a few cases a week in Alabama. Who is Asset Acceptance? They are a debt collection agency, or a debt buyer. They claim to buy old debt. Usually it’s old credit card debt, but sometimes it’s other types… (Read more)
You’ve been sued by a debt collection agency, like Asset Acceptance, LVNV, Midland Funding , etc. And you’ve heard about this law called the FDCPA, or the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. You may be wondering, “Does this law apply to the debt collection lawsuit that has been filed against me?” Normally, the answer is yes We have another article that talks about when the FDCPA applies. You have to be a consumer. It has to be personal, or consumer,… (Read more)
You may have received a letter in the mail from a company called Midland Funding or Midland Credit Management stating that you owe them money. Or maybe Ferry & Nicholas wrote you saying you have been sued by Midland and you are confused as you have never heard of Midland. You probably looked at this letter and thought, “Who in the world is Midland Funding and why are they saying that I owe them money?“ Midland Funding is debt collection… (Read more)
Sometimes people look at us funny and wonder why we need for them to pull their credit reports after they have been sued. If you plan to call my office, you should know that we always ask whether or not you have pulled your credit reports within the last few months. If you say yes, then that’s great. We’d like to see those when we talk to you. If you haven’t, we will ask you to pull them. If you… (Read more)
“How do I defend myself in my Alabama debt collection lawsuit?” When you’re sued by a debt collector, you have 5 options in how to deal with your debt collection case. One of those options is to represent yourself in your collection lawsuit. Make sure you file your answer for your debt collection lawsuit on time If you’re late filing your answer, you will get a default judgment against you. You have 14 days from the date of service in… (Read more)
“Can the debt collector appeal if I win my case?” When you’re dealing with a collection lawsuit, you may wonder, “can a debt collector appeal the case if I win my collection case?” The answer is yes, they can. It works just as it would if you lost your case and wanted to appeal. You can look at our article on appealing in Small Claims and District Court if you’re interested. If we’re honest, not very many people appeal. Typically,… (Read more)
If you’ve lost your collection case, you may be thinking, “is there any way I can appeal my case in Circuit Court?” Good news, you can appeal your collection case to Circuit Court If your case was in Small Claims or District Court, you have the right to appeal. As a reminder, there’s Small Claims Court, District Court, and Circuit Court. This means that Circuit Court is the highest court. You have 14 days to appeal, which you need to… (Read more)
“What happens if I don’t show up to trial in my collection case?” When you’re dealing with a collection case, you may wonder, “what would happen if I ignore my trial in my collection lawsuit?” The short answer is that you would lose I could just leave it at that. However, I’d like to expand on this. Trial is the time for both sides to show up The debt collector has to present its case in front of a judge.… (Read more)
“Why did I get a motion for summary judgment in my collection lawsuit?” You’ve been sued by a debt collector (debt buyer), a company like Asset Acceptance, LVNV, Midland Funding, Portfolio Recovery, or a similar company, and they serve you a motion for summary judgment. They’ve sued you, and you’re getting a summary judgment motion That usually means you’re in Circuit Court. We have Small Claims Court, District Court, and Circuit Court. Circuit Court is the highest court and this… (Read more)
“What does it mean when I’m served with discovery in my collection lawsuit?” In a collection suit, sometimes you’re served with discovery. You may be wondering, “What in the world is this?” Discovery is where the other side is allowed to ask you questions and for certain documents. This is where they ask for Request for Production, Interrogatories, and Request for Admissions. If you’re served with discovery, your case should be in Circuit Court. Request for Production This is where… (Read more)
“Can I handle my collection case on my own?” Often times when you’re dealing with a collection lawsuit, a big question that needs to be answer is whether or not you can handle the lawsuit on your own. The simple answer is it depends. There’s lots of different types of debt collection suits. We’ve seen people sued for $500, we’ve seen people sued for six figures — it makes a difference. Let me try to describe it this way, you… (Read more)
“How long do I have to answer my collection lawsuit in Alabama?” Knowing how long you have to answer a collection lawsuit in Alabama is critical as so many people (somewhere between 75 and 90% of people) do not respond to the lawsuit, and so they lose automatically. You start from the date that you were served with the collection lawsuit. We have previously talked about how do I know if I’ve been served or how do I know when… (Read more)
“How do I know if I have been served with a collection lawsuit in Alabama?” This is a common question because being served is really when things take off in a collection lawsuit. There are deadlines that come about, and if you haven’t been served, you don’t have a deadline. But, if you have been served, there’s a deadline and there’s a lot of confusion about being served. Hopefully, this article will clear up at least some of that confusion.… (Read more)
“Can a debt buyer really sue me in Alabama?” This is a question that is asked often. Hopefully this article will answer your question. First off, it is legal to buy debt A company can buy old credit card debt, or maybe deficiencies after repossession of an automobile. It is legal to buy debt, but this isn’t where the analysis ends. The debt buyer has to prove it owns the debt It may be legal to buy the debt, but… (Read more)
Your 5 options when sued by an original creditor Being sued by an original creditor — such as American Express (AMEX), Bank of America (BOA), Capital One, Discover Bank (Discover Card), etc. — can be incredibly scary. Whether you owe the debt or not, what do you do? Do you file bankruptcy, fight the lawsuit or settle? How do you do this and how do you pick what to do? The video above (and the written portion below) will walk… (Read more)
