Why Defend Yourself from Debt Collectors

Why you Should Defend against Debt Collectors, and Why you Can Do it Yourself


When you are sued by a debt collector, you are presented with two questions that often merge into one because of money

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Motions in Limine – to Exclude Evidence

What Pro Se Debt Defendants Need to Know about Motions in Limine

Can Debt Collectors Garnish Wages

Debt Verification – How to Protect Yourself

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Debt Collector Dirty Tricks

A Bestiary of Debt Collector Dirty Tricks

Debt Collectors will do anything to get your money, and we have collected a large group of their more common tricks together into a “bestiary.”

Sign up below for more information, and we’ll send you the Bestiary of Debt Collector Dirty Tricks for free.

About Us and Our Mission

You have probably reached us because of a Youtube video we presented or some other social media outreach. And you probably know we have largely focused our efforts on people being sued for debt. (If you are being sued, now, for debt and want to defend yourself pro se, you should join us as a litigation member.)

What we hear, time after time, are variations on “I wish I’d heard about you, I did ______ that hurt my rights.” Or, often enough, they don’t realize that they DID hurt their rights. So our efforts have been to reach out to people BEFORE they get sued. And before they hurt their rights. That’s what our new Debt Guard memberships are about – we want to give people an opportunity to see information that will help them identify some of the dirty tricks out there. But more importantly, we want to give you the support and information you need to make the efforts necessary to protect your rights.

Who is a Debt Collector

For our current purposes of identifying scams and protecting you from them, it doesn’t matter whether the person contacting you is some sort of a legitimate operator or a hoodlum in a basement in Russia. They’re going to tell you they’re calling on a debt, and they’re going to be sure you owe it. They won’t tell you they’re hoodlums – and even the legitimate debt collectors are not that far from being hoodlums. It’s a tough business, and the companies always walk right up to the line of legality, giving themselves the benefit of every doubt.

And they frequently step over the line – even the “legitimate” ones.

For five bucks a month, we’ll give you the information and support you need to protect your rights.  If you need it, we’ll suggest and help you get a prepaid legal program that could save you the cost of a lawyer if you get sued. Or if you get sued, you’ll know where to turn for help in pro se defense.

But you don’t need to decide anything now. If you like, sign up and get the Bestiary of Debt Collector Dirty Tricks. There’s no obligation, just sign up below.


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A Question of Burden – General versus Affirmative Defenses

“General” versus “Affirmative” Defenses

Many debt defendants love the idea of affirmative defenses – they just sound stronger, don’t they? But in the law, they are specific things, and they are not better than general defenses. They’re just different. If you have an affirmative defense, that’s fine, and you probably wouldn’t want to ignore it. But general defenses are really the “bread and butter” of defense.

So what are these two types of defense?

General Defense or Denial

A general defense is one of two things. It CAN mean a general denial of every allegation in the petition. You’re saying, “prove it” to everything. Since the debt collector has the burden of proof, I would suggest you consider this if it is available to you. It’s easy, fast, and comprehensive. But of course your next move is on to discovery and the rest of defense.

Generically, a “general defense” is one where you deny an allegation. So, above, you could file a “general defense” which denies all paragraphs (if your jurisdiction allows this). Or normally you would simply deny all or most of the paragraphs of the plaintiff’s petition. Every denial is a “general defense” that leaves the burden of proof on the plaintiff.

Affirmative Defenses

Affirmative defenses are something else. They amount to a statement that, “even if what the plaintiff is true, I don’t owe because …”

One example of this might be a settlement – suppose you entered an agreement to pay and did pay the other side, but they sue you anyway. If so, your general denial will be to deny the allegations of the petition, but then you’ll add an affirmative defense: On x day, the parties entered into settlement discussions and formed an agreement. Defendant fully performed this agreement on y day, paying z dollars for a “complete settlement of all claims.” See, attached (a copy of the agreement).

Thus, the facts that you have alleged amount to a complete defense to the action (known as “accord and satisfaction). And note that the facts are pleaded with “particularity” (in detail), and the defendant has the burden of proof of these things.

Other examples of affirmative defenses include collateral estoppel, res judicata, unclean hands, statute of limitations, and laches. There could be others. In each case the defendant would bear the burden of pleading the facts constituting the defense and proving them at trial. Since a general denial leaves the burden of proof on the plaintiff, they’re usually more important.

