It’s important to respond to any communications and document each step of the process when resolving your outstanding debt through a debt collection attorney.
Because of their involvement in collecting money you owe a creditor, you may be contacted via a phone call or a letter from a debt collection attorney. There are consequences to ignoring communications about an outstanding debt that could affect your income. Here is how to respond to a debt collection attorney.
Keep Calm and Respond Promptly
It’s important to remember that the unpaid debt has passed through the original creditor to a debt collection attorney. The initial communication from a debt collection attorney does not necessarily mean you are being sued. However, if you fail to respond, the situation may escalate to a breach of contract action filed against you. If you lose the lawsuit, or a default judgment is granted, your paychecks may be garnished and bank accounts seized. Creating an open dialog allows you to explain your side and understand your options.
Write It Down
You should always keep accurate records of each of your interactions with a debt collection attorney. You also want to make sure you record each and every payment, and keep copies of all bank statements and other financial records until your debt is resolved. Be sure to keep copies of any contracts. If you move, make sure to communicate, in writing, your new address and contact information. Keep a copy of any letters you write and all correspondence you receive, especially confirmations of payments. When the debt is paid off, make sure you request and keep the final documentation of the debt being paid.
If you believe the amount you owe is incorrect, you will need to provide records of payments you have made that may not have been properly credited. If there are other reasons you think the amount owed is wrong, find the proper documentation and any communications in writing to dispute the discrepancies.
If the debt in question is not yours, the first thing you need to do is ask for proof of the debt. If you have not been previously contacted about the debt in question, inform the debt collection attorney, as this can be a result of identity theft or mistaken identity. If there are police reports or other records that support your claim, provide copies to the attorney. If you know to whom the debt belongs, let the debt collection attorney know and provide any information you can about the individual.
Be Upfront and Honest
If you are having difficulty making full payments on time, be honest about what you can pay. Debt collection attorneys can create debt repayment plans that work best for all parties. If there is an emergency that makes it difficult to meet a scheduled payment, it’s human nature to want to avoid the issue. Contact the attorney as soon as possible to discuss the situation.
Follow Up Immediately to a Court Summons
In some cases, resolving a debt requires a court appearance. A court summons is an official document that legally requires you to appear in court or provide a written response. You should contact the debt collection attorney before the court date as a resolution can often be reached that eliminates the need to go to court.
If you have been contacted by McHughes Law Firm concerning an outstanding debt, call us today at (501) 376-9131 and begin the necessary steps to resolve the debt you owe.