Is First National Collection Bureau Suing You? 5 Things You Can Do Today

You probably just received a letter in the mail from P.O. box 1259 oaks pa 19456 or a call from an unknown number such as (800) 824-6191. You may have just been served.

Who is First National Collection Bureau and why is it suing you? The purpose of this article is to explain what may be happening and your options. 

We recommend you also considering taking this free calculator to help understand different options when dealing with First National Collection Bureau. Ascend does a great job providing a free, holistic view of your options when dealing with the stress of dealing with First National Collection Bureau.

What is First National Collection Bureau?

Did you notice a certain First National Collection Bureau on your credit report? Did you recently receive a call from a certain First National Collection Bureau urging you to pay your old debt or threatening legal action? First National Collection Bureau is a reputable debt collection agency that has been in business since 1983. The president of the company is Bradley L. Jardon. The company is based in Reno, NV and buys debt that they will later collect on. 

 If you're contacted by First National Collection Bureau, or you find their details on your credit report, it's in your best interest to reach out to the company for negotiation. 

 You can contact First National Collection Bureau by phone at (800) 824-6191.  Another means of reaching them is via P.O. Box 1259 Oaks PA 19456. Former users have complained that First National Collection Bureau hasn't been completely transparent with them during their debt relief journey, so make sure you ask for all the information upfront. 

You can find reviews about First National Collection Bureau on Google, and you can find more information on the BBB page that's associated with the organization. 

Is First National Collection Bureau Suing You?

It's unlikely that they are suing you if you received a letter in the mail. With debt collection lawsuits, First National Collection Bureau may have someone serve you papers at your door.

That said, First National Collection Bureau can be VERY LITIGIOUS. As such we often tell people to consider Ascend's free calculator to help you understand your options.

If you have lapsed on your debt, your lenders or debt collection agencies may begin pursuing you to try and get you to make payments. This can happen in a progressively aggressive way. Typically, this begins with phone calls that happen frequently, but it can grow to in-person collection requests, wage garnishments, and can end in a lawsuit.

If it gets to this point, you may be feeling overwhelmed. Once legal action is taken, something will have to happen. In this article, we will try to answer all of the questions you may have about getting sued for your unpaid debt. We will look at how you can respond, what you should expect, and what your options are. Keep reading to learn more.

How To Respond to A First National Collection Bureau Debt Collection Lawsuit

When you are served with your lawsuit, there are a few different ways you can respond, but your options change based on your situation. Your response can differ based on variables such as whether or not the entirety of the debt is yours, how delinquent you are on it, and whether or not you are able to pay back the debt. The important thing is, though, that you respond in some way. A lot of times, debt collection agencies will file lawsuits hoping that you won’t respond. This is because, if you don’t respond, the court can make a default judgment on your case, and the debt collection agency will be able to move forward with wage garnishments, liens on your property, and holds on your bank accounts. So, regardless of how you plan to respond, just make sure you do. A timeline may look as follows:

  1. You receive a court summons explaining the lawsuit filed against you.
  2. Talk to an attorney. Getting legal help and representation can make all the difference when you are facing a lawsuit.
  3. You typically have between 14-20 days to respond to the summons. We will cover the options for responding in a second. However you decide to respond, make sure that you do so within the time frame.
  4. Once you respond, the court will review your Answer, and depending on your response, appropriate action will be taken.

Let’s take a look at some of your response options with First National Collection Bureau.


Is It Your Debt?

If the debt is correctly attributed to you, and you really do owe the debt, then the process will look slightly different. Because you do owe the debt, you won’t necessarily be able to have the lawsuit fully dismissed without any form of payment, but there are some things you can try.

Your Response

When you are served with a lawsuit because of your delinquent debt, one of the most important things you need to do is respond. As mentioned earlier, not responding can lead to a default judgment against you, meaning they assume that you are admitting to the debt, and the collection agency can begin garnishing your wages, freezing your bank accounts, and putting liens on your property. In most cases, your response is expected within a time frame after being served. You will want to check your area’s regulations to find exactly how long you have to respond. 

