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,