Diamond Memberships

Why you Should Join us as a Diamond Member

Diamond Membership is our best deal for people with a lot of curiosity, more than one lawsuit, or who are coaching or helping others in their cases. That’s because a main goal of Diamond membership is to go beyond the usual questions presented by debt law and the debt industry. We look at the politics and economics driving our country. And we look deeply at the law.

As anyone knows who has read our materials, most of debt law is what we call “factory work.” It’s routine and standardized, and this is simply because debt is bought and sold in gigantic deals (called “tranches”). So the average debt collector buys a hundred or a thousand (or many, many more) accounts that supposedly owe money from the same company (usually a credit card-issuing bank) and then, completely relying on the records the bank provides, harasses the people involved to collect as much as possible. And eventually they file many, many lawsuits that look almost exactly the same.

So for most of our purposes, we can simply deal with that large body of identical suits and create responses to them. They’re doing factory work, and we do something very similar.

Going Deeper and Further

But there can be more. While debt collection is generally pretty standardized, there are things that can come up that either present special challenges or issues. And in fact, for all of its routine, most debt lawsuits CAN veer out of the normal. There are always angles in every case, which can sometimes make a difference, and often make things more interesting.

And some of our members like to help others. For these – for people helping others, and for those who want to know a LOT about the law – our Diamond Membership is great.

Special Tactics

When you take on debt negotiation, debt litigation and credit repair at the same time, you discover that some of the tools work for more than one thing. For example, if a debt collector is bugging you AND has damaged your credit, you can dispute the collector’s action both through the Credit Reporting Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. These two acts have different purposes (as laws) and requirements. Verification under the two acts is different, and verification under the Credit Reporting Act is more difficult and rigorous for the debt collector – and the CRA also gives you a way to attack the original creditor as well if it is reporting you.

And you can, of course, you can use any and all the information you get through either the FDCPA and CRA (also called the FCRA, for “Fair Credit Reporting Act”) in litigation if they sue you. And you can use any information you get in a lawsuit they – or you – file, in attacking their responses under the FDCPA or FCRA. In other words, knowing all three sets of rules can sometimes be very, very helpful. Our Platinum Membership opens some of those ways up to you.

Other Benefits

As with each of the Gold Memberships, you will receive special reports and offers. As a Diamond Member, though, you get them all. This includes:

  • The Three Weaknesses Almost All Debt Collectors Have
  • Take Control of Your Life and Debt; and
  • a discount off the prepaid legal program we offer our members;
  • all the situation products (like motions packs and the other products like that).

Diamond Benefits

In addition to everything the Gold and Platinum members get, Diamond members get a lot more information. They get, basically, all of our written materials, from reports to books. This includes our reports like Got Debt? and What if I (think I) Really Owe, Do You Need a Lawyer, and all the rest. And it also includes our book – now being revised – called Special Issues in Debt Litigation. This book was originally about a 250 page book, but it is being revised into several smaller volumes now. Diamond Members will get them, free.

Coaching

In addition to the written materials, Diamond members will get their own teleconferences when the situation calls for it. As we approach our membership goals, the Diamond members will need to discuss things in greater depth and at greater length – they’ll get that opportunity. And there will be other materials, currently in the works, to help them organize, promote, analyze, and all the other things they’re likely to need.

10,000 Member Drive

As I point out in our materials on Gold Membership, a key strategy in our debt litigation program is to recognize that debt collectors take a “factory” approach. They file huge numbers of cases and work very little on them because most people either default immediately or give up quickly. So they file a hundred cases, work on none of them, get judgments on 98 percent of the cases they get served, and let a few people get away. Our program helps you be among those who get away “through the cracks.”

But what if everybody defended and fought back?

If that happened, the debt collectors would have to change completely, and until they did, pretty much EVERYBODY would get away from them. Our 10,000 member drive is about making that happen. If everybody fought back, it would shut down the debt collectors and push the judges to stop being mere cogs in the debt collection industry’s machine. With that many people fighting back, learning, watching the courts, and pushing back, it would change the nature of the debt industry completely. I think that would be a good thing.

And so I have begun a 10,000 member drive.

The Next 1,000 Members

As part of our 10,000 member drive, I am offering special discounts to help people join for less. For the next 1,000 members to join, we have slashed our Diamond membership initiation fee to $75. It’s normally $250.

Our goal is to make it possible for you to pay one monthly membership without paying anything else for all the good work you’re doing to repair your financial condition or help others with theirs.

Compare

If you’ve priced any of these services before, you know that it would likely cost you $1,500 – $2,500 to hire a lawyer just to start defending you from a debt lawsuit; it would cost you $50 or more per month to hire someone to help you with your credit report; and it would cost an arm and a leg to get help with debt negotiation and settlement – the numbers are just crazy. So our membership is a small fraction of what you would pay elsewhere. And you get a lot more with us.

