Chloe Meltzer | October 19, 2022
Summary: Is Malcolm S. Gerald and Associates taking you to court over a delinquent account? Find out how you can win.
Being called by a debt collector is one of the most uncomfortable and stressful things that can occur to a consumer. When these calls progress often they can result in a lawsuit. Lawsuits for debt are incredibly common. More than 70 million Americans have dealt with debt collectors, and many of these people have felt threatened by these agencies. This is because collection agencies often use language that can be scary. In some cases you might even be threatened to have your wages and bank accounts garnished, or assets taken from you.
Many consumers simply hope it will go away, but this is not common. It is essential to understand who you are dealing with and the situation at hand. Then you can understand what actions you need to take, and your ability to fight the lawsuit as well.
Malcolm S. Gerald and Associates, Inc. is a collection agency. The head office is in Chicago, Illinois and has been collecting debts from consumer for decades. It is important to be aware of the fact that Malcolm S. Gerald and Associates, Inc. has been sued for breaking FDCPA guidelines various times. In fact, according to the Better Business Bureau, Malcolm S. Gerald and Associates have had 22 complaints filed in the last 3 years. All the reviews are negative.
All debt collectors must adhere to a set of laws that govern the way they may treat you as a consumer. If you decide to hire an attorney, they must stop contacting you. You can send a cease and desist letter as well. If the harassment continues then you can countersue. If you win, then you may be awarded up to $1,000 per FDCPA violation. You may also sue for damages, court costs, and attorney's fees.
Despite this, there is a set of tasks you should go through in order to respond, and beat Malcolm S. Gerald and Associates in court.
The number one mistake that many consumers make is not responding to the notice of being sued. This will arrive as a summons and complaint. If you cannot pay for the debt, then you might assume that there is nothing you can do. This is not the case. You must respond regardless of if you cannot pay for the debt.
If you fail to respond to a debt collection lawsuit, then you will be given a default judgment placed against you. This is a very bad situation, as it opens up new avenues of collection for the debt collector. After a default judgment is obtained the debt collector may garnish your wages, take money from your bank account, or even come after you for fees, court costs, or interest to the balance.
This should be filed within 20 to 30 days from the date on the notice. Missing the deadline essentially means that you are ignoring the summons. This is why you must file an Answer.
After the lawsuit is filed, then the matter will go before the court. Once this occurs it means you can no longer respond via phone or letter. At this point, you must file your legal “Answer”. Be sure not to admit liability for the debt in your answer because this can be used as evidence. Instead, force the creditor to prove your responsibility for it.
Next, you should file this Answer with the Clerk of Court, and ensure you obtain a stamped copy. Then you can send the stamped copy certified mail to the plaintiff.
Another way that you can respond to a debt lawsuit is to challenge the legal right to sue. The reason you might want to do this is that by the time a debt reaches this point, it has been sold one or more times.
Whoever owns the debt should have proof that they can legally sue you for that debt. The debt collector must prove that they have a credit agreement signed by you, as well as documentation of the chain of custody of all paperwork. Essentially, this is proof that the paperwork is accurate.
If you do not respond, then the judge may not be aware of this information. If you are silent on the matter, it will be an admission of responsibility for the debt. If you ask for documentation, then you most likely will have your request accepted.
The company suing you for debt must prove three things:
Requiring proof of how much you owe is one of the best ways to defend yourself from a collection lawsuit. This is because accounts often change hands many times. In many cases, the creditor may not be able to come up with the proof of your lawsuit.
The statute of limitations is a set of laws that governs how long creditors have to bring a lawsuit to the court regarding a debt. These rules govern how long you can be sued. It is different in every state but is typically between four and six years. The statute of limitations starts on the last day you were active on an account. This could mean:
Deciding what to do in terms of a debt lawsuit can be difficult. In some cases, you might want to file a countersuit if Malcolm S. Gerald and Associates crossed the line and overstepped FDCPA regulations. In other cases, you may decide to simply fight the lawsuit, but at the last resort, you may decide to file for bankruptcy. Whichever you decide to do, always attempt to fight and ask for proof of your debt lawsuit. You never know what information Malcolm S. Gerald and Associates have, and what countersuits you may be able to file.
SoloSuit makes it easy to respond to a debt collection lawsuit.
How it works: SoloSuit is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your answer. Upon completion, you can either print the completed forms and mail in the hard copies to the courts or you can pay SoloSuit to file it for you and to have an attorney review the document.
"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James
Here's a list of guides for other states.
Being sued by a different debt collector? We're making guides on how to beat each one.
Is your credit card company suing you? Learn how you can beat each one.
Need more info on statutes of limitations? Read our 50-state guide.
Need help managing your finances? Check out these resources.