When the bills are past due, the phones start ringing. Many consumers with past due bills will attest to the fact that it quickly escalates from friendly reminders to harassing telephone calls, emails, snail mail, and even, in severe cases, potentially scary in person visits to collect on a debt. Recently a new trend in debt collection harassment has emerged: creditors filing lawsuits against debtors. Consumer advocates say that many do so on the theory that the debtor will not show up to court. A recent study found that fewer than 2 in every 10 debtors who are served a summons to appear in court due to a suit from a creditor actually respond.
Not showing up to court results in dire consequences. No one is there in your defense. The judge can put a lien on your home, garnish your wages, or even freeze your bank accounts. And he can do it without ever providing you with an additional chance to fight your case. Legally, you had your chance, but you didn’t bother to show up to court!
Sometimes creditors filing suit are doing so based on incorrect info or errors, but if you don’t show up to court, it might not matter. The default judgment will be in place and you can be held responsible. Studies indicate that there were more than 200,000 cases filed by creditors against debtors in New York in 2011 alone. According to the Center for Responsible Lending, a research group that fights predatory lending practices, income from legal collections rose from $582 million to over $1 billion from 2009 to 2012. And that’s just for the income of the four debt-buying companies that actually disclose their earnings to the public.
If you find that you are a victim of harassment due to impossible levels of debt, contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney at Westgate Law and take it to the next level by filing for bankruptcy before you creditors decide to take it to the next level themselves. With an experienced bankruptcy attorney guiding you through the process you’ll find the legal system doesn’t need to be something to avoid or fear. It’s actually designed to protect you.