The bottom line is that we want you with us, and we want you to win. We’ll do what it takes to give you the best chance possible to do that.

And join us

You can do that by going back to the membership registration page and registering now.

How You Purchase

You buy by clicking on “Register” under “About Memberships” in the main menu and choosing the level of membership you want.

Platinum Memberships

Platinum Memberships combine all three of the Gold Memberships into one package.

As we often say, debt problems generally travel in crowds – that is, if one debt collector is suing you, others are probably harassing and getting ready to sue you – and still others are messing up your credit report. It’s tempting to try to focus on just one of these things at a time, and that can work. But a more effective way of dealing with debt problems is to take them all on at the same time. So even while you’re beating the debt collector that’s suing you, you’re negotiating with another one to keep it from suing you.

And you’re beginning the process of repairing your credit from ALL of them.

If that makes sense to you, then you should consider our Platinum Membership.

Benefits of Platinum Membership

With our Platinum Membership you get three manuals: the Debt Litigation Manual, the Debt Negotiation and Settlement Manual, and the Credit Repair and Restoration Manual.

You also get access to our complete document banks, so that you can reduce the amount of repetitive paperwork you have to do in taking care of all these problems, and you get access to all our member-only articles and videos on all topics.

And you can be part of all of our teleconferences. Right now, that’s just two per week, but as our membership base grows in credit repair and debt negotiation, we will add two teleconferences for each of these areas as well. And as the membership grows, there will be more of ALL of them, because our commitment is to answer the questions our members need answering. But platinum members will have more opportunities, and a somewhat easier time scheduling their teleconferences.

Special Tactics

When you take on debt negotiation, debt litigation and credit repair at the same time, you discover that some of the tools work for more than one thing. For example, if a debt collector is bugging you AND has damaged your credit, you can dispute the collector’s action both through the Credit Reporting Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. These two acts have different purposes (as laws) and requirements. Verification under the two acts is different, and verification under the Credit Reporting Act is more difficult and rigorous for the debt collector – and the CRA also gives you a way to attack the original creditor as well if it is reporting you.

And you can, of course, you can use any and all the information you get through either the FDCPA and CRA (also called the FCRA, for “Fair Credit Reporting Act”) in litigation if they sue you. And you can use any information you get in a lawsuit they – or you – file, in attacking their responses under the FDCPA or FCRA. In other words, knowing all three sets of rules can sometimes be very, very helpful. Our Platinum Membership opens some of those ways up to you.

Other Benefits

As with each of the Gold Memberships, you will receive special reports and offers. As a Platinum Member, though, you get them all. This includes:

  • The Three Weaknesses Almost All Debt Collectors Have
  • Take Control of Your Life and Debt; and
  • a discount off the prepaid legal program we offer our members.

10,000 Member Drive

As I point out in our materials on Gold Membership, a key strategy in our debt litigation program is to recognize that debt collectors take a “factory” approach. They file huge numbers of cases and work very little on them because most people either default immediately or give up quickly. So they file a hundred cases, work on none of them, get judgments on 98 percent of the cases they get served, and let a few people get away. Our program helps you be among those who get away “through the cracks.”

But what if everybody defended and fought back?

If that happened, the debt collectors would have to change completely, and until they did, pretty much EVERYBODY would get away from them. Our 10,000 member drive is about making that happen. If everybody fought back, it would shut down the debt collectors and push the judges to stop being mere cogs in the debt collection industry’s machine. With that many people fighting back, learning, watching the courts, and pushing back, it would change the nature of the debt industry completely. I think that would be a good thing.

And so I have begun a 10,000 member drive.

The Next 1,000 Members

As part of our 10,000 member drive, I am offering special discounts to help people join for less. For the next 1,000 members to join, we have slashed our Platinum membership initiation fee to $75. It’s normally $200.

And you will also receive free access to our special situation packs – the motions packs, the PA Silver Bullet Pack (only applies to Pennsylvania residents) and the California Bill of Particulars Pack (only applies to CA residents).

Our goal is to make it possible for you to pay one monthly membership without paying anything else for all the good work you’re doing to repair your financial condition.

Compare

If you’ve priced any of these services before, you know that it would likely cost you $1,500 – $2,500 to hire a lawyer just to start defending you from a debt lawsuit; it would cost you $50 or more per month to hire someone to help you with your credit report; and it would cost an arm and a leg to get help with debt negotiation and settlement – the numbers are just crazy. So our membership is a small fraction of what you would pay elsewhere. And you get a lot more with us.

