90% of life (and defending debt buyer lawsuits) is just showing up

Although skeptics argue that Woody Allen’s famous observation over-simplifies the path to success, consumers sued by debt buyers will benefit from following Woody’s advice.

Of course, a debt buyer is a business that purchases debt from the original creditor and then sues consumers to collect the debts. Because the debt buyer did not originate the debt, it is at the mercy of the original creditor to provide it with evidence to prove its case. In some cases, the original creditor doesn’t provide the debt buyer with any evidence of the debt. And when the original creditor does provide evidence, it often is just a single billing statement that was generated long after the account became delinquent.

Although it seems counterintuitive for debt buyers to initiate lawsuits without knowing what, if any, evidence exists to prove their claims, debt buyers nonetheless initiate thousands of lawsuits each month. Why? 95% of collection lawsuits proceed by default and result in judgments being entered against consumers without the debt buyer having to prove its case.  This basic premise is why collecting purchased debt is a thriving sub-industry. Debt buyers know that they can obtain thousands of judgments without having to produce a single piece of evidence.

Which brings me back to Woody. If you are sued by a debt buyer, it is crucial that you show up, or respond to the lawsuit, and engage in the litigation process. This will force the debt buyer to prove its case in court. Often they can’t.

(photo: Wikimedia Commons)