DEBT COLLECTOR HARASSMENT
I sue debt collectors and creditors for violations of both state and federal consumer protection laws. Maybe they've been sending you collection letters that break the law (remember to talk to me about this during your free consultation), calling you at all hours of the day or night, or just doing something that feels wrong. The laws are designed to protect you – the consumer – from illegal, improper, harassing, abusive, and misleading collection behavior.
HELP – I'VE BEEN SUED BY SOMEONE
Getting sued for money can be a scary experience. I regularly represent people who have been used by a debt collector, credit card company, or medical provider. There are many rights you have as a consumer, and just because you've been sued does not mean that you owe the money. You have a right to make the creditor “prove their case” and show that you actually owe the money. Call right away after you've been sued; more time is helpful. We'll go over the lawsuit, the details of the case, and outline your options.
I DON'T EVEN KNOW THIS COMPANY THAT SUED ME
A company may have sued you – someone you've never heard of. It's some collection agency with a name comprised of acronyms, some garble of letters and numbers, or just an unknown collection company. This happens when your original debt was “sold” or assigned to the collection agency. We'll talk about the particular collection agency during our call – and what specific defenses you may have towards them. You may also be able to sue the debt collector in your case. Yes, often these debt collectors have violated state and federal consumer protection laws. If we discover they have violated the laws, we'll talk about how you may be able to “sue them back” in the case.
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING AN INITIAL CONSULTATION
During an initial consultation we'll go over some of the following information
- Have you been “served” any paperwork?
- Do you have an upcoming court date?
- Do you recognize the debt collector or original creditor?
- Are they reporting to your credit report?
- What are your hopes, goals, and case expectations?
MY INSURANCE COMPANY SHOULD HAVE PAID THESE (MEDICAL BILLS)
If you've been sued for an unpaid medical bill, we'll explore what insurance companies should have been responsible for the unpaid bills. If your insurance company should have paid the claim, you may have rights for a “bad faith” denial of the unpaid bill. We'll talk about how to bring the insurance carrier into the case to pay the medical bills.
I NEED PAYMENT ARRANGEMENTS ON THE DEBT
Hard times happen. Often times, all consumers need are some payments arrangements on the debt. Some creditors will sue over an unpaid bill as low as a few hundred dollars. We will discuss what payment arrangement make sense for you, how to go about those, and if you can negotiate those on your own without my assistance. Depending on the debt, you may not need a lawyer – just a few pointers. I'm happy to talk about all these things during a free consultation.
THIS IS A REALLY OLD DEBT
Debt collectors often sue on debts that are too old. These debts are past something called the “statute of limitations” – the deadline the law requires for collection cases. If you've been sued over an old debt, the debt collector (or original creditor) may have violated your state and federal consumer protection rights. Wisconsin has a very consumer-friendly statute that governs old debts. Once a debt is too old in Wisconsin, the law views the debt as having been paid! That means you've been sued over a debt the law views as paid. We'll discuss the debt, evidence related to last payments, and all your rights, during your free initial consultation.
SUED FOR SOMEONE ELSE'S DEBT
Identity theft happens – and I have seen consumers sued over a debt that did not belong to them. I can help you deal with this wrongful lawsuit, address the underlying identity theft, along with looking into a counter-suit (often called a counter-claim) against the company that sued you for a debt coming from identity theft.
MAKING THE DEBT COLLECTOR PROVE THE DEBT
Often people tell me “I want to make this debt collector prove I actually owe the debt.” And this approach is part of what we'll do as part of the defense in a case. Did they validly buy the debt? Do they have the necessary documentation? Did they follow all the rules and regulations before suing you? These key pieces of information are gained during the “discovery” portion of the case – where we make the debt collector provide information from their records. This information can also show us if they have broken any of the collection laws – and if you can sue them back.