Out of the blue, you get a letter from “Ferry & Nicholas, Inc.” telling you that you are being sued. It is natural that you will have questions about the letter so I wanted to go through a typical Ferry letter. I strongly recommend against using this firm to handle a lawsuit against you and I’ll discuss that as we go through the letter. I don’t know the Ferry & Nicholas folks personally so I make no judgment about their… (Read more)
Order letting Midland win — important lesson if sued by Midland This Order was sent to me — it is not a case I was involved in. And the lawyer representing the consumer is an excellent lawyer. The point of posting this is to warn about the danger of not properly answering discovery and/or not hiring a lawyer early enough in the process. Here is the order and then I’ll provide a bit of analysis in [brackets]: The Complaint was… (Read more)
“I got a collection letter from a lawyer. I disputed it and got no response and then I got sued.” Short answer is this normally violates the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) as the lawyer should have responded to your dispute letter before suing. Want the slightly longer answer. 🙂 Here’s a recent example that shows the FDCPA being violated by CACH Let me give you a typical example. You have a debt buyer that’s called CACH. They basically… (Read more)
“Why do I need to bring you a timeline and give you info for our consultation?” When we have a consultation we need certain information from you including a timeline of what happened when. Sometimes potential clients don’t want to get us documents — they say, “I have a specific question and I just want you to answer that one question. I don’t need to share any other information with you.” We respectfully decline to consider letting these folks be… (Read more)
Congratulations for taking action! Many people do nothing when they’re sued. You’re taking action! You went online. You found this article and video. Maybe you were referred to this video/article by someone. In any case, you are taking action which is great. Make sure you respond so you won’t get a default judgement. The number one thing to remember to respond, because you don’t want a default judgement. You must answer the lawsuit. You have 14 days in Small Claims… (Read more)
First off, congratulations! Most people do nothing when they’re sued. You took action, and answered the collection suit. You showed up at court, and you won your case. Now is the time to finish the good work you have started. Some people may say, “Well, I’ve won my case, so it’s over.” No, you’re about halfway done, so you need to finish the deal. Look into suing the debt collector. I suggest you look into suing the debt collector who… (Read more)
“How do I settle a collection lawsuit without hiring a lawyer?” Remember you have 5 options when sued by a debt collector (debt buyer) such as LVNV, Midland, Portfolio, etc. File bankruptcy Fight the case on your own Settle the case on your own Hire a lawyer to fight the case Hire a lawyer to settle the case So let’s talk about option three — settling the case on your own. (I’m assuming you know to file your answer to… (Read more)
What is a dismissal with prejudice and a dismissal without prejudice? A dismissal with prejudice means the case is over. That could be because you settled, or it could be because they realize they can’t prove their case and they just drop the case. With prejudice means they cannot sue you again. We have a situation right now where a case was won by a consumer but the debt buyer Main Street Acquisitions sued our client again on the same… (Read more)
If my bank account is garnished and I have CD’s at that bank, would they be affected by the garnishment?
“If my bank account is garnished and I have CD’s at that bank, would they be affected by the garnishment?” The short answer to that is yes. If you’re being garnished (you have a judgment against you) and your bank account is being garnished, then the fact that you have CD’s there, well they’re going to be garnished as well. Basically, any type of bank account can be garnished after a judgment unless it is any type of exempt funds… (Read more)
The video above is quite comprehensive but we realize some folks prefer to read rather than watch a video so we have the transcript below. Feel free to watch (or listen — the slides are not critical to understand the presentation) or read — whatever your preference is…. And I realize you may rather just pick up the phone and call us — feel free to do this by calling 205-879-2447 and we’ll be happy to chat with you. You… (Read more)
“What Appeal Option Is There In District Or Small Claims Court In Alabama?” You’ve been sued in district court or small claims court in Alabama by a debt collector, and it crosses your mind, “Well, what if I lose? Do I have any options?” What if you win? Does the debt collector have any options? The simple answer is yes. Whoever loses in small claims or in district court can appeal. Normally whoever loses has 14 days to appeal. The… (Read more)
A detailed overview of being sued by a debt collector (debt buyer) in small claims or district court
A detailed overview of being sued by a debt collector (debt buyer) in small claims or district court One of your five options when sued by a debt buyer (such as Asset, LVNV, Midland, Portfolio, etc) is to fight the case on your own. Especially in small claims and district courts, this can be a great choice for you. But what happens? What happens from the moment you are sued until after the case is over? If these questions… (Read more)
“I got sued — not on my credit report — is it too late to sue me?” When you are sued, it is very smart to pull your credit reports to see what is this account saying? Often what is said on your credit reports is different than what the lawsuit is saying about you. “But if the account is not showing up on my credit reports this means the account is too old to sue me on so I… (Read more)
If I’ve been sued and I get the summons, but they leave it on my door, porch, or in the yard, am I considered served?
