If you’ve been sued by a debt collector or creditor in Indiana, the first thing you probably wondered while reviewing the summons and complaint is: “what am I going to do?” I can’t emphasize how important it is at this stage to be proactive and take immediate action. You may give up some of your rights if you don’t take action in as little as a week or ten days. For instance, in most small claims courts around the State of Indiana, you lose your right to move the case to a real court if you don’t request it within ten days of receiving the small claims notice of claim. (Note: Small claims courts are essentially collection courts since a huge part of their docket is collection cases. They are generally favorable for debt collectors and unfavorable for consumers. I never, ever, ever, ever want to be in a small claims court if I can help it.) And, you have to respond to a summons and complaint within 20 days or risk a default judgment.
Hiring an attorney to defend you in one of these cases unfortunately costs money. But you might be surprised at how affordable you can obtain representation. Our office handles most of these cases on a flat-fee basis. Depending on the size of the debt, our evaluation of the complexity of the issues of the case, the location of the court where the case is pending, and other factors, the flat fee is generally one to five thousand dollars. Our clients like the flat-fee arrangement because they know just how much the representation will cost. When paying by the hour, you never know just how much the representation will cost until is over.
Personally, these are some of my favorite cases to handle. All too often, debt collectors sue the wrong person or sue on a debt that is past the statute of limitations. They don’t deserve to win, and I enjoy making sure they don’t. Even when they do have the right person and the debt isn’t stale, they very seldom have the documentation they should have in order to file a lawsuit against someone. This is because debt collection is all about volume and minimizing expenses. I understand that debt collection is a business, but that doesn’t mean you can cut whatever corners you like in search of the almighty dollar. I’ve seen too many people’s lives and well-being injured by greedy debt collectors. I don’t think there is much of a difference between a debt collector who sues the wrong person because their practice is to attempt to collect debts without the appropriate documentation and a bus company who injures a customer because they neglected maintenance on their bus.
Another reason I like these cases is because they often lead to lawsuits against the debt collector or the opposing attorney for violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Sometimes, I can even recover some or all of the flat-fee you paid me in the first place!
If you would like to consider hiring the Indiana Consumer Law Group/The Law Office of Robert E. Duff to defend you against a debt collector or creditor lawsuit, please give our office a call at 800-817-0461 and we would be happy to discuss the possibility with you.