The bottom line is that we want you with us, and we want you to win. We’ll do what it takes to give you the best chance possible to do that.

And join us

You can do that by going back to the membership registration page and registering now.

How You Purchase

You buy by clicking on “Register” under “About Memberships” in the main menu and choosing the level of membership you want.

 

Follow-up 6A to People being Sued for Debt

Yesterday I ended with a promise to talk about something that worries a lot of people. It seems to worry them even more than the possibility of losing, actually. What is that?

The fear of standing up in court and talking.

You would be amazed at how many of our members start out by saying they’d be happy to do anything but go into court and face the other side.

That’s very understandable. You figure the lawyer on the other side knows more than you do, can say things that embarrass you, and that you won’t say what needs to be said when the time comes.

It doesn’t happen like that, though. The process is much more gradual. Generally, you’ll start by answering the petition. That’s really easy – you just write down your response to each paragraph of the petition against you. In fact, it usually looks something like this:

  1. Admit my name is John Smith.
  2. Deny ever owing money to Debt Collector.
  3. Deny failing to pay any money owed to Debt Collector.

 

Wherefore, defendant requests this Court dismiss the petition with prejudice.

That will take you ten minutes to write – you don’t even have to type it in most courts. But to get to this point, you will have read some of our materials about debt collectors and the collection process. You’ll learn a little about what they’re suing you for and what law they’re trying to use.

You’ll start the learning process, in other words.

Then you’ll create some “discovery,” which is questions you ask them to answer. Not just any questions, though – questions designed to get the most information that matters from them. It’s kind of an art, but we have materials you can use as a guide, and you can find out much, much more at the teleconferences. By the time you have written the discovery, you will know much more about your case – and it will still be easy. This isn’t rocket science.

But it is a learning process. And as you work your way through the discovery and talk to us at teleconferences about it you’re actually learning a very important skill: HOW to talk about this stuff. After a few teleconferences, if you’re like most of our members, you’ve gotten used to the idea, and in reality you could talk about this stuff with anybody.

Fortunately (or un, as the case may be), the debt collectors do not seem to be able to respond to discovery without trying to stonewall you. That’s actually lucky, because you’re going to see – it will be very obvious – how dumb many of their objections are, how repetitive, and just how made-up they are. And then you’re going to call them and negotiate with their lawyer to send you the stuff. Now you’re doing two very important things: you’re making them spend expensive lawyer-time talking to you, and you’re learning how to talk about this stuff with someone who isn’t cooperative. It isn’t hard at all, as you will see – and you’re also learning the materials better as well as developing your case.

In many cases, that’s as far as it goes. They drop the case. But if they don’t, you will continue with the process, eventually talking to the judge.

And you’re going to find out that the judge may not know the law on this stuff as well as you do by now. You’ll have an agenda, you’ll have things to say, and the fact that it’s a judge no longer scares you. If it goes to trial, it will feel like almost any other argument you’ve ever had where you felt right.

And that’s really the way it’s probably going to go for you.

Sometimes the lawyer is smarter than you, often times not, but it doesn’t matter. The lawyer is just doing a job, and by this time so are you – it’s just that you will be much better prepared than the lawyer, and you’ll have what you need, while he probably won’t. The judge will be a little patronizing at first, but she will see what you’re doing soon enough.

No member has ever told me that he or she felt unprepared for court, and almost all of them have reported feeling quite comfortable. Most, it seems, have been congratulated on a job well done by the judge afterwards.

This is not an exaggeration – it really is this way. “But why?” You may wonder.

Remember that I said 97 percent of these cases either default or give up. That means neither the lawyer nor the judge expects much from you. It can take a while for it to sink in that something different is happening, but they will actually appreciate what you’re doing. Even the lawyer for the other side will, although he probably won’t tell you so. It’s refreshing and nice to see someone stand up for herself, and interesting when that person knows what she’s doing. Plus, and this is also quite important: the law is on your side. They really don’t have what they need to win. That means YOU should win.

The debt collector lawyer isn’t going to hate you for beating him, not that it would matter – it’s just a day’s work for him. I could tell you funny things about judges, too, but for now just take my word for it – most of them are all right, and they’ll be all right with you defending yourself.

The experience is so amazingly different than what most people come into the program expecting that it changes the way you look at lawyers and the law forever. Or so many members have told me. Of course they’re trying to get your money, and it’s serious stuff in one way. You have to do your work. But if you do – and we’ll do our best to make sure you do – you’ll probably be glad you went through it all.

And winning is oh so sweet. You can say good bye to a debt that’s probably been worrying you for quite some time. And by winning you’re more than halfway to getting the thing removed from your credit report.

