How best to defend against a creditor/collection agency in court?

UPDATED: Sep 9, 2010

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How best to defend against a creditor/collection agency in court?

Highly in debt ($150,000) due to helping family business keep operating. Trying to work out settlements; accounts are being charged off; one sent to lawyer for collecections. Sent them reponse after they filed intent to sue in court. They sent back tons of paperwork with a copy of papers that they are going to file for the judge to automatically rule in their favor. They say that I didn’t respond right away. Not sure if they are 3rd party or representing creditor. Will find out. Should I request a copy of the signed agreement with them to prove that I owe money (I do owe but minus all the charges). If it is a 3rd party I don’t owe them only my direct creditor right?

Asked on September 9, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Ohio


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

First of all, if your creditor sold your debt to a collection agency then you now owe repayment of the to that debt collector, not your original creditor. However, there are several defenses that you can put forth on your behalf. For example has the statute of limitations run on the time in which a suit can be brought; is the entity suing you licensed to do business in your state; did you receive proper service of process for the court summons, etc?

Here are 2 site links that you may find to be of use: ;  Technically they cover NY courts but most of the general information is valid in other states.

Note: Regarding the statute of limitations, the period starts from the date of last activity on your account.  However, be aware that last activity can include any promise you made to pay in full or in part (even if you never did pay). In fact, just acknowledging that you owe money can count toward starting the limitations period anew.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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