What Should I do If I Have Been Sued By A Debt Collector?
If you live in Washington State and have been sued by a debt collector, don’t panic, you have options as long as you take action. In my experience as a Washington State bankruptcy attorney, this is the tipping point for most debtors to take action and make the phone call or e-mail to a debt relief professional. After your receive a summons and complaint (most likely from one of the large debt collection firms which may consist of Suttell & Hammer, Mandarich Law Group, Gordon, Aylworth and Tami P.C., Nelson and Kennard, Merchants Credit Association or Machol & Johannes just to name a few, you should contemplate whether you want to settle your debts or eliminate the debt entirely by filing for bankruptcy. Many Consumers often times are confused when they get a summons and complaint or worse are having their wages garnished claiming they never got notice of anything. In these cases you should look up your case with the Superior or District Court to see if you recognize the debt. You may want to file a motion in the court to vacate a judgment, although your time and effort may better be sent settling your debt or filing bankruptcy as vacating a judgment can be difficult, time consuming and can cost to retain a lawyer more than your debt. Furthermore if you owe the debt, the creditor can simply serve you with documents again even if your motion to vacate a judgment is successful.
If you plan on filing for bankruptcy and file your case within 20 days of receiving the summons and complaint, your debt will likely be discharged and you don’t need to worry about filing an answer with the Superior or District court. If however you plan on settling your debts or need more time to save legal fees for filing a bankruptcy case, you should have your debt relief lawyer file an answer on your behalf or prepare one pro-se for you to go file, which basically says that you are not sure if you incurred the debt and that the debt collectors have not provided evidence that you actually owe the debt. Often times debt collectors do not have the proper documentation to prove that you actually owe the debt or would not be able to provide a witness to testify at court as to whether you will owe the debt. They rely on statements and you admitting you incurred the debt. This can be a major issue that i sometimes see when a debt collector tried to collect against an individual for a business’s debt or if it is an issue of stolen identity or perhaps the company simply cannot prove that is owns the debt is is collecting on in the case of a 3rd party debt collection company.
The sad reality is that consumers can fight these lawsuits but often do nothing and end up with a default judgment on their records. Once a default judgment is entered it is very hard to have it set aside and the consumer may end up owing the full amount of the debt plus interest and attorneys fees which could have been avoided along with cutting the overall debt load by 50% or more in a lump sum settlement.
If you have additional questions about option if you have been sued by a debt collector please call Symmes Law Group at 206-682-7975 to speak to a debt relief lawyer or complete the contact form to schedule a consultation.