Follow-up 4A to People being Sued for Debt

Yesterday I told you something that might have struck you as odd. I said that being sued by the debt collector could be the fastest way to get rid of the debt, and that it was ironic that so many people gave up.

Now, let’s keep something straight. I’m not saying that being sued is a good thing, that it doesn’t have some risks or that it doesn’t “waste” a lot of time. Law suits are scary and risky, and you’re much better off if they never happen in most ways.

But even though that is all true, it is also true that if you fight intelligently you have an extremely good chance of winning against a debt buyer. And winning such a lawsuit is the fastest way by far of getting the debt out of your life completely. Not just the debt itself, but much of the damage to your credit.

How can this be so?

Consider what happens when debt collectors bug you. Somebody very low on the totem pole calls you up and demands money. If you’ve ever tried to negotiate, seriously, with these people, then you know they simply don’t have any authority to do anything for you. It costs the company ten bucks an hour to talk to you, so there’s little incentive to move things along – other than by getting you to pay, right?

If you persist, you’ll slowly move up the totem pole, but you’ll never get to anyone who’s being paid much. And that means that they rarely have incentive to move things along. They know there’s a good chance you’ll get tired before they do.

It is possible you’ll get someone who will agree that the best thing to do would be to accept a low payment, and this usually happens, if at all, when you convince them that you really don’t have anything to collect. Try getting them to clear your credit record then.

I’m not saying it cannot possibly be done. Just that it rarely is. You have to convince them that you can’t afford to pay, and then you have to try to get them to help you fix your credit. Why would they do that?

It works differently when you’re being sued.

At first, you’ll have a hard time reaching the lawyer – they have layers designed to prevent that because lawyers get paid a lot. But as you work your way through the case, the lawyer finds that he HAS to get involved. So now, instead of talking to a ten buck an hour employee, you’re talking to someone who really wants to be paid at least $150.

And as you work your way through the case, you’re requiring this $150/hour guy to put more and more time into the case. He’s paid to think, and he’s going to think you’re a wrench in his machine – his money-making machine.

And that’s just what you will be.

Here’s the thing to remember. Debt lawyers never worry about losing a case. They don’t think you can make them lose, and it doesn’t cost them anything to lose either. All they want is as much money as they can get, and so what they worry about is having to spend time and money on your case. It makes sense.

Look at it this way – if you could file 99 lawsuits and get $500,000 of judgments in a few hours, what would you do if the 100th suit looked like it was going to take ten hours? Or twenty? Mostly, you’d look for a way to drop that 100th suit and look for another 99 like the first bunch, wouldn’t you? Well, there are complications, but that’s really what most debt lawyers do.

That can’t make it too easy – or most of them think they can’t. Now, there are some debt collectors who go away if you require verification the first time they contact you, but a lot don’t. And there are some debt collectors who drop a suit if you file an answer or serve discovery on them, or whatever.  But you never really know (ahead of time) where their line is going to be. Is an answer enough? Discovery? Filing a motion? Beating a motion (that they file)?

You never know.

What you can know is that if you keep doing the right things, the cost of the suit to the debt collector keeps going up. Eventually, the chances are they’ll drop it.

But I’ll tell you something important about that tomorrow.

Regards and stay hopeful,

Ken

Follow-up 3A to People being Sued for Debt

Yesterday we were talking about the factory approach so typical of most debt collectors. We talked about how a few lawyers could gather hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of judgments in an hour or two. And we said that what made that work was that people give up and let them have those judgments one way or another.

Why do people being sued do that?

I’ve talked to a lot of people in this situation and know very well the mix of guilt and helplessness most people being sued feel. But it goes much deeper, as the debt collectors know very well. It starts when the debts start slipping out of control.

Let’s say you had a credit line that was perfectly appropriate, but then something happened to make it harder to keep up. At first you do keep up, then you start making minimum payments, and that is NOT keeping up – you’re losing ground, and you know it. It gets harder to pay close attention to the bill because every time you do you get reminded that you aren’t keeping up.  And of course there is a ridiculous amount of interest to pay.

If you miss a payment, it gets much, much worse. Suddenly you have late-payment penalties on top of horrible interest. It’s all you can do to look at the bottom line, decide what, if anything, you can pay, and put it away for another month.

If that happens a few times you stop looking at the bill at all and just shove it into a drawer for “later.” Or you just throw it away. I mean, you can’t do anything about it, so why rub your nose in it, right?

Something like this happens an amazing amount of the time, and before long you have no idea how much you really owe, or how much you borrowed. You may keep a general running tab in your mind of the total, but who could say how much was interest, penalties, or principle? That stops mattering because there’s nothing you can do about it anyway.

