Going into debt is a fact of life — the widespread use of credit cards and the high price of necessities like cars and houses means that the average American now has about $38,000 worth of debt.
However, large amounts of debt can cause financial distress. If you have a debt collection agency coming after you for failing to pay back a debt, you should talk to a debt collection defense attorney.
Four Signs You Need a Debt Collection Defense Attorney
If you’re facing a debt collection lawsuit, you shouldn’t wait to talk to a lawyer. A good debt collection defense attorney can help negotiate favorable terms for your repayment and protect your financial future. They can also protect you if a debt collector is breaking the law.
1. You Don’t Actually Owe Anything
One of the most apparent reasons you should talk to a debt collection lawyer is if a lender is trying to collect a loan you never took. It’s important to talk to an attorney soon if this is the case. A lawsuit brought against you for failing to repay a debt can damage your credit rating.
2. You Haven’t Received Notice
Fortunately, debt collection is handled under federal law instead of state regulations.
This means that debt collectors need to notify you in writing within five days of first talking to you about your debt. That written notification has to include how much you owe, the name of the original creditor (in the case that a debt collection agency took over from a bank or other lender), and a statement detailing the steps you can take to fight the debt.
If you did not receive a notification, the debt may be thrown out. In some cases, the collection agency may even be a scammer trying to get free money out of you.
3. You’re Being Harassed
While there is no specific limit in the law as to how often a debt collection agency can get in contact with you to try and collect, you are protected against harassment. If you’re being called constantly by a debt collection agency, you should talk to an attorney. They’ll be able to advise you about going to court to get a legal order blocking or regulating their communication with you.
If you feel that you are being harassed by a debt collector, make sure to document their calls, emails, or physical visits. Things like recordings are best, but a paper or digital record will also work.
4. They’re Threatening You
Finally, related to the above point, you should talk to a debt collection defense attorney if your debt collector makes a threat against you. They are unable to threaten legal action or criminal charges – or other things like destroying your credit rating or repossessing your possessions.
If threats are made, document them as best as you can. They can help you if you end up going to court over the debt.
Talking to a Debt Collection Defense Attorney is Always a Good Idea
While the above signs are a good checklist to use to determine how dire your situation is, you should always at least book a consultation with a debt collection defense attorney. A good lawyer will consult with you for free, and advise you on whether you need legal services or direct you elsewhere.
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