Debt Collector Scare Tatics

Common Myths and Scare Tactics Used By Debt Collectors

DISCLAIMER: We are not lawyers and are not giving legal advice. We strongly recommend speaking to a professional attorney.

If you’ve been contacted by a debt collector, you may hear all sorts of claims. If this is your first time, you may not understand your rights – and yes, debtors do have rights! Check out these myths and scare tactics used by debt collectors so you can handle these annoying contacts.

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Know Your Debt Collector

Myth – Believe Everything You Are Told!

Debt collectors may be wrong – always double check your records make sure you owe the debt. Dishonest collectors may try to collect an old, canceled, or paid off debt. The debt collector is required by law to send you a letter within five days with the creditor’s name, the amount owed, and informing you that you can dispute the debt.

Insist that they send you a debt validation before you pay anything!

Once you receive the debt validation letter, you have thirty days to dispute the debt in writing. The debt collector cannot contact you within those thirty days.

Myth – You Can Pay the Original Creditor

Nope. In most cases, the original creditor and the debt collection company have an agreement preventing the original creditor from accepting payment. In some cases, your debt has been sold to a collections agency.

Myth – All Debt Collectors Work for Real Companies

The debt collector could be a scammer! Often, these people will go after debts that are past the statute of limitations or that are not valid. Get a name, address and phone number and check them out before doing anything.

Always ask for a debt validation before you do anything!

If you are being harassed by creditors and need debt relief, contact Pacific Debt immediately to receive your FREE CONSULTATION.

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how to respond to a demand letter or summons letter

How to Respond to a Summons and a Demand Letter

Responding To The Demand Letter

DISCLAIMER: We are not lawyers and are not giving legal advice. We strongly recommend speaking to a professional attorney.

If you get a demand letter, you need to read it very carefully and respond within the time limit set out in the letter. Credit collectors can and do make mistakes. Make sure that the debt is yours or that you are responsible for it. Make sure that the debt amount is accurate. If it is older than three years, check your state (or that state where the debt was incurred) statute of limitations. Each state is different, and limitations range from three to ten years.

Read the Demand Letter to:

  1. Make sure the debt is yours
  2. Make sure the debt amount is accurate
  3. Make sure the debt circumstances are correct
  4. Make sure your debt is within your state’s statute of limitations

The letter may threaten all sorts of actions. Some of this may be hyperbole, meant to scare you or take advantage of your lack of knowledge.

Below is a Letter of Demand Sample.

If you dispute any of the information in the letter, respond in writing. Explain why the information is incorrect and if you have documentation to support your claims, send copies. DO NOT send the actual documents.

Once you have verified the information, respond in writing.

  • Be polite
  • Explain any misunderstandings
  • Send copies of documents that support your argument – do not send the actual documents
  • Send the letter with confirmation of delivery

In your response letter, if you are searching the net on how to answer a summons without an attorney. Do not make promises to pay if you do not plan to pay. That offer can reset the statute of limitations. Do not admit you are responsible but do not lie. Finally, don’t make threats or use profanity.

DO NOT

  • Make promises to pay
  • Admit that you are responsible
  • Make threats
  • Lie

How to Respond To A Summons Letter

Take a summons letter very seriously. Do not ignore the letter. If you ignore the letter, you may lose the case. The summons is a legal action. If you ignore it, the next step the court will take will be a warrant for your arrest.

If you receive a summons, make sure that you are the correct person. The heading will read the Plaintiff (the creditor) vs Defendant (you). If this is not you or your debt, respond in writing immediately. There is be a section explaining how much the debt is and how and when it was incurred. Make certain these are correct. You will receive notice of where, when, and what date you are expected to appear in court. If you incurred the debt in another state, you may have to travel to that state.

Below is a Summons Letter Sample.

Summons Letter Example

If you receive a summons:

  • Make sure the debt is yours
  • Make sure the debt amount is accurate
  • Make sure the debt circumstances are correct
  • Make sure your debt is within your state’s statute of limitations

If you need to respond to a summons, include ALL the information on the letter so it can be filed correctly. This includes:

  • Court’s name
  • The case number
  • Your name
  • The creditor’s name

If you have a legitimate reason for not being able to attend the hearing, you may ask, in writing, for the date to be changed. The court may or may not grant the change.

Notice of Intention to Defend

If you plan to defend the suit, you must let the court know, generally within ten court days. The summons letter will contain a Notice of Intention to Defend. You will fill it out and make two copies. One copy must be taken to the court issuing the summons. It will be stamped and filed. Have the original stamped as well. The other goes to the plaintiff’s attorney or address on the summons. Have the original stamped by the plaintiff. Keep the original.

If you miss the 10-day limit, follow the above advice. Email or fax the notice to the attorneys and then deliver the copies as noted above. It may help you avoid the default judgment.