“If I’ve been sued and I get the summons, but they leave it on my door, porch, or in the yard, am I considered served?” So the question is if you have been sued but the process server (deputy, Van Slam, etc.) leaves the summons on your porch or on your door, have you actually been served? From a technical, legal standpoint, if they simply leave it on your porch, then I don’t think that’s being served. They can leave… (Read more)
“Why Must The Debt Collector Take Debt Off My Credit Report After I Win The Collection Case?” Hundreds of collection lawsuits are filed by debt collectors (debt buyers) such as LVNV, Midland, Portfolio, etc. but most (if not all) are filed without any proof so it is common for folks to win their collection case. I assume this happened with your collection case since you are reading this. Two important points before we get into the details: First, congrats! You… (Read more)
“If I call the collection lawyer to try to settle the collection lawsuit, isn’t this admitting I owe the debt?” No. The law encourages settlement talks. Settlement negotiations are not admissible in court because the law encourages both parties to talk to try to work things out. No party would talk if “simply talking” could be used against that party to admit they owe the debt (consumer) or the debt is not valid (collector). If when you called the collector… (Read more)
How do I stop Asset Acceptance from computer calling me on my cell phone after I beat them at trial?
“How do I stop Asset Acceptance from computer calling me on my cell phone after I beat them at trial?” We had a question from a website visitor about Asset Acceptance, a debt buyer (debt collector), who sued the consumer and lost. But it is still calling the consumer’s cell phone, spouse’s cell phone, and even the consumer’s child’s cell phone. To show it has no concern for the rights of the consumer, Asset Acceptance is credit reporting the account… (Read more)
“What are my time limits to answering a collection lawsuit in Alabama?” When you are sued in Alabama for a collection lawsuit, it is critical to know when your Answer is due. If you miss this deadline, the other side can get a “default judgment” against you which can lead to garnishments and even the loss of your home. Your time limit depends on two things: When were you “served” What court were you sued in When were you served… (Read more)
Often if you have been sued in Circuit Court in Alabama you will face a “motion for summary judgment” so let’s talk about that for a moment. What is a motion for summary judgment? A “motion” is simply a written request asking the court to do something. “Summary judgment” is asking the court to rule — to enter judgment in favor of the debt collector. The basis is that no reasonable judge or jury could possibly rule in favor of… (Read more)
“What if I win my Small Claims or District Court collection case?” So you won the collection case filed against you by Cavalry, LVNV, Midland, Portfolio, etc — now what does this mean? First, congratulations on winning! Most people never answer the lawsuit, so they lose. And even when they answer the collection suit, most don’t show up to their own trial! So they lose. And the ones that do show up, often settle as they don’t understand that the… (Read more)
What happens at trial in a collection lawsuit? One of the most natural questions you will ask if you have been sued is what happens at trial? After all, you have been sued, you have answered, and now you are going to trial so what does this mean? A collection lawsuit trial is simply a trial, but since it can happen in small claims court, district court, or even circuit court, we need to be aware of those differences. We’ll… (Read more)
What if I lose my Small Claims or District Court collection lawsuit? Anytime a trial happens, someone will win and someone will lose. So what do you do if the collector wins and you lose the collection lawsuit? You basically have two options: Settle with the debt collector (debt buyer); or Appeal the loss Let’s look at these starting with the first option . . . . Settle with the debt collector (debt buyer) Option one is to work things… (Read more)
What is discovery in a collection lawsuit in Alabama? When you are sued by a debt collector in Alabama, you may wonder “What is this about ‘discovery’ and how does it apply to me?” Discovery is simply where one side in a lawsuit (for example the debt collector who sued you) asks you questions or asks you to produce documents so that side can use that information to help it evaluate and win its case. You can do the same.… (Read more)
What does it mean to be “served” with a collection lawsuit? You know you have been sued with a collection lawsuit and you understand the next step is to be “served.” What does this mean? Why do you need to know? Because knowing what it means is vital to understanding what steps to take next in the lawsuit. This is where the lawsuit is handed to you. Here are some different ways this can happen: It can be by certified… (Read more)
What is a collection lawsuit filed in Alabama? You either have been sued or threatened to be sued by a debt collector. So what does it mean when we talk about a “collection lawsuit” in Alabama? A company will claim to buy an old debt — this is a debt collector or debt buyer. (They are called a “debt buyer” as they claim to have bought your old debt). The debt buyer (Asset Acceptance, Cavalry, LVNV, Midland, Portfolio, etc) will… (Read more)
“The sheriff left me a note on my door — what should I do?” This normally means you have been sued by a debt collector (debt buyer) and the sheriff has been instructed to serve you. When the deputy came by your house, you weren’t there so the sheriff’s deputy left a note or a card for you to call about this. “What are your options?” Ignore the note Call the number on the note “Is ignoring the note a… (Read more)
“I got served papers, assumed they were a scam, ignored them and now I have a judgment against me.” There is so much information (mis-information) on the internet about scam debt collectors and collection lawsuits. Don’t misunderstand — there are a LOT of bogus debt collectors who pretend to file suits or issue arrest warrants, etc. This is normally in the context of a pay day loan, cash advance loan, or online loan but we do see it in other… (Read more)
