When you’re handling your Alabama Small Claims debt collection lawsuit on your own, it’s critical that you start with filling out and filing your answer.
While I personally can’t tell you what to fill out in the answer form, I can tell you what you’ll see and explain each choice to you. And help you think through which is the right choice for you.
In addition, I can give you advice on what you should do after you’ve filled out your form.
It is vital you answer the collection lawsuit filed by Asset Acceptance, CACH, Cavalry, LVNV, Midland, Portfolio, Unifund, Velocity, etc. Otherwise the debt collector who sued you will get a default judgment.
Remember you have 14 days from when you are served to respond in Small Claims Court in Alabama.
First off, you’ll see four boxes marked “A,” “B,” “C,” and, “D.”
Box A basically says, “I have been sued in the wrong county.”
If that’s the situation for your case, then check this one and then add the correct information.
Box B says, “I agree with the plaintiff, and I owe everything they say I own.”
With this box, I’ll just ask you to think about it.
How would you know that you owe them?
Do you have proof they do? Remember, it is possible for people or companies to “claim” something that is not true. Even in writing.
If you know you owe the debt collector who sued you and you have no valid defense (statute of limitations, etc), then you can check this box.
But for everyone we talk to, they don’t know if the debt buyer really owns the debt so they skip this Box B.
Box C says, “I only owe some of what the plaintiff says I owe.”
Again, I would encourage you to think about this option before filling it out.
How do you know that you owe (even part of whatever they’re asking for) to LVNV or Midland or Portfolio Recovery, etc.?
However, if you know for sure that you only owe part of what you’re being sued for, then check this box.
Box D says, “I do not owe the plaintiff.”
It will then ask you to put a bit more detail – most folks put “I don’t owe Plaintiff and the Statute of limitation has expired.”
This is the box that most people check.
It basically says to the debt collector who sued you — “PROVE IT”. Considering you have likely never even heard of the debt collector, much less done business with the collector, this makes the most sense for a lot of Alabama consumers.
Once you’ve filled out your answer form, copy and scan it.
You should have the original, plus two copies.
One copy should go to the collection lawyer. Mail them a copy.
The original and the other copy should go with you to the courthouse.
After the court clerk stamps the original with the date, time, and a stamp that says it’s been filed, it will go into your case file.
The court clerk will be happy to stamp your copy with the “filed,” stamp.
Once you’ve got your filed copy, you should scan it.
Then email it to yourself.
This may seem unnecessary, but it can be incredibly helpful if the court accidentally files your answer in the wrong case file. You will want to have a hard copy as well as a copy in the cloud (Gmail, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc).
If you have any questions, you can reach us by phone at 1-205-879-2447.
We will be glad to walk you through your options and answer your questions about your lawsuit.
I look forward to chatting with you!
Have a great day.
PS — here is an article/video that discusses your 5 options when sued and here is one that gives you a detailed overview of being sued, filing your answer, and going to trial in Small Claims court in Alabama.