Collection account abuse?

by Valerie

A few years ago a law firm called to collect a debt from my husband and I. The individual whom my husband had spoken to intimidated him into provided our bank account information. My husband was told that if we did not pay the amount, we would have to go to court. The collection agency said we would have to fly to Georgia; we are in Nebraska; at our own expense to attend a court hearing if necessary. We had made arrangements for a settlement amount to be taken from our bank account on a specific date, but the money was never taken nor even attempted. Our bank statement would have shown an attempt if one had been made.

A little less than a month after the amount was to be taken, we received a letter stating that there had been a judgment made upon us regarding this account. We were never informed of a court date or location at all. Is it legal for a debt collector to go about collecting a debt in this manner? Now we have another agency attempting to collect the same debt! We have not been trying to avoid it as this should have already been taken care of!

Comments for Collection account abuse?

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Mar 07, 2010
Judgment without notice
by: Gerri and Mary

Thanks for submitting your debt collection question on our Q&A page.

What a nightmare for you! Before a collector can get a judgment against you, you typically must be served with a summons - a notice that tells you to appear in court. I am not sure why you were told you would have to fly to Georgia for a court date (perhaps you or your husband incurred this debt in Georgia?) but even so, I don't see why you weren't served with a summons at your current address. The collector obviously knew your address, and given that, I can't imagine any valid excuse for not providing you with the proper notice of the lawsuit.

I think it would be very difficult for you to fight this on your own, especially at a distance. I would strongly encourage you to pursue this and talk with a consumer law attorney.

Anytime you think the debt collector has broken the law, you can contact a local consumer law attorney with experience in debt collection cases. Find out how to get FREE or low cost legal advice about debt collection from a consumer law attorney here.

Remember, if you successfully sue the debt collector for violations of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, you are entitled to attorney fees and you may be entitled to damages as well. You only have one year to sue, so please don't wait to pursue this.

As for the new collection agency that is pursuing this debt, I would recommend you discuss that with your attorney. Generally, the procedure, though, would be to send them a cease and desist letter explaining that you already have a court judgment against you for the debt, and asking them to leave you alone. Again, though, please don't do anything until you have talked with an attorney.

Please do let us know how this goes for you. We will be interested in your update. You can share it in the comments section below.

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