“So who in the world is LVNV Funding, LLC?” It’s a debt collector that is either collecting an old debt or suing you in Alabama state court. LVNV will claim to have bought your debt from some other company. Here is a typical pattern of how the debt goes: Chase -> Midland Funding (or some other debt buyer) -> A second debt buyer -> LVNV. And actually there are multiple “related” companies of LVNV that claim to buy the debt… (Read more)
“If I’m sued by a debt collector in the wrong county, what should I do?” Being sued by a debt collector is bad. What could possibly be worse? A debt collector suing you in the wrong county. That’s why it is against the law. What can you do in the state court collection case? You can ask the judge to transfer your case to the right county, if you were sued in the wrong one. In Small Claims, you’ll receive… (Read more)
“What is a notice of service of discovery by Zarzaur & Schwartz?” If you have been sued by the large Birmingham, Alabama, collection lawfirm of Zarzaur & Schwartz — and the lawsuit is in Circuit Court — then you will normally receive a legal document titled: Notice of Service of Discovery It will say: Take notice that the undersigned has, this date, served on all parties the following: (X) Request for Production, Interrogatories, and Request for Admissions to Defendant. So,… (Read more)
“Cavalry SPV I, LLC sued me — what do I do now?” Cavalry SPV I, LLC is a famous debt buyer (debt collector) that files many lawsuits in Alabama each year. There are several lawfirms that file the suits — primarily out of state firms from Louisville, Kentucky and Atlanta, Georgia. While most suits are filed in District Court or Small Claims Court (these are for claims under $10,000), there are some filed in Circuit Court. Circuit Court is where… (Read more)
Your 5 options when sued by a debt collector in Alabama UPDATE — We have two videos for you to watch — a shorter one (24 minutes) and a longer one (above) which discusses your five options and answers many common questions we have been asked over the years by consumers all over Alabama. You can also find the transcript of the longer video here where we discuss your five options when sued by a debt collector. You have been… (Read more)
Your Survival Guide When Sued By Portfolio Recovery Associates (PRA) You have been sued in Alabama by Portfolio Recovery Associates (PRA) and you need to know how to survive this in the best possible way. That’s the point and purpose of this “Survival Guide” so read on to learn what to do to survive, and even thrive, when sued. Being sued is not the same as having a judgment — you have not lost the case. Big difference in being… (Read more)
“What does it mean to go to trial in my debt collection lawsuit?” You have been sued in Alabama and filed your answer to the complaint, now you have a trial date. Let’s talk about what this means. You must mark this date down on your calendar! If you miss the trial date, you lose. We see this happen so often: Someone gets sued by LVNV, Midland, Portfolio, etc. They avoid a default judgment by answering the lawsuit Get a… (Read more)
The dirty secret of hiring a great lawyer The dirty secret is it is very difficult knowing for certain that you have found a good lawyer to represent you in whatever legal matter you have. (At the end of this lengthy article I talk about how my family made the decision on hiring a lawyer as this might be helpful to you). I know this sounds like a crazy thing to say, since I’m a lawyer who clients hire to… (Read more)
“I got served papers by Midland Funding but I think it is a scam so I’m going to ignore the lawsuit papers”
“I got served papers by Midland Funding but I think it is a scam so I’m going to ignore the lawsuit papers” I have spoken with consumers who have been sued by Midland Funding and they decide to ignore the lawsuit. There are many things you can say about Midland Funding (and Midland Credit Management — the collection side of Midland Funding) such as they break the law (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act — FDCPA, and others that we have… (Read more)
“What is a National Collegiate Student Loan Trust lawsuit?” This is where National Collegiate Student Loan Trust (NCSLT) has sued you to collect on a private student loan. It may be that you are the only borrower on the student loan or it may be that you cosigned for your child or your grandchild. Typically these cases are brought by the law firm of Nathan & Nathan, a well-known collection law firm in Birmingham Alabama. We also see suits on… (Read more)
“I just received papers from Portfolio Recovery in a lawsuit, what do I do now?” Let’s break this down into a few different points. “Who is Portfolio Recovery Associates?” Portfolio Recovery Associates or PRA is a debt buyer out of Virginia which files about 100 lawsuits a week in Alabama courts. Most are filed in Small Claims and District Courts but a good number are filed in Circuit Court as well. “I never did business with Portfolio, how can they… (Read more)
“Debt collector Midland contacted me but the statute of limitations is 3 years in Alabama so I’m going to ignore them”
“Debt collector Midland contacted me but the statute of limitations is 3 years in Alabama so I’m going to ignore them” If I can be blunt, it is incredibly foolish to ignore a lawsuit. It is also very foolish to simply ignore a debt collector because you assume that the three-year statute of limitations will give you protection. We have talked in a recent article about the controversy that surrounds what exactly the statue limitations is Alabama. Unfortunately, we have… (Read more)
“Is the statute of limitations in Alabama on a credit card lawsuit 3 years?” If you have been sued in Alabama on a credit card debt — normally by a company such as LVNV, Midland or Portfolio — then you are wondering if the statute of limitations is really 3 years. This is critically important as these debt buyers (debt collectors who claim to buy the debt) almost never sue within 3 years. Instead they sue between 3-6 years after… (Read more)
“Who is VanSlam, Inc. and why are they coming to my house?” If you have a message from “VanSlam, Inc.” or they come to your house, it is normally because you are being sued and VanSlam is the process server — the company who will give you the lawsuit papers (Complaint) which will start the clock running on your time to answer. Apparently VanSlam, Inc. is owned by a “Ervin VanSlambrouck” and we have seen service made by a “Brandon… (Read more)
