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Will it hurt me to make small payments to a collection attorney who is taking me to court?

Methuen, MA |

Capital one retained an attorney to collect my debt of $2500.00 that I couldn't pay due to financial harship. In October, I received a letter from the attorney's office along with a blue carbon copy of a docket filed with the court which states a December 2013 magistrate hearing. I want to make payments monthly of whatever I can afford and don't know if this will hurt or help me. Any advice?

The small claims copy of notice of trial states that Capital One Bank specifically requests tha the Court not award pre-judgment interest. I'm assuming this is a good thing(?)

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

If you do not dispute that you owe the debt you can enter into an agreement in writing with the attorney where you pay what you can afford on a monthly basis. Try to get the other attorney to waive the interest owed if you can. Once the debt is paid in full have the opposing attorney dismiss the case.

The foregoing answer does not establish an attorney client relationship, is not confidential, and should not be relied upon in place of an actual consultation with an attorney. Attorney Samiotes is licensed to practice in Massachusetts, the Federal District Court of Massachusetts, and the Court of International Trade. Most initial consultations are free. Further information is available on my profile and at http://www.bjgalaw.com/.

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Posted

I agree with my colleague's answer. If the credit card company has already obtained a judgment against you, which it sounds like it may have if you have not had to pay due to financial hardship, speak with the company or it's counsel to work out a payment agreement that you can bring to your next payment hearing. If this has not yet gone to court, try the same thing to avoid having to go to court. Such companies are generally very willing to enter into payment agreements because it means they get paid. Either way, be sure to get something in writing and retain a copy for your records. Best of luck.

Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. (It lets us know how we are doing.) Attorney Kremer is licensed to practice in Massachusetts. Please visit her Avvo profile for contact information. In accordance with Avvo guidelines, the following disclaimer applies to all responses given in this forum: The above is NOT legal advice, and is NOT intended to be legal advice. No Attorney-Client relationship is created through the above answer.

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Jonathan Barletta

Jonathan Barletta

Posted

The Magistrate Hearing is the first hearing in the small claims process so no Judgment has entered as of yet. If this is in Lawrence District Court, they are usually pretty good about continuing cases due to payment (although they don't like faxes, so the attorney would have to mail in the request). But if its not continued, then you would be expected to appear...even if you are paying. If you don't appear, a Judgment would enter by default and a Payment Review Hearing would be scheduled. If you do appear, you can either sign an Agreement For Judgment, in which case a Judgment would enter by agreement of the parties, or take it before the Magistrate to have him/her hear your side. However, it appears that you know you owe the money and are simply having a difficult time financially, so a Judgment would probably enter against you anyway. You might as well avoid a Judgment and work something out with the attorney. The path of least resistance is always best.

Emma A. Kremer

Emma A. Kremer

Posted

I was unclear from your question if it had gone to judgment as you mentioned a financial inability to pay which is something determined at a payment review hearing, after the magistrate's hearing. If I misinterpreted your question I apologize and thank you Attorney Barletta for clarifying that.

Posted

December 2013 is so far away. I'm surprised a hearing was scheduled that far out. My advice would be to start putting away payments between now and December. When you have a good bit of money saved up, perhaps 50% or 60% of the amount they allege you owe, I would call them up and see if they will settle with you. This assumes that you owe the money and have no valid defenses.

Christopher Vaughn-Martel is a Massachusetts lawyer with the firm of Vaughn-Martel Law in Boston, Massachusetts. All answers are based on generalized Massachusetts law and the limited facts presented by the questioner. All answers are provided to the general public for educational purposes only and no attorney-client relationship is formed by providing an answer to a question. If you would like an attorney with Vaughn-Martel Law to review your specific situation and provide you with legal options or information specific to you, you may schedule a telephone or office by calling 617-357-4898 or visiting us at www.vaughnmartel.com. Our office charges $100.00 for a consultation, and applies your consultation fee to your first bill if the Firm is hired to perform further work.

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Jonathan Barletta

Jonathan Barletta

Posted

Depending on the court and the time of filing, small claims hearings are being scheduled for the same month or all the way into 2014. I have some courts currently scheduling into February 2014 for filings submitted now.

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