Fast Track to Victory over Debt Collectors

Fast Track to Beating the Debt Collectors

Debt collection is a very big business in the U.S., with debt collectors feeding like vultures on the hardships of people having debt problems. They don’t care about you, they don’t care whether you owe or whether the amount they want is unfair – they only care about getting as much of your money as possible.

They need to be stopped.

to join us as a FastTrack Member, hover the cursor over About Memberships on the main menu and then click on Register – or click here – and choose FastTrack Membership.

Courts as Cogs in the Debt Collection Machine

The debt collectors have been using the courts as part of their collection machine for many years. And they use the threat of lawsuits even more. This lets them scare millions of people into paying whatever they can, sacrificing whatever they must to do so. And it lets them use the machinery of the law whenever they get a judgment to start garnishing wages or seizing assets.

Unfortunately, the courts have allowed the debt collectors to get away with things they wouldn’t allow other litigants – things like filing claims without any real idea of whether the claims have merit, presenting obviously fraudulent and deceptive affidavits, and using clearly inadmissible evidence, to name a few things. But these are things that happen more often when people are not paying attention. They happen in debt law because nearly everybody getting sued by a debt collector gives up.

This needs to change.

How to Stop Them

I am not suggesting that you hide, drop out, or do anything radical. There are reasonable things you can do to protect yourself and what you have without turning your life upside down or inside out. The law doesn’t have to be your enemy in this… you can make it your friend, and we can help.

As I have often pointed out, debt collection is “assembly-line” or “factory” work. That is, debt collectors buy millions of accounts and feed them into a collection machine. The machine then writes letters, calls, and often sues you. Are there any humans involved in this process? Perhaps a few. The letters and signatures are probably all automated, and the phone dialers often are as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if the “person” calling you wasn’t actually a computer – if they aren’t doing that now, they could, and they soon will be.

And then there’s the lawsuit. Do you know they have software programs that draft entire lawsuits? The lawyers who go to court swear that they have seen the files, but I have my doubts about that. If you have ever asked a debt lawyer about one of his cases, you’d know what I mean – they have no clue. But of course that doesn’t stop them from claiming they have everything they need to win.

Factory Approach

The debt collector’s approach is simple and fiendishly effective. They file a million lawsuits and collect 700,000 default judgments. They can’t find and serve some of the people they sue, and they let them go. Two hundred thousand people go to court to give up one way or the other, and you can see long lines of people waiting to ask the lawyer where to sign whatever the lawyer wants.

In perhaps 50,000 cases of a million, there is some defense. Most of the lawyers doing it simply look for a slightly better settlement number than the debt collector asked for in the petition. SOME of the lawyers know what’s going on and don’t settle at all. A few people defend themselves. Of these, many don’t really have an idea of what they’re doing and end up losing.

The Few, the Proud

A very few people represent themselves and do know what they’re doing. They learn a few rules and a few of the things they need to do… and start doing them. Almost all of these people win.

To put it in a nutshell, our goal at Your Legal Leg Up has been to put our members into this group.

Because the debt collectors are built for the factory work, most of the people who put up serious resistance, and who know what they’re doing, “fall through the cracks.” Quite often, the debt collectors simply drop the cases. In others, they pursue them a little bit. But the underlying economic reality is that it makes little sense for them to do that. They can buy a lot more cases and make a lot more money by getting the people who give up than by fighting any number of cases.

Fighting cases costs debt collectors money. If you fight long enough, they’ll be losing money on your case. We try to make that happen.

Legitimate Defense

But we don’t try to make it happen with foolish claims or time-wasting strategies. That might not be such a good idea.

We understand that debt buyers, and companies suing on debt generally, have certain legal problems. They have a hard time getting or presenting some of the critical evidence. If you want to defend yourself, you need to know what they have and what they don’t have. And you need to know it before trial. The way you find out is through a process called “discovery.”

Debt collectors don’t want you to know what they have or don’t have. In addition, I think they just can’t help themselves – they’re going to object to everything you ask in discovery because that’s just what they do. We call it “stone-walling,” and it’s a favorite strategy that basically every debt collector uses every time. It makes preparing your case harder, but it gives you a legitimate reason to make them spend money, so it’s a two-edged sword.

If you can handle it. We help you handle it. Our materials tell you what you need to do, and they help you do it, too. Our teleconferences boost your confidence and energy, and they clear up doubts.

That’s why so many of our members win their cases. We help you know what you need to know and prove what you need to prove.

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Turning the Tide

I believe the debt collection process is bad for our country, and that it grinds the working and middle class into poverty. Thus I have argued it is a “social justice issue.”

