Dena Standley | October 19, 2022
Summary: First Progress might seem like a good solution to build you credit, but if you fall behind on your payment and they come after you for your debt, SoloSuit can help.
Getting credit can be a chicken-and-egg scenario. You can't get credit cards and loans if you have bad credit or no credit, but you can't build your credit without a credit card or loan. Secured credit cards, like First Progress, are a win-win: the lender takes almost no risk, and you build your credit history.
But life happens. You miss your minimum monthly payment, and your card issuer calls you. If you don't pay for at least six months, your issuer may pass it along to one of over 7,000 third-party collection agencies active in the US. If you are among the one in three Americans with delinquent debt, understanding your rights and how to get help when you are in need is a big step in the right direction.
If you owe a credit card debt to First Progress, they might have sold the debt to a collection agency that will contact you aggressively until the debt is satisfied. From the complaints on Better Business Bureau, it's clear First Progress has a history of harassment and rudeness too. The following actions may help you defend against a creditor or debt collector who sues you for credit card debt.
You shouldn't assume that a debt is valid just because it appears in the court Complaint of the company suing you. If you are sued for credit card debt, it is advisable to ask the collector for proof that the debt belongs to you. Debt collectors and creditors sometimes sue by mistake.
There may also be inconsistencies in debt collection lawsuits (e.g., incorrect information about the balance, dates of late payments, etc.) and, occasionally, fraud. Creditors, collection agencies, and debt collection attorneys often make mistakes in the details.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act permits you to demand proof of debt in writing. This proof is known as a debt validation, and creditors/collectors should send it to you within 5 days of initially contacting you about a debt. If they don't, you can demand that they validate the debt by sending them a Debt Validation Letter. If First Progress contacts you about a debt that you think is invalid (i.e. wrong amount, past the statute of limitations, fraud, etc.), send them a Debt Validation Letter, before they file a suit against you, at the following address:
First Progress Card
P.O. Box 9053
Johnson City, TN
If First Progress is suing you, pay close attention to the details when you receive the court paperwork. The court Summons and Complaint outline several important points such as the deadline for you to respond (14-30 days, depending on which state you live in), the contact info for the attorney representing First Progress, the specific allegations against you, etc. Since you only have 30 days at most to respond, the first step to take is filing your Answer with the court and sending it to the opposing attorney. Failing to respond can result in a default judgment, which can cause further financial problems like wage garnishment.
Even though laws differ from state to state, First Progress may not use unfair practices like adding fees and interest on top of what you owe (since they're already making a profit), nor can they take your property without a court order. They may, however, take advantage of the legal system in unexpected ways, such as suing you or freezing your assets.
Once you've filed your response, here are some other potential actions to consider.
It is possible to negotiate with credit card companies. After filing your Answer in court, you should determine if you have the means to settle the defaulted credit card debt. This option may or may not be affordable, depending on how much debt you owe. But a settlement may save you a lot of money, not to mention the hassle and stress of fighting a debt collection company. Send a Debt Lawsuit Settlement Letter to get started.
Collectors often purchase debts from First Progress for pennies on the dollar. Because of this, collectors usually accept a settlement offer of less than the original amount. If a debt collection agency is suing you for your First Progress debt, they will usually accept a settlement of 10-60% of the debt. So, if you owe a debt of $1000, you can likely negotiate a settlement of $100-$600.
If the original creditor is suing you, or First Progress, in this case, you can likely work out a settlement of around 20-70% of the debt. In this instance, if you owe a debt of $1000, you can likely negotiate a settlement of $200-$700.
Here are some tips and tricks to help you negotiate the ideal settlement for you:
Be careful what you sign and agree to, if you choose to negotiate a settlement the last thing you want is to relinquish any rights or to agree to a judgment by accident, nor do you want to sign something you can't afford. Seek legal advice if you plan to speak to your creditors independently.
SoloSuit's CEO, George Simons, explains the best tactics to use when negotiating a debt settlement:
If your credit card debt has already defaulted before your trial date, there might be another viable option for you. You can set up a debt management plan (DMP) with the help of a certified credit counselor to pay off your credit card debt. A credit counseling agency can negotiate with creditors on your behalf when you sign up for a DMP.
Creditors might waive late fees, lower interest rates, or adjust payment amounts occasionally. You may also add other unsecured debts to the DMP, and you will make a single, consolidated payment each month to the credit counseling agency.
A creditor might accept a DMP and drop their collection activity under certain circumstances. It's essential to act quickly if you decide to establish a DMP. Doing so allows your creditors to be notified in writing and helps stop further collection activity, which may help relieve much of the stress you might be feeling.
The Federal Reserve Board published that, in October 2020, 21.3% of credit card applications were denied. By applying for a secured card, you can build your credit in a few months so that you can use it for an unsecured card that offers lower interest rates and greater rewards. Renting an apartment, buying or leasing a vehicle, getting a mortgage, or even some jobs may be impacted by your credit.
Review your credit report at least once a year to reduce unexpected collection calls. Sometimes, people are unaware of how much debt they owe. Every year, each of the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) offers a free copy of your credit report.
Keeping a close eye on the shape of your financial health will help you repair existing credit problems or avoid them altogether.
Attorneys can be hard to find and very expensive. In some cases, it costs more to hire an attorney than to pay off the debt. Thanks to SoloSuit, you can represent yourself in a debt lawsuit and win.
Check out this flowchart that outlines all the possible routes a debt lawsuit can take:
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.