Help me navigate a debt collection nightmare.
March 2, 2012 12:58 PM Subscribe
Hive mind, help me navigate a debt collection nightmare. Details inside.
I will first say that yes, I know that if you respond to this question, YANML.
(I am already seeking legal help, but I will not have that opportunity until next week and I value the input of this group)
I’m in the middle of a debt collection nightmare that came to my attention mid last month.
- I live in Cook County, IL
- In February, I was unexpectedly served a Summons and Verified Complaint by an officer who came to my home.
- The lawsuit was filed by a debt collector seeking a judgment for ~$2,000 + court costs and allowable interest for a debt I was not aware of and do not know if it is mine.
- I was able to learn that that the original creditor was a credit card company that I not believe I ever opened an account with. I called that credit card company and was told that they could not tell me anything about the account because it was sold to collections.
- Attached to the complaint was an unsigned photocopy of the ‘original creditors cardmember agreement’. The complaint said it was attached only to support their claims for attorney’s fees and court costs.
- I responded to the complaint by filing an Appearance and an Answer before the deadline last month.
- In my Answer, I simply listed the items within the complaint and indicated that I did not have enough information to Affirm or Deny those items.
- I sent copies of my Appearance and Answer via certified mail to the plaintiff's attorney listed on the Summons.
- I was given a court date for next week and plan to appear. It is Pre Se court, so I will be representing myself.
I have no idea what to expect or what to do next. I really don’t believe that this debt is actually mine and fear the possibility that I might show up to court next week and lose this case just because I don’t fully understand the legal system or what to say to the judge. My hope is that by responding via my answer that “I did not have enough information to Affirm or Deny the items”, that the burden of proof will be on the plaintiff and his attorney. I know that debt collectors will by unpaid debts for pennies on the dollar from credit card companies and then file lawsuits that most people do not respond to (and then lose by default).
Does anyone have any practical advice (besides see a lawyer asap) or anecdotal experience to share that may help me deal with this until I get my legal consultation next week?