I just received notice of a lawsuit that was filed against me by a collection agency. What do I do now? I get that type of phone call at my office about once a week. Fortunately, the caller has made the obvious correct choice in contacting an attorney right away. This is an important aspect when a collection agency is involved because a collection agency lawsuit is a different type of lawsuit. The collection agency has either been hired by the original creditor or has purchased the right to collect the debt off of you from the original creditor. That makes a little more work for the collection agency and may provide you with a defense. A review of the lawsuit is the first order of business. As an attorney, I ask three questions right away that form the basis of the defense of the lawsuit. 1. Is the Debt is legitimate? 2. Does the collection agency have the legal right to attempt to collect it from you? 3. Does the lawsuit meet all necessary legal requirements to proceed? Looking at these questions individually, let’s start with “Is the Debt legitimate?” The client has to advise as to whether they ever had this type of loan or credit card. If a collection agency is involved, the Debt may have been incurred years ago, and may be difficult for the client to remember. Time is an important factor here, because all states have Statutes of Limitation that define when a lawsuit must be filed. In Pennsylvania, the Statute of Limitation to collect on a debt is typically four (4) years, with certain exceptions. The second question is whether the collection agency has the legal right to attempt to collect from you. What I look for here is any evidence that the collection agency has authority to proceed. This might be indicated by a purchase agreement or an assignment from the original creditor. In my experience, I often find that the collection agencies fail to attach this document to their lawsuit. In that instance, I would place an objection to the suit to make the collection agency prove that the have the legal right to proceed. If they cannot, I move to have the lawsuit dismissed. The third question is whether the lawsuit meets all of the necessary legal requirements to proceed. Again, in my experience, I have found that collection agencies often fail to properly articulate the claims against the debtor, either by means of failing to provide enough information or failing to provide the proper documentation. If you are sued in Pennsylvania by a collection agency and can answer NO to any of the three questions posed above, you likely have a valid defense to the lawsuit. Contacting an experienced attorney is the right first step.
Saturday, 28 November 2015 06:06
Help I've Been Sued by a Collection Agency!Written by Super User
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