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I am receiving collection calls. Should I answer? If so, what should I say?
If you are not sure what to say, do not answer. Otherwise, you may say something that could be harmful to you. Do not provide personal information about yourself such as where you work, how much you earn and where you bank. If you want the calls to end, then you should write the creditor, agency or collection attorney and demand that they stop. Before speaking with a creditor or their representatives, we recommend that you consult with an attorney. Also, please keep in mind that We Protect Consumers, P.A. offers a free consultation.
I have been sued. What should I do?
Relax! Do not panic. Gather together whatever records you have about the credit card, such as the credit card application and agreement, charge slips, statements, payment checks or money orders, and any correspondence you may have sent or received. Do not call or write to the collection attorneys until you have first consulted with an experienced attorney of your own. The attorneys at We Protect Consumers, P.A. have over 35 years of combined experience in the collections industry. We have handled tens of thousands of collections cases and appeared at hundreds of trials. We know how to respond to your lawsuit. Also, you should not feel that you are on your own simply because you cannot afford an attorney. We Protect Consumers, P.A. offers a free consultation.
I have been served with a summons that says I have 20 days to respond. What should I do? What happens if I do nothing?
If you do not respond in writing, you risk having a default judgment entered against you. Once judgment is entered, your wages or bank account may be subject to garnishment. It is essential that you respond to the lawsuit, in writing, within the time set out in the summons. To fully protect your rights, it is recommended that you consult with an attorney to determine whether you might have any valid defenses, because if a defense is not timely asserted, it is waived. The attorneys at We Protect Consumers, P.A. have the experience and knowledge to determine how to respond to your lawsuit, and to decide whether you have rights that can be asserted as a counterclaim or in a separate lawsuit. We Protect Consumers, P.A. offers a free consultation with no obligation. If you have been served with a summons, please contact us today, as there may be an upcoming deadline.
I have been served with a notice that states that I need to appear in court for something called a pretrial conference. What is this? Do I really need to appear? What if I cannot get off from work? What happens if I do not appear?
A pretrial conference is the initial appearance in court where you let the court know whether you admit or deny the claim and, in many cases, you will meet with a mediator. Yes, you do need to appear. If you do not, a default may be entered against you, and you will lose your ability to defend the lawsuit. If you cannot make it that day for some reason, you can request that the court reset the pretrial conference. This should be done in writing, and it is then up to the judge to decide whether the pretrial should be reset. We recommend that you have an attorney appear for you at the pretrial conference. If you retain We Protect Consumers, P.A., we will appear for you, and you will not have to be there. Also, if your rights have been violated and you decide that you want to file a counterclaim, you need to do so in advance of the pretrial conference in order to preserve your ability to sue. If you have received notice of a pretrial conference, please contact us today for a free consultation.
I have never heard of the company who sued me and never had a credit card with them. How and why are they suing me?
Unfortunately, it is legal for your credit card account to have been bought and sold, and it is possible that the company who sued you did buy the account. If so, they probably paid pennies on the dollar for it. They are suing you to make money. However, if you defend the lawsuit, they will have to convince the court that they have sufficient evidence in order to win. An experienced attorney will know what questions to ask and which objections to raise to attempt to prevent them from using the limited information and documents they have as evidence. The attorneys at We Protect Consumers, P.A. have handled hundreds of trials as attorneys for credit card companies. We know how they go about attempting to have their evidence considered – and how to combat it.
Should I try to settle for less than I owe?
Attempting to settle is certainly one possible option available to you. If you are going to try to settle, we recommend you have an attorney represent you. You will most likely be able to obtain a better settlement with the assistance of an attorney than if you were to attempt settlement on your own. However, if you retain We Protect Consumers, P.A., we may be able to successfully defend your lawsuit so that you will not have to pay anything at all.
I received a letter that states that I can settle for a discounted sum, but I need to act quickly because there is a time deadline. I do not know whether I can or should accept the settlement offer. What should I do?
Relax! Keep in mind that most “limited time only” settlement offers will be available to you even after the artificial time deadline expires. In most cases, these letters are just ploys to pressure you into settling. Often, you will be able to settle for even less than the amount being offered. An experienced attorney will be able to assist you in determining what settlement options you may have, and to place you in the best position to settle. Contact We Protect Consumers, P.A. for a free consultation. Also, depending on the wording of the settlement offer letter, you may be able to sue or file a counterclaim if the letter misleads you into believing it is limited either in time or amount when the creditor knows that they will accept less, or that the deadline will be extended.
What is a judgment? How long is one good for? What rights do they have once a judgment has been entered?
A judgment is a finding by a judge that you owe money. It is good for 20 years. Generally, it is reflected in your credit report. A judgment creditor has the right to obtain information about your personal finances, including taking your deposition. Also, a judgment creditor may attempt to garnish your wages and/or bank account. While you do have rights against an attempt to collect a judgment, it is best to attempt to prevent a judgment from being entered in the first place. The attorneys at We Protect Consumers, P.A. have the knowledge to decide how to best go about defending you before judgment can be entered.
I have a judgment against me. Can they garnish my wages or bank account?
Possibly. In Florida there are certain exemptions that can be raised, the main one being available to a "head of family", as defined under Florida law. There are some things you may be able to do in advance to protect your wages or bank account from being garnished, and steps you may be able to take to protect yourself after garnishment has occurred. Also, even if you have no defenses to being garnished, you may still be able to negotiate with the creditor. The attorneys at We Protect Consumers, P.A. have been involved in thousands of garnishments, and are very familiar with the garnishment laws. We can assist you in attempting to protect yourself from garnishment, defeating a garnishment if one has been filed, and negotiating with the creditor seeking to garnish your wages or bank account.