I have a valid debt that is with the company's law firm ("non-attorney debt collectors" as they say on the phone). They apparently tried to serve me, but did not succeed. I talked with them on the phone and came to a payment arrangement, which they said would stop legal action against me. They have now sent a Stipulated General Judgment and Money Award that they want me to sign. I'm not sure if I should sign this, as I thought I was agreeing to paying the debt off outside of legal action. This seems like they are asking me to sign a judgement against myself, and then they're going to submit it to the court. Any advice on what I should do? Does this sound right? I only have one more payment to make, and I just want to get this done with.The payment arrangement we can to was for a lump sum lower than the original debt, made in three payments. I'm on my last payment - have to pay by the end of the month. However, the Money Award they want me to sign includes about $200 additonal in fees. They say they need me to sign this so they can submit it to the court to close the case. Shouldn't they just take the payments we arranged and then file a dismissal with the court?
Yes, from the facts you set forth it does seem like they should just take your final payment, and then dismiss the case. If they cannot clarify this issue with you, or you believe that they are not sticking to an agreement that was reached, then you should invest in a consultation with a consumer law attorney to assess your rights and obligations here.
It is possible there is a good faith miscommunication happening, and so you may want to try and address it with them.
Most consumer law attorneys handling debt collection defense, including our firm, will provide a FREE in person, or telephone, consultation to help consumers assess these kinds of situations.
Best of luck,
Tim L. Eblen
Several questions come to mind - you say they did not succeed in serving you but there still is apparently an open ongoing lawsuit? And yes, that is exactly what a Stipulated General Judgment and Money Award is. Is it for the reduced amount? If you only have one payment left, why not just wait until that payment is made and then have them dismiss the entire matter so you do not have a Judgment on your credit record? Lots of things to review and talk about, including whether this "non-attorney debt collector" is exceeding their legal authority and/or whether they have a winnable case to begin with. Regardless, the only way to know anything meaningful is for you to review the entire matter, start to now, in detail with a local collections or consumer law attorney and see the best game plan for you is henceforth. Do NOT take your legal advice from the non-attorney debt collectors! They do not have your best interests at heart. Good luck.
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