And since we’re talking about social justice, this seems to be a good time to introduce myself. I’m Ken Gibert, and I was a lawyer for about fifteen years, starting as a “clerk” (assistant to judges) in the U.S. Court of Appeals for a year, and then several years as a civil rights lawyer, first as the associate of a prominent local attorney, then on my own. I practiced consumer law for several years, first putting a number of fraudulent businesses OUT of business, and then defending people being sued by debt lawyers. Then I left the practice and started Your Legal Leg Up.

I’ve marched for … well, if I haven’t marched for it there probably hasn’t been a march for it. I’ve been called lots of names, had rocks thrown at me and had my mind blown away (in a good way!) by some of the people I was marching with. I’ve hobnobbed with some real movers and shakers, run my own business, and made some mistakes, too.

Your Legal Leg Up has been in the business of helping people beat debt collectors since 2007. Twelve years as I speak. Obviously, we’ve been around for a long time. I’m proud of that and of all the people we’ve helped, but I’m a little impatient, too – it’s time to make some bigger changes.

And you probably know that I have created perhaps hundreds of videos and written thousands of pages on debt law in America. It’s safe to say I’m one of THE authorities on the subject.

Your Legal Leg Up has been in the business of helping people beat debt collectors since 2007. Twelve years as I speak. Obviously, we’ve been around for a long time. I’m proud of that and of all the people we’ve helped, but I’m a little impatient, too – it’s time to make some bigger changes.

The theme running through my whole life has been that people deserve opportunities. Given a chance, people can do some amazing things, from inventing things, to taking care of people, from building empires to raising children. People need a chance to do what they’re called to do. Thus I have fought against discrimination that prevented that, and I’ve fought against the people and businesses that seek to profit by taking unfair advantage of other people.

And right now, there may not be anything that seeks to profit more by taking advantage of people than the debt collectors. They need to be stopped.

Why I’m Telling You This

The reason I’m going into my own history and the issue of social injustice is that I want to expand our services so that we aren’t just helping people slip through the cracks of the debt factory.

I want to change it.

First, I want a LOT more people to get through the cracks, and that means dramatically increasing the reach of our services and the number of our members.

Then I want so many people to fight for themselves that they overrun the debt collection machine and the courts that serve them force them to change.

Consider the following.

The Courts

On an average day in St. Louis County, a pretty average county in mid-America, there are between two and four courts that spend the first two hours of their day processing debt claims. In each of these courts, you’ll have approximately twenty to thirty lawyers – five or six for the debt collectors, five or ten for debt defendants, and others who are there for miscellaneous reasons. You’ll have 50-100 people milling around, and a court staff consisting of a deputy (security), judge, court clerk, and sometimes a secretary or two.

Over the next two hours, each of those courts will process between 100 and 500 debt cases. It’s a rare day with under a hundred judgments; it’s common to have far more than that. And they do this every single business day of the year. It’s a profit center for the court, which charges about $50 per case (note the volume discount! It would cost you more to file suit). So at the end of the day, the court has collected, say, $15,000, and the debt collectors have garnered 250 or more judgments.

Now I ask you a question, and the answer is going to be obvious: Do you think they could do that if people stood up for themselves?

A low-priority criminal case could easily take half a day. A high-profile case – civil or criminal – could take a week. Imagine what would happen to the courts if 200 debt cases took just half a day to process. It would take almost an entire year for the court to handle what it does now in two hours of one morning.

I’m not making these numbers up – this is what I saw day in and day out where I practiced.

It would take one day. Just one day, for the court to get nearly a year behind schedule, and if you think the judges are going to stand for that… well, none of the judges I’ve ever met seem likely to appreciate anything like that.

The Lawyers

And what about the debt lawyers? They handle at least 50 cases each in an hour every morning. They get judgments of, say, approximately $250,000 in that hour five times per week. Imagine if they could only handle one case per morning and it took them four hours to do. That would reduce their judgments from $250,000 per hour to perhaps $1,000/hour. If they won.

And they wouldn’t win a lot of them because they don’t have what they need to win.

How long do you think they’d last at that rate? And it’s actually worse than that because if you were defending, the lawyers would have to spend hours with you – arguing about their ridiculous objections (which would probably stop pretty quickly), talking about the merits of the case, figuring out scheduling orders… the law can take time. When you fight.

