Tag Archive for: debt collector

Defending Motions for Summary Judgment in Debt Collection Cases

Intimidating Tactics of Debt Collectors in Litigation

“Frivolous” Defenses and Other Intimidation Tactics of Debt Collectors

When Defending Debt Cases Pro Se

When you’re defending (or thinking about defending) yourself pro se, the debt collector may try to intimidate you by suggesting that whatever you’re saying is “frivolous” or ridiculous in some way. Of course I do not suggest that you be casual or careless in your defense, but remember that debt collectors make their money by scaring people like you into giving up. They greatly over-state the risk to you of defending yourself, as in fact most of the time the court will simply not penalize you for defending yourself.

And no one makes more frivolous arguments that the debt collectors.

Check out our materials for things you can do if debt collectors try these on you.. Follow them and you won’t have to worry about making frivolous or baseless arguments or allegations.

Ending Debt Nightmare 3

End the Debt Nightmare


This is the third video in this series. Click here for video 2. And here for video 1.

Sued for Debt – why your chance of winning is so good

Sued for Debt–Why Your Chances Are So Good

If you’re being sued on a debt by a debt collector, you have an excellent chance of winning. Debt collectors rarely have what they need to beat you – and often they can’t even get it without spending more money than the case is worth to them. If you know how to fight a little bit your chances of winning are good, and most of the time you don’t even need a lawyer to do it. Watch this video to see why your chances are so good.



Don’t Talk to Debt Collectors

When should you talk to a debt collector? And why shouldn’t you talk with them otherwise?

You Should Only Talk to them If you Have a Good, and Immediate, Reason to Do so

As a recent commenter pointed out, debt collectors are often “not nice.” But whether they are nice or not, their job is to take your money away and give it to their company. That means that, personality aside, their interests are against yours, and you should never mistake politeness with being on the same side. Likewise, you shouldn’t polite discourtesy for power or anything other than what it is. In this video we review the basic rule of communications with debt collectors: it is rarely a good idea.

Hang up when you’ve said what you need to say

Once you have said what you need to say to the debt collector, if anything, you should hang up.

There are too many bad things that can happen for you to stay on without a good reason. You could make admissions that damage your case (if they get around to suing you), you could give them information they could use to take your money if they sue you and win.

Remember that what lawyers usually hate more than anything is a lack of definite information. Every time you open your mouth and speak to a debt collector, you’re giving some lawyer what he or she needs to decide to sue you. And even telling them you don’t have any money may not be helpful because that could tell them it would be easy to beat you in court.

Less is definitely more when it comes to talking with debt collectors.

In the Shoes of the Original Creditor

Debt collectors often masquerade as the original creditors both to make you think they have more evidence than they have and to make you feel guilty if you fight them. Here’s how to figure out if they’re trying this trick on you and what to do about it if they are.

Debt Collectors Make Their Money by Getting People to Give Up

Debt collectors often claim that they stand “in the shoes” of the original creditor. They do this as part of an attempt—illegal in my opinion—to intimidate the people they are harassing into believing they have more information than they do. You should make them pay.

How the “in the Shoes of the Original Creditor” Argument Comes up

There are various ways the “in the shoes” argument comes up, often beginning with the petition, in which the debt collector (a company you may never have heard of) claims to have extended credit to you, to have sought repayment, and to have been refused payment. You know it never happened that way if you think about it, but they’re hoping you won’t think about it at all.

What typically happens is that some debt collector bought the debt from somebody claiming you owed them money. As part of that purchase, they may have obtained a few electronic copies of statements and a computer record claiming you owe the money. This isn’t nearly enough to prove you owe them the money, and they want you to think that they have all the records because “they” lent you the money. They will often take it another step and actually submit affidavits claiming that you borrowed money from them (they say, “plaintiff” rather than their name, since that would reveal the deception). Or they will send you requests for admissions asking you to admit borrowing money from them—again, they say “plaintiff,” to hide the fact that they’re asking you to admit you borrowed money directly from them.