If you want a judgment against you, then admit you owe the debt buyer when you file your answer in Alabama court
If you want a judgment against you, then admit you owe the debt buyer when you file your answer in Alabama court You have been sued by a debt collector and you have been served. So now the time is running for you to Answer the lawsuit. You have 14 days in Small Claims or District Court and 30 days in Circuit Court. “How do I answer the lawsuit?” I can’t tell you specifically what to put unless I represent… (Read more)
“What are request for admissions I received in my debt collection lawsuit?” If you have been sued in circuit court by a debt collector in Alabama, and you received “Request for Admissions,” you may be wondering what in the world these things are and do you need to answer them. What is a request for admission? This is a type of discovery request where the debt collector asks you to do one of two things to the question asked: Admit… (Read more)
“Why am I getting letters from bankruptcy lawyers before I get served with the collection lawsuit?” You likely are getting multiple letters from bankruptcy lawyers mentioning that you have been sued or you might need help with your bills. They then tell you that bankruptcy can be a wonderful solution and without any other information you should give them a call as time is running out. Let’s look at this…. There is some good that comes from these letters —… (Read more)
“I’ve been sued by National Collegiate Student Loan Trust — what do I do now?” More more Alabama consumers are being sued by National Collegiate Student Loan Trust for private student loans. The question is,”What do I do now that I’ve been sued?” Please watch the video up above either before or after reading this article and the comments. It is long (well over an hour) but if you have sued and taken the action to find out about your… (Read more)
“Why am I getting a letter from Ferry & Nicholas about a lawsuit against me?” Ferry & Nicholas is a “non lawyer” company that describes itself as a “mediation firm” and the reason you received a letter from them is that you have been sued by a debt collector or a debt buyer. The most common debt collectors and debt buyers that sue are: LVNV Funding Midland Funding Portfolio Recovery It is also possible you were sued by a credit… (Read more)
“Why did the collection lawyer send me a ‘consent judgment’ and what does it mean?” You have been sued by a debt buyer/debt collector and you have received your letter from the supposed mediation firm of Ferry & Nichols. Here’s a hint: they are a great way to lose your money and get a default judgment. So, you decide to reach out to the collection law firm who sued you. You have some discussions with a collector over at the… (Read more)
7 mistakes you don’t want to make when testifying in a debt collection lawsuit trial INTRODUCTION The explosion in debt collection lawsuits has resulted in a staggering number of default judgments. We are doing our best to educate Alabama consumers to not allow a default judgment to be entered against them. You have five options when sued by a debt buyer. File bankruptcy — normally a terrible idea. Fight the lawsuit on your own — this article will help you… (Read more)
It is a fact of life that if a judgment is entered against you then you will have that judgment show up on your credit report. But what if the judgment was a mistake? Well, it is not enough for you to say it is a mistake. The judge has to set aside the judgment. But you get him to set aside the judgment. Now it will be off of your credit report, right? Well, it should be but often… (Read more)
Getting a judgment is one the grave dangers of a collection lawsuit. But what do you do if there was a judgment entered by mistake and you get the court to “vacate” or “undo” the judgment? And then the judgment — that no longer exists — still reports on your credit report? You dispute it under the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) and explain to Trans Union the judgment was vacated and give them the proof. But what if they… (Read more)
FCRA Lawsuit against Discover Bank, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion related to a collection lawsuit
FCRA Lawsuit against Discover Bank, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion related to a collection lawsuit We know that often times our readers like to read about actual lawsuits that are filed so we will be posting more of these in the future. This lawsuit is a FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) against the following companies: Discover Bank Equifax Experian TransUnion All of this arises out of a collection lawsuit filed by Discover against our client that he won. After he won… (Read more)
“I got sued by a debt collector and the case was dismissed without prejudice — what does this mean?”
“I got sued by a debt collector and the case was dismissed without prejudice — what does this mean?” Being sued by a debt collector or debt buyer (Midland, LVNV, Portfolio, Cavalry, etc) is no fun, so it is often with great joy the consumer realizes that the debt collector has agreed to dismiss without prejudice. This is not necessarily a bad thing. However, it is not a complete victory and it opens you up to being sued again. As… (Read more)
“What is an Answer to a collection lawsuit and should I file one?” When you are sued in Alabama by a debt buyer — whether it is Cavalry, LVNV, Midland or Portfolio Recovery — you will be served with the lawsuit or the “complaint” and you need to answer the lawsuit. To answer means that you respond and either agree to what the debt buyer/debt collector says or you don’t agree with the allegations in the complaint. If you don’t… (Read more)
“What is a dismissal with prejudice in a debt collection lawsuit?” A case ends in either a judgment (for defendant or plaintiff) or it is dismissed. If it is dismissed, it is either WITH or it is WITHOUT prejudice. We think of “prejudice” as a bad thing but if you have been sued it is a wonderful thing. It means that the lawsuit is truly over. You cannot be sued again for the same thing by the Plaintiff — the… (Read more)
