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Do's and don'ts when a debt collector files a lawsuit

Many Chattanooga, Tennessee, residents understand that debt relief options such as bankruptcy may require the debtor to deal with a number of creditors, or debt collectors, before the debt is paid. Sometimes, that may lead to a dispute between the debtor and the debt collector over a particular issue. In such cases, the debt collector may sue the debtor under the provision of Section 811 of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

In the event that a debt collector files a lawsuit, it is important that the debtor responds to it by the deadline. The debtor may either choose to respond in person or to hire a consumer bankruptcy attorney for representation. According to the existing guidelines, once a debtor responds, the debt collector is responsible for presenting evidence to prove that the claims against the debtor are legitimate. If a debtor disagrees with a claim, the person can argue the case before a judge in court.

Debtors should understand that ignoring a lawsuit is not a wise thing to do because if a debtor is absent from a hearing, the court is likely to decide in favor of the debt collector. In addition to experiencing the effects of an unfavorable judgment, the debtor may also have to pay collection costs, court fees and attorney fees. Additionally, if the state laws permit, the creditor may be able to garnish the debtor's income, place liens on the person's property and freeze the person's bank accounts in order to collect the debt.

Tennessee residents who are looking for debt relief should note that missing a court hearing may also cause the debtor to lose the right to dispute the debt collector's claims. This usually happens because once the court issues an order pertaining to a particular case, only the court has the right to change it and initiating such a change is a complicated process. Thus, if the debtor is notified about a lawsuit against that person, the debtor should always respond and, if required, an experienced bankruptcy attorney may be present to represent the debtor in court as well.

Source:, "What should I do if a creditor or debt collector sues me?" June 18, 2014

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Kenneth C. Rannick, P.C.
4416 Brainerd Road
Chattanooga, TN 37411

Phone: 423-624-4002
Toll Free: 800-257-7594
Fax: 423-624-0509
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