Then the debt collectors start calling. They don’t want to talk about how the debt piled up, and they don’t want to argue about fees. They want to know how much you can pay and by when.

Before long, all you know is that you owe some money, probably a lot, and if they sell the debt to someone else, you may just figure you probably owe it to the person calling you.

When that happens and then you get sued, a lot of people just think it’s easier to “go with the flow.” They know they owe some money and figure it’s to the person suing them. They figure the company suing them has what it needs to win and knows what it’s doing. So they give up one way or another – this is the day they’ve been expecting for a long time.

It’s ironic, because in reality this could be the easiest way to eliminate the debt altogether.

Tomorrow I’ll tell you why.

Follow-up 2A to People Being Sued

Yesterday I was telling you about Frank, Shirley and Kelly, and I could have told you about dozens, possibly hundreds, more. Their stories are typical of people being sued by debt collectors, and they’re typical of the people who choose to stand up and fight.

You may have noticed I didn’t say anything about whether Frank, Shirley or Kelly actually owed any money.

Actually, they probably did. There was some question in my mind about Kelly’s suits, and in all of them there was certainly a question about how much was owed, or to whom. But did they owe the money to someone? I’m almost sure they did. That is the situation faced by a majority of people being sued by debt collectors, and it doesn’t matter.

Law suits are a question of evidence, as I will discuss a little later – the debt collectors have to prove you owe the money if you fight, and they usually can’t.

On the other side of that, I know of plenty of people who have told me they didn’t owe anybody any money, but they didn’t fight. In those cases, the debt collectors got their judgments. A lawsuit is a contest. It isn’t about what is true – it’s about what you can prove (or not). Beating the debt collector is first about answering and then making them prove their case. It takes more than that, though, because they do have tricks up their sleeves.

So let’s talk briefly today about the debt industry and their tricks. We’ll follow up on this tomorrow with how it plays out in court – and what you can do about it.

The Debt Industry

American debt – and particularly consumer debt – has run completely rampant over the past twenty years. Americans now owe over a trillion dollars in consumer debt (mostly credit card debt), and much of that is “stressed.” Auto loans are another trillion, much of it “stressed.” That is, the people owing are walking on a tight line, and if anything happens, they could get knocked off it. And stuff does happen. You know it does. After a couple of late payments, loans are considered stressed, and it doesn’t take much more for people to stop being able to pay at all.

It’s actually impossible to get definite numbers, but it looks like at least a million lawsuits get filed per year based on consumer debt. It may be far more than that. When I was practicing law almost ten years ago, it was not unusual for over a hundred cases to come up in a single day in a single court room. And on one day there were over 700 cases on the docket. On a single day! In a single court room! In one county – in Missouri, hardly the biggest or most daring state of the Union.

In other words, when we talk about debt collection, we are talking about a truly gigantic machine. And I don’t need to tell you that most of the people getting “processed” by that machine are not Rockefellers. No, they’re normal, regular people, who in many cases were lured into unsustainable debt – and in almost all the cases certainly never wanted not to pay what they owed. But stuff happens.

Debts

Consumer debt is “transferrable.” That means that if you owe me $100, I can sell the right to collect that money to someone else. Don’t fall for the people who say that isn’t true – I’ve seen some of their videos on Youtube, and they’ll get you in trouble. A whole lot of debt gets sold in the U.S.

What happens is that big creditors – and this is mostly the banks that issue credit cards – sell debt that is in default (“bad” debt) to companies that specialize in collecting it. These companies are pretty big, and they end up with a whole lot of “claims” they are trying to collect. That all make sense to you?

And so on those days I mentioned where there are a hundred – or several hundred – lawsuits in court on a single day, there might be only a few debt collectors, and a few lawyers representing them, there at the time.

How can they do all this? Only one way. For the process to work, almost everybody being sued has to give up!

Most of them do it by not showing up at all (defaulting), but plenty of them do it by showing up to sign “whatever” it takes to delay the problem for a while (“give-up settlements”). Not two in a hundred actually fight – and probably not even one.

That means a single lawyer could “process” several hundred thousand dollars’ worth of judgments in an hour or two. Not bad work if you can get it! – If you’re a lawyer who doesn’t mind doing that to people.

If you’ve watched some of my videos, you may have seen me talk about debt law being “factory” law, and that’s what I mean. One lawyer handling a hundred cases in an hour – that’s assembly line work. So what does that mean to you? And how can it be helpful to know?

Factory Work

Whether you are being sued by a debt buyer or original creditor, you are being sued by a company that has a certain, routine way of doing what they do. They follow this routine because (1) they have so many cases; and (2) they need to keep their expenses to a minimum; and (3) it usually doesn’t matter what they have or do because most people will automatically give up once the lawsuit is filed.

