I have been served by a debt collector, what can I do?

Even though we suggest you do not pay debt collectors outright, we also suggest you never ignore them. This goes double if they are in your state. Debt collectors in your state are more likely to take you to court. This is why you must answer their letters immediately and actively.

If you ignore a debt collector that is in the state, they will most likely raise the amount they feel they owe you. They might do this multiple times. I have seen a literal 89 dollar debt “become” 389.00 from ignoring their letters. Other language to beware of is if they say in their letters they will take you to court. They would love nothing more than to take this inflated debt to which you have signed no agreements and get a judgment and than garnish your wages. One tactic I always suggest is to attempt to pay the originator of the debt. Once you have paid them to head to court with this receipt. This will shut the case down and probably cost you much less than if the debt collector wins.

After you have received the summons, the first question you have to ask is would it be better to call them and pay them off immediately. Hiring an attorney can be cost-prohibitive for a small case like this. If you are getting sued for $389, do your self a favor and call them up and put the charge on your credit card. Most debt collectors are not in settling mode once they have done an affidavit. Still, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t attempt. You are just not going to get the deal you would have earlier when they first sent you letters. This is a reason you should always respond right away when sent a letter from them.

Once you receive the summons you have basically 4 options. We already discussed hiring an attorney. You can also hire a paralegal to do the answer paperwork for the summons. You will still have to represent your self if court if you take this path. Still, representing yourself is much better than not showing up at all. There are various books on Amazon you should read beforehand to help prepare yourself.

In Utah, we also have Legal Clinics that can help you with the answer paperwork also. This can take away the cost of the paralegal doing the paperwork. In Utah, we are also lucky enough to have an online assistance program to help you through the paperwork. This last option is easy enough if you make sure to read all the instructions. If your not the kind of DIY person that does your own taxes, then you should probably hire someone to do this paperwork.

Your goal in all of this is to keep from having a judgment made against you. Making sure you attend that court date will help prevent this from happening. Don’t show up to the court date empty-handed. Take as much evidence as you possibly can to prove that this is not your debt.

You should have taken notes with your interactions with this debt collector and the original creditor. If you have a lack of evidence, it might just be better to outright pay the debt. Still outright paying the debt instead of going to court the debt collector still might pursue a default judgment leaving you with having to purse a vacated judgment. Ensure if you pay that they give you the paperwork dismissing the original affidavit or at least a document saying they will. Debt collectors have even been known to show up, make deals with the defendant and still pursue a default judgment.

Do you still have a judgment on your credit report? Chances are this is hurting your credit score. Contact us today at Wasatch Smart Finance to get this erased from your credit report.

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