How best to defend against a creditor/collection agency in court?

Highly in debt ($150,000) due to helping family business keep operating. Trying to work out settlements; accounts are being charged off; one sent to lawyer for collecections. Sent them reponse after they filed intent to sue in court. They sent back tons of paperwork with a copy of papers that they are going to file for the judge to automatically rule in their favor. They say that I didn’t respond right away. Not sure if they are 3rd party or representing creditor. Will find out. Should I request a copy of the signed agreement with them to prove that I owe money (I do owe but minus all the charges). If it is a 3rd party I don’t owe them only my direct creditor right?

Asked on September 9, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Ohio

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First of all, if your creditor sold your debt to a collection agency then you now owe repayment of the to that debt collector, not your original creditor. However, there are several defenses that you can put forth on your behalf. For example has the statute of limitations run on the time in which a suit can be brought; is the entity suing you licensed to do business in your state; did you receive proper service of process for the court summons, etc?

Here are 2 site links that you may find to be of use: http://www.nedap.org/hotline/defenses.html ; http://www.nedap.org/hotline/clbasics.html.  Technically they cover NY courts but most of the general information is valid in other states.

Note: Regarding the statute of limitations, the period starts from the date of last activity on your account.  However, be aware that last activity can include any promise you made to pay in full or in part (even if you never did pay). In fact, just acknowledging that you owe money can count toward starting the limitations period anew.


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