Financial challenges face many North Carolina residents, with unemployment and unexpected expenses as two of the more typical reasons why people find themselves with significant credit card debt and barely able to make the minimum monthly payments. When even that becomes too much, it’s not long before creditors start calling and sending demand letters. When there is simply no money to pay the debt, it is understandable to try and ignore the problem, but that will only serve to make matters worse. Debt collectors can and often do file lawsuits, and it’s important to respond if that happens.
Debt collectors tend to be a persistent bunch and often inundate debtors with correspondence that may go unread. Ultimately, depending on the nature and amount of the debt and the particular collection company, a lawsuit may be filed, but the debtor must be properly served before the suit can proceed. Debt consultants can explain that ignoring the lawsuit will result in a default judgment in which the debt collector will get everything it asks for in the lawsuit. An answer to the lawsuit must be filed by the debtor.
An answer allows the debtor to bring any legal argument available as to why he or she does not owe the money alleged by the collection company. It’s important to remember that the plaintiff in the lawsuit has the burden of proof. This requires a showing of how and when the debt was originally acquired, a precise accounting of any fees or interest charged since then, and a chain of custody of the debt if it was bought and sold through various prior debt companies.
This can be a lot for the average person to handle, and in fact, many times the debt is legitimate. Under those circumstances, a consultation with a bankruptcy lawyer might help in understanding one’s rights and responsibilities.