About the Editor
Let me first tell you who I am not. I am not an attorney.
The purpose of this site is to educate people on how the legal system works. It is not intended to be legal advice.
I found myself in the unfortunate position of being sued by a well known Georgia debt collection law firm on behalf of their client, a junk debt buyer. I had no legal experience whatsoever. In fact, the only time I ever stepped foot into a courtroom was when I had traffic court many years ago. I was frustrated and baffled at the complexities of the legal system and extremely disappointed that there was very few resources for people to turn to for meaningful information. Making the situation worse, I could not afford an attorney, was not eligible for legal assistance, and felt trapped.
WHAT I DID ABOUT IT
I educated myself. I spent a lot of time and effort researching the legal system, how it works, and what I can do to make an informed decision about my next step.
I won. I didn’t just achieve a dismissal without prejudice but I actually won a judgment in my favor as a defendant.
At first, I found nagivating the world of law to be something like visiting a foreign country. The court was a place that seemed to have its own language and culture. Even being in Magistrate (aka smalls claims) Court can be downright intimidating. One of the sharpest tools a debt collector has is the court. Most people are intimidated by courtrooms, especially if you’ve never been in one. So, its no wonder why some consumer organizations estimate that anywhere between 50% and 90% of people don’t bother responding to a debt collection lawsuit which ultimately ends up as a default judgment against them in favor of the creditor. It’s anyone’s guess why people don’t respond (and a lot of which is probably bad service) but it wouldn’t be surprising to me to hear that many people think ignoring the problem is the easiest way to go. Maybe they think, “I’m just going to lose anyway…” and go on with their lives only years down the road finding their wages being garnished or bank account be drained. Sometimes people do respond to the lawsuit – some file answers that are more like letters to the court saying, “…I lost my job…”, “I got sick…”, “I tried to pay but they wouldn’t work with me…” all of which are NOT legal defenses and make it easy for the debt collector lawyer to get a judgment against you. Some people work out deals with the law firm signing a consent agreement and setting up some kind of payment arrangement they can’t afford in an attempt to avoid having to go to court. Ultimately, these arrangements can easily end up with the defendant defaulting on his/her payment obligation and judgment being entered in the favor of the Plaintiff.
I just want people to stop and think about the situation they are facing and become informed before making decisions about what to do next. Think about who is suing you, why and for what. Do you even recognize the company suing you? How do you know they bought your debt? Because they say so? How do you know they are suing you for the right amount of money? Just because it looks like it might be right? Are they even allowed to tack on interest, attorneys fees, court costs? Is the debt past the statute of limitations where they can’t even legally sue you (but they did anyway) for the debt because too much time has passed?
It is important that consumers learn as much as they can to make knowledgeable decisions about what their next steps should be. If you are in doubt, get a lawyer! Playing pro se (representing yourself) in the court room can be quite dangerous. It is easy for a debt collector lawyer to trip you up on procedural issues and ultimately prevail. After all, they are lawyers and this is what they do day in and day out so they really should win against a pro se if they are any good at what they’re doing.
It is important to stress that the purpose of this site is NOT to provide legal advice. Like I said, I am not a lawyer and I never went to law school. While my opinion is based on a lot of research, I am human so there’s a chance I could be wrong about a thing or two. Also, its important to note that I am in Georgia so much of my procedure legal stuff relates to Georgia only.
CAN’T I JUST COPY YOU?
There is no point in me simply publishing my motions exactly as they were filed and assume its going to help anyone. In fact, everyone’s situation is different – the facts of the case or the legal situation are different. These differences, while they may seem insignificant, can actually have a profound effect on the case. So, short answer, no I will not send you my case documents.
I invite you to share your feedback on this site. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org