I am a California debt collection defense attorney who focuses on getting consumers out of debt and on with their lives. Today’s blog will focus on what to do if sued by a debt collector in California. I will take you through how to respond to a debt collection lawsuit in California and give you some real-life examples from my client debt relief success stories of people who have successfully fought against debt collection lawsuits and saved significant amounts of money. Keep in mind, my number one piece of advice if you are seeking debt help – do not pay anyone up front for advice. I offer a free debt relief consultation to go over your particular debt situation and map out a plan to get you out of debt. If you are not located in California, that’s fine. Give me a call at 858-217-5051 and I can probably point you in the right direction for debt help.
What Should You Do if Sued by A Debt Collector in California?
If you have been sued by debt collectors in California, then you need to know how to respond to a debt collection lawsuit. Debt collection companies have vast resources of attorneys who sue consumers all day every day. Whether you are being sued for credit card debt, student loan debt, small business debt or any other kind of debt – you need to know how to fight debt collectors in California and win!
How to Respond to Debt Collectors in California
- Do Not Ignore the Lawsuit – You should take proper action immediately if you are served with a lawsuit. If you do not respond to the lawsuit, then a default judgment can be entered against you. This means that the court can automatically rule in favor of the creditor (the party suing you) in your lawsuit and you lose the lawsuit before you have a chance to fight it.
- Identify Who Exactly is Suing You – When you are served, look for the name of the “Plaintiff” and make note of the name of the law firm representing the plaintiff (creditor). The creditor hires attorneys to file the actual lawsuit, and they most likely have a different name than the creditor. It is this law firm that you will be fighting against.
- Make Sure the Debt Amount You Owe is Correct – You want to determine that the debt amount you owe is correct and see if there are any additional fees added on.
- Contact a debt collection defense attorney and ask for a free consultation – As I stated earlier, never pay anyone up front for advice. A debt attorney will let you know what your best options are and can represent you in court to defend you and your best interests. If you call an attorney and they want payment for an initial consultation, then find another attorney. You want an ethical attorney with successful experience defending debt collection lawsuits.
- Organize Your Documents – When defending a debt collection lawsuit, go through your files, bank account records and old mail to gather any information you may have about the debt. Even if you don’t think a document is important, it may contain helpful clues for your debt relief attorney to defend you in a lawsuit.
- Appear for Court – It’s very important to make all calendared court dates. It is unlikely the judge will grant you a continuance that would move the court date further out.
- Pay Attention to Your Credit Reports – You will know if a debt collector has gotten a judgment against you, because it will usually appear on your credit report. Consult a debt attorney to see whether you may have some rights in terms of getting that judgment vacated.
- Review the State of California Justice Department’s Debt Collection Advice – This is a very informative page with helpful information about how to stop debt collection harassment, wage garnishments, bank levies, and other information about what to do if sued by a debt collector in California.
Debt Collection Attorney In California With Free Consultation
If you have been sued by a debt collector in California, contact me for a free consultation at 858-217-5051 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I offer free advice to defend a debt collection lawsuit. Below are some examples of real clients who I have helped in debt collection lawsuit defense:
- Our client owed a total of $136,185 on six private student loans. The lender directed a law firm to file suit against him for each loan. Facing six separate lawsuits, he retained our firm to represent him. We negotiated a settlement of all six accounts for $65,000.00, payable over 66 months, with no accruing interest. We saved our client $71,185.00 – a little over 52% of the balance due.
- Our client owed Bank of America $32,584.98. Bank of America retained the law firm of Harris & Zide to file a lawsuit against him for breach of contract. A week before trial, we were able to settle the lawsuit with Harris & Zide for 50% of the balance due. Since my client had other debts to resolve as well, we reached an agreement to let him pay off this settlement over a period of four years. We saved our client $16,292.49 on this debt. More importantly, we helped him avoid having judgment entered against him, which could have haunted him for many years.
- Our client withdrew $15,000 from his 401(k) just to cover his family’s monthly expenses during a period of unemployment. A creditor had previously obtained a judgment against our client. Unfortunately, that creditor levied on our client’s account, freezing the $15,000. We filed a claim of exemption, arguing that this levy created an undue financial hardship on our client. The court ordered that the entire amount be returned to our client.
- Our client owed $12,500 in credit card debt to Capital One. When she became unable to pay, Capital One referred the cased to Hunt & Henriques, a debt collection law firm in California. They filed suit against her after they were unable to collect. Once served with the lawsuit, she retained our law firm for representation in the lawsuit. We were able to settle this account for $6,500.00, payable over 12 months. We helped our client stay out of court by getting this account settled within a few days of retaining our firm. The case has since been dismissed and she is now well on her way to becoming debt free.
- Our client owed National Collegiate Student Loan Trust (NCT) $15,785.03. He was unable to pay this loan back. NCT hired the law firm Patenaude & Felix to file a lawsuit seeking judgment for this amount. We were retained and immediately contacted one of the attorneys at Patenaude & Felix to see if we could negotiate a settlement. We wanted to keep our client from having to file an answer the lawsuit. We negotiated to settle this debt for $8,500, payable over 24 months. We saved our client $7,285.00 on his private student loans. We also helped him avoid having to defend the debt collection lawsuit.
- Portfolio Recovery Associates (a debt buyer) filed a debt collection lawsuit against our client claiming that our client owed $14,497 on defaulted credit card debt. We reviewed our client’s finances and determined that she was well below the poverty level, which would make it next to impossible for this creditor to ever collect on a judgment. Fortunately, her daughter offered to provide a lump sum in hopes that we could settle the lawsuit quickly. We negotiated a debt settlement of $2,000, payable in a lump sum. The account is now considered settled in full. We saved our client $12,297.00 (86% of the total balance due).
- Our client owed American Express $35,351.12. She defaulted in payment on this account, as well as several others. American Express sued our client seeking the full balance due. Over the course of the next year, we continued efforts to negotiate a settlement for our client due to the pending lawsuit filed by Michael & Associates. With a pending trial date, our client agreed to settle this debt for $20,000, payable over a period of 24 months. We saved our client $15,351.12 and got her into a settlement that she can afford to pay over time.
Daniel R. Gamez, an attorney focusing exclusively in debt relief, is licensed to practice in all state and federal courts in California and Texas. Mr. Gamez owns and operates the Gamez Law Firm in San Diego and Los Angeles, California. For more information, please contact Daniel Gamez at 858-217-5051, daniel@gamezl