This is outright deceit, and it ought to offend anyone’s sense of fair play. But when you claim, rightly in my opinion, that this is an unfair debt collection practice under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the debt collector argues vehemently that it has a right to make these claims because when it bought the debt it “stepped into the shoes” of the original creditor.


The Grain of Truth behind Debt Collector’s Deception

The grain of truth behind the debt collectors’ deception is that a company collecting another’s debt generally has all the same rights to collect the money as the original creditor did. Debts are transferable in most cases, in other words, and the person assigned the debt has the same right to collect as the person transferring the debt.

But debt collectors do not “become” the original creditor (their buying the debt, after all, is what made them a “debt collector”), and claiming to be the original creditor is patently deceptive. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a person (including companies) that routinely buys debts for the purposes of collecting on them is considered a “debt collector.” Essentially all of the provisions of the FDCPA apply to debt collectors, and foremost among these are the provisions against “deceptive” or unfair debt collection practices. These provisions apply to debt collectors but in general do not apply to original creditors. Thus the debt collector’s claim to stand in the shoes of the original creditor is, regarding their collection efforts, absolutely untrue.

Make them Pay with the FDCPA

As mentioned above, the debt collectors often send you discovery materials (i.e., requests for admissions, interrogatories, requests for documents) which use the word “plaintiff” instead of the company that you theoretically borrowed money from. What would prevent you from reading the word literally? They ask you to admit borrowing money from them—and you know you never did. Or they ask you for all the documents reflecting your account with them, and you know you never had an account with them. Why not simply deny it? That would be the literal truth, and in the legal process you are held to the literal truth.

As I have argued above, the claim that the debts were originally owed to the debt collector are false and deceptive. They misstate the law and are designed to make you believe that the debt collector is more able to collect the debt than it actually is. If you are looking for a counterclaim—and I have often pointed out that counterclaims can give you important power in a lawsuit by a debt collector—you might consider this an opportunity to make a counterclaim. You  might consider this tactic, regardless of where it comes up in the litigation, as an unfair debt collection practice.

Four Sneaky Tricks to Get You to Default

Four Sneaky Tricks by Debt Collectors to Get You to Default

Debt collectors make their money by scaring, or tricking, people into forfeiting their rights to defend themselves. Often they will let you think you have come to some sort of agreement with them to avoid court (and judgment), they won’t work with you to accommodate your schedule, and general try to intimidate and scare you into staying away from court. Here are some of their more common tricks. Check out the Debt Defense System and materials for things you can do if debt collectors try these on you.



Four Dirty Tricks and What to Do about Them

Debt collectors use many dirty tricks to try to scam, threaten, trick, or intimidate you into paying. This video goes into a few of those, and what you can do about them.

In this video, we discuss four tricks and point you to the sections of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act that makes them illegal.

It is illegal for the debt collector to threaten to take legal actions that it cannot legally do. This would include threats of imprisonment, public humiliation, or garnishment or seizure of your wages.

It is also illegal for them to communicate untrue information or, where you have disputed the debt, to report the debt without mentioning that you did dispute.

Sometimes debt collectors will pretend to be various types of authority figures – and sometimes they will send a collection letter that looks either like a lawsuit or a judgment or other information from a court. Any form of deception about who is sending the letter to you, whether that deception takes the form of an actual lie or simply deceptive looking information, would also violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

If you think the debt collector has violated the law, or if you need to defend yourself from a lawsuit, be sure to check out our Debt Defense System – it will give you what you need to understand what you are facing and the help you need to defend yourself effectively from the debt collectors.

Check out our Guide to Legal Research and Analysis

If You Are Already Being Sued


If you are already being sued, you probably should not sign up for the course and wait for anything. You need action now. You should be doing things to protect yourself NOW. You can beat them – it’s mostly a question of knowing what you need to do and doing that thing throughout the lawsuit, while at the same time not doing the things you should not do, until you either make them go away or win at trial. It sounds simple, and it is – if you know what you’re doing.  You can no those things with the Debt Defense System and get help doing the right things while avoiding the worng ones.