To defend a summons:

Fill out the Notice of Intention to Defend included in the summons

  • Make two copies
  • Take the copies to the court issuing the summons
  • Have the original and the copies stamped
  • Give one copy to the court to file
  • Give one copy to the plaintiff or plaintiff’s attorney (address will be on summons)
  • Have the original and the plaintiff copy stamped by the plaintiff
  • Keep the original!

Hiring a Lawyer

It is your right to contact an attorney. If the case is complicated or involves large amounts of money, you may want to be represented in court. Be aware that that the losing side may be required to pay the legal fees of both sides.

We are NOT LAWYERS and ARE NOT GIVING LEGAL ADVICE.

Our Debt Specialists can help you explore your alternatives to bankruptcy, including debt consolidation and debt settlement options.
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what is a summons

The Difference between a Summons and a Demand Letter

DISCLAIMER: We are not lawyers and are not giving legal advice. We strongly recommend speaking to a professional attorney.

You’ve got a letter from your creditor. What action do you need to take? What is a summons? It depends on what type of letter you get. You may receive a demand for payment letter or a summons letter. They are distinct, and each requires a different level of action.

Demand Letter Versus Summons Letter

What is a demand letter? A demand letter gives you formal notice that your creditor is considering legal action. It may come from an attorney or from the creditor. There will be a demand for action, such as repaying your debt or a requested payment. A demand for payment letter will most likely include a threat of legal action.

What is a summons letter? A summons letter comes from the court system. It is a legal notice that you are being sued in court. It will contain the name of the court, the case number, the parties involved, and what you are legally required do. The summons letter will either be delivered by a law officer or by registered mail.

If you are getting threatening legal documents from collectors, check out this article  How to deal with debt collectors when you can’t pay.

What is a Demand for Payment Letter?

You may receive a demand letter that looks something like this:

>Letter of Demand Sample

Disclaimer: We are NOT LAWYERS and ARE NOT GIVING LEGAL ADVICE.

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Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

You are protected from harassment by the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Your state may also have a Fair Collections Practices Act that adds additional protections. Your demand letter, whether it comes from a lawyer or debt collection agency, must respect the FDCPA.  The federal law includes:

Debt collectors can NOT:

  • Charges more than 10% interest
  • Garnish more than 25% of wages
  • Use/threaten physical force or criminal tactics to harm you, your property, or your reputation
  • Accusing you of committing a crime for not paying the debt
  • Make/threaten to make defamatory statements to someone else
  • Threaten arrest, to seize assets, or garnish wages, unless actually planning to take such action
  • Use obscene or profane language
  • Cause you to spend money you wouldn’t otherwise have spent (ie long-distance telephone calls)
  • Call you repeatedly or let your phone ring repeatedly
  • Call frequently
  • Contact your employer, except to verify employment or health insurance status, garnish wages or locate you
  • Reveal information about debt to anyone except your spouse or your parents if a minor.
  • Publicly publish your name for failing to pay
  • Send a postcard or letter with revealing information on the envelope
  • Claim to be someone other than a debt collector, including a governmental official
  • Use stationary that appears to be from a law firm (unless they are)
  • Charge you collection or attorney’s fees unless legally allowable
  • Threaten to report you to a credit reporting agency if they have no intention of doing so
  • Send a letter claiming to come from a claim, credit, audit, or legal department unless it is

Debt collectors must:

  • Disclose caller identification
  • May contact your family to locate you
  • Must serve you with notice of a lawsuit if suing you

If you receive a letter that violates any of these, you may have a case to sue the collection agency. Make sure you keep a written record of all letters, emails, or phone calls. You may have to speak to an attorney in order to stop harassing behavior.

We are NOT LAWYERS and ARE NOT GIVING LEGAL ADVICE.

The Summons Letter

If you receive a letter delivered by a member of the sheriff’s office, or as a registered letter, it is a summons letter. You may be asking yourself what is a summons?

It will look very formal and make look like this:

Summons Letter Example

Disclaimer: We are NOT LAWYERS and ARE NOT GIVING LEGAL ADVICE.

References
https://www.thelegalseagull.com/write-great-demand-letter/
https://litigation.findlaw.com/filing-a-lawsuit/how-to-demand-payment-in-a-letter.html
https://www.thebalancesmb.com/what-to-do-if-you-receive-a-summons-or-a-subpoena-398483
https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/what-to-do-when-you-receive-a-demand-letter.html
http://articledge.com/summons-response-template.html
https://www.sample-resignation-letters.com/writing-a-demand-letter-for-money-owed-with-sample.html
http://protectingconsumerrights.com/debt-collection-problems/debt-collection-lawsuits/
https://www.michaelmatthewssa.com/what-to-do-when-you-receive-a-summons-and-what-not-to-do/

Our Debt Specialists can help you explore your alternatives to bankruptcy, including debt consolidation and debt settlement options.
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