Hello, I recently became aware of a collection agency that had attempted to serve me at my parents house for an old debt I was not aware of. I pulled my credit and contacted them immediately. I was told the debt was $1300 and after discussion we agreed to settle the debt for $850. They successfully debited my bank for the $850 yesterday the 21st. I just had a process server show up to my residence. My question is, since the debt is settled do I need to accept being served and if so what are my options or do I avoid them?
Accept it and file an answer asap. Use your defenses of payment, etc. I sure hope you had the agreement in writing, If not its a he said she said argument.
It seems your self representation did not work for you here, or the debt collector's right hand did not know what its left hand was doing. Do you have letters, or emails that show you agreed to settle this debt? If not, it will be your word against the debt collector's word in court. You should go to the bank, and pull the record of the auto draft to the debt collector. You should answer the suit in court, and raise the defense of settlement or accord and satisfaction. When it is time for you to appear in court, bring all written materials you have that show you settled the case. Make three copies, one for you, one for the court, and one for the other side. Good luck with your defense.
You should file a motion to dismiss and cite to the agreement to settle. The fact that the creditor cashed your check is evidence that the offer to settle was accepted and that are no grounds for a lawsuit. if the creditor responds that it never agreed to settle for that amount then matters become complicated and you would have to present any evidence that this $850 was for the full settlement and not acceptance of a partial payment. I would reach out to plaintiffs counsel and try to resolve it so that they dismiss on their own volition but if that doesnt occur, I suggest retaining counsel.
Please note that answers to questions on Avvo are for general purposes only, do not constitute legal advice, and do not establish an attorney-client relationship between myself and the questioner.
Keep in mind, you are never under any obligation to accept service. However to make your life a bit easier you should consider two options. 1) call the law firm, and send them verification the debt was settled, also call the collection company that you paid to notify them about the law suit. Request the collection company to have their attorney cease all actions and dismiss the case. 2) if you select to file an answer, include as an affirmative defense that the debt was settled and attach the proof of satisfaction.
The last option you need to consider, if the collection company and law firm do not cease the collection activity. Speak with an attorney, and make sure you are properly defended.
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