We are often contacted by Alabama consumers who have been sued by a debt buyer such as Palisades or Asset Acceptance or Unifund and for the vast majority of our clients, it is their first experience of any type with a lawsuit. We have decided to present this series of blog posts to explain how a collection lawsuit starts, what your role is in it, what the role of a lawyer that you might hire is, how a trial occurs, and then what happens after the trial depending on whether you have won or lost.
Before we actually get to the lawsuit, we need to discuss the background of how you get there.
Typically we are dealing with credit card debts and when a credit card is not paid after certain period of time, the credit card company will cease its own collection efforts and will have a third-party debt collector try and collect it. After this doesn’t work, it will then sell the debt to a debt buyer. The debt buyer (which qualifies as a debt collector under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) will then either collect it on its own or will send it out to an actual collection agency. At other times, the debt buyer will send it to a national law firm such as Wolpoff & Abramson which will then assign it to a local law firm. In Alabama this is typically Zarzaur & Schwartz or Nathan & Nathan or Nadler & Associates or other collection firms that the national firm may assign it to. It can also be assigned directly to the law firm by the debt buyer.
Sometimes you will receive a letter from the debt buyer or the attorney saying that a suit will be filed against you if you do not pay. As we have previously blogged about, you need to take all these letters very seriously and we do recommend that you contact an Alabama consumer attorney as soon as you have any contact with a debt collector or debt buyer or collection lawyer, so that you can make sure and take the appropriate steps.
In our next blog post, we will explain exactly how a collection lawsuit is filed and then we will work our way through the process of what happens from that point forward.
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