Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, debt collectors can’t threaten to take you to court unless they really intend to do it.
But can a debt collection agency take you to court over what they claim you owe?
Can Debt Collection Agencies Take You to Court?
Debt collection agencies provide training to their agents designed to collect money as quickly as possible. Most debt collectors who call you on the phone are also calling hundreds of other people, and they’re using the same tactics with you as they use with those other people.
And while it’s illegal for debt collectors to tell you they’re taking you to court over a debt unless the agency really intends to do so, the fact remains that debt collectors may be able to sue you in court.
Other things debt collectors can do include:
- Discuss your debt with your spouse
- Discuss your debt with your lawyer
- Call your employer to verify your employment or to get your contact information
How to Know if a Debt Collector is Taking You to Court
If a debt collector intends to sue you for payment, you’ll be served with legal paperwork. You absolutely must respond to the lawsuit or the debt collector will automatically win the case.
If the debt collector wins in court – either because you didn’t respond to the lawsuit or because the judge ruled in the debt collector’s favor – the court is really saying that you do owe the debt. The court will order you to pay the debt collector a certain amount of money each week or each month.
That’s a court order, which means you must follow it or you’ll be subjected to additional legal penalties.
Let’s say you fail to make a payment or two under a court order. If that happens, the debt collector can ask the court to take your property or take money from your pay; taking money from your pay is known as wage garnishment. It’s important that you know some of your pay is protected, such as when it’s a direct deposit from Social Security, unemployment, child support, alimony, pension or a few other types of income.
The court can agree to take money from your pay unless your weekly take-home pay is less than 40 times the federal minimum wage. (That means you’d make the lowest possible amount for a 40-hour workweek.)
Sometimes a court will order repossession of your belongings if a debt collector wins in court. In that case, you must hand over possession of the belongings listed in the court order or you’ll face additional legal penalties.
It’s generally easier to prevent these things from happening than it is to stop them once they’re already in motion. You may want to talk to a Glendale consumer protection lawyer as soon as you’re contacted by a creditor – especially if the creditor appears to be violating your rights under the FDCPA.
Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About a Debt Collection Agency Taking You to Court?
We may be able to help you get financial compensation if a debt collector has harassed or lied to you. Judges can require debt collectors to pay you for damages you’ve suffered due to illegal collection practices.
Call us immediately at 818-659-8324 or contact us online for a free case review. We’ll look over the facts and determine whether a debt collector likely violated your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act today.