I have had a great deal of experience both as a litigator and web master and have realized that almost every person representing himself or herself in a debt case would do much better if (1) they have an opportunity, preferably on a regular basis, to talk to other people who can help them with insights and information; and (2) a lot of the work done for them. The Debt Defense System does that. When you buy the Debt Defense System, you will also get a membership which both allows you to use the full resources of Your Legal Leg Up’s website and participate in our weekly teleconferences where members speak to each other and Your Legal Leg Up’s staff.

Just think about how it will be, first when you walk away from the debt collectors who have been making your life miserable, and then as you move towards a life of greater freedom and happiness – free from debt, and free to build your future.

The Debt Defense System is a service designed to give you all the materials and support you will need to defend yourself from either the debt collectors or original creditors without having to hire a lawyer.

If You Are Not Already Being Sued

If you are not already being sued, and want to try to negotiate with the debt collectors or creditors to clear up your credit report or make sure they do not sue you, then you will want our Debt Negotiation System.

Not all negotiation and settlement happens in court, you know. It is possible to contact many creditors and debt collectors to work things out without a law suit. But – whether there is a lawsuit or not, all negotiations occur “within the shadow of the law.” That is, in order to negotiate effectively, you need to know what their rights are, and what your rights are, in the law. What can they do to you if you do not settle? And what can you do to them? Knowing the answers to these questions helps you handle the fear and uncertainty that haunts so many people as they try to get a grip on their financial lives. You can find the answers you need.

And after you find the answers that lie behind the debts, you still need to know what to say and how to say it. You’ll find plenty of help with that, too. You see, it makes a large difference who you’re talking to and where in the debt collection process you are. We do not offer empty formulas, but rather solid understanding of what they are after, what you might want or get… and a few suggestions about how to say things so you’ll get them.

Should you settle or fight with debt collectors

If you’re being sued by a debt collector and just received the “summons” (your notice to appear in court), you may be tempted to call the company and make a deal or not to go to court at all. People do this because they’re afraid, feel guilty, or think they can protect their money or credit reports if they are “reasonable” with the debt collector. It’s usually a mistake.

Let’s take these “reasons” one at a time.


As you will see, there is little to fear if you stand up for yourself.

The Good

With a little help, you have a good chance to win the lawsuit even if it goes to trial. But whether or not you could actually win the suit, you may be able to raise the debt-collector’s cost of suing you to the point where it gives up long before the case goes to trial anyway. As one person put it:

Today I received in the mail an offer of “Stipulation for dismissal with prejudice,” which basically states the plaintiff will dismiss their complaint if I dismiss my counterclaim. It’s a done deal. Your litigation materials were clear, vital, and necessary tools for me to win…


And if your fear is that the debt collector will suddenly take your bank accounts or garnish your wages, then you should know that they cannot do that without a judgment, which they can only get by formally winning the lawsuit against you and getting a judgment.

The Bad

If you look at the “Petition” (the suit itself), you will see either that it does not seek attorney’s fees at all, or that it seeks about 15% of the overall amount for fees. The debt collector is seeking this amount whether or not you fight, and if you do fight, the amount will hardly ever go up. That’s true with all the other amounts being sought, too. Chances are, the suit is already asking for the most you could lose. Therefore you have little or nothing to lose by fighting.

And since you won’t have to pay the debt collector anything if you win, and you have a good chance of winning if you fight-if you know what you’re doing- then you have everything to win.

The Ugly

The debt collectors love to get people to sign “consent judgments.” That judgment means they could take the money in your bank accounts and start garnishing your wages if you miss a single payment. If you fight and win, there will be no judgment against you, and even if you lose or settle, chances are it won’t happen for many months. And usually the debt collectors will make a better deal with you later on than they will at the beginning. Again, you have little to lose, and much to gain, by fighting.


