You can hire somebody to help you and I would HIGHLY recommend a law firm and not a debt settlement company. You only have 20 days to file an answer with the court. If not, they will get a default judgment against you and win the whole amount. You have much better negotiation position if a default is not entered.
You need to talk to somebody who will help you decide what is the best course of action for you. It may be debt settlement/negotiation or bankruptcy.
Feel free to contact our office if you would like. We are here to help.
This is not intended to create an attorney client relationship and is for educational purposes only. You should always contact an attorney and go over the issue at length with all the details.
Not all credit cards debts that are sent by the creditor to a law firm are sent there by the creditor for the purpose of suing you. Some are simply sent to law firms for collection attempts that do not include litigation. This is particularly true if you receive a collection letter from a law firm that is not located in your state. It is less likely in that case that an out of state law firm will seek to undertake litigation in another state. More likely is the hope that a letter from a law firm trying to collect the debt will be sufficiently intimidating to you that you will respond to them and payoff or settle the debt. The likelihood of the law firm trying to collect the debt eventually filing suit to recover the debt becomes greater if they are located in the your home state.
Most law firms will seek to collect the debt without litigation first if they can for the simple reason that it is more economical to collect a debt without litigation than incurring the costs of litigation to collect it.
Once a law firm begins to try to collect a debt from you, your chances of getting the debt settled are probably greater using an attorney to represent you rather than a debt settlement agency. The attorney you retain can defend you if suit is ultimately brought against you (or file a bankruptcy case for you) and you present as a more formidable adversary if you are professionally represented and I believe your chances of obtaining a favorable settlement go up.
If you have in fact been served with a summons and a complaint by a creditor or counsel representing a creditor, do, very quickly, retain competent legal representation. That representation can be through defense counsel or a bankruptcy attorney.
The pertinent question is whether the law firm has filed a suit against you. If the law firm has filed a suit against you, then you will want to consult with an attorney as soon as possible. You generally do not need to hire an attorney to file an answer on your behalf, unless you have a legitimate dispute with what the initial complaint stated.
Hiring an attorney would be better than a debt settling agency for many reasons. First, attorneys can advise you on what to do in the face of possible legal action. Second, there are many debt settling companies that take advantage of people by promising great results and accomplish almost nothing. Also, many debt settlement companies have shady business practices, but attorneys have an ethical obligation to look after the best interests of their clients.
If you are facing multiple creditors and do not have a current ability to pay you may want to schedule a free consultation with a bankruptcy attorney in your area to more fully discuss bankruptcy and non-bankruptcy options that are available to you.
Parker Evan Bornmann
The Bornmann Law Group, PLLC
Contact me directly at 480-833-8000 for a free (1 Hour) consultation. I have law offices conveniently located in Mesa, Glendale, and Tucson, Arizona. You and I do not have an attorney-client relationship formed by our communications on this website. Advice given by me on this website is general advice based on partial information. You should not rely on any advice given without first hiring a lawyer in the area where the case is pending, and providing that lawyer with full information. http://www.bankruptcy-az.com
If you can't afford to pay off your cards, the last thing you want to do is hire a debt settlement company, or even an attorney-driven debt settlement firm. Fees are taken up front before your debts are even settled and you are often left off in a worse position than when you started. If you can't negotiate with the law firm or feel uncomfortable doing so, consider meeting with a consumer attorney. It's a good idea, especially if you get sued, and to avoid a default judgment being obtained against you. Also determine whether bankruptcy might be an option for you. Take into account the overall amount of debt you have, the assets you have, and the lack of income at this time.
I highly agree with Arthur Draper, and my other colleagues, that you should avoid debt settlement companies. You would be MUCH better off if you consult with a FL attorney.
An attorney/law firm will be able to fully review your situation and give you specific options - whether that involves debt negotiation/settlement or bankruptcy. They will also give you a more realistic plan of action. The debt settlement companies will give you big promises, but they are rarely able to deliver the promised results.
The fact that the debt has been sent to a law firm means that you should probably start working to formulate a plan of action. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to negotiate and settle the debt.
I wish you the best.
Please note that the information provided here is for general informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice as to specific facts or circumstances. You should consult an attorney concerning your particular factual situation and regarding any specific legal questions you may have. No attorney-client relationship is created merely through the exchange of information via this web site. If you would like a legal consultation, feel free to contact me.
You could hire a debt settlement company, but I really advise against it. I don't think debt settlement companies have a good track record and many of them are scams or very close to it. Additionally, they don't do anything that an attorney couldn't do for you, and they don't have the ability to represent you in court. They also don't bring with them the implicit threat of bankruptcy. My firm practices bankruptcy (as well as other areas of the law), so when they receive an offer letter or other communication in writing from my office, they can see bankruptcy listed in our letterhead and know that they might get nothing if they aren't willing to settle with the alleged debtor.
You could also try to negotiate your own debt down. Most companies typically want a lump sum payment that is payable within 90 days at the latest, but some will allow for a more protracted repayment period. Just make sure you get agreements in writing as it is not uncommon for creditors to go back on their promises and sue you while you are in repayment on the verbally agreed upon repayment plan. It's best if you can avoid the he-said, she-said argument as it's stressful, time consuming, expensive, and won't leave you with any guarantee that you will be successful if it does come to litigation.