When you owe a debt, you may discover that some collectors will use deceptive and unsavory methods to get their funds. However, when they threaten to sue you, this can take a frustrating situation into something much more severe and frightening. Luckily, you can consult a Los Angeles, California debt defense lawyer to help you navigate any issues that arise. Keep reading to learn more about the legality of this situation and your legal options.
Is It Legal for a Collector to Threaten to Sue a Debtor?
You may find that a debt collector has threatened legal action against you. In some instances, this is entirely legal, as a collector can pursue a lawsuit against you. If you do not pay a debt, they can obtain a judgment against you. If this occurs, you may incur wage garnishment or property liens as a means of repaying your collector.
A collector can only threaten to sue you if they have the legal right and intend on filing a lawsuit against you. As such, the following behaviors are violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA):
- Threatening to sue you if they do not have the legal means to do so
- Threatening to sue if they do not have the intention to do so
- Threatening to sue without taking the proper legal steps, like sending a validation notice
- Threatening to sue if the statute of limitations has passed
The FDCPA was enacted to protect consumers from unfair and abusive collection practices. As such, a violation of the FDCPA may allow you to file a lawsuit against the collector to pursue damages.
What Should I Do if They Threaten Legal Action?
If a collector has threatened to sue you, it’s essential to understand that you must take the necessary legal steps to protect yourself. Unfortunately, they may have the legal grounds to take legal action against you, so you must act as though they are serious, even if they are lying.
The first thing you should do is obtain validation of your debt to ensure it is in your name, how much you owe, and how old it is. In California, the statute of limitations for debt is four years, so if the debt is older than that, it has expired. This means they cannot pursue legal action for the debt.
Finally, you’ll need to enlist the assistance of an experienced attorney as soon as possible. They can help you respond to a summons and represent you during a suit. If the collector has not filed a lawsuit, a lawyer will be able to help you take legal action to collect damages for their FDCPA violations.
At LA Legal Solutions, our dedicated legal team will review the details of your case to help you through this complex process. Contact us today to learn more about how our firm can help protect you from unfair collection behaviors.