Follow-up 5A to People being Sued

Yesterday I ended with something that may have surprised you – or you may possibly even have thought it was wrong to do, somehow. That is, I was talking about how the expense of your defense might eventually make the debt collector go away all by itself.

And that is true. But is it wrong to use the cost of litigation as a tool against the debt collector?

I could almost laugh at that, but in a way it’s a serious question.

It is, in fact, considered unethical in law to use the cost of litigation as a tool – if you aren’t doing legitimate things. That is, you aren’t supposed to drive up the costs needlessly. Now why did I almost laugh at that? Because the debt collectors do that CONSTANTLY.  You will see that when you ask “discovery” questions, no matter how reasonable, they will object with a bunch of the lamest stuff imaginable. It’s called “stone-walling,” and you should expect it – it’s standard in the debt collector’s playbook.

But you won’t be stone-walling. You will be legitimately probing their case for weaknesses, and chances are extremely good that you will find some, too. So at the same time you’re making the suit unprofitable for them you are also making it much more likely that you win it outright.

And it is likely that you win if it goes so far.

It goes back to the “factory” approach the debt collectors take. I’d be shocked to hear that the lawyer on the other side of your case has spent twenty seconds looking at anything in your case before going to court. Why should he? Ninety-seven out of a hundred cases never get litigated because the defendants give up. It doesn’t make sense to “waste” time on a case like that, and they almost never do. And because of the way the debt selling industry works, in order for them to get what they need, it would really take more time than they’ve got. Upshot? They rarely have what they need, and they’re rarely willing to get it if you push them for it.

Again, they aren’t worried about losing. They’re worried about spending time.

If you keep pushing, you’ll almost always win.

Almost Always??

Hmmm. So do you notice I keep saying things like “rarely” and “almost always” or “almost never?”

One YouTube commenter accused me of “waffling” – he liked the people who make guarantees better and figures I don’t know enough if I can’t make guarantees, too.

But that is actually ridiculous. The law is a process – usually pretty rigorous, and usually actually “honest” if not truly fair.  It’s a contest played by many, many participants. Some (on both sides) play harder than others, and judges do not always pay close attention or do the right thing. I’m not going to pretend otherwise.

What I can say for sure is that if you do, and keep doing, the right things, you will make suing you a money-losing proposition.  This makes it much less likely that they will keep doing it.

I can say for sure that a large majority of debt buyers – very nearly all of them, in fact – start the lawsuit against you without having what they would need to win in their possession. And they either cannot, or will not, do what it takes to get it. Could they, in theory? Yes they could. But I am not aware of a single time a debt buyer did what it took to deserve to win. Sometimes they do win if the judge isn’t paying attention or the deck is stacked (as it is in Massachusetts small claims courts), but this is rare if you fight, and it’s much rarer for them to win legitimately.

I will have guarantees about our products, of course, but you should know that if the debt collector is willing to do what it takes to win, and if the stuff is there, then it probably should win, and it probably will. That almost never happens, so you should probably win and probably will win, but there’s always a chance of some fluke happening. We can’t guarantee that you will win.

It’s important that you know about that chance, as small as it is, because it will encourage you to do things that protect you against that possibility. We do have some suggestions for that, too.

But that’s all talking about something with such a small chance of happening that I wonder sometimes whether I shouldn’t just say it won’t.

Remember, the debt collectors are only interested in making money – they don’t care about you or your suit at all (except as a way to make money). We can help you make sure they lose money by suing you. And we can make sure that if they don’t have what they need, which they almost never do, you can find out and know what to do about that. We can make sure you deserve to win, in other words.

Tomorrow we’ll talk about one more thing that makes people nervous, and then we’ll move on to tell you how we can help and what we offer.

Stay hopeful,

Ken

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

Please sign up for notifications

All members should by now have received an invitation or confirmation – I’m not sure what it will be called – which you need to click in order to receive emails from us. This is not a marketing device and won’t lead to a lot of commercials. Instead, it will allow us to send you reminders of teleconferences, time changes… and other member-related updates.

Future members will get this automatically when they sign up.

Rule 11 Federal Rules Civil Procedure

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Eleven (11) is the main rule in federal proceedings governing the  motives and actions of lawyers as to the content of what they say. Here are the all the rules, but below is Rule 11. Every state (as far as I know) has a rule comparable to this rule, and you should find and know your state’s rule.
Rule 11. Signing Pleadings, Motions, and Other Papers; Represen-
tations to the Court; Sanctions
(a) SIGNATURE.  Every pleading, written motion, and other paper
must be signed by at least one attorney of record in the attorney’s
name—or by a party personally if the party is unrepresented. The
paper must state the signer’s address, e-mail address, and tele-
phone number. Unless a rule or statute specifically states other-
wise, a pleading need not be verified or accompanied by an affida-
vit. The court must strike an unsigned paper unless the omission
is promptly corrected after being called to the attorney’s or par-
ty’s attention.
(b) REPRESENTATIONS TO THE COURT.  By presenting to the court
a pleading, written motion, or other paper—whether by signing,
filing, submitting, or later advocating it—an attorney or unrep-
resented party certifies that to the best of the person’s knowledge,
information, and belief, formed after an inquiry reasonable under
the circumstances:
(1) it is not being presented for any improper purpose, such
as to harass, cause unnecessary delay, or needlessly increase
the cost of litigation;
(2) the claims, defenses, and other legal contentions are war-
ranted by existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument for ex-
tending, modifying, or reversing existing law or for establish-
ing new law;
(3) the factual contentions have evidentiary support or, if
specifically so identified, will likely have evidentiary support
after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or dis-
covery; and
(4) the denials of factual contentions are warranted on the
evidence or, if specifically so identified, are reasonably based
on belief or a lack of information.

I Only Have Social Security and They’re Suing – What do I do?

What You Should Do if You Only Have Social Security

You will find a lot of material on our site addressing this question. It really boils down to two things: what does it cost to fight? And what does it cost if you lose?

What it Costs if you Lose

The good news is that, if your only asset is Social Security – or comes from Social Security (including age or disability benefits), you are “judgment proof.” That is, they can’t garnish your Social Security benefits. We don’t think that means you should just give up and ignore the suit, but it establishes a limit to the price of losing – it’s a low price.

There are other costs, however, that aren’t so clear. A judgment will hurt your credit report, for example, and this could affect insurance rates, credit eligibility, and even job opportunities. Since it isn’t garnishment, it’s a sort of hidden penalty, but under the wrong circumstances losing a debt suit can hurt you even if they can’t get anything that you own. These are the costs you will want to consider as you decide whether to fight

What Does it Cost to Fight?

We recommend our Litigation Gold Membership, which has a monthly cost, currently $20/month. In addition to that you will need to find a way to do the work associated with pro se defense, and you will need to get to court some to do the things that need to be done. If you are too frail or disabled to do these things, pro se defense won’t be good for you. If you are able to do them you’re in a great spot: it costs little to defend, your chances of winning are excellent, and the price of losing if you don’t win is very small.

You will enjoy our materials, and you will probably also enjoy – eventually – the experience of defending yourself in court. Likewise, the debt lawyer trying to sue you will very possibly go away once the important facts are known. All these things are why a lot of older people do actually defend themselves – the deck is stacked in their favor.

What if you have something more than Social Security?

Well, it depends on how much. What you have is what you could lose, minus state exemptions from collection which are pretty generous. But they have to beat you to get them. Our materials help you fight and win, and you might also find a law firm willing to take the case “pro bono.” That means for free as a part of social service that lawyers often do.

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.