Consumer Rights in Debt Matters
It is Marquardt Law Office LLC’s mission to protect individuals from unfair financial practices. This includes protecting consumers from unscrupulous debt collectors.
Consumers experience problems with debt for many reasons, and the economy has pushed people’s finances to the limits. When you have debt, your rights are protected by state and federal laws. Marquardt Law Office LLC represents individual consumers with debt to protect their rights.
Debt Collection Abuse
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (known as the “FDCPA”) protects consumers from abusive, harassing, or deceptive debt collection practices. It prohibits actions such as a debt collector:
- Making repetitive, harassing, or abusive phone calls,
- Threatening to immediately sue you if you fail to pay,
- Calling neighbors, relatives, or your coworkers and disclosing your debt to them,
- Attempting to collect a debt that has been discharged in bankruptcy, or
- Using false or misleading information to collect a debt.
Violations of the FDCPA may entitle you to an award of up to $1,000 and compensation for actual damages suffered. Debt collectors who violate this law may also be required to pay your litigation costs and attorney’s fees. Clients pursuing FDCPA actions do not pay attorneys’ fees.
In addition to making the debt collection harassment stop, your attorney may be able to negotiate a debt settlement, and possibly have the debt eliminated depending on the circumstances.
Call Marquardt Law Office LLC for a free case evaluation and to discuss whether your rights were violated.
Debt Collection Defense
When you are sued for a debt, you should consult an attorney as soon as possible. You have a limited time to respond to a summons and complaint, and an attorney can defend the lawsuit, negotiate a reduced payment or payment schedule, or eliminate a mistaken debt.
If the lawsuit against you is not defended, the creditor will obtain a default judgment against you and pursue collecting the full debt, including through wage garnishments or asset seizures.
Several legal defenses are available to defend your lawsuit. For instance, creditors and debt collectors have a limited amount of time to sue someone to collect a debt before they lose the right to do so. They may also not be able to produce evidence admissible in court to prove their case. It is common for debt collectors to sue someone for a legally invalid debt, and an attorney has several tools to combat this.
Your attorney can also use legal defenses to negotiate a favorable debt settlement. In many cases a knowledgeable attorney will be more effective than an individual’s attempt to negotiate their debt. Additionally, your attorney can ensure you have an enforceable agreement in place to prevent the debt collector from selling a settled debt to another debt collector, who then attempts to collect on it.
What should you do if you are sued?
Navigating a lawsuit is complex. You are strongly encouraged to not defend the lawsuit without retaining legal counsel. If you are served with legal documents, consult an attorney right away.
Avoid a default judgment. Do not answer a complaint by yourself without consulting an attorney. Doing so will put you at risk for making a mistake that results in a default judgment against you. A default judgment means you lose and a creditor can seek wage garnishment or asset seizures. If there is a default judgment, you still have options, but it will be more difficult to favorably resolve your debt.
Do not ignore a court date in a summons. If you or your attorney does not appear in court on that date, a default judgment can be entered against you.
Do not make payments toward the debt. Doing so can restart a statute of limitations that otherwise made a debt legally invalid. Your payment may also be used as proof that you admit you owe the full amount of a debt you may have never incurred or that is overstated.
Contact Marquardt Law Office LLC for a free consultation.
Creditor Judgement and Wage Garnishment
If a court entered a default judgment against you for a debt, a creditor or debt collector filed a lawsuit against you and a court ordered that you lose the lawsuit by default. Once a creditor or debt collector obtains a default judgement against you, they can make attempts to collect the judgment from you by having your wages garnished or your assets seized. Often, people do not learn a lawsuit was filed against them for a debt until they receive a wage garnishment notice.
Even if a default judgment has been entered, you have options. Marquardt Law Office may be able to negotiate a debt settlement or have the judgment vacated. If the judgment is vacated, the reset button is hit on the lawsuit, and it starts over. This increases your settlement negotiation leverage and gives you the option to defend the lawsuit. Vacating a judgment also stops a wage garnishment that has started.
Call Marquardt Law Office LLC for a free consultation to speak with an attorney about a judgment against you.