What Is a Debt Collection Attorney?
A debt collection attorney is a lawyer with specific knowledge in the collection of delinquent accounts, bankruptcy, and related topics. These attorneys can work for those who owe money (debtors) and those attempting to collect (creditors). No matter which side they represent, the work of debt collection attorneys can involve paperwork, court appearances, and dispute resolution, similar to other types of attorneys.
As a Debtor, Do I Need a Debt Collection Attorney?
If you are facing any of these situations as a debtor, you may benefit from the services of a debt collection attorney.
- You owe money, and your creditors are engaging in unethical tactics such as harassment.
- You cannot currently pay back what you owe.
- A creditor is suing you or threatening you with a lawsuit.
- You are considering bankruptcy.
What Will a Debt Collection Attorney Do for Me?
As a debtor, you can expect a debt collection attorney to negotiate on your behalf, handle any necessary paperwork, and appear with you in court and at any mediations or arbitrations. Depending on the circumstances of the case, your attorney may be able to work out an agreement so that you don’t pay back the full amount.
The lawyer may be able to identify grounds for a counterclaim if the creditor has engaged in illegal practices. For example, through a federal law called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), creditors are prohibited from threatening a debtor with jail or violence or calling so often that it becomes harassing. If a creditor violates those rules, your attorney can take steps to help you stop those behaviors and pursue action against the company. Those steps may include issuing subpoenas for phone records and electronic submissions, hiring private investigators, and pull files on other court cases involving the company.
A debt collection attorney can help you figure out if you have a valid defense, as well. A defense is a good legal reason for not paying back all or some of the amount the creditor says you owe. For example, if the creditor cannot produce written documentation showing that you owe what the company claims you do, that may be a defense.
When Should I Hire a Debt Collection Attorney?
You should hire an attorney as early as possible in the proceedings to protect your rights. In some jurisdictions, you may have a few as five days to hire counsel once you are sued. To get the best results, consult a qualified debt harassment lawyer who understands the process.