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Should I panic if my debt is “sent to legal?”

Debt Collection Letter Threatening Legal Action Cardoza Law CorporationNo, you should not panic, but you should respond. This is a common threat from creditors and debt collectors to try to scare you into paying a debt that may not even be yours or may be more than you actually owe. So, what can a creditor’s legal department do? It’s more a question of what they have to do to prove you owe the debt. Let me explain.

Is it an Empty Threat?

When a creditor threatens to send your debt to legal, what he is really threatening you with is a lawsuit. What he’s hoping is that the threat will be enough to get you to pay what they say you owe, because they don’t really want to take legal action. Fortunately for them, the tactic often works. People panic when threatened with a lawsuit and decide to just pay the debt, regardless of whether the debt is really theirs.

Even when the creditor or debt collector does follow through and file the lawsuit, many defendants don’t respond to the suit and the creditor wins by default. At this point, the court will order you to pay the debt. Now you are really on the hook.

Remember That the Burden of Proof Is on Them

So what should you do when threatened with a lawsuit? First of all, call me! I will help you defend yourself against the suit. Our chances of winning are good, because now the burden of proof is on the debt collector. He must be able to provide solid proof that the debt is yours, that the amount is accurate, and that he is the one who is owed. Because debts can pass through many different hands as they are sold to collection agencies, key documents can be lost. If the debt collector cannot produce the required evidence, you will owe him nothing and he will even have to pay your legal fees.

Contact Me When You Are Being Threatened

If you are being threatened over a debt that you don’t believe is yours—or even if you know it is yours—don’t be scared into giving in, but don’t ignore it, either. Contact me online or call my office directly at 855.982.2400 to learn more about your options. I am committed to protecting the rights of Californians and fighting against unlawful debt collection practices.

 

Michael F. Cardoza, Esq.
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U.S. Marine & Consumer Financial Protection Attorney dedicated to fighting debt and credit bureau harassment.