I've been issued a small claims case against me for a credit card debt $3500. I have not been officially served, but I did call the collection agency and set up a payment plan (stipulation payment agreement). I'd I am currently unable to commit to this agreement, what an I do to fit a payment into my budget? What will occur if I pay no money towards this debt? Should I try to represent myself in court before the judge? .
2 Answers from Attorneys
Need further information. Who is the Collection Agency? Who is the original Creditor? Was the debt sold to a debt buyer? When was the last time that you had made a payment on this debt? Did you make any good faith payment to the collection agency on this stipulation? Did you sign the stipulation? If you don't pay money towards this debt and you signed the stipulation, chances are they can move to garnish your wages without further hearings. If you are going to go to court and represent yourself do research on the allegations against you, the documents attached to the complaint, i.e. statements, card member agreements. You need to know what evidence they have to support he allegations against you. Many times retaining a debt defense attorney to represent you is the way to go. If you have other debts you may want to consider bankruptcy as an option.
I hope more people like you read this message before they deal with collection companies and their lawyers: Never agree to pay off the debt or agree you owe the debt unless you see a Consumer Lawyer frist!
When consumer lawyers represent consumers who are sued for these kinds of debts, we win these cases 99% of the time. Many times we are able to get our attorney's fees from the collection companies. Therefore, it this happens again, contact a consumer lawyer.
Now about your question, If you signed a stipulation agreement, it probably states that if you fail to make payment they can get a judgment against you. Look at your paper work to see it this is the case. If it is, then your are limited in what you can do. Probably the best thing is to contact them and work out another agreement, one you can afford. However, it you did not sign an agreement, then contact a consumer lawyer. It will probably cost you a consultation fee now given the circumstances. See www.ConsumerLawyerHelp.com See this web site under garnishment also to see what your rights are re collection on the judgement. Good luck.