The Debt Collection Companies

And then there’s the debt collection companies, which are designed to obtain minimal information from the creditor banks (and pay very little for it), not to pay for witnesses, not to spend money on anything other than a fraction of an hour of a lawyer’s time plus the costs of an automated collection system. Suddenly they’d need witnesses from the banks, documents, back-up staff, and all the rest of the things ordinary lawyers need and use for ordinary lawsuits. Their costs would absolutely skyrocket. Not ten times as much, a thousand times as much is what it would cost.

The whole debt collection system would come crashing to an end.

And the credit system that feeds the collection industry? That would have to change too.

You Don’t Have to Care about all that

I’m not saying you should join hands with me to end the debt collection industry that plagues the country and harasses innumerable people. I’m not suggesting anybody should march in the streets. I’m just explaining why you should join with us as a way to solve YOUR problem with the debt collectors. Because if you are being sued or harassed, you have a problem with them, and they want your money.

Our system will help you slip through the cracks of their factory… and if we get enough people fighting, you won’t have to slip through the cracks of the factory because it won’t be there anymore. The more people we get, the better off ALL of them will be.

That is my Mission

You don’t have to worry or care about the bigger picture. You’ve got plenty to do for yourself, and doing that instead of giving up will help you – and everybody. But I care about the bigger picture, and I want more people to join with us. That’s why I’m going to make the offer I’m preparing to make, and why I’m creating a special new kind of membership for the “fast-trackers” who are reading this.

Membership at Your Legal Leg Up

We have three levels of debt litigation memberships at Your Legal Leg Up right now: Gold, Platinum, and Diamond, and you can find out all about them here if you want. Let me tell you why we went to membership rather than just offering manuals or other one-time products that would help you know what you need to know.

To put it briefly, there’s a big difference between “knowing” and “doing.” Giving you lots and lots of information (as we do) won’t necessarily make you win your case. In order to win, you have to do things. You have to do the right things, consistently, and it’s a moving target because the company is also trying to win or make you give up.  They stonewall you on discovery, making foolish, repetitive and numerous objections to everything you ask for. They file motions to dismiss your counterclaim, to get the judge to keep you from asking things, or to win the case outright. Sometimes they refuse to talk to you at all…

They have a lot of tricks, and beating them means staying on the job and pushing things the way you want them to go. It can be exhausting, confusing, and discouraging.

None of that is news to you if you’ve been in a case with them before. But what’s news is that we can help.

Our memberships exist to keep you from getting exhausted, confused or discouraged. To do this, we give our members a Litigation Manual to help orient them to the case and people involved, and this is not just a little pamphlet. It’s a book of about 250 pages plus links to materials on the website (you can read more about it here if you like). We also have our document bank that reduces the difficulty and confusion in creating or responding to routine things. And again, this is no little thing, consisting of hundreds of pages of materials prepared by lawyers in cases like yours (click here to find out more on our document bank). And we have teleconferences, where you can ask questions and get answers in real time, and a large collection of member-only articles and videos.

As a FastTrack member, you will get all of the benefits of Gold Members except one thing. Instead of two teleconferences per week, you’ll get two per month.

They normally pay $100 for an initiation fee, but you’ll only pay $50.

They normally pay $25 per month for membership dues, but you’ll only pay $15.

Is This a Good Deal?

Is this a good deal for you? I’m pretty sure it is, and I know for sure you won’t find another way to defend yourself that costs anything close to this. To decide whether it works for you, though, you need to look at two things: the lawsuit against you; and the price of a lawyer. There isn’t another program like ours at all, as far as I know.

The Lawsuit against you

One option for anybody being sued is just to give up. If you are “judgment proof,” meaning you have no money that a collector could get, this might make sense. More generally, you would want to look at the amount of money you’re being sued for and compare it to what our membership will cost. If you remain with us for a year, that’s going to be $205. If you stay with us for two years, it’s going to be $385.00.

And then you have to figure the value of your time, which is a little harder to do because you never know how long the debt collector will stay in it. If you have one lawsuit, I would guess you will between 10 and 50 hours. At $10/hour (remember it’s tax free), that’s $100 – $500 worth of your time.

If they’re suing you for under $500, you might not want to defend. Anything over that and you should strongly consider defending. Of course most debt cases are for much more than that these days, but some are not. You can figure out what you need to for yourself.

But what about hiring a lawyer instead?

What about a Lawyer?