In that scenario, spending any money on building their case is a waste of money, and debt collectors don’t like to do that. So they don’t.

Please understand: I’m not saying debt collectors are dumb or lazy. Economics drives their decision to do almost nothing to prepare their cases. And it is these same economics that give us such a good chance of winning. Your key to defending yourself and what you have is to take intelligent action. If you can do that, you can turn the tables on them completely.

Sounds so simple, right? We’ll show you why it’s true tomorrow.

Regards,

Ken

Follow-up1A – to People being Sued

If you are being sued, you probably don’t have a lot of time to make a decision about whether or how to defend yourself.  But you do have enough time to make a careful decision, because making the right decision is important, right from the beginning, when you’re being sued.

Your first question has to be whether to fight the debt collectors – or to let them get an easy judgment.  Since you’re reading this, you’ve probably decided to consider fighting. We have addressed the question of whether it makes sense to defend yourself many times. Here is just one sample (if you need it):

I obviously think you have an excellent chance of winning if you defend yourself. Now, of course nothing is guaranteed. When you’re dealing with the law, you are dealing with humans, and they can have prejudices that could affect you. If they follow the rules, you should almost always win. They – the courts and debt collectors – don’t always follow the rules, though, and they don’t always pay attention to you. So one of our main goals is to teach you how to MAKE them pay attention to you and follow the rules.

And then you use those rules to win. We’ll go into that a little more tomorrow, but today I want to remind you that, indeed, this thing works.

Here are a few things some of our members have said – you can find many more by looking at the comments to our videos on youtube, if you want.

Frank in Arizona

“Your materials are simply the best and finest anywhere for pro se defendants facing debt lawsuits.”

Frank was a single dad in Arizona who had developed some trouble paying his bills. The debt collectors harassed him for a while and then filed suit, asking for a large amount of money they said was owed, and attorneys’ fees on top of that, a total of over $15,000.

Naturally, he was very worried that they’d get a judgment and start garnishing his wages – and that the judgment would hang over him like a dark cloud. But he couldn’t afford a lawyer.

He joined us and filed an answer. With our help, he began the discovery process – and of course he encountered a stone wall with everything he did. The debt collectors are happy to file suit, but they’re never going to be reasonable about following the rules. No, they have to object to everything, almost randomly – they made claims of “attorney client privilege,” for example, for negotiations between the non-lawyer debt collector owners and the non-lawyer debt sellers. Lots of stuff like that.

We helped Frank work his way through all that.

Honestly, most debt collectors would have stopped at that – they were losing money as soon as he started fighting – but these guys were stubborn. They filed a motion for summary judgment.

Their motion made all the usual claims – that they could swear to records created by other people, that by negotiating he’d “admitted” owing money, and all the rest. It was scary, but it was BS.

With some guidance, Frank responded to the motion for summary judgment and beat it.

Beating a summary judgment motion just means you still have a trial, but it gives debt defendants a big edge. That’s because of the nature of the “proof” debt collectors always use. They don’t really have anything but records, records someone else made. Beat em at the summary judgment, and those records don’t look any better at trial – you’re going to win. But you still have the fight.

Meanwhile, two other debt collectors filed suit against Frank. He responded by answering the petition and beginning the process of defense. Frank actually laughed when he told me about it – he just wasn’t afraid of them anymore.

These collectors almost immediately dropped their lawsuits. They went away and have never been back.

After that, Frank was ready to move on with his life. He knew he could win, but he didn’t want to do the work to go to trial. He offered the initial debt collector $500 for a full settlement, including a removal of all credit references. They took him up on it, and Frank was ready to get on with his life.

Shirley P, in Detroit

“Yes, yes, yes. You were totally right about ‘strike hard and strike fast’ [our strategy on discovery].  Before court started today the debt plaintiff’s attorney asked me what I wanted, and I said dismissal with prejudice.  He completed the papers and I was out of there in ten minutes.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes once said that, “next to death, Americans fear getting sued more than anything.” Holmes was a Supreme Court Justice, and he knew what he was talking about. So what was Shirley, a middle-aged black woman in Detroit, going to think?

She was great. She decided to join us and fight despite her worries.

The debt collectors gave up when they saw what she sent them for discovery, just as easy as that – and after she’d been so scared.

Kelly from Utah

He just said: “I won.”

And what an understatement that was! Kelly was being sued by debt collectors for a large amount of money, and he had to go through the discovery process and fight off a motion for summary judgment. And still, the debt collector insisted on going to trial. By the time that happened, Kelly was thoroughly prepared, and he destroyed their evidence and got the case dismissed with prejudice.

