Just to let you know that collection agencies are no different than credit bureaus when it comes to suing in court. However, before you take the legal step to sue in small claims court, there are six things you must know right before filing a lawsuit.
Suing Collection Agencies – 1 – Know who serves the collector with the complaint.
Anyone not affiliated with the case may serve the bureau, but you are responsible for having the complaint served. Once you file, the complaint has to be served right away, and proof of delivery must be filed with the court 10 days from the court hearing date. You can use a sheriff, a third – party not involved in the case, or a process server. You can also send it by mail with a certified return receipt. When mailing, make sure you ask for restrictive delivery, meaning a register agent for the company needs to sign for the complaint and check with your court for serving procedures.
Suing Collection Agencies – 2 – Know how to find a register agent (a representative of the company) for the collection agency.
Go to the Secretary of State website where the company is based, and do a name search. If the company is out of state, then you need to look for their listing agent in your state. Once you find the agent, you can have them served with the notice of complaint. Do a search on the Better Business Bureau website and Google for resident agent to locate the agent of the business?
Suing Collection Agencies – 3 – Know how to prepare for the trial.
You can prepare your evidence by getting a copy of the laws, highlighting your argument, and learning what the collector may present at the day of court. Thoroughly organize and study your evidence. You will need to prep your witnesses, put your records in order, review your journal of notes from the collector, pull your phone records, and review any medical records for proof of emotional distress. Review the laws that were violated and take a highlined copy with you to court for the judge to review. Outline the events that took place step-by-step. You can even practice presenting your argument to the judge in front of a mirror.
Suing Collection Agencies – 4 – Know what goes on in the hearing.
You should arrive early and dress professional, as there will be others in the court also trying their cases. The clerk will call the role from the docket to see who is there. If only the clerkiff is present (meaning you), the judge will issue a default sentence awarding you the case automatically. If the defendant (collection agency) is the only person to show up, the case will be dismissed. The judge will ask the parties to try in settle their matter with a mediator waiting outside in the hallway. If a settlement is unsuccessful, your case will be heard in order. When your case is called, you and the defendant will present arguments to the judge, and after hearing both sides of the story, the judge will deliver a decision right away or later by mail.
Suing Collection Agencies – 5 – Know what happens if I do not win the case? Know if you risk losing anything.
If you do not win your case, you may have to pay the defendant's attorney fees if the small claims court in your area allows those fees to be collected from the defendant (the company you are suing), so check with the small claims court about this issue before filing your case. Tomorrowmore, you will lose your filing fee, and any money you used to bring the case to court. In addition, the defensive can try to collect any fees, they accumulated trying to defend the case against you.
Suing Collection Agencies – 6 – Know if you lose, will any fees be added to your negative account balance.
No. There will be no additional fees added to your balance, unless the original contract you signed with the creditor allows for legal fees to be collected. Read through your contract before taking your collector to court to better understand what they can collect if you lose the case. Now if you are suing the creditor bureau, then their general fees to defend against the suit will apply in this situation.
Being prepared for small claims court is a big factor on how your case will turn out. So pay attention to the six tips mentioned in this article before you enter the legal arena. Now that you are empowered with more information, go out there, and take action.