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  1. #1
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    Feb 2017
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    Default What Happens if You Dodge Service on a Collections Lawsuit

    My question involves collection proceedings in the State of: Arizona

    There is a debt collector lawsuit by someone not the original creditor,the debt is more than 3 years old. My only income is Social security direct deposit to my only bank account. I have not been served , the I refused to answer the door 3 times. What are my options now? Do I have to be served to start the clock on on 30 days to answer the lawsuit to the court ? Can the firm get a default judgement in some way? Surely I must offically know that the lawsuit exists . Another attorney that wants to represent me sent me a mailing about it so thay is how I know about details.

  2. #2
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    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: Debt Collector Lawsuit

    There is a debt collector lawsuit by someone not the original creditor
    That's irrelevant. The debt collector could have bought the debt.

    ,the debt is more than 3 years old.
    The AZ statute of limitations on a written contract is 6 years, on an oral contract 3 years.

    If your debt is based on a written contract, the lawsuit is timely. If oral, you will need to raise the statute of limitations as an affirmative defense when you file your answer (if a written answer is required).

    My only income is Social security direct deposit to my only bank account.
    That income is exempt from judgment and federal law protects it when it's in the bank:

    http://www.nolo.com/legal-encycloped...-accounts.html

    I refused to answer the door 3 times.
    Might as well. A smart process server will figure out a way to serve you. An unscrupulous process server might leave it on your doorstep and file an affidavit of service that says he served you personally and there won't be anything you are likely to be able to do about it. (Been there.)

    Do I have to be served to start the clock on on 30 days to answer
    Yes.

    Can the firm get a default judgement in some way?
    Yes, if you fail to respond after being properly served.

    Surely I must offically know that the lawsuit exists .
    You still have to be properly served.

    Another attorney that wants to represent me sent me a mailing about it so thay is how I know about details.
    You can also check your court's online docket for yourself.

    How much are you being sued for?
    Oral or written contract?
    When did you default?
    What court are you being sued in?

    I live in AZ and have some familiarity with the AZ court system if you have any more questions.

  3. #3
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    Feb 2017
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    6

    Default Re: Debt Collector Lawsuit

    Maricopa justice court.we had massive medicasl debts that wiped out savings . it is a credit card debt about 3 years old. amount not stated maybe they want to add fees to it. I am watching public notices to see if they publish I want to answer if I get chance. Should I call Debt collector and tell them there is no money for judgement ?

    Searched justice court records , no amount , no further action other than filed . No dates for anything. Maricopa justice court . defaulted about 3 years ago on credit card debt , original debt 1500 I think.

  4. #4
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    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: Debt Collector Lawsuit

    Credit card debt would involve a written contract so the lawsuit is timely.

    Maricopa Justice Court handles small claims up to $3500 and regular civil cases up to $10,000.

    That you may be required to file an answer and that the amount is unspecified leads me to conclude that it's regular civil subject to more complicated rules of civil procedure:

    https://www.azcourts.gov/Portals/20/...es/R120006.pdf

    Credit card contracts have bilateral attorney fee provisions which essentially say that loser pays winners attorney fees. When they get a judgment your debt could include court fees, process service fees, attorney fees, post judgment interest and any subsequent judgment enforcement costs.

    Public notices are unlikely because they require permission of the judge and aren't usually done unless the defendant cannot be located.

    Calling the debt collector and saying there is no money will fall on deaf ears. They've already gone through the expense of filing the lawsuit, getting a judgment is likely a slam dunk and your $1500 debt could double or triple.

    If you can find some way of coming up with most of the debt in cash and offer a discounted lump sum settlement, you might get somewhere. 60% to 80% might get the lawsuit withdrawn and the debt settled. Debt collectors prefer to get money rather than spend money.

  5. #5
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    Feb 2017
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    6

    Default Re: Debt Collector Lawsuit

    If I have not been served , I thought if I was served I could answer in 20 days. If I am not served how can they get a judgement? Are you saying they will do something. So far there is just a lawsuit filed and no service after 3 attemps , will they give up or keep trying ? Can they get a judgement without me being served I guess is my question ? And they have bought the debt

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Debt Collector Lawsuit

    Perhaps I wasn't clear.

    You have to be served for the lawsuit to move forward.

    They cannot get a judgment without you being served.

    Arizona Rule 4.1(d) Service of Summons Upon Individuals. Service upon an individual from whom a waiver has not been obtained and filed, other than those specified in paragraphs (e), (f) and (g) of this Rule 4.1, shall be effected by delivering a copy of the summons and of the pleading to that individual personally or by leaving copies thereof at that individual's dwelling house or usual place of abode with some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein or by delivering a copy of the summons and of the pleading to an agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process.
    Rules 4.1(m), (n) and (o) address alternative methods and publication. In the following link scroll down about half way to read them:

    http://www.search-for-servers.com/pr...ng-laws/az.htm

    So if they can't serve you personally by handing it to you, they can get permission from the court to leave it on your doorstep and mail you a copy.

    Once you are served you'll have the opportunity to file an Answer.

  7. #7
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    Feb 2017
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    Default Re: Debt Collector Lawsuit

    It seems they have to serve someone My husband and I are the only 2 in the house. It seems they have to serve a person of age or an agent appointed to receive process. If we keep them from serving us ,it seems they have to see us to even lay the papers down at doorstep. Or am I misreading ? Will they go back to court and try to serve by leaving at doorstep . That seems weird how do they know I am at the house ? Can they question neighbors ?

  8. #8
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    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: Debt Collector Lawsuit

    Yes. They can question neighbors. They can put your house under surveillance. They can follow you around until they catch you unawares and hand you the summons.

    Or they can get permission from the court to leave it on your doorstep and then mail it to you.

    They don't have to know that you are at the house, only that it is your last known address.

    Many have posted here that they found out about judgments after having been served at an address at which they no longer live.

  9. #9
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    Feb 2017
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    6

    Default Re: Debt Collector Lawsuit

    Thank you so much for your intelligent , helpful advice. As an update I have not been served and nothing has been left at the door. So I guess it is a waiting game. I believe it is against the law to tell neighbors about the debt, so I am assuming they just ask if I live at the address. We get in our cars in the garage and drive out. There is not much outside exposure personally.And my husband and I would certainly know if we had been served.

  10. #10
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    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: Debt Collector Lawsuit

    I can't imagine having to hide in one's house and sneak in and out just to avoid bill collectors.

    That's no way to live.

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