What are my rights with a collection agency? Can a collection agency in France collect from me in the United States?

Asked 10 months ago - Providence, NC

In 2010 I rented a car from Avis in France. When I returned the car, they said I had scratched the rear view mirror. (I had not, but that probably doesn't matter here.) I contacted by credit card and they said they would pay the claim, but they had to have a separate bill for it. I requested two bills from Avis, but they never sent them to me; they wanted payment for everything at once. I was willing to pay them for the rental but not the damage. They never sent me the two bills I requested and I declined to pay them. Now a collection agency in France has requested the money. Again, I feel I owe them for the rental but not the damage. It is long past the time I can collect on a claim from my credit card.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Dorothy G Bunce

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . US courts are open to everyone & this entity can sue you either in France,then bring the judgment to the US to be enforced under treaty, or may sue you in your hometown. The chance of either scenarios happening is speculative. I hope this perspective helps!

  2. Alan Shepard

    Contributor Level 12

    Answered . Unless you scratched the rear view mirror of a Pagani Huarya, it is unlikely that the collection agency will sue you. Litigation against a foreign defendant is very costly. Enforcing a US judgment in France, or vice versa is tedious and complicated. If the collection agency sues you in France and gets a judgment against you, it will most likely have to try the case again in the US. To sue you here, the collection agency would have to prove personal and subject matter jurisdiction. A motion to dismiss on the basis of jurisdiction would likely end the case on the basis that responding would cost more than the mirror.

    However, the collection agency may have the ability to report you to one or all of the three major credit bureaus, so non-payment could affect your credit score.

  3. Brett D Weiss

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

    Answered . Yes, the French collection agency can collect from you here in the US.

    The legal analysis of any situation depends on a variety of factors which cannot be properly represented or... more

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