Many people feel guilty about not paying the bill they’re being sued for if it looks anything like a bill they know they didn’t pay. Most people want to pay their bills. They want to do the “right thing.”

Remember that you never borrowed anything from the company that’s actually suing you, and they never did anything for you. The company you borrowed from sold the debt to debt collectors, usually for a very small fraction of the face amount. Therefore, giving the debt collector money does not help the people you actually borrowed from. And the people you’d be giving your money may or may not actually own the debt. Lots of people have been sued by people who didn’t even own the debt.

Debt collectors are scavengers who feed off the troubles of people having hard times. If you have some extra money, couldn’t you think of a better way to spend it?


You may think that making a deal with the credit card company will help your credit score or make another creditor look on you more kindly. Unfortunately, this is probably not true. By the time the debt goes to the debt collector, most of the damage has already been done to your credit report. Just about the only bad thing left that could happen is a judgment. And most people who settle with the debt collector give it a judgment.


In reality settling is usually the worst thing you could do to your credit history. We think you should fight. But even if you do want to settle, the Debt Defense System will tell you how to do so without harming your credit history more than necessary.

Should you Go Pro Se in Debt Defense

If you’re being sued for debt, do you need a lawyer? Or can you defend yourself? Obviously lawyers can be very expensive, but there are times when the expense is well worth it. Here are some pros and cons of going pro se in debt law. We think it can make sense for a lot of people.

Some Pros and Cons of Pro Se when You’re Sued for Debt

Pro Se means “for or by yourself” and refers to representing yourself in a lawsuit. If you are being sued by a debt collector this can be a good choice because lawyers are expensive and often would either cost more than the amount in dispute or are in any event unaffordable for ordinary people. So it may be practically necessary, and it can also be effective because the same thing that makes hiring a lawyer to defend yourself uneconomical also makes hiring a lawyer to sue you uneconomical once your defense requires individual attention by the debt collector’s lawyers. The fact that debt suits are for small amounts of money (considering typical lawsuits) and that people owing money may not (or usually do not) have the money to pay makes it unwise for a company to spend a lot of money trying to obtain the right to try to collect that money from you.

If you are suing the debt collector under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) or other statute that includes a right to attorney fees if you win, it may be more practical and possible to find a lawyer to represent you. This is because, if there is a chance the lawyer can force the debt collector to pay, the lawyer can spend more time on the case without worrying so much about not being paid. That is the purpose of “fee-shifting” statutes, and it reduces the pressure to keep attorney fees to an absolute minimum. On the other hand, even where you are suing the debt collector it isn’t always possible to find a lawyer who will represent you for an amount you can afford, and that can make going pro se the practical choice.

Representing Yourself

When debt collectors file cases they usually do so “in bulk,” filing many cases at the same time – this allows them to divide the cost and risks of the cases among all the cases. The first trick to representing yourself pro se, therefore, is to do it in a way which forces the debt collection lawyers to spend time specifically and exclusively on your case. I call this “intelligent” defense because it raises the price of suing you and increases the chance that any money spent will be lost even if the debt collector wins the case. That makes walking away and leaving you alone the best economic choice for the debt collector.

And then the second trick, of course, is to do the things that give you a chance to win the case if it goes to trial.

Debt collection cases tend to be “document-intensive,” meaning that the evidence of the case is much more likely to be documents than anybody’s testimony, provided you do not admit owing the money. This means that the case has a better chance of ending before trial, but that if it goes to trial there will be less emphasis on managing witnesses or testimony, reducing the advantage of having a lawyer.

A Warning

In lawsuits, the only person who can actually speak for any other person is a lawyer, and so this means, for example, that spouses cannot speak for each other (even when they are both parties to the suit), and parents and children cannot speak for each other. Non-lawyers are not allowed to address the court on behalf of any other person, and “person” includes separate business entities.