What Do I Do if I've Been Sued by a Debt Collector?
If you've just received a lawsuit from a debt collector, what should you do?
Debt collection lawsuits come from two main sources: the original creditor (credit card companies like American Express, Discover or Bank of America, your student loan company, a medical provider or hospital) and debt buyers. Debt buyers are companies whose only business is buying debt that has been charged off by the original creditor for significantly less than the original debt amount and attempting to collect on it from a consumer. You may have never heard of the debt buyer who is suing you, and never signed any contract with them, but they claim you owe them money on an account that they purchased for another company. The large debt buyers in South Carolina suing consumers for collection actions are:
-Portfolio Recovery Associates
-Jefferson Capital Systems
-Midland Credit Management
You have the opportunity to dispute the company's claims that you owe them money.. Whether you are sued in South Carolina Magistrate Court or Common Pleas court, you have 30 days to file an Answer with the court. What the company says in its Complaint are allegations - they are not automatically true, and you have the opportunity to dispute anything you believe is not true, as well as raise any claims you have against the debt collector for any violations you believe they committed in the collection of the alleged debt. If you do not file an answer, you effectively admit all allegations in the complaint and the debt collector may apply to the court for judgment in the amount stated in the complaint.
Debt collection companies count on defaults and consumers not taking the effort to defend themselves. Consult with an attorney familiar with the collections process who can advise you on your options, potential defenses and potential claims against the debt collector suing you.