If you’ve ever tried to get a lawyer, you will know that they charge a lot. How much? That varies quite a bit. Members have told me that $2,500 to start isn’t unusual. Some charge a flat fee, others hourly – and some seem to base the amount on the amount you’re being sued for. What you can bet is that any lawyer, anywhere, is going to try to make sure he gets paid at least $100 per hour, and often it will be much more than that. You’ll have to look around, but in most cases what the lawyers want is too close to the amount you’re being sued for to be worth it. Consider that just a motion to compel discovery could easily take 20 or 30 hours of attorney time to bring (for a lawyer who doesn’t handle a lot of these cases – much less for one who does). You’ll be paying at least $100 per hour for that time.

But there’s another problem that’s just as big.

It’s hard to find a good lawyer for debt cases

It isn’t that debt law is particularly difficult, and debt collectors aren’t particularly difficult opponents, but there are things you need to know that are just not obvious. The main example of this is that most lawsuits that most lawyers bring have been checked by the lawyer bringing suit, so although the case might be stronger or weaker, it’s usually at least got some validity. Almost all the cases most defendants see are pretty good cases. Thus it makes sense to talk from the very beginning about settling the case – and it makes sense to talk about settling for half or more than half of what the plaintiff is asking. Debt law is just the opposite. Almost none of the cases have any justification at all, and it rarely makes sense to talk about settling, especially not before doing some of the back-up work (discovery).

But lawyers don’t like to turn down work, and this means that there is all too good a chance that you will hire a lawyer who doesn’t know debt law at all.

You’d be much better off representing yourself than to have most lawyers who don’t know debt law.

Think it out for yourself – we know you can, since you’re reading this letter. Our conclusion is that using Your Legal Leg Up is the best deal out there. By Far. In fact, we can’t guarantee results because there are too many unknowns, but we can guarantee that you will agree with us that our membership is a great deal.

It has to be. Because you can drop it at any time you want. And you can get your money back for up to two months if we aren’t everything you need.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, if you’re being sued by a debt collector, you have an excellent chance of winning or of settling the case for a small fraction of what the debt collector is seeking.

With our help, you will probably win by “falling between the cracks” of their debt machine and making it unprofitable to sue you. If they pursue it, you will probably win. The more people who defend themselves, the easier it will be for you.

It does take some effort. You will learn a lot about the law and the courts. Most people find they enjoy it much more than they expected.

And it will change you. Standing up and defending yourself when everybody thinks you can’t is POWERFUL. It changes the way you see the world and yourself. It feels great. And of course it will keep the debt collector from taking things you’ve worked hard to get for yourself and your family.

Join us as a FastTrack Member. Win your case and change your world.

To join us as a FastTrack Member, hover the cursor over About Memberships on the main menu and then click on Register – click here – and choose FastTrack Membership.

When you do, you will receive:

  • Access to member-only areas of the site, including our document bank and articles and videos;
  • The Debt Defense Litigation Manual;
  • Our special report, Three Weaknesses Most Debt Collectors Have; and
  • Two teleconferences per month.

Do not worry if some of these things do not appear immediately! We will send you most of the materials by email and will make certain you are able to get into the site in a short time.

I’m looking forward to meeting you!


Remember: to join us as a FastTrack Member, hover the cursor over About Memberships on the main menu and then click on Register – or click here – and choose FastTrack Membership.

If you aren’t ready to join us, click here instead for more information about debt law and your chances of defending yourself pro se.


testimonials for Your Legal Leg Up

Our Drive for 10,000 Members

Your Legal Leg Up has always taken a pragmatic approach to debt defense: they sue on a huge scale and take a factory approach – and our job is to help you slip through the cracks of their system. To do this, you have to understand the law a little bit and do some right things, but your defense doesn’t really hurt the profits of the debt collectors. You get out of trouble, and they continue their business in the same way as ever.

What if a lot more people defended themselves?

We think that if a lot more people defended themselves, they would ALL win. And they would change the way the debt industry, including the courts, handles people who allegedly owe money. Right now the debt industry files approximately a million lawsuits per year, producing shockingly inadequate evidence… and winning approximately 80% of the those suits (almost all of them that where the defendants get served). And to do this, my guess is they spend an average of about 20 minutes (no exaggeration!) per case.

What if every case took five hours?

What if every case took twenty-five hours?

It would shut them down and turn things around completely –  instead of them controlling everything, they’d be on the run.

Debt defendants should be scaring debtors

Debt defendants should be scaring debtors

Our goal is to help 10,000 people defend their lawsuits. Will this change everything for the industry? We don’t know. But will it change everything for you to win your lawsuit? We’re pretty sure it will – and we think we can help make your chances of winning a LOT better. Please sign up here for information that can help you win your case.

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