There are three ways that you can respond to the lawsuit:

  1. Admit: This response simply admits that you owe the debt that is being collected on. Be wary when selecting this as your response. This may take away some of the defense that you have if you are hoping to dispute or settle the claim. Also, make sure you are fully aware of the entire picture. If you know that you owe debt, but you aren’t entirely sure what the total amount is, or what company the debt has been given to, you may want to pick the last option in this list, which we will cover in just a second. 
  2. Deny: If you are positive that the debt isn’t yours, or is mistakenly attributed to you, you can deny the debt. There will be more paperwork that you will turn in with your response (referred to as your Answer) in which you can outline why you are denying your debt. There are many reasons why you can deny your debt aside from it not being yours. These reasons include: a) A previously canceled contract b) An expired statute of limitations (typically six years in a debt collections case) c) You have already paid the debt d) You are making consistent payments on the debt e) You cosigned without being informed of the rights and responsibilities of cosigning. If any of these apply to your case, you can Answer with a denial and an explanation of why you denied. 
  3. Lack of Knowledge: If you know that you owe some kind of debt, but you aren’t sure if they are suing for the right amount or whether or not you can have the debt dismissed, you can respond with “lack of knowledge.” All this means is that you need a more in depth report on the lawsuit and the debt contained within the lawsuit before finalizing your response. The Answer that you provide can and will be used in court, so it is important that you have all the information you can before giving a final response. Whether you need to better understand the full extent of what you owe, or you are confused by who is suing you, responding with a lack of knowledge ensures you get the answers you need. 

Other Options

You do have some other options that you could look into if you are being sued for debt that you owe. These could either help get rid  of some of the debt, extend the amount of time the process takes — potentially giving you more time to pay off the debt, and it could mean that the lawsuit goes away entirely. Take a look at some of the options below:

  • Challenge the company’s right to sue: First National Collection Bureau is in the business of buying debt to then collect on. If the debt has changed hands multiple times, there are cases where the company may no longer be in possession of the debt, and therefore cannot collect from you. The agency must provide proof that a credit agreement was signed by you, and proof that they rightfully own your debt (a chain of custody that shows the debt did in fact come from the original creditor). A judge will almost always back your request for this proof. If the agency cannot provide this proof, it is likely that the judge will dismiss the case.
  • Lean on the burden of proof: The plaintiff, or the person suing you, is responsible to prove that you do in fact owe the debt and that you have not yet paid it off. Asking for detailed documentation of the amount that you owe is a viable option when you are sued. When debt changes hands as often as it does, the documentation can get lost in the process. If the agency isn’t able to show you an itemized list accounting for everything they are suing you for, along with the proof, the case may be dismissed, or lead to a settlement at a much lower cost. 
  • Consider the statutes of limitation: There is a statute of limitations that collection agencies have to abide by. Typically, this limitation is between 4-6 years after the last day you were actively paying on the account. If more than 4-6 years has passed since you last paid on your debt, look into the statute of limitations to see if you could have the case dismissed for expiring. You may also want to consider this before making even the smallest payment towards the debt. If you are only a few months out from the statute of limitations, collection agencies may press hard on you to make even a small payment, which will reset your time of being delinquent. If you are at this point, talk to legal counsel before making any payments.
  • File a countersuit: Has the debt collection agency been bugging you for hours on end at unreasonable times of night? Have they been sitting at your door, demanding payments and harassing your family? You have legal ground to file a countersuit. Make sure you document the malpractice from the collections agency, and then you can get your own lawsuit together, preferably with the help of legal counsel. This could cause the agency to drop the lawsuit, or, depending on how much you owe and how egregious the agency was, you could end up on top, getting paid for their harassment. 
  • File for bankruptcy: If you are at your wits end, you don’t have a way to get the case dismissed, but you don’t have a way to pay for the debt, you may want to consider filing for bankruptcy. When you file for bankruptcy, all cases and collections against you are halted until the bankruptcy hearing is either dismissed or discharged. Bankruptcy has large and long-lasting ramifications, but it could help you reset your financial situation, giving you the ability to rebuild from a clean slate. 

Is it NOT your debt? Understand How to Dispute Your Debt

If you have been served papers that outline debt you supposedly owe, but you have not ever taken out the debt they are suing for, you will want to respond quickly. 

There are many reasons you may have debt under your name that shouldn’t be. If someone fraudulently opened an account under your name, the debt was inaccurately attributed to you, or you paid off the debt, but the payment was not rendered to the account are all reasons that you may have a debt lawsuit that erroneously demands repayment from you. When this happens, you will have to help prove that the debt is not yours.