By the time Kelly got to court, he knew the law better than the other side. We’d practiced what might get argued and what to say. He was thoroughly prepared, and he deserved to win, and did.

I don’t want to write a book here, but I’ll tell you a little more about these cases tomorrow. Something that might, but probably won’t, surprise you.

Regards,

Ken

Thank You for Signing Up

Thank you for signing up for information from Your Legal Leg Up. As you know, our mission is to give regular people everything they need to beat the debt collectors and protect what they own.

We plan to give you some important information that will help you get or keep things under control and keep as much as you can from the debt collectors. We’ve just sent you an email confirmation link, and you’ll need to confirm your subscription before you get anything else from us.

The debt collection process is one big machine, in a way, but it does matter where you are in the process. According to your answers to the “What is Happening” field, we will send you information tailored to what is actually happening to you now and what you might want to do from there. The options are based on whether you are worried about your debts, being harassed by debt collectors, or actually being sued.

Please confirm your subscription. We look forward to helping you take control of your situation, whatever it might be.

Regards,

Ken

They’re Suing Me for A Lot – Won’t they Fight Harder?

Why the Amount the Debt Collector is Suing You For Almost Doesn’t Matter

From a normal consumer’s point of view, the threat posed by a suit for $500 or $1,000 is very, very different from one for $25,000 or $50,000. But the difference to the debt collectors is much less significant than you might think. There are several reasons for this, from the way they view risk to something called “opportunity cost.” We’ll discuss both of those things here. Our observation is that debt collectors do NOT treat cases for widely different amounts any differently – they follow their standard procedures.

Risk

As we discuss in our analysis of risk in regards to settlement, debt collectors look at three factors in evaluating their cases. These are risk of losing, price of winning, and chance of collecting.

Risk of Losing

Debt collectors regard the risk of losing to a pro se defendant as negligible. They don’t give any thought to losing at all, it would appear. Losing the case might have a devastating impact on your life, but to them it’s just all in a day’s work. And they don’t respect pro se defendants, so they don’t think they’ll lose anyway. Our materials are designed to help you try to wake them up to this risk a little bit, but for the most part the debt collector will think he’s going to win even after the judge issues judgment to you. Our members have experienced that attitude first-hand.

Price of Winning

Debt collectors take the price of winning far more seriously. For one thing, they start off knowing that getting the judgment will cost something. Every time you do anything that requires them to take action, it’s costing them more. They can see that, and they know that money is likely going away for good. Thus our materials aim to emphasize and increase this risk, and we are usually quite successful in doing so. Taking action that increases the cost of winning will have a significant impact on the way the debt collector values your case – it lowers the value of the case in the debt collector’s mind dramatically.

Of course if they’re suing you for $50,000, your actions wouldn’t seem likely to reduce the value of the case very much, right?

Wrong, and that brings us to the final risk factor, chance of collection.

Chance of Collection

Have you heard the expression that if you owe the bank $1,000 they own you, but if you owe them $1,000,000 you own them? This is related to the chance of collection factor. Banks know, and collectors know, that collecting $1,000 is usually possible against an unwilling defendant. But collecting a million dollars? Not going to happen. You probably won’t have it, and if you do, you’ll hide it.

That sets up a dynamic: the more you owe, the greater the collection risk discount. If they’re suing you for $25,000, nobody expects to collect anything like that. They might get a little more from you with a $25,000 judgment than a $1,000 judgment, but not enough to matter. In general.

Thus high dollar cases are not considered particularly valuable.

Opportunity Cost

Opportunity cost is the cost of doing one thing rather than another.

Remember that the amount of debt in the U.S. is essentially unlimited. That means the opportunity for suing (other) people is equally unlimited.

Now remember that debt collectors get judgments approximately 80% of the time by default. That means they can file suit if 100 cases and get 80 judgments in about an hour. If those judgments, conservatively speaking, are for $5,000 apiece, that’s $400,000 in an hour. And these numbers are not only theoretically possible, but I have seen them happen many times.

Now consider your case for $50,000. Even if they thought they could get that – which they almost definitely do not – if they have to spend five hours working for it, they’ll lose perhaps two million dollars in default judgments in that time. Does that sound like a wise business decision?

Now you can never tell what any one person will do in any one given situation, but the numbers are strongly against the debt collectors treating your case – of whatever amount it’s for – any different from all the others. I have never seen it play out any differently.

And that means that it makes sense to defend yourself as much in big-dollar cases as little dollar cases.

Should I Buy Your Motion for Summary Judgment Pack?

When Do you Need the Motion for Summary Judgment Pack?

If the other side has filed a motion for summary judgment against you and you want to defend only, you should get the Motion for Summary Judgment Defense Pack.

