Dena Standley | October 19, 2022
Summary: Is Client Services, Inc. suing you for a debt? SoloSuit can help you take a stand and win in court.
The American debt collection industry is booming with no sign of slowing. Over 7,000 collection agencies, valued at $18.8 billion, reap roughly $13.4 billion in annual revenue. Your creditor will probably contact you if you fall behind on a bill for the first time. If the account goes unpaid for a while, it's often transferred to a debt collector. One of these collection agencies is Client Services, Inc., commonly referred to as CSI.
The federal government, however, offers substantial protection for consumers. According to the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, collection agencies are barred from using abusive or threatening language, harassing customers, or providing misleading information about their debt. FCRA governs how debt collectors and creditors report delinquent debts to credit reporting agencies.
Debt collection involves knowing your rights. Below, we'll discuss how you can beat a debt collector like Client Services.
Client Services, Inc. (CSI) is a debt collection company based in St. Charles, Missouri, with an office in Kansas Lenexa. It collects on many types of accounts, including auto loans, student loans, credit cards, healthcare, and more.
CSI may appear on your credit report as a collection account. Client Services gets an A+ rating on the BBB website despite 60 complaints. Consumers report being contacted about debts they do not recognize, being told an incorrect amount on their accounts, and incessant calls from CSI. While most complaints involved billing and collections, 14 complaints also included customer service issues. CSI has also been the subject of 53 complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). A search of Justia lists at least 20 civil litigation cases involving CSI.
Since it's pretty common for CSI to contact consumers about debts they do not recognize (or even debts they have already paid off), it's important for you to verify the debt before taking any action.
No matter how you receive the debt collection notice, verify the amount, the date of the debt, and any other pertinent information. To do this, send a Debt Validation Letter to CSI before taking any other action. It's your right under the Fair Debt Collection Practices to request debt validation. CSI must respond within 30 days of receiving the letter, and failure to do so means they can no longer contact you about the debt.
The collector must prove you owe the debt in writing. If the creditor cannot verify the money owed by providing accurate documentation, including proof of the amount, account numbers, and ownership of the debt, you have a solid chance to remove the information from your credit report. You might also want to keep an eye out for outlandish late fees or extra interest that the original lender or credit card issuer may add to the actual debt amount. You can also negotiate for a significant reduction of these fees, if not eliminated entirely.
Most debt collection agencies give up after receiving a request for debt validation. To them, it's not worth it to spend the time and resources required to prove the debt is valid. This makes the Debt Validation Letter a strong tool to use in beating CSI. SoloSuit's founder explains the process of making a Debt Validation Letter in this video:
Debt collectors have a reputation for breaking agreements, making false promises, and even clearing out people's bank accounts, which can wreck your finances. Making verbal-only agreements over the phone with debt collectors can lead to all of the above.
Request an email or certified copy of everything they send you for proof. Without a written agreement, you have no way of proving a contract existed at all. If you confirm you owe the debt, gather all the records related to that debt so that you can defend yourself if necessary.
Clients Services Inc. may have already sued you. If this is the case, you should have received a court Summons and Complaint. These are legal documents that notify you of the suit and list each specific claim that CSI is making against you. The first step to beating Client Services Inc. in court is to file a written Answer with the court.
When drafting an Answer, keep it simple. This isn't your place to give your side of the story in elaborate detail because the burden of proof is not on you at this stage in the lawsuit. Instead, just answer each allegation listed in the Complaint document (these are usually found in a numbered list) with one of the following answers:
Most attorneys recommend that you deny as many allegations as possible. This requires more work on CSI's part to prove their case. They might even prefer to dismiss the case than go to the trouble of proving all their claims.
Speaking of attorneys, you might think you need to hire one to draft and file your Answer for you. SoloSuit helps you represent yourself, which saves you money and the trouble of finding a lawyer. In fact, you can make a free Answer on SoloSuit's website in less than 15 minutes. Here are 6 tips for drafting the best Answer possible (to learn more about these tips, check out the video below):
Finally, make sure to file your Answer with the court and send a copy of it to the attorney representing Client Services. SoloSuit can also help you file your Answer, with an attorney reviewing it before send-off.
Debt collection agencies, such as Client Services, Inc., may use a variety of unlawful and questionable actions to get you to pay off your debt. In attempting to collect a debt, they might threaten you, lie to you, or even use profanity when speaking with you about it. CSI is known to call at all hours of the day, even before 8 am and after 9 pm. They might even contact your family, friends, or employer about your debt. You should know that these tactics are all violations of the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). You could countersue and win up to $1000 per each of CSI's violations of the FDCPA.
In your Answer, you should list any of these violations as part of your affirmative defenses section. An affirmative defense is any reason that CSI's case is invalid, and abuse or harassment is a great defense to strengthen your side of the case. Here are some other common affirmative defenses you might consider listing on your Answer:
Did you know you can negotiate with debt collectors? After you've filed your Answer, send a Debt Lawsuit Settlement Letter to Client Services to start the negotiation process. Try offering $250 as a settlement, for instance, if you owe $1000. Most times, collection agencies purchase old debts from various companies after those companies have written the debt off. An important caveat in negotiating older debts is knowing the statute of limitations in your state. If the debt is nearing the statute of limitations, it will fall off your credit report on its own unless you take some action that restarts the clock on the debt.
As a result, even if the settlement amount seems small, keep in mind that the collection agency will be happy as long as they make a return on their investment. A payment plan is often possible with agencies, but a lump sum is required. You can ask the creditor to remove the negative item from your credit report if the debt remains on your credit report after you have paid it. Learn more about negotiating a settlement from SoloSuit's founder here:
You can't trust what they say. We know debt collectors for making false threats, lying to you, and telling you anything they need to say to get you to pay the debt.
Record the Conversation–Record calls with debt collectors if you have to deal with them over the phone. In 35 states and the District of Columbia, recording phone conversations is legal. If the other party permits you, you can record in the other 15 states. Once you tell a debt collector, you will record him and continue speaking; that is considered consent. But debt collectors usually hang up at that point.
Avoid hiding money–If you owe a collection agency money or assets, hiding them is illegal. It's also best not to share personal information, such as bank accounts or credit card numbers.
Do not apply for new credit lines. When you cannot pay your current creditors, you should be wary of using new lines of credit.
Please don't ignore them–It is up to you how to handle the situation but ignoring it will not make it go away. You set yourself up for a potential lawsuit if you ignore them.
Knowing your state's limitations period is essential. States have different limitations periods of debt. When debt reaches a certain age, it's considered a "zombie debt," which no longer requires payment. The age limit varies between 4-6 years, depending on the state.
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
You can ask your questions on the SoloSuit forum and the community will help you out. Whether you need help now or are just looking for support, we're here for you.
Here's a list of guides for other states.
Being sued by a different debt collector? Were 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.