Watch out for scams

Before you begin this process, try to verify that the lawsuit is legitimate, and now a scam. Some scammers will send out notices that claim to be debt collection agencies and threaten to file a lawsuit if you don’t make a payment within a certain amount of time. A legitimate company should have full contact information, should be able to provide you with the origin and correct amount of the debt, and should be able to tell you the debt’s history (i.e. what company initially held the debt, when it was sold to the company, and how much interest the debt has accrued over time. If you are certain that you don’t owe debt anywhere, but you received a letter threatening a lawsuit, make sure that the letter is legitimate with a little bit of deeper investigation. If it is real, continue with the following steps.

Dispute the claim

While, theoretically, the burden of proof lies on the agency that is suing you, you will want to play an active role in proving the debt isn’t yours. Also, keep in mind that, oftentimes, creditors will sell off their debt so that they are no longer responsible for collecting on it. Just because you have debt collection notices from a company you don’t recognize doesn't mean that you don’t owe that debt. Make sure you understand who owns your debt before deciding to ignore collection notices. 

If you truly have no connection to the debt that is being collected on, you will want to dispute the debt. Disputing the debt forces the agency to produce documentation proving that you are the person that owes the debt. While this is happening, collection efforts have to cease until documentation is produced. You can send the dispute via physical mail, but make sure it is sent through a certified mail carrier (not just hand delivered) so that the postage is time and date stamped, which could later be necessary to help prove you responded in an appropriate time frame. If the company cannot find proof that the debt is yours, or if you have proof that it isn’t yours, the lawsuit will be dismissed.

Here is a link to a sample letter you can use to get you started on disputing the debt.

Verify your credit report

You will also want to check your credit report. If the debt is listed on your credit report, you will need to also dispute it to the credit bureau. Again, this is under the assumption that you are actually not connected to the debt. If this is true, then file a dispute to the three credit bureaus to ensure the faulty debt is completely removed from your account. Do keep in mind that, just because a debt doesn’t show up on your credit report, doesn’t mean that you don’t owe the debt. Credit reports will only show your debt if they report the delinquency, which some may not do until after pursuing the repayment to its fullest extent. It is still an important step in verifying that the debt does not belong to you.

Here is information on the three credit reporting agencies that you can use to collect your credit report:

Equifax

800-685-1111

P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241

Experian

888-397-3742

P.O. Box 2104, Allen, TX 75013-0949

TransUnion

800-916-8800

P.O. Box 1000, Chester, PA 19022

5 Things You Can Do Today When First National Collection Bureau Is Pursuing You

Let's cover your options if you are being pursued by First National Collection Bureau.

1. Understand How Debt Collection Agencies Like First National Collection Bureau Works

Debt collection agencies have made a business out of collecting debt for lenders and creditors. They typically purchase debt from agencies in a variety of ways, and then begin collecting on it. There are multiple ways they make money from doing this. They can either buy the debt at a reduced cost, so any payment they get on that debt can go straight to them, or they can make an agreement with a creditor that they will handle the collection efforts as long as they get a percentage of the debt that is repaid. However they decide to do it, debt collection agencies are vicious, and they do whatever they can to make as much as they can. Here’s their process:

  1. They buy debt or work for the original creditor: As explained above, debt collection agencies typically aren’t the ones lending out money. Their sole purpose is to collect debt payments. There are two main ways they do this. First, they buy debt. A lot of creditors and lenders don’t do their own collections. They may give it a solid effort for a couple of months, but after that, they may sell their debt. The debt is usually sold at a discount. The collection agency then owns the debt and can keep everything they collect. The other option is working with the creditor. A creditor may partner with a collector and promise the collector a percentage of the debt payment collected as compensation for collecting.
  2. They begin pursuing the debtor: Once the collection agency either owns the debt or is promised a percentage of the debt collected, they will begin to pursue the debtor. There are multiple ways this can occur, but the typical tactics seen are daily phone calls, letters, and other forms of communication. All debt collection agencies are supposed to operate within the boundaries outlined in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. If they are not, make sure to document this. 
  3. They may file a lawsuit if no progress is made: If the agency has been contacting you for a while (sometimes this is only 30 days, sometimes this is months), they may decide to file a lawsuit against you. This is typically done to either force you to respond so they can move forward with a payment plan, or sue you for the entirety of the debt.

