There is a multi-billion dollar debt-buying industry in this country. Debt collectors purchase literally hundreds of thousands of old debts for pennies on the dollar of what the original creditors have written off. These debt buyers/collectors receive minimal information on each account, and then begin attempting to collect.
Their business model is to cast a wide net without properly verifying whether the consumer owes the money, or even that they are suing the right consumer, and see what money is recovered. This litigation strategy is effective because very few consumers obtain legal representation, and the overwhelming majority of consumer defendants default in the collection action. Quite often, debt buyers do not have sufficient evidence to prove its case, but rely on junk evidence improperly admitted.
Many Arizonans do not answer the debt buyer’s complaint (lawsuit) and guess what? The debt collectors win by default, this is called a “Default Judgment”! This is what they are hoping happens—that you don’t seek legal representation—and that they will win without having to prove their case. In fact, many debt collectors will not even pursue a case once they know a defendant has obtained legal representation.
Reason #1: Because You May Not Owe This Debt
Debt buyers rely on credit reports to locate consumers, but the credit reports themselves are filled with errors, including “mismerged” information that mixes the credit reports of two or more people with similar names and other identifying information that results in the collector suing the wrong person. Also, debt collectors will bring actions against spouses and other parties knowing these defendants do not owe the debt, but hoping to either pressure them into payment or obtain a default judgment against them. Examples include, suits against authorized user not liable on the account and against family members of a deceased debtor. Additionally, the statute of limitations may make it possible for you to avoid a judgment.
Reason #2: Protect Your Assets and Income
A judgment against you can have serious financial consequences. Once a judgment is entered against you, your assets and income may be at risk. Your wages could be garnished. Once a debt collector obtains a Writ of Garnishment they can begin taking 10% of your gross paycheck–directly from your paycheck.
Additionally, bank accounts, may be frozen for days or even weeks, and may eventually be seized unless exemptions are properly pursued. Defeating this collection action eliminates those threats. Even if a default judgment has already been entered, contact us immediately because we may succeed in setting aside the default judgment or in minimizing the impact of these creditor remedies.
Reason #3: You May Have your own Claims
Often we discover that our clients have separate affirmative actions under the Fair Debt Collections Practice Act (FDCPA), Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and other federal and Arizona statutes, resulting in significant actual and statutory damages and attorney fees. Investigating the facts relating to your specific situation will often uncover various creditor violations.
Reason #4: Debt Collector May Have to Pay Your Attorney’s Fees
Often Arizona Debtors wonder how they may be able to pay for an attorney. However, there are a several ways that we may be able to recover our legal fees from the debt collector. Fees are also available to the consumer for prevailing on certain counterclaims, or as a result of the collector’s bringing an action without adequate facts.
Reason #5: Prevailing in the Collection Action Can Improve Your Credit Rating
If your case is dismissed, you can take action to ensure that credit reports indicate that the current balance of that debt is now reported as zero. If the Arizona judge also rules that you never owed the money (for example, because the collector sued the wrong person), then you can seek to delete information showing that you had been in default in the past. Additionally, you may have a cause of action under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) if that information is not properly corrected.
Furthermore, in addition to fighting debt collectors, the Dunaway Law Group, assists Arizonans in seeking debt relief through bankruptcy. So if your debts have grown to an unmanageable level let’s see what we can do to help.
Time is not on your side, if you do nothing, a judgment will be entered against you. Arizona Consumers fare much better in court when they obtain legal representation. Know your rights, know your options, and have someone in your corner to fight for you. Contact the Dunaway Law Group at 480-702-1608 or by messaging us HERE, we may be able to help.
The Dunaway Law Group provides this information as a service to clients and other friends for educational purposes only. It should not be construed or relied on as legal advice and does not create a lawyer-client or attorney-prospective client relationship. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking advice from professional advisers. Additionally, this Firm limits its practice to the states of Arizona and New York.