“Who is Cavalry Portfolio (SPV) and why are they suing me?” Many consumers in Alabama have been sued by Cavalry Portfolio (often it is “Cavalry SPV”) which is a debt buyer (debt collector) based out of New York. Cavalry files a good number of lawsuits in Alabama. Just this month, from December 1 to December 20, there were over 80 lawsuits filed by Cavalry. So if you have been sued by Cavalry, understand you are not alone. Many have been… (Read more)
“I’ve received a complaint from a debt collector. What exactly is this?” The “complaint” is the legal document (pleading) that starts the lawsuit against you. It does several things: Once you are served with it, your time limit to answer starts running to answer the lawsuit (30 days in circuit court; 14 days in district court; 14 days in small claims court [this is for Alabama]); It tells you who is suing you — this is the “plaintiff” who started… (Read more)
“Why am I being sued by some company I have never heard of like Midland Funding, LVNV Funding, Portfolio Recovery, etc?” Another way to ask the question is “What is a debt collector or a debt buyer?” A “debt collector” is a company which collects debts and is not the original creditor. A “debt buyer” — examples above — is a company that claims to have bought your old debt and is now suing you for it. Remember there is… (Read more)
“What is a ‘statement of claims’ in a debt collection lawsuit?” So, you’ve been sued. Now you’re wondering, “What is this ‘statement of claims’ that the sheriff just handed me?” This is similar to (and sometimes the same as) the “Complaint.” This is what starts the lawsuit by the collector against you. It shows you the following: Who is suing you What you are being sued for How much you are being sued for What court you have been sued… (Read more)
7th Mistake When Testifying In Debt Collection Lawsuit — Having Wrong Courtroom Appearance We have a special report/book for those who have requested our information on debt buyer lawsuits — it covers the 7 most common mistakes we see when testifying in a debt collection lawsuit trial. We thought this part might be useful to you so we have included it: What do we mean by the wrong courtroom appearance? There are several things that we will discuss in this… (Read more)
You’re Never Too Poor To Be Sued By A Debt Collector Dangerous assumption one — I’m too broke to be sued “I don’t have enough money for debt collectors to sue me.” “So and so said that collectors only sue you if your credit report shows you have a lot of money.” I have met people who truly believe this and they are shocked when they get sued by a debt collector. Dangerous assumption two — being broke will stop… (Read more)
Contacted By The Collection Law-Firm of Zarzaur & Schwartz In Alabama — What Should You Do? You are here because you have received a letter, or a debt collection lawsuit, from the debt collection lawfirm of Zarzaur & Schwartz in Birmingham, Alabama, which files lawsuits for original creditors (Citibank, etc) and debt buyers (Cavalry, LVNV Funding, Midland Funding, Unifund Partners, etc). Let’s talk first about some myths and then some practical steps that you should take. First Myth — Zarzaur… (Read more)
Why It Is Important To Keep Every Collection Letter You Receive. Collection agencies love to send collection letters. You, as a consumer, don’t like getting them so you may be tempted to throw them away. Please don’t — instead save all collection letters you receive. Keeping records of all collection activities — including collection letters — may help you to determine if you can sue the debt collector under the FDCPA. Let’s talk about several reasons to do this: First,… (Read more)
Examples of Abusive Debt Collection Practices That Violate The FDCPA, FCRA, and TCPA Not all debt collectors are willing to break the law but many are willing to break the laws. We wanted to list a number of examples of the types of abusive debt collection practices we commonly see committed against Alabama consumers. FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) Violations Calling you an excessive number of times in order to harass you They’re calling your family members Creating a… (Read more)
Can A Collection Agency Sue Me In Alabama? We often talk about debt collectors suing Alabama consumers but to be precisely correct, a collection agency that does not own the debt cannot sue you in Alabama. A collection agency must own the debt to sue you in Alabama. “Debt collector” means a collection agency which collects a debt for someone else; it means a debt buyer who claims to have bought the debt; and a collection law firm which is… (Read more)
Been Sued By Midland Funding In A Collection Case? Midland Funding, LLC, files either the most lawsuits in Alabama or the second most (behind Portfolio Recovery). So if you have been sued by Midland, what should you do? Make Sure You Don’t Let Midland Win By You Defaulting Not answering the lawsuit is the easiest way, and sometimes the only way, for Midland to win against you. Amazingly, about 80% of all consumers who get sued by Midland . .… (Read more)
Alabama Debt — Should I Hire A Debt Settlement Company To Help Me? My experience has been that most Alabama consumers who hire a debt settlement company end up either scammed out of their money and/or sued by their creditors. So what is a “debt settlement company” anyway? In simple terms it is a company that promises to take your money and then negotiate with the debt collectors and original creditors to pay your debts. The idea is if you… (Read more)
LVNV Sued You In Collection Case? LVNV Funding, LLC is a major debt buyer who files a tremendous number of suits in Alabama, primarily in Alabama District Court and Alabama Small Claims Court. Normally LVNV is not the original debt buyer but instead is third or fourth in line from the original creditor. LVNV must prove it OWNS the debt. We have never seen this debt buyer prove that it owns a debt it has sued on in Alabama. (Maybe… (Read more)
Everyone is against frivolous lawsuits against Alabama consumers, right? Well, maybe not so much. I have heard of many “anti-lawsuit” and “tort-reform” and “Citizens against frivolous lawsuits” in my time as a lawyer but oddly I have never heard of them talk about the bogus, unsupported, shakedown, frivolous collection lawsuits that are clogging up our courts in Alabama. I wonder why? Maybe I’m cynical. Or maybe I’m right. The companies filing frivolous collection lawsuits are major corporations, not individuals I… (Read more)
