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What should I do if a creditor or debt collector sues me?

Ohio residents may benefit from learning what to do if a creditor or collection agency were to ever file a lawsuit against them. Consumers who have been sued typically benefit from seeking legal counsel with experience in issues concerning debt collection and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Whether the defendants choose to enlist legal representation or not, they are still required to respond to the lawsuit by the date listed on the court document.

Court officials will require the creditor to furnish proof of the alleged debt that the defendant owes. Debtors who disagree with the claim can dispute the lawsuit by filing a response before any final judgment is issued. Notice of the lawsuit is typically sent via certified mail. People who choose to ignore the lawsuit will most likely have the judgment go against them and be liable for the full amount requested by the creditor.

People who ignore the lawsuit may also be ordered to pay legal fees and collection fees as well. A judgment in favor of the creditor may lead to the debtor's wages being garnished, a lien placed against the debtor's property or funds frozen in the debtor's bank account. Once the judgment is issued against the debtor, there may no longer be the possibility to dispute the claim.

People who are drowning in debt can often benefit from enlisting the services of a bankruptcy lawyer. Filing for bankruptcy can put a temporary halt to harassment from creditors. The lawyer may also be effective in assisting the client with developing a plan for to repay debt in a timely manner.

Source: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, "What should I do if a creditor or debt collector sues me?", November 09, 2014

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