Nobody wants to be on the receiving end of debt collection. It can be even more disturbing to find out that the debt collector is a law firm. If you’ve been contacted by Gurstel Law Firm concerning your debt, we understand the anxiety you’re likely experiencing. But there’s a way out that can save you time, money, and stress.
The Fullman Firm works with clients every day to settle their debts for a fraction of what they owe. If Gurstel Law Firm has contacted you about an old account, or even if the firm has sued you, we can help.
What You Need To Know About Gurstel Law Firm Debt Collection
Gurstel Law Firm is a debt collector representing banks, credit card companies, and small businesses. As both an agent for these various creditors and a law firm, Gurstel takes aggressive action against debtors to try to collect as much money as possible. Although Gurstel claims to be an ethical debt collector that complies with applicable state and federal laws, many complaints have been lodged against the firm. They include:
- Harassing debt collection practices
- Violations of privacy rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act
- Wage garnishments started without notice to the debtor
- Attempting to collect a debt from the wrong person
- Unlawful debt collection practices
Know Your Rights As A Debtor
If you are contacted in any way by Gurstel Law Firm, it is imperative that you know your rights as a debtor. Don’t panic, and don’t volunteer any information to the company. You have the right to verify certain information about the debt you allegedly owe. That includes:
- The identity (name and address) of the original creditor
- The balance of the debt you are said to owe
- A statement that informs you of the right to dispute the debt within 30 days
You should determine whether the debt is legitimate, considering that many debt collectors mistakenly target the wrong persons in their collection efforts.
State and federal laws are also in place to prevent abusive collection tactics such as:
- Calling debtors before 8 AM or after 9 PM
- Calling debtors at work after being instructed not to
- Using obscene, profane, or threatening language over the phone or in written correspondence
- Failing to identify themselves as debt collectors
- Threatening debtors with violence, imprisonment, or harm to their property
- Discussing the details of the debt with co-workers or family members
- Contacting debtors directly after being notified they have retained an attorney
What Happens If Gurstel Law Firm Sues Me Over My Debt?
Gurstel Law Firm will likely sue you over your debt. A debt collection lawsuit begins with the collector filing a complaint and summons. The complaint contains the factual allegations made against you. It will include such information as your identity and the amount of money you allegedly owe. You should read the complaint closely and identify any errors, which are relatively common in debt collection lawsuits. This is especially true if you have a name like John Smith that could get you confused with someone else.
The summons instructs the debtor to answer the complaint. In most cases, debtors have only 30 days after being served to file an answer. This should be done with the assistance of an experienced attorney because certain information must be included in the answer and it has to be served in accordance with various rules.
Also, it is not recommended that you attempt to evade service. This is a common tactic people use because they believe the collector or the law firm will eventually give up. However, the law allows debt collectors like Gurstel Law Firm to use a number of different ways to effectuate service. Trying to dodge service only delays the inevitable while adding more interest to the debt.
What Happens After Being Served With A Lawsuit?
Some debtors, even after being served, ignore the lawsuit. This is a bad idea. Ignoring a lawsuit just makes it easier for the debt collector to obtain a judgment (known as a default judgment in this case) against you. Answering the lawsuit allows you to assert any defenses you may have, such as an expired statute of limitations. Again, this should be done with the help of an attorney.
If you legitimately owe the debt, Gurstel Law Firm will eventually obtain a judgment against you. This allows the firm to place a lien on your property, garnish your wages, or even take money out of your bank account. The court judgment will also include other costs like attorney’s fees. So what options do you have?
Time To Consider Debt Settlement
Collectors like Gurstel Law Firm are often happy to get anything they can because debtors are often hard to find or go bankrupt. This gives you some leverage to try debt settlement.
In a typical debt settlement arrangement, the debtor makes a lump sum payment for less than what is owed on the account. In return, the collector wipes out the remaining balance. This is not something you should try on your own, however, because collectors often use dishonest tactics to trick debtors into thinking they’ve paid off the balance when they really haven’t.
For example, a debt collector may ask you to agree to a settlement over the phone. You agree and make a payment. The collector takes the money and you believe you’ve settled the debt for less than you originally owed. Weeks or months later, however, the collector comes back to demand the rest of the money. You have no proof of the agreement you worked out over the phone, so you’re stuck owing the balance.
Put Our Experience To Work For You
The Fullman Firm knows how to settle your debt once and for all, and in a way that will get Gurstel Law Firm out of your life. If you’re tired of being harassed over your old debts, let our firm get started on your case. Call us today.