Falling behind on your bills and getting in debt is never ideal and if you find yourself getting calls from debt collectors then you might be wondering what powers they actually have and what your own rights are. You’ll be pleased to know that consumers tend to be in a stronger position than collection agencies. You have a lot of rights and you’re well protected by the Federal Trade Commission, although, they do have some powers, some of which I’ll explain to you here.
A lot of people think they have more powers than they do. Some of the things they can’t do are arrest you, seize your wages, intimidate you, force you to pay or tell anyone else, including your employer, that you are in debt with them. So what can they do..?
They Can Sue
They can of course sue you, just as any company or individual can sue. If they take this path you’ll get plenty of written warning, so don’t worry too much. Generally before they take this path they’ll send you a final demand letter. Many companies will just send “final demand” letters as a legal way to intimidate you. They’ll have no intention of actually sueing, as in many cases it’s not worth the cost for them.
In the rare cases that a debt collection agency does take legal action against you(Unless you live in the state of Nebraska, in which case it’s not rare at all!), you’ll receive official notification, otherwise known as a court summons. The court summons will almost always be delivered in person or through certified mail.
It’s crucial that you do show up to your hearing date. Debt collection companies prefer it when you don’t show up so that a default judgement is issued against you by the judge, in which case the court can seize a part of your earnings to pay the debt.
Even if you don’t have an attorney, you should still go to court to argue your case, because if you don’t turn up at all then it’s guaranteed that you’ll lose the case and the maximum amount of your income will be seized.