If you receive papers from a court saying you owe someone money you will become their next victim if you don't take the proper steps to protect yourself. This is true anytime you are sued for anything, but is expecially true if you are sued by what are called "Third-Party Debty Collectors".


Third-Party Debt Collectors are companies that "buy" old debt, usually for a tiny fraction of the amount of the original debt, and then attempt to collect the "debt" from the person whose name is on the account. Sometimes they start out with the usual type of "collection techniques" - dunning collection letters, telephone calls, often even outright harrasment. Then they sue you, if you don't pay what they say you owe them. However, often these days, we see cases where the first time the alleged "debtor" knows they have him or her in their sights is when they get the suit papers.

The cases we see are usually based on an old credit card account - which may or may not have been paid off - or which may or may not have ever been actually owed by the person they are after. Sometimes it might be an old medical debt, a health spa account, or other types of debt.

For more information about debt collectors in general, and your rights, go the the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse website. They have a lot of good information, which applies to any bill collector, including "3rd-Party Debt Collectors".

Here are some things you should know about these kinds of cases, to be able to protect yourself if you fall victim to these people:

1. Be very careful about any papers you get claiming you owe money - EVEN IF THEY COME IN THE MAIL. In Georgia, a case suing for up to $15,000.00 can be filed in the Magistrate "Small Claims Court' - and under Georgia law these types of lawsuits can be MAILED TO YOU, AND YOU ARE CONSIDERED SERVED. This means that if you don't file and serve an "Answer" (or have a lawyer do it for you) within 30 days, they can take a "default judgment" against you. Many people who are sued in Small Claims Court and get the lawsuit in the mail don't understand what it is, and so don't take steps to protect themselves. Once they get the default judgment against you, they can garnishee your wages, seize your bank accounts and cars, and do whatever else the law allows to get the money out of you - even if they destroy your family and life in the process - THEY DON'T CARE.

So - if you get ANY kind of written (or telephone) communication saying you owe someone money, get some legal advice right away!

2. The second thing you need to know is that if you are sued by a "3rd Party Debt Collector" (or even called or dunned by one) we can usually successfully defend you - and may be able to sue them back for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and also for violations under Georgia laws dealing with consumer rights.

3. The main way these people make money off of their victims is that the people they sue DON'T GET LEGAL ADVICE. And they DON'T WANT YOU TO GET LEGAL ADVICE! We have information that 80-90 percent of the people they sue DON'T get any legal advice, and a default judgment is taken against them.


And then the nightmare begins as they hound their poor victim to the ends of the earth to collect money that the person may not have even ever owed - and was almost certainly not legally collectible against them if they had just gotten to a lawyer knowledgeable in this area before it was too late.

4. So, the main thing to learn from all this is that if you even think one of these companies might be after you is to get competent legal advice. There are many good consumer lawyers in Georgia, and we are always willing to offer a free consultation about these kinds of cases. If it turns out you have been sued by a 3rd party debt collector, we can probably represent you on a "contingent fee" basis - which means you don't have to worry about having to come up with money to pay a lawyer to get help.


You can reach us at 404-848-8086