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what to do when sued for debt

If you’re being sued for debt by debt collectors – and even by original creditors – there are some basic things you need to know. This video tells you how to start defending yourself and why you have such a good chance to win if you do.


There is an epidemic of debt litigation. Partly this is because debt of all kinds is at historic levels – there’s never been so much consumer, auto, credit and other debt around. And there’s never been so much of that debt that isn’t being paid. To complicate this picture and make it even worse, identity theft (and resulting unpaid purchases and bills for people whose identity has been stolen) is also at historic levels – and getting worse.

In short, things are bad and getting worse for a lot of people.

If you get sued, you should not panic. One good thing to come out of the debt epidemic is that the debt collectors use factory-type collection methods. If you know what you’re doing, your chance of successfully defending yourself – whether or not you ever actually owed anybody on the debt – are extremely good. That’s because the debt collectors find it more profitable to go after people who don’t fight back. Fight back, and you’re making yourself much less attractive as a defendant – and making it much more likely they’ll drop the suit. Plus, you have a very good chance of winning even if they don’t drop the suit.

Our company exists to help people fight back intelligently. That way, you don’t just hand the debt collectors and easy win, and they’ll probably move on. Or you’ll win.

Defend Yourself – No one Else Will

If you’re being sued, you’re going to have to defend yourself – there’s no magical solution, and you will lose if you ignore the suit. Please don’t think that just because you’ve never heard of this debt or don’t think you owe it for any reason, you will win. Once you’ve been served with a lawsuit, you will lose if you don’t take steps to win it. Nothing is automatic.

And the lawyer on the other side just wants to win as quickly as possible. He or she has very little interest in “doing the right thing.” It’s up to you to protect yourself.

If you are being sued for debt, you must defend yourself. What that means, very simply, is actually proving you don’t owe the money to anyone – or, more likely, that the plaintiff cannot prove you owe it to it. There are simple ways to do this (not necessarily easy), and our job is to help you use those methods.

Anything that promises or appears to be an easy or automatic way to win is probably a mistake or a scam.

No Free Lunches

There are other products out there for people being sued for debt, and some of them will encourage you to invoke magic words like “fractional reserve banking” or other concepts which, though legitimate in their place, will not drive the debt collectors out of your life.

Remember that there are no free lunches for regular people in this world. The judges are not concerned about the U.S. Money supply or system, and they are not concerned about any abstract rights of yours at all. You’ll be lucky if you have a judge who understands what hearsay is and doesn’t want to allow the debt collector to use it. Trust me on this. If this case reaches litigation, you must be prepared to understand the way debt law actually works, tell the judge how it works, and hold the judge to his or her job of making sure the trial is fair.

Luckily you can do all that. If you spend your time invoking the ghost of Andrew Jackson or fighting the monster of Jeckyl Island, claiming that the government sold you somewhere as part of the Social Security program, or other, similar ideas, you will lose the case. Debt collectors have a tough time proving what they must prove to be able to win. Don’t let your desire for a shortcut to victory make you lose.

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.

 

 

Bankruptcy – what it is and how it works

When people are being sued for debts, they often panic and look for the quickest, easiest, or least scary way out. Bankruptcy sometimes seems to be that way. What is bankruptcy? and how does it work? How does it affect some of your other rights?

What Bankruptcy is

Most people have an intuitive idea of what bankruptcy is – legal protection for people who are broke, right?

Sort of.

Bankruptcy is at least equally a protection for creditors. You see, when people are financially troubled, this doesn’t mean that they literally have NOTHING. Rather, they will spend or distribute an inadequate number of resourses in a way to relieve them of the most pressure, or to favor people they want to favor. Bankruptcy exists to help prioritize and organize the ways debtors distribute their money so as to protect the creditors from favoritism or sneaky behavior. It does protect the debtor (person declaring bankruptcy) from all lawsuits or judgments, and this in turn spares the creditors from having to “race to the courthouse” to file suits against the financially weakened.

That makes good sense, right? So shouldn’t anybody with debt troubles dive into bankruptcy?

Price of Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is not a “free lunch” to debtors. It can be expensive to do, and over the past decade or two has been made much trickier to get in and finish. It is also extremely intrusive and occasionally time-consuming. It also does not protect you from all claims, notably those associated with “secured” debts – debts like home and auto loans.

In my opinion, bankruptcy is RARELY a good first option for people being sued for debts, especially if they’re being sued by debt collectors. On the other hand, if you expect to negotiate with a debt collector or creditor in any way, our position is that you should consult a bankruptcy lawyer. You should know what it costs and requires, and letting a debt collector know you’ve actually talked to a bankruptcy lawyer can have a wonderful effect on their willingness to accept lower amounts of money.

Issues in Bankruptcy

Perhaps surprisingly, bankruptcy and debt law are not closely related, and lawyers who practice one kind of law rarely know much about the other. Unless your lawyer (if you have one) actually practices both types of law, he or she is probably not qualified to give you advice about the area in which he does NOT regularly practice.

Bankruptcy and FDCPA

Another issue comes from the interaction of bankruptcy and debt laws. This isn’t uniform, consistent, or particularly fair. In some jurisdictions, for example, if you declare bankruptcy, creditors will come out of the woodwork to file “claims” against the bankruptcy estate. It would be illegal for them to sue you, but in SOME courts it’s fine for them to litigate against you in bankruptcy. This is plan stupid and bad, but some federal appeals courts allow it while others make it a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The Supreme Court has not addressed the issue yet.

Bankruptcy and Student Debt

The courts are even less consistent or fair when it comes to student debt. If most of your debt problem comes from heavy student loans, bankruptcy may not offer you much help. They are treated differently from almost all other debts, and in many courts they are almost impossible to shake off. Strangely, perhaps, this issue has not been organized or even considered very much by bankruptcy or debt lawyers. I have addressed the issue in Getting Out of the Trap of Student Loans. That book discusses the way bankruptcy law and student loans collide and, on a federal circuit by circuit basis, what your chances of escaping the trap might be.

Against Debt Collectors

Our view on suits brought by debt collectors is that bankruptcy is rarely a good first option – and only sometimes a good last option. However, you should know that, if bankruptcy will work for you at all, it will work for you just about as well even if the debt collector has obtained a judgment. That is, bankruptcy protection applies to state court judgments as much as any other kind of debt, alleged or proven. Thus you could defend yourself pro se and, if you lost (as very few of our members do), you would still be able to declare bankruptcy if it would help.