Debt buyers are abusing the system. They buy old debt for pennies on the dollar and with no idea about whether the consumer owns the debt. These debt buyers often have little evidence and no idea whether or not the statute of limitations has run on the case. Often times they know so little about about the case, they are not even sure they are suing the right consumer. The sad fact of the legal system is that this legal tacit often works because most people do not get a lawyer.
When the consumer contests an action, the collector utilizes various techniques to win without having to produce admissible evidence to prove its claim. The collector may take advantage of the unrepresented consumer by working out a stipulated judgment without disclosing that the collector cannot prove the debt. Another technique is to send the consumer a long list of requests for admission to which the consumer does not timely respond. The requests are deemed admitted, and the collector needs no other evidence to prove its case. Alternatively, collectors seek summary judgment on junk evidence—attachments that are not attached or affidavits from employees (or even non-employees) of a debt buyer who state conclusory facts about which the affiant has no personal knowledge or about pretend “business records” created years after the fact. The collection attorneys, who are in court every day, often get preferential treatment by the court clerks and use this to their advantage.
It is always better to get legal representation. Often times, a debt buyer will not pursue the case once they realize that you have an attorney. Such an individual consumer victory has no adverse impact on a debt buyer that has purchased the debt for pennies on the dollar. But that strategy may educate the court as to the shoddy practices of certain debt buyers and collection attorneys. The next time the collector or collection attorney brings a series of cases asking that court to enter default judgments, the court may look more closely at the collector’s evidence, throw out large numbers of uncontested collection actions, or establish standards for when default judgments will be allowed in uncontested consumer collection matters. Individual collection litigation can be the vehicle that creates a jurisdiction’s controlling standards.
If you have a debt collection case and need representation, do not hesitate to call S.C. Titus today. You should never go to court unrepresented. At the very least, have one of our attorneys look at your case.