I have very frequently met clients and others who were sued by debt collectors in the past and simply did not defend themselves. The result was that a judgment was entered against them, a black mark was recorded against their credit report, and very often their bank accounts or pay checks were seized without warning. In other words, settling or not defending simply hastened the results they feared the most. Why did they do it? Why did they give up, even in some cases where they felt certain that they did not owe the money.
Most of the people to whom I have spoken have failed to defend themselves because they did not know they could. They thought it was too hard to do it themselves and too expensive to hire a lawyer.
I think the story goes further, though. I think a lot of people feel guilty about owing money, or they feel like failures because they have been unable to pay money they owed. They view the lawsuit as punishment they deserve because of their failures, and so they allow the company to take a judgment against them.
Debt collectors are not motivated by justice or rightness, fairness, or anything at all other than profit. They seek to maximize the money they make from you, and they don’t care if you truly owe it or cannot pay without sacrificing your family. This is simply the law of the jungle in effect: they’ll eat you if they can. You have a right to defend yourself, and no one will take that responsibility if you do not. If you’ll just take a minute to consider seriously whether you deserve to have them collect money from you and ruin you financially, it will be obvious. Just asking the question is enough. So defend yourself if you can.
And if your heart bleeds for the collectors at all, just remember that they paid only a few cents on the dollar for the debt they intend to collect from you. They knew in advance that the debt was “distressed.” They make their livings off your feelings of guilt and weakness. You can go to my website at http://YourLegalLegUp.com for materials that will help you defend yourself from these predators.