BECOME ONE OF THEIR VICTIMS
If you receive
papers from a court saying you owe someone money you will become
WHAT ARE THIRD-PARTY DEBT COLLECTORS?
Third-Party Debt Collectors are companies that "buy" old debt, usually for a tiny fraction of the amount of the original debt (often fractions of a penny on the dollar!) and then attempt to collect the "debt" from the person whose name is on the account. Sometimes they start out with the usual type of "collection techniques" - dunning collection letters, telephone calls, often even outright harrasment. Then they sue you, if you don't pay what they say you owe them. However, often these days, we see cases where the first time the alleged "debtor" knows they have him or her in their sights is when they get the suit papers.
The cases we see are usually based on an old credit card account - which may or may not have been paid off - or which may or may not have ever been actually owed by the person they are after. Sometimes it might be an old medical debt, an old car loan, a health spa account, or other types of debt - or "alleged" debt.
For more information
about debt collectors in general, and your rights, go the the
Rights Clearinghouse website. They have a lot of good information,
which applies to any bill collector, including "3rd-Party
Debt Collectors". A lot of large legitimate consumer and
other organizatons are finding these people victimizing their
members. Read this article about "third party debt collectors"
in a recent edition of the AARP Bulletin.
1. Be very careful about any papers you get claiming you owe money - EVEN IF THEY COME IN THE MAIL. In Georgia, a case suing for up to $15,000.00 can be filed in the Magistrate "Small Claims Court' - and under Georgia law these types of lawsuits can be MAILED TO YOU, AND YOU ARE CONSIDERED SERVED. This means that if you don't file and serve an "Answer" (or have a lawyer do it for you) within 30 days, they can take a "default judgment" against you. Many people who are sued in Small Claims Court and get the lawsuit in the mail don't understand what it is, and so don't take steps to protect themselves. Once they get the default judgment against you, they can garnishee your wages, seize your bank accounts and cars, and do whatever else the law allows to get the money out of you - even if they destroy your family and life in the process - THEY DON'T CARE - and they will do all of these things to you!
So - if you get ANY kind of written (or telephone) communication saying you owe someone money, get some legal advice right away!
2. The second thing you need to know is that if you are sued by a "3rd Party Debt Collector" (or even called or dunned by one) we can usually successfully defend you - and may be able to sue them back for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and also for violations under Georgia laws dealing with consumer rights.
3. The main way these people make money
off of their victims is that the people they sue DON'T GET LEGAL
ADVICE. And they DON'T WANT YOU TO GET LEGAL ADVICE!
We have information that over 95 percent of the people
they sue DON'T get any legal help, and a default judgment is
taken against them.
4. So, the main thing to learn from all this is that if you even think one of these companies might be after you is to get competent legal advice. There are many good consumer lawyers in Georgia, and we are always willing to offer a free consultation about these kinds of cases. If it turns out you have been sued by a 3rd party debt collector, we can probably represent you on a "contingent fee" basis - which means you don't have to worry about having to come up with money to pay a lawyer to get help.