Sued By A Collector In Circuit Court? Find Out Your Options. Being sued by a debt buyer in court in Alabama is no fun. Especially if you have been sued in Circuit Court. It can be more dangerous for you and more expensive. But you do have options so if you are in this situation we invite you to read about your options so you can make the right decision. The Danger to You Normally if you are sued in… (Read more)
Time Limit For A Debt Collector To Collect Against Me. We have talked about the time periods for a collector to sue you and to credit report. However, in this article, we will discuss how long the debt collector has to do any other type of collection activities. The short answer is there is no time period or limit on how long a collector can collect against you. Except. And this is a big exception to remember. The debt collector… (Read more)
Sued by LVNV, Midland Funding, or Portfolio Recovery Associates? These three debt buyers (debt collectors) file the majority of the collection lawsuits in Alabama. They also rarely, if ever, can or will prove their case when they are faced with either a knowledgeable consumer or consumer lawyer. Why? There are a few reasons. Most importantly, they (Midland, LVNV, etc.) have trouble proving that they own the debt and that you owe the debt. Let me explain. When a debt buyer… (Read more)
Why Do Alabama Collectors Call Or Write About Old Debts? Debt collectors are calling you about an old debt — sometimes called “zombie debt” or “ancient debt.” The question is why would they do that? Let’s look at the law and how collectors often violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) when collecting old debt. First, it is legal to collect on old debt — even debt that is outside the statute of limitations. Second, a collector cannot threaten… (Read more)
Debt Collection — Who Has To Prove Whether You Owe The Debt? It depends on where you are at in the collection process. As a general rule the debt collector, who has contacted you claiming you owe the debt, must prove that you owe the debt. Let’s look at it this way. If a debt collector sues you, it absolutely has the obligation to prove, in court, that you owe the debt. You can read more about debt collector (debt… (Read more)
Default Judgment In Collection Lawsuit — What If You Really Don’t Owe It? It is a tragedy when I meet with Alabama consumers who are convinced (and who convince me) that they do not owe a debt that they have been sued on but a default judgment was entered against them. There are limited time periods to challenge a default judgment. If you go past those time periods, then it is too late. Even if you don’t owe the debt.… (Read more)
Why do debt buyers lie about you making a recent payment in a debt collection suit? In a debt collection suit, it is surprising to find out the debt buyer claims you made a payment 4 years ago. When you know you haven’t made a payment in 10 years. You find this out in several ways. Sometimes in the actual lawsuit but this is rare because the normal suit has few details. The collection lawyer sends you alleged “proof” that… (Read more)
“What is the time Limit For Collector To Sue Me In Alabama?” The question of “how long does a collector have to sue me in Alabama” or “what is the statute of limitations in Alabama” is a very common question. The answer is a little harder than you might imagine. As a general rule, it will be either three or six years if we are dealing with a credit card or four years if on a car loan. Lawsuits on… (Read more)
Three Time Periods For Collectors To Collect Debts. Alabama consumers often ask “How long can the collection agency collect against me and what is the Statute of Limitations on credit reporting and suing?” This question actually touches on three separate time limits. First, a collector generally has three to six years to sue you. This is the statute of limitations. Also, to be precise, a collection agency must actually own the debt to sue you. Second, a collector can report… (Read more)
“I’m Nervous About Giving A Deposition — Is This Normal?” Yes, it is normal to be concerned when your deposition has been scheduled. Let’s first talk about what a deposition is and then we’ll talk about what to do in one. If you are even thinking about one, it means you are in a lawsuit. Or you are about to be in a lawsuit. What is a deposition? A deposition is when you will be questioned by the lawyers on… (Read more)
Who is Moxley & Associates (formerly Holloway & Moxley) and why are they contacting me? Moxley & Associates (used to be Holloway & Moxley) is a Montgomery, Alabama, collection law-firm. If you are receiving calls and letters from them, it probably means you are either about to be, or already have been, sued by one of their clients, probably Midland Funding. This law firm files hundreds of suits for Midland Funding (and other companies) every month. If you are getting… (Read more)
Turn The Collection Lawsuit Into A Suit Against The Debt Collector. You’ve been sued by a debt collector (debt buyer) like Asset Acceptance, LVNV, Midland or Portfolio Recovery. You know that you don’t owe any money to the debt buyer and you know the debt buyer normally either can’t or won’t prove it owns the debt. Do you just have to accept that you have sued by some bogus debt collector? Or is there anything that you can do about… (Read more)
“How Bad Is A Collection Case Judgment In Alabama?” A judgment against you in an Alabama collection case is very bad for several reasons. Four Negative Results From Collection Judgments First, it is a judgment and that damages your credit report. Second, you can have your wages garnished. Third, you can have your bank account garnished. Fourth, the judgment often earns interest at 12% or more which means that the judgment, if not paid, will double in approximately 6 years. … (Read more)
