Collection Agency Lawsuit Defense in Springfield

Anthony Phillips

When people get behind on credit cards or other consumer debt, they often face harassment from collection agencies. Sometimes, the agencies bring lawsuits attempting to collect the debt. Even if you legitimately owe the bank or financing company, it is often possible to defeat these lawsuits entirely or settle them for a small fraction of the amount they are demanding in the lawsuit. However, doing so requires the knowledge and skill of an experienced legal professional from Anthony Phillips Law Firm, LLC.

Our firm practices collection agency lawsuit defense in Springfield. We can help you resolve the matter and move forward free from further stress or harassment, and often, without a judgment against you.

How Collection Agencies Work

Banks and other creditors often try to collect debts in-house for a short time. Once a debtor is several months in arrears, they might sell the debt for pennies on the dollar to a collection agency. The agency then adds interest and fees and engages in aggressive tactics to try to frighten the debtor into paying the full amount.

Sometimes, they bring a court action seeking a judgment against the debtor. A judgment is a court order stating that the debtor owes a specific amount and authorizing the creditor to attach the debtor’s assets to collect the funds. A collection agency with a judgment could garnish wages, attach a bank account, or put a lien on a home to satisfy the judgment.

Unfortunately, debtors often ignore the summons they receive from the court informing them that they are being sued on a debt. Missouri Supreme Court Rules 55.25(a) requires the defendant in a lawsuit—the person being sued—to file an answer within 30 days. When the debtor does not answer or make their court appearance, the judge will enter a default judgment against them for the entire debt plus interest and fees. A Springfield attorney can submit an answer and go to court to represent the debtor and prevent the entry of a default judgment.

How Collection Defense Works

A collection agency’s business model is geared toward getting default judgments whenever possible. When a debtor contests a collection agency’s attempt to get a judgment, the agency usually begins a settlement process rather than continue to fight the matter in court. The agency might begin with an offer to allow the debtor to pay the entire amount it demands over time. These are unfair offers because they require the debtor to pay the amount they owed the original creditor plus interest and fees.

When the debtor hires a Springfield attorney to contest the collection agency lawsuit, no judgment can be entered until the debtor proves its debt. There are often legal defenses the attorney can raise, and sometimes, an agency will decline to pursue a debt when the debtor has aggressive representation. In other cases, the legal professional can often negotiate a resolution based on the amount the collection agency spent on the debt, not the amount that was owed to the original creditor.

How to Deal With a Default Judgment

Being served with a lawsuit is frightening. When the lawsuit seeks money, and the defendant does not have it, it is understandable that they might feel overwhelmed and ignore the matter. Doing so usually results in a default judgment, which can lead to the collection agency garnishing wages or taking other actions to satisfy the judgment.

It is best to act before a default judgment is entered, but a default judgment is not the last word. It is possible to have a judgment set aside in some cases. A Springfield attorney can bring a debt collection motion to set aside the judgment within one year of its entry.

When the motion to set aside a judgment is successful, the debt collection process begins again. In many cases, a legal representative can negotiate a favorable resolution that allows the debtor to resolve the matter by paying a portion of the debt on realistic terms.

A Springfield Attorney Can Help Defend You Against Collection Agencies

Not having enough money to pay debts is stressful, and that stress can lead to unwise decisions. Ignoring a collection agency lawsuit against you is one good example of a choice that could cost more in the long run.

Contact an attorney who provides collection agency lawsuit defense in Springfield as soon as you receive a summons. Responding to the suit immediately is the best strategy. If you have already missed the deadline and a default judgment is entered against you, negotiating a reasonable settlement could still be possible. Reach out to our law firm today to schedule a consultation.

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Anthony Phillips provides legal services to both individuals and business entities. We have a skilled and experienced team, ready to address all your legal needs.