2. Know What First National Collection Bureau Can and Cannot Do under FCRA

As mentioned above, it's critical for you to know what debt collection agencies can and cannot do to you while pursuing you for debt repayment. For instance, if First National Collection Bureau is in possession of your debt, and they are trying to contact you, there are certain standards they have to work around. They cannot contact you at unreasonable hours, before 8 A.M. and after 9 P.M.

They cannot threaten you, lie to you, or try to hide who they are when speaking to you. If you ask them to not call you while you are at work, they can no longer attempt to contact you while you are at work. They also cannot send out notices of your debt delinquency to third parties, or try to get information from third parties more than once. 

In short, the FCRA was created to help protect you from unfair and harmful debt collection practices. Make sure you are aware of your rights, and don’t be afraid to point out and document when a collections agent is acting outside of those rights.

3. Learn About Debt Validation 

Within five days of their initial contact, any debt collection agency is supposed to send you a validation of debt letter that shows the debt that you owe, who you owe it to (the creditor), and should also have information on how you can dispute the debt. After this letter is received, you have 30 days to dispute the debt. If, for whatever reason, you feel the debt being collected on is inaccurate, be sure to file a dispute as soon as possible. Once you file a dispute, all collection efforts are supposed to stop until the dispute is resolved. 

One of two things will happen at this point. One is that they will come up with the documentation they need to prove that you owe the debt and that the amount listed is correct. At this time, they will continue collection efforts. On the other hand, the second option is that they will be unable to provide proof of your debt and what is owed, at which time, they will stop pursuing you. Here is a link to a template letter of debt validation. Feel free to use this to help you draft your own letter.

4. Understand Statute of Limitations in Your State

If you are being pursued for old debt, make sure you look at the statute of limitations for your area. In most places, collection agencies cannot take legal actions against you for debt you owe after a certain period of time. This changes state to state, but it's important to keep track of. The time period that is looked at for statute of limitations is from the day that you stopped being active on your payments (so the day after the last payment you made on the debt), to the day that legal action is taken. There are four different categories of debt, and each can have a different statute of limitation. The four categories are Oral Agreements, Written Contracts, Promissory Notes, and Open-Ended Accounts. Depending on what type of debt you owe, the statue of limitation may be longer or shorter. If you are being pursued for debt repayment, make sure to consider how close to the end of your statute of limitation you are before making a payment. You can also work with an attorney to see if they can give you any legal advice. 

You can use the statutes of limitations calculator below to understand those in your state.

5. Know How to Stop First National Collection Bureau Calls, Text, Phone, Letters and Emails

Living with a constant bombardment of calls, texts, emails, letters, and more can be overwhelming, especially when this is all added on top of your pile of debt. If you are being harassed in ways beyond what is allowed in the FCRA, filing a lawsuit against the collection agency will stop any more contact until the lawsuit is complete.

Make sure you are keeping a record of every encounter you have with a debt collector to help solidify your case if you think they may be harassing you. Similarly, you can dispute the debt, at which time the agency will have to pause on collection efforts until the debt is validated. 

You have the option to tell the collection agency that you are unable to pay them. This may not stop them from calling, but if they think you aren’t able to pay, there may be less frequency in their attempts to pin you down. Make sure you speak in a way that does not admit to the debt, as this can be used against you if they decide to sue.

Simply state that you are unable to pay the amount that they are asking for. Let them know of any financial hardships that may be preventing you from being able to pay. At the very least, this may cause the collection agency to focus on other consumers for the time being before returning back to you.

You can demand that the collection agency no longer contact you, but, even if they do stop contacting you, this doesn’t mean that they will no longer try to collect. The agency may still file a lawsuit against you, at which time the court will be calling you, not the collections agency.

Conclusion

Dealing with large amounts of debt can be scary and intimidating, especially when national agencies begin calling, texting, emailing, and writing to you demanding payment and threatening legal action. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t panic. There are laws in place that were created to protect you.

Make sure you fully understand these laws, and don’t let debt collection agencies bully you into thinking you have no options. Ask for help, do your research, and, if it comes down to a lawsuit, make sure you have legal representation to help you navigate the tricky world of debt collection. If you have any questions, or you would like to learn more about your debt relief options, feel free to reach out. We look forward to hearing from you, and we hope this helps.


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