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COLLECTION ACTIONS THAT START WHEN YOU DON'T PAY

After a process lasting only a few months, creditors will usually file lawsuits to collect.

POSTED: 2013-07-13 16:14:02

 

WHAT happens when you stop paying credit cards? The collection process will start, and will frequently follow a predictable pattern, depending on which credit card company is trying to collect.

THE creditor who originally issued the credit card will begin by sending you a dunning letter, which asks you to call them. Then, if you don't call them, surprise, they will call you, if they haven't already. They will call all your numbers, including work numbers if they have them. They will make frequent calls, for about 60 to 90 days, trying to get you to pay, pay something, or promise to pay something, until they decide your account is not going to be easily returned to a good account status. Needless to say, it's also suspended.

SOME issuers will quickly refer your account to a collection law firm. In spite of the years and years you've been a prompt-to-pay customer, they will become a prompt-to-sue litigant.
Most card issuers will follow a different pattern, and after about 90 days, they sell your account to “junk debt buyers.” The junk debt buyer will repeat the calls, but they will do so in a much more aggressive manner.

THIS process will continue for another 90 days or so, then they, too, will refer the debt to lawyers. Then the lawyers repeat the calls, and send letters suggesting a lawsuit, which after short period they will file.

WITH this lawsuit, they will be trying to get a judgment. The courts generally enter a default judgment against those who do not defend the lawsuit. This judgment will give debt collectors access to court orders which they can use to garnish your wages and attach any other assets they find. From beginning to end, the process can run about six months.

BEAR in mind that many states, including Florida, have tough laws protecting consumers from abusive debt collector activities. There is also a Federal Law that prohibits abusive acts by debt collectors in the collection of a debt. A consumer lawyer who defends debt collections can help you identify illegal collection activities. It is important to seek their help sooner rather than later. In Florida it is illegal for a collector to call from outside the US, which is a favorite tactic for many debt-collection firms. Obviously, a collection call from outside the US helps insulate the collector from US state and federal law and courts. Remember, your knowledge is power, use it to defend yourself.

LONG before the judgment is entered against you, it is very important for you to contact a lawyer who can defend the lawsuit. If your financial situation is dire, this may be the time to think about contacting a bankruptcy attorney. All these debt collection activities can be intimidating or even scary. Start defending yourself by record keeping. Record all calls, dates, times, names of companies calling, names of callers and what they say, written in “quotes.”

IT is important to relax, go about arming yourself with knowledge about your legal rights, and with the legal help you may need.

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