How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dwayne B. Your Own Question
Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 32369
Experience:  Practicing for over 20 years and handled many cases and trials for consumers.
11068102
Type Your Consumer Protection Law Question Here...
Dwayne B. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I am being sued debt over 7 years. Collector unwilling to

Customer Question

I am being sued for a debt over 7 years. Collector unwilling to negotiate fair settlement. Debt is for a security system which stopped working a year after purchased.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 10 months ago.

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Also, I can only answer the questions you specifically ask and based on the facts that you give so please be sure that you ask the questions you want to ask and provide all necessary facts.

Is there a specific question with which I could assist?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Ehat options do I have in defense of the debt?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
The collector has a phone number in which they claimed to have contacted me but the number used is a number I had at a fomer address-never associated with the address for the security system.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 10 months ago.

I don't do telephone calls, sorry. I can continue to try and assist in this format or I can opt out and open it back up to other experts, whichever you prefer.

Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 10 months ago.

Please let me know which you would prefer.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Ok will continue in this forma
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 10 months ago.

Great!

With the limited facts you provided and using this type of forum I can't identify all possible defenses simply because it takes a complete and thorough evaluation of all of the facts and circumstances.

However, the statute of limitations in Massachusetts is only six years so that should be something you can use effectively.

Are you being sued by the security company or by a collection agency?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
A collection agency
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 10 months ago.

Let me suggest you pick up a copy of an ebook that is both inexpensive and very helpful. It is at http://www.lessonsinlaw.com/the-guerrilla-guides-to-the-law/the-guerrilla-guide-to-how-to-fight-a-debt-collection-lawsuit/

That same company also does one on small claims court and on discovery but try this one first to see if you like the style.

The book lists out many potential defenses and examples of how they apply and also explains about your pleadings.

You will start by filing your answer to them, but let me give you the general outline to how a lawsuit works. In this case you will be the Defendant since you are the one being sued.

A lawsuit generally follows this process:

1) File the petition in the court with jurisdiction and venue. The court with jurisdiction and venue is usually where the defendant resides or has their place of business. You also have to look at the amount you intend to sue for to determine what court is correct

2) When you file the petition with the clerk of courts you will pay the filing fee and also ask for citation to be issued and service to be done. The clerk doesn't serve the papers so ask them if you have to take them to the sheriff's office for service or if they will do it. Just follow their directions as to that.

3) The sheriff will serve the defendant with the lawsuit.

4) The defendant will file their answer.

5) You can then do some discovery if necessary but you will need to check with the clerk and ask if your court allows discovery. Some small claims courts do not.

6) After that the next step is to set the case for trial.

7) During the trial you introduce your evidence and they introduce theirs.

8) The judge renders a judgment and a written order is entered.

That is the basic process of a lawsuit.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
But I'm not the one suing I am trying to defend myself against a suit. How does this info help me
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 10 months ago.

That information I gave you is just general info, it is the way the lawsuit will proceed.

The statute of limitations is a defense which means only a defendant, the one being sued, can use it.

Usually collection agencies have problems proving 1) that a debt is owed, 2) that you owe the debt, and 3) that they have the right to collect the debt. If they can't prove these then they can't win their case.

Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 10 months ago.

However, you have to be able to challenge them on these issues. This is done in a variety of ways including a Motion for Summary Judgment, a Motion to Dismiss (less often), or at trial.

You will also have to do discovery to find out what evidence they do have to support these three things. All of these are covered in that book or you can find by doing research either in the case law or on the internet, but you have to be careful what you find on the internet because many people put information out there that is just wrong.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I understand much clearer now. Got the book. Thanks
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 10 months ago.

You're very welcome.

Best wishes to you and please don't forget to leave a Positive Rating so I receive credit for my work.

When you issue your positive rating that locks the question open and it will no longer time out. If you happen to think of another follow up later you can come back to this thread.

Related Consumer Protection Law Questions