Owing debt is stressful enough. However, when a collector threatens to take legal action against you, this stressful situation can become severe. The last thing you need on your mind is a lawsuit over a debt. However, this may not always be what it seems. Did a debt collector threaten to sue you? If so, you’ll want to keep reading to learn whether or not this is legal and how a California debt collection harassment lawyer can assist you through these challenging times.
Is It Legal for a Collector to Threaten to Sue Me?
If a debt collector has threatened to sue you, it may or may not be legal, depending on the circumstances.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a set of laws that regulate how a third-party collector can interact with consumers. As such, the following behaviors are prohibited :
- Misrepresenting themselves as a member of law enforcement or an attorney
- Threatening to sue if they have no legal means to
- Threatening to sue you if they have no intention to
- Threatening to sue you before you’ve had the opportunity to validate or dispute the debt
- Threatening to sue for more than what you owe
However, if a collector has taken the necessary steps to validate the debt and given you ample time to dispute the debt, they may threaten to sue if they have the legal means and intent to do so.
What Should I Do if a Debt Collector Threatens Legal Action?
If a debt collector has threatened to take legal action against you for a debt you owe, it’s essential to act quickly. You must treat this like a legitimate warning, even if you believe they are lying to get you to pay them.
The first thing you must do is ask for a validation notice. This will provide information about the debt, such as the original creditor and how much you owe. Similarly, it will tell you when the debt was taken out. This is essential, as the debt in question may be past the statute of limitations for collection, which is four years in California. Once the debt has expired, a collector can no longer legally file a lawsuit or pursue collections.
Finally, you’ll need to retain the assistance of an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. Unfortunately, this process can be overwhelming and confusing if you’re unfamiliar with how to proceed. As such, an experienced attorney can help you respond if you’ve been served papers. Similarly, they can help you recover damages if you’ve endured an FDCPA violation.
At Loker Law, we understand how terrifying the threat of a lawsuit can be. That’s why we’re dedicated to representing you when facing legal action over a debt. Contact us today to learn how we can assist you during these challenging and uncertain times.