I received a letter from a debt collection law firm here in California on a credit card debt that I was unable to pay. Right now, I don’t have the money to settle it and I am pretty sure they will sue me if I don’t do something. I don’t want to file bankruptcy for a couple of debts. Is there anything I can do to delay (or prevent) the lawsuit, such as by sending them a “cease and desist letter” or asking them to verify the debt? I’ve also seen letters on the internet that ask for a list of things, which may take them some time to answer.
It would be a pretty neat trick to imagine what you–the consumer–could do, other than settling, to delay a credit card lawsuit, when it is in the hands of a California debt collection attorney. Unless you have a substantial dispute, such as identity theft or not your account, I don’t see your writing a letter will delay the lawyer’s filing the debt collection lawsuit against you.
In fact, I suspect it could have the opposite effect. Your letter may get answered in a few days with a standard form letter by the lawyer, then your file is at the top of the pile of debtors they will sue this week. The long letters with lots of demands and questions on them are not worth anything, as the law does not require them to answer most (if any) those annoying questions. Unless you’re the victim of identity theft or they sent the letter to the wrong person, writing a verification or cease letter does virtually nothing to slow down their filing suit against you, if your number is up.
No one really knows and each law firm may have different procedures on when they file suit. Some may have a first come first serve basis. Others may select the cases to sue based on how close the statute of limitations is to expiring. Still others may select them by size of the debt and by whether they believe you are more likely to have a decent paying job or a home with equity that they can attach.
Debt collection is all about numbers, which is why it probably does not matter whether you write a letter or not. If your number is next, they will respond to the letter then file the credit card lawsuit and serve you with it. Please be sure you know what to do next, by reading my blog posting: http://www.stopthecase.com/blog/?p=121
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