Things to do BEFORE you consult a debt defense attorney

I generally receive upwards of 3 to 7 calls a day from new clients who wish to discuss their debt/collections case with me via a free consultation. Here are some helpful tips and pointers to make the most of your free consultation:

1. Try to call me as soon as possible after you are served with a Summons & Complaint. The earlier I am involved in your case, the more likely it is that you’ll achieve a positive outcome. You have 35 days in NJ to file an Answer to a debt collection complaint. Don’t delay! In the NJ Special Civil Part, default judgments are entered automatically by the Court on the 36th day after you are served with the Complaint. If you try to answer late, the Court will simply reject your papers. Far too many of my clients end up paying me an extra fee to vacate a fairly recent default judgment, which could easily have been avoided had they called me a few days (or weeks) sooner.

2. Before you call, have all of your documents in front of you. It is very helpful if you can quickly provide the docket number (which will start with the letters “DC” for a special civil case, and the letter “L” for a law division case). The docket number is located on the first page of the Complaint to the right of the caption box.  I can quickly look up your case in the court’s computer system and see what the status is if you provide the docket # over the phone. The amount you are being sued for is also VERY important for me to have right away.

3. Let me know the date you were served with the Complaint (i.e, when you signed for the certified mail) or, in a Law Division case with an “L” docket number, the date the sheriff or process server handed you a copy of the Complaint. That way I can know how much time we have to prepare the Answer. My firm can typically prepare an Answer and have same filed within 24 hours, although we of course prefer not to have to rush things (attorneys like to sleep occasionally too, lol. Midnight is not when we prefer to be drafting Answers and defenses).

4. I’d love to have the date you made the last payment on the account. This is important for statute of limitations purposes, and can quickly help me determine if you have a case I can completely win for you (and possible even get you damages of $1000 under the FDCPA from the creditor for suing on a time-barred debt).

5. Let me know the “big picture.” I cannot stress this enough. I need to know immediately if the case you are calling me about is the only delinquent debt you have, or if you also owe 17 other credit cards or loans and 11 of them already have judgments against you. With this background information, I can quickly determine whether it make sense to fight your current debt case, or whether we should discuss a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, which will wipe out forever all of your debts and result in your creditors never being able to collect a single cent from you.

6. This is the most important part: Do not be embarrassed, or feel ashamed that you need help. Let’s face it: our economy is a disaster, our country’s jobs and infrastructure have been gutted and sold down the river, and the ultra-wealthy have never had it better while the middle class has been gutted, abused, and hung out to dry by the political class.

Also do not fall for the absurd nonsense that there is a “moral obligation” to pay old debts. Nothing could be further from the truth. The junk debt buyers suing you paid as little as a 40th of a cent on the dollar to buy your delinquent credit card or loan account, and are nothing but ruthless vultures looking to pick your financial carcass clean. Don’t let them push you around or make you feel guilty.

We’ve all seen Donald Trump brag during the recent presidential debate about “taking advantage of the bankruptcy laws of this country 4 different times” and how “his creditors and lenders were sharks and total killers.

Does he seem embarrassed or ashamed of his debts? Rest assured I’m sure the amounts he owed were far greater than yours, so call me today at 908-782-5313 to discuss your NJ Special Civil Part or Law Division debt collection defense case.

No Comments Yet.

Leave a comment