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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    18

    Default How to Prepare for Court in a Collections Lawsuit

    My question involves collection proceedings in the State of: Pa
    I'm being sued by a debt collector. Court date is in 2 weeks. I'd like to know how to best prepare myself. I don't have a lawyer, I'll be representing myself. Here are some details. I got a "Final Notice" from the collector saying I owed $$ to a certain local business. This was the 1st notice I ever received from the collector. It said I had to pay or I'd be taken to court. So I called them and sent them a small payment and said I'd make further arrangements to pay it off. Then I found out about the FDCPA and discovered it was 1 month shy of the 4 year Pa statute of limitations. But since I sent a payment, that defense is negated. I then called the collector and asked for all their paperwork they had on my case. I got a copy of the agreement with the original creditor, a few pages of the payment history that looked like they just printed some numbers on blank paper (it was not on company letterhead or anything official looking), and a copy of the check I sent to the collection agency. I called the collector to discuss this some more and the guy got rude and told me to stop playing games. I then did some more research and found that they violated some of the rules of the FDCPA. I went about 3 weeks without any contact from them. Then 2 weeks ago I got a certified letter saying they were taking me to court. So how can I prepare myself for court? I'm not sure if they can validate that they can legally collect on this debt. They didn't show me any proof of it. Do I just wait for the hearing and ask? Or am I supposed to be given all that info before the court date? Any help would be appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: How to Prepare for Court in a Collections Lawsuit

    Quote Quoting Fan71
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    I then did some more research and found that they violated some of the rules of the FDCPA.
    But you're not going to tell us what rule you believe they violated? If in fact they violated the FDCPA you have a potential counterclaim, but that's not a defense.
    Quote Quoting Fan71
    I'm not sure if they can validate that they can legally collect on this debt.
    You are free to raise any defenses you have to their standing as part of the litigation. I don't know if you made any effort to raise affirmative defenses at the time you answered the complaint, or at any subsequent time, so you may have waived some defenses - that could be affected by the court in which the litigation is occurring, but you haven't shared that information. Read the court rules for the relevant court, including local rules.
    Quote Quoting Fan71
    They didn't show me any proof of it. Do I just wait for the hearing and ask? Or am I supposed to be given all that info before the court date?
    Read the court rules for the court in which the litigation is pending, pertaining to discovery. In some courts (e.g., small claims) most states don't allow discovery; in minor courts (e.g., municipal courts) discovery may be limited - again, something you will learn from the court rules.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Inland Empire
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    1,410

    Default Re: How to Prepare for Court in a Collections Lawsuit

    I suggest that the OP take his checkbook to court with him.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    18

    Default Re: How to Prepare for Court in a Collections Lawsuit

    I apologize for my ignorance. But thats why I'm here. I'm trying to learn. As for the violations, I believe they were supposed to send me a validation notice. This should have included proof that they are authorized to collect the debt. And that I had a right to dispute it. I never received such notice. When I asked for the proof they had, they sent me a printout of the account history. I looks like they just typed it up and printed it. I thought it was supposed to be something official, like with company letterhead from the original creditor. Also, they listed a fee for a certified letter. All their contact was over the phone or 1st class mail. There was no certified letter.

    As for the court rules, I don't know what they are or how to get them. This is a municipal court. When I got the letter from the court, the instructions said to call the court and tell them whether I was going to show up or not. So thats all I did. I called the courthouse and said I would be there.

    It seem I have a lot to learn. Should I call the court and ask for a later court date? And will they help me with getting information about what ever rules I need to know?

    And the name on the complaint is the original creditor with the collection agency under it. So who is going to show up? Will it be both of them?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    18

    Default Re: How to Prepare for Court in a Collections Lawsuit

    I asked for and received a continuance. I have another 4 weeks to get ready

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: How to Prepare for Court in a Collections Lawsuit

    Can anyone tell me who I will be facing in court? The plaintiff is listed as the original creditor with the name of the collection agency under it. I'm wondering if the original creditor will in fact be there or not.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: How to Prepare for Court in a Collections Lawsuit

    What happens in court depends on the nature of the hearing. You can expect that the plaintiff will have witness present to support the case on the date of trial. For routine pretrial hearings, it's unlikely - sometimes the court will order somebody with settlement authority to appear for a settlement conference, but that's going to depend on the judge and the full facts.

    You haven't indicated whether or not your request for validation was timely under the FDCPA, but the documents you describe receiving in response appear sufficient to satisfy the FDCPA's validation requirement. I can't speak for a certified letter. Perhaps they sent it to a former address at one time or another, or perhaps you didn't sign for it and it was returned.

    Court rules.

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