“Are Alabama Consumer Lawyers Alchemists?” Alabama consumers search for consumer lawyers because they have a problem that many have told them cannot be fixed — credit report error, sued by a debt collector, facing (or already have) a foreclosure, harassed by a debt collector, etc. The question is can a consumer lawyer really help you? Often the answer is “Yes!” Let me give you two illustrations not from the legal world and then some case studies about how this can… (Read more)
Winning Through Intimidation: Debt Buyer Lawsuits In Alabama. Debt buyers sue in Alabama — normally without any proof — but yet they recover millions of dollars from consumers who almost certainly don’t owe the debt buyer. How does this happen? Simply through intimidation…. Getting threatened with a suit is enough for most folks to pay — even to pay the wrong company. Even to pay a debt buyer who does not own the debt. But then when you get sued… (Read more)
Have You Won Your Debt Collection Lawsuit Against LVNV? Now Finish It…. If you have won your Alabama collection lawsuit that the giant debt buyer LVNV Funding, LLC filed against you, then congratulations but understand that your victory is not complete yet. LVNV may still be illegally collecting against you even though the case was dismissed with prejudice or you received a judgment in your favor. Keep reading to find out more about your rights to make sure LVNV is… (Read more)
Alabama Consumer Lawsuits Against LVNV For Illegal Collection Actions LVNV, which is a debt collector/buyer, sues many consumers in Alabama. All cases that we are aware of where the consumer fought back, LVNV has lost the collection case. The reason for this is that LVNV files suits with not apparent intention of ever proving their case. These cases seem to be filed simply to obtain default judgments. In our judgment this violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, also known… (Read more)
What Does An Appeal To Circuit Court In My Collection Case Mean? Most collection cases in Alabama start off in District Court which includes Small Claims Court. The losing party, however, has the option to appeal to Circuit Court within 14 days as a general rule. So where does the case go after an appeal When the appeal occurs, the case starts over in Circuit Court. It is as if what happened in the lower court (District or Small Claims… (Read more)
Why Answering A Debt Buyer Lawsuit With “I Don’t Have A Job” Or “I Don’t Have Any Money” Is Not Effective
Why Answering A Debt Buyer Lawsuit With “I Don’t Have A Job” Or “I Don’t Have Any Money” Is Not Effective If you have recently been served with a debt buyer lawsuit, you will be thinking about how to “answer” the lawsuit. Unfortunately, as more and more Alabama consumers come to see us about being sued by debt buyers, we are seeing more answers that have been filed by our clients. One type of answer is becoming more popular and… (Read more)
Why You Should Not File A Counterclaim To A Debt Buyer Lawsuit We receive many calls and emails from Alabama consumers who have been sued by debt buyers. Some consumers believe it is smart to file a counterclaim against the debt buyer. We generally do not do this for our clients. Sometimes this surprises folks we speak with and they have asked us why we don’t file counterclaims. Here are some of the reasons. First, it can complicate an otherwise… (Read more)
Why Debt Buyers Must Delete Credit Reporting When They Lose Their Collection Case Against You When you are sued by a debt buyer or debt collector, this is a very scary event. Fears of losing . . . fears of being garnished . . . fears of being forced into bankruptcy enter the mind. But when the battle is finally over and the Judge announces “Verdict in favor of the defendant (consumer)” you have great joy. The case is over.… (Read more)
Have You Been Sued By A Debt Collector (Debt Buyer) And Wonder What The Statute Of Limitations Can Do For You? Learn about your five options when sued by a debt buyer as you need to discover what you should do next. [Important note — one of those options is NOT to use Ferry & Nicholas who will write you the day after you are sued. I think anyone who uses them is asking for a disaster to happen —… (Read more)
Debt Collectors Who Threaten To Sue On A Time Barred Debt Violate The FDCPA Find Out Why Debt Collectors Who Threaten To Sue You On A Time-Barred Debt Violate The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act This is a common problem – debt collectors in general (and debt buyers in particular) – will get debts that are clearly outside the statute of limitations in Alabama (either 3 or 4 or 6 years) and they will threaten to sue you. This is… (Read more)
What to Expect When You Are Being Sued — Questions and Answers Regarding Collection Lawsuits By Debt Collectors (UPDATED DECEMBER 3, 2019) — So you have been sued by a debt collector (debt buyer). This could be CACH, Cascade, LVNV Funding, Midland Funding, Portfolio Recovery, Unifund, Velocity, etc. and you have been served with the summons. What do you do? Or perhaps you are receiving letters from lawyers or non lawyers telling you that you are being sued — what… (Read more)
If I Win The Debt Collection Lawsuit Against Me, What Happens Next? After Success in a Debt Collection Lawsuit: The Facts Fact: A debt collection lawsuit is essentially a claim that you the consumer owe money to the debt buyer or debt collector who sued you. Fact: If the debt collection lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice or if the judge ruled in your, the final decision is that you do not owe the debt to the debt buyer. All collection… (Read more)
I got sued and won- but it’s still on my credit report – what do I do [Updated May 2021]? Congratulations for winning the debt collection (debt buyer) lawsuit against you — now let’s make sure they are not on your credit report. And if they are, what you can do! Because even after a debt collector has been beaten in court, they often will continue to report to the consumer reporting agencies that you still owe the debt. (These… (Read more)
I’ve Been Sued By A Debt Buyer – What Should I Do (Updated December 2019)? [Updated May 2021] Being sued in Alabama by a debt buyer (Asset Acceptance, LVNV Funding, Midland Funding, Portfolio Recovery Associates, Unifund, etc) is a frightening thing – particularly when it is by some debt collector that you have never heard of before the suit. So what do you do now? Because you know if you do nothing, bad things will happen including getting a default judgment… (Read more)