First off, always open a letter from a creditor. Never ignore it because you don’t want to face the bad news.
If the letter is a summons to court, don’t make the biggest mistake of your life by not showing up! This is so important, and here’s why…
The vast majority of the time, if you show up and say the magic words, the entire case will be dropped and YOU WILL PAY NOTHING.
But if you don’t show up, then the creditor automatically wins, and then they have the right to claw money right out of your paycheck and/or claw money right out of your bank account. You won’t find out until pay day when you see that your check is not enough to live on. And it gets worse…
The creditor typically adds attorney fees and interest to the balance — plunging you even further into debt!
And to think that you could have paid $0 if only you’d shown up in court and said the magic words.
One study shows that 90% of people who receive a summons never show up. Maybe they didn’t open the letter. Maybe they were “busy.” Maybe they’d given up hope. Listen, my friends, don’t let that be YOU.
Show up. Wear your nicest business attire. A button down shirt, slacks, a skirt or dress, a business jacket if you’ve got one. Your best shoes. No tee shirts and flip flops. Present yourself like a financially responsible person.
When it’s your turn to speak, say these magic words: “Prove the case.” That’s right, it’s as simple as that.
I would phrase it like this: “Your Honor, I don’t believe I owe $3,495 (or whatever they’re alleging you owe). I would like for them to prove the case with the original documentation and a detailed explanation of how they got that balance.”
If you think you might be too nervous (or intimated) to remember that, write it down ahead of time and read it when you get there.
The overwhelming chances are that the representative showing up in court will not have proper documentation. Did you get that? Almost every time, at that point, the case against the debtor is dropped.
Just think, instead of owing $3,495 + $500 attorney fees + 24% interest, you could owe NOTHING.
I am sick and tired of hearing stories about good people who lost their jobs, had a medical emergency, are working for minimum wage while trying to take care of their children, and then got intimidated by a greedy creditor who doubled what they owe– supposedly — without ever showing the proper paperwork to prove it. And don’t get me started today about how they paid one penny on the dollar to buy the debt!
There is no reason why they can’t offer you a deep discount/settlement and still make a profit.
So again, don’t let that letter go unopened. And don’t fail to show up in court if you receive a summons.
Thank you for reading! If you’d like to pick up a copy of Repair Your Credit Like the Pros, you can find it here.