Debt collectors can be extremely aggressive when attempting to collect debts. Often, they employ tactics that bend—or even break—the law. Therefore, when dealing with a debt collector, you must be highly vigilant. Otherwise, you risk making mistakes that can cost you money. In this article, we examine five common mistakes to avoid when dealing with a debt collector.
#1: Not knowing the Statute of Limitations
In California, the statute of limitations for consumer debt is four years. This means that a debt collector has four years to sue you for an unpaid debt. A debt collector that fails to do so waives the right to file a lawsuit against you to collect the debt. However, some debt collectors will threaten legal action even after this period has expired, and this can result in a consumer who doesn’t know the statute of limitations agreeing to pay a debt that he or she no longer legally owes. REMEMBER: the passing of the statute of limitations does not mean you can ignore a lawsuit. The judge will not apply this affirmative defense for you. If you are served with a debt collection lawsuit and you wish to argue that the debt is beyond the statute of limitations, you must respond to the lawsuit and state the statute of limitations as one of your defenses.
#2: Providing Personal Information
You should never provide a debt collector with information about your finances and assets. Debt collectors are not entitled to this information, and they may use it against you if they later pursue legal action.
#3: Admitting You Owe the Debt
Even if you believe you owe the debt, you should never admit this to a debt collector. The reason for this is that you may have defenses available that could absolve you from being liable for the debt, especially if the original creditor sold your account to a debt collector. When you admit that you owe the debt, however, a debt collector may use this against you in a lawsuit.
#4: Failing to Hire an Attorney
Finally, the biggest mistake you can make when dealing with a debt collector is failing to hire an experienced attorney. Attempting to challenge a large debt collection company alone is often a losing battle. However, with the help of an experienced debt collection lawsuit defense attorney, your odds of a successful outcome improve drastically.
Contact a California Debt Collection Lawsuit Defense Attorney
If you have been contacted by a debt collector or are facing a debt collection lawsuit in California, you should contact an experienced California debt collection lawsuit defense attorney as soon as possible for assistance. At the Fullman Firm, our experienced lawyers will provide you with aggressive representation, doing everything in our power to ensure that your case has a successful result. Please contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our talented attorneys.