If you are struggling with debt, you may have received a phone call or a letter from a debt collector threatening to sue you. This can be a scary and stressful situation, but now is not the time to panic. You have rights and options to deal with it. Please continue reading and reach out to a seasoned New York City debt collection harassment lawyer from Rahman Legal to learn more about whether a debt collector can lawfully threaten to sue you and how our legal team can help if you find yourself facing a lawsuit. Here are some of the questions you may have:
What is a debt collection lawsuit?
A debt collection lawsuit is when a debt collector initiates a legal action against you in court. They do this to try to obtain a judgment that affirms you owe them money and grants them the right to collect it from you. Unfortunately, a debt collection lawsuit can have grave repercussions. It can damage your credit score, increase your debt with interest and fees, and lead to wage garnishment, bank account seizure, or property liens.
Can a debt collector threaten to sue me?
Debt collectors can threaten to sue you if they have the legal right and the intention to do so. However, they cannot make spurious or misleading threats that contravene the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA is a federal law that protects consumers from abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices by debt collectors. It applies to most types of consumer debts, such as credit cards, medical bills, student loans, and mortgages. According to the FDCPA, debt collectors cannot do the following:
- Threaten to sue you if they do not intend to sue you or do not have the legal capacity to sue you
- Threaten to sue you after the statute of limitations has elapsed
- Threaten to sue you without sending you validation information about the debt
- Threaten to sue you without affording you an opportunity to dispute the debt
- Threaten to sue you for more than you owe or for debts that are not yours
If a debt collector violates any of these rules, they may be breaking the law and you may be able to sue them for damages.
What should I do if a debt collector threatens to sue me?
If a debt collector threatens to sue you, do not ignore them or assume they are bluffing. You should take action as soon as possible to protect your rights and avoid further problems. Here are some steps you can take if a debt collector threatens to sue you:
- Ask for validation information about the debt. This is your right under the FDCPA and it can help you verify if the debt is valid, how much you owe, who the original creditor is, and when the last payment was made.
- Check the statute of limitations for your debt. This is the time limit for filing a lawsuit based on your state law and the type of debt. If the statute of limitations has expired, the debt collector cannot legally sue you or collect the debt from you.
- Respond to any lawsuit papers within the deadline. If a debt collector files a lawsuit against you, you will receive a summons and a complaint that tells you when and where to appear in court. You should respond by filing an answer that admits or denies the allegations and raises any defenses or counterclaims. If you do not respond or show up in court, the debt collector may win by default and get a judgment against you.
- Get legal help. Dealing with a debt collection lawsuit can be complicated and intimidating. You may benefit from hiring a seasoned New York City consumer attorney who can represent you in court and advise you on your best options.
If you are facing a lawsuit from a debt collector, you must not hesitate to contact Rahman Legal for help. We are here to guide you through each step of the legal process ahead.