If the other side has filed a motion for summary judgment against you, and you want to defend and also file a motion for summary judgment against them on the same case, you should get the Motion for Summary Judgment Omni Pack.

And if you either want to file a motion for summary judgment against them (without their having filed one against you) you should get the Motion for Summary Judgment (Offense) Pack.

What is a Motion for Summary Judgment?

A motion for summary judgment is an “evidentiary” motion. That is, unlike a motion to dismiss, a motion for summary judgment seeks to determine a set of facts that are “uncontested” or not in dispute and asks the court to rule on how the law applies to them. What makes a judgment “summary” is that it is decided without a trial. A “motion” is the request to the court to issue the judgment.

Either party can file a motion for summary judgment. If the other side files one first, you put your response to theirs, and your own motion together and call it a “cross-motion.” Thus “cross-motion” really only refers to timing. Substantively, you will either be filing a motion for summary judgment against them, defending against their motion for summary judgment, or both.

Establish “Uncontested” Facts

Because disputes in the evidence are supposed to be resolved at trial, motions for summary judgment are supposed to be determined based only on “uncontested” facts. But “uncontested” and “facts” are terms of art, as you will see in the materials.  A fact is not established because you say it is so in the motion. A fact can only be established by evidence properly presented to the court. Likewise, a fact is not “contested” simply because you don’t like it or you say it isn’t so – it’s only contested by the admission of evidence that shows it isn’t so.

Illustration

Let’s make up an example to clarify how these things work. Suppose the debt collector is filing a motion for summary judgment that says you owe $1,000 on an old credit card. They put in an old statement showing you supposedly owe the money and an affidavit by one of their robo-signers that says the statement is “accurate” and that you haven’t paid the bill.

Their Case

That is pretty much exactly what the debt collectors do every time. Their evidence that you owe and haven’t paid is the credit card statement and the affidavit. They’ll say it’s “uncontested,” so what do you do?

Your Defense

You will object to the affidavit and credit card statement for legally powerful reasons (as shown by the summary judgment pack) and you will, if you can, add an affidavit of your own that says, roughly, “I don’t owe them, never owed them, didn’t get a statement, and never had an account with the bank they say this came from.”

Your effective objection SHOULD be enough, because it is up to them to present actual, admissible, evidence in support of their “uncontested facts.” But if you can add an affidavit of your own, the effect is much more powerful. Then you are both attacking their evidence and introducing contradictory evidence of your own.

Warning

Merely claiming in the Response to their Motion that you don’t owe the money would not keep their evidence from being “uncontested.” Understand? You must present evidence and attack the validity of their evidence.

Cross-Motions for Summary Judgment

Now (because of the nature of debt cases), if they can’t win a motion for summary judgment against you, you should almost always be able to win a cross-motion for summary judgment against them. That is, they have the burden of proof on their claim. If they can carry that burden, they will win the case. If they can’t, then they should lose (the whole case) – if you show it and file a cross-motion. Therefore, if they file a motion for summary judgment against you, you will almost always want to get the “Omni” MSJ pack. Filing a cross-motion does involve significantly more work, but if you can do so you might save yourself a lot of trouble later.

Your Motion for Summary Judgment

Suppose they don’t file a motion for summary judgment, but you have gone through discovery and found that the only things they have in support of their claims are an affidavit and the old statement used in the above example? As a matter of fact, that is typical. In that case you should consider filing your own Motion for Summary Judgment.

Motions for summary judgment require significant effort and require you to find out and follow various procedures rigorously.

So they are work.

Why You Should Do It

But if you win, you can cut short the process of the lawsuit and avoid trial. And even if you lose your motion for summary judgment you will be educating the judge to the issues and changing the way the judge and other side look at you. Therefore, we suggest you do it – if you have time after finding out through the discovery process that they don’t have what they need.

At a minimum, working your way through a motion for summary judgment will sharpen you tremendously on the law and facts of the case, and it will very likely result in winning one way or the other. Thus we recommend it if you can do it.

Motions for summary judgment are designed for situations where you can show certain decisive facts.

The Motion for Summary Judgment Pack is NOT…

The MSJ pack is not another way to get what you need to defend the lawsuit. It is material aimed at a specific procedural motion and moment in time. Defending yourself requires a commitment to a process. It could include motions to dismiss, answering the petition, filing a counterclaim, conducting discovery, moving to compel discovery, and various pretrial maneuvers. It rarely requires all of these things, but our Litigation Membership is what you need to prepare for the fight.

We would suggest that you might not ever need the motion for summary judgment pack, but even if you do need that, you will also want the litigation membership. The membership is the glue that holds all the parts of the lawsuit together.