Debt Collection Lawyer: What They Are, and When You Need a Debt Attorney
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is a Debt Collection Attorney?
- 2 When Do You Need a Debt Collection Attorney?
- 3 How Can You Find a Debt Collection Attorney?
What Is a Debt Collection Attorney?
A debt collection attorney is a lawyer who specializes in cases regarding unpaid accounts. They are typically contracted by major creditors (such as credit card companies) to help recover outstanding debts, but they are sometimes hired by debtors. When protecting the rights of debtors, they provide a legal response, file certain motions and respond to certain motions and requests. They know consumer rights laws, and will look for potential defenses against creditors.
When Do You Need a Debt Collection Attorney?
To Defend Your Consumer Rights
If there are any applicable defenses against the collections agencies or your debt for your case, a debt collection attorney will be able to let you know what they are and how to raise them in a way that can benefit your case. Therefore, if you are uncertain about your rights or whether or not you may have a valid defense, it may be a good idea to have a professional look into your case. Some generally accepted consumer rights include:
- Right to safety; from hazardous goods.
- Right to be informed; consumers should have information about alternatives available to them and protection from false and misleading claims in advertising and labeling.
- Right to choose; from competing goods, and the quality and prices of services.
- Right to be heard; the government will take cognizance of consumer concerns.
If the rights you feel may have been violated fall under any of these categories, an attorney may be able to build up your defense, help you stand up to collectors, and let them know if they’re violating your rights.
If You Are Being Harassed by Collection Agencies
A debt collection attorney can also help if you are being harassed by collection agencies. They will let you know what to do to stop receiving collections calls and can even contact them on your behalf to get them to stop calling you at home or work. If the agency is breaking any FDCPA laws, your attorney can help you file a complaint or even a suit against any collectors who are misbehaving as they attempt to collect a debt. Sometimes, a valid countersuit can be enough to get them to leave you alone.
If You Are Facing a Lawsuit From a Creditor or Collector
A debt collection attorney can provide you with steps you can take if you are facing a lawsuit from a creditor or collector. However, it’s important to note that if the collector or creditor has not broken any laws, and you do indeed owe the debt, hiring an attorney will probably be ineffective and end up costing you more than the debt you owe. If there are any circumstances that give you a case, such as proof that they’ve broken FDCPA laws or that you don’t really owe the debt, a debt collection attorney should be able to help you settle the debt.
You Need Help Negotiating or Settling Debts
If you’re entirely unable to pay, an attorney may be able to help you settle or negotiate the debt you owe so you can avoid further fees. While this may reflect more poorly on your credit score than simply paying off the debt in full, allowing an unpaid debt to remain open and cycle through various collections agencies can ultimately be worse for your credit score.
How Can You Find a Debt Collection Attorney?
There are several resources you can use to find a debt collection attorney that will be able to help you handle your case; such as the American Bar Association website, your state’s Bar Association, your state’s legal aid office, an online lawyer referral service or even by asking your family and friends for recommendations.
State Bar Associations will only promote credible lawyers who uphold their standards, which will ensure you are working with a trustworthy attorney. However, sometimes it can be easier to trust recommendations from people close to you who may know what your specific situation is, what you’re looking for and a lawyer they’ve worked with who they think will suit you.
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This post was updated February 28, 2019. It was originally published November 2, 2018.