Friday, September 9, 2011
Wrong. And if you do this, you might just find yourself in hot water.
Debt Validation After a Court Summons
Collection agencies don't sue debtors as soon as they purchase their accounts. From a financial standpoint, doing so would be stupid – especially if collectors can convince a fair number of debtors to pay up without ever paying an attorney or setting foot in a courtroom.
So the collection agency will call you...and send you letters...and call you some more...and offer you a settlement....and so on and so forth. By the time the collection agency finally bites the bullet and files a lawsuit against you, its been trying to squeeze payment out of you for a very long time.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act notes that, while any debtor can demand that a collection agency validate their debt, they must do so within 30 days of their first contact with the collection agency. After that initial 30 day window, the collection agency is not legally obligated to either respond to the debt validation request or drop the lawsuit.
Answer The Summons, Then Ask for Validation
If you never recieved any notice that you owed a debt and the summons and complaint is the first paperwork you've ever gotten from the collection agency, you still have your 30-day window of time in which to ask the debt collector to validate the debt – but your validation request does not constitute an answer to the summons. If you have legitimate grounds to contest the lawsuit, by all means, send the validation letter, but if you don't file a formal answer to the summons with the court, you will find yourself facing a default judgment from the collection agency.