Collection Lawsuit Defense

Defense of consumer collection lawsuits, including debt buyers (often referred to as “junk” debt buyers or “zombie” debt buyers

Are you being sued by a bill collector or collection agency?  You may have a defense to the lawsuit and/or a claim against the collection agency.

Just because a debt collector sues you does not mean that they are automatically entitled to a judgment.  They still have to prove their case.  So if you have the time, hire an attorney to defend your case.  Whether you hire us or someone else, it is better to hire a lawyer than to go it alone.  Even though you know the facts of your case best, you are no match for the crowded courtroom and the experienced lawyer representing the collection agency.   If you go it alone and lose, a judgment will be issued against you.

Defending yourself in a lawsuit is like taking out your own appendix. It can be done, but rarely is it pleasant or successful.  The cost of a lawyer is rarely more than the debt. The long-term effects of a judgment are costly, often more than the debt itself.  If a judgment is issued against you, the debt collector can attempt to garnish your wages or your bank accounts.  The judgment can, and usually will, affect your credit rating.  It can impact your ability to get credit.  It can impact what you pay for car insurance.  It can affect your job (especially if you have a security clearance) or your ability to get a new job in the future.

We regularly defend debt collection lawsuits and can assist you in many ways.  Though we cannot guarantee dismissal of the lawsuit, we can help to try and prevent a judgment from being issued against you and, as a result, help protect your wages, your bank account and your credit rating and keep your automobile insurance rates from being increased.  We can assist with proven strategies to help reduce the chance of a judgment.  As an example, sometimes a case can be dismissed because there is a technical defect in the case.  This is something a non-lawyer would overlook or have no idea of its significance.  Sometimes your case must be tried to a judge or a jury.  We are familiar with the rules of evidence and procedure which are used at trial.

There are 2 kinds of collection cases in Virginia, and 2 levels of court.

Warrant in Debt: (General District Court)

This is the most common type of lawsuit.  It is for amounts of money up to $15,000.00

Summons and Compliant: (Circuit Court)

This is a less common type of lawsuit. It is for an amount of money OVER $5,000.00.

Note that collection cases between $5,000.00 and $15,000.00 may be done with either a Warrant in Debt (General District Court) or a Summons and Complaint (Circuit Court).

The Frequently Asked Questions about defending collection lawsuits are answered here.

There are 5 points you should be aware of when being sued.

1-      Debt collectors must follow all the rules of court, or they are not entitled to a judgment.  This includes the statute of limitations, and the rules of evidence.  They must prove that you owe the money, not just to the original creditor, but to the people who are suing.  Just because they say that you owed a bank, even if true, does not mean that you owe the junk debt buyer.

2-      The plaintiff, the company that has sued you, bears the burden of proof.  Just because you have been sued does not mean you will lose – instead the debt buyer must prove that you owe money to the debt buyer, not just to the original creditor (Capital One, Bank of America, Chase, etc).

3-      Third, you have a deadline from when you were served to answer the lawsuit in General District Court (or Small Claims).  You must show up or send a lawyer, or they automatically win.  You have 21 days in Circuit Court to answer from when you were served.  Keeping in mind those deadlines, you normally have time to think and research before you need to make a decision.  Please note if your time is running out to answer then you need to make a decision and take action before your time expires.

4-      Bankruptcy is a valid option to consider but it normally is not your only option.  So many Virginia consumers file Bankruptcy when they could have likely defeated a debt buyer lawsuit.  You probably have received a number of letters from Bankruptcy attorneys – certainly look at the information they sent you so you can decide if that is a good option but always consider the option of fighting the debt buyer lawsuit.  If you do chose to file a Bankruptcy, please consider us.  We are a debt relief agency, and can help people file for Bankruptcy, but we prefer to find an alternative to Bankruptcy.

5-      If you are successful in the collection lawsuit, lots of good things happen.  You should not receive any more letters or calls from this debt buyer or any other collector related to this debt.  Your credit report should be cleared of the debt buyer’s account that is related to the lawsuit.  If you do get calls or if your credit report is not corrected when you request an investigation, you may be entitled to money damages, under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and/or the Fair Credit Reporting Act against the responsible parties.  All because you won your debt buyer collection lawsuit

There are other positive effects.  You should read about them here.



If you are not a Virginia Resident, click here to find a lawyer near you.

Contact us by e-mail or by telephone or fax or US Mail.

You can contact us by US MAIL:

Krumbein Consumer Legal Services, Inc.

5310 Markel Rd.

Suite 102

Richmond, VA 23230


804-303-0209 (fax)