George Simons | September 16, 2022
Summary: Bad things will probably happen if you never answer debt collectors—lawsuits, poor credit scores, anxiety, and more. But with the right tools, you might dodge a bullet. Use SoloSuit to answer a collector in just a few minutes.
When it comes to communicating with a debt collector, the old adage, “you can run, but you can't hide” is applicable. The truth is that, nowadays, it is virtually impossible to ignore a debt collector entirely.
Even if you let all of their phone calls go to voicemail, debt collectors are relentless and may try to contact you online through social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Ignoring or blocking a debt collector will likely result in a collections lawsuit filed against you in court. You can avoid a lawsuit by requesting a debt verification and sending a Debt Validation Letter.
Once a lawsuit is filed, the debt collector hopes that you won't respond in time so they can file a motion for default judgment against you. If the court grants this motion, the debt collector can garnish your wages and seize your property. This is why you need to be proactive and respond to the debt collector or debt collection lawsuit immediately. You may discover that the debt collector is suing the wrong person or that your debt is past the statute of limitations.
This article outlines five reasons why ignoring a debt collector can hurt you. We will also discuss what happens if you never pay collections. Let's jump right in.
The credit bureaus are a dangerous weapon in debt collectors' hands. When a debt goes into collections, there is a high chance that the creditor will report it to Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
Your repayment history plays a massive role in determining your credit worthiness. As soon as the delinquent account appears on your credit report, you can expect your credit score to take a nosedive. Even if you work out a payment plan with the creditor, there is a chance that the delinquent account will still ding your credit, even if just for a limited time. A collection account, like other negative marks, will stay on your credit score for up to seven years.
With bad credit, every aspect of your financial life suffers. You may have difficulty renting an apartment, accessing low interest credit, convincing prospective employers, etc. Sadly, many consumers ignore collections for amounts as low as $25, allowing it to negatively impact their credit score and cause long-term damage to their financial health.
If you ignore a debt collector and do not repay the debt, not only will the principal amount remain the same, but the amount you owe will probably continue to increase because of accruing interest, late fees and penalties. Some debt collection companies even tack on the expenses they've incurred in an effort to collect on the debt. If you're sued for the debt, you will also have to pay for court costs and attorney fees.
If you ignore a debt collector, they do not disappear. In fact, some aggressive debt collectors will reach out to your friends, family, and neighbors. You may be asking yourself, “Is that even legal?” Well, the Fair Debt Collectin Practice Act § 805 (3)(b) states:
“Except as provided in section 1692b of this title, without the prior consent of the consumer given directly to the debt collector, or the express permission of a court of competent jurisdiction, or as reasonably necessary to effectuate a postjudgment judicial remedy, a debt collector may not communicate, in connection with the collection of any debt, with any person other than the consumer, his attorney, a consumer reporting agency if otherwise permitted by law, the creditor, the attorney of the creditor, or the attorney of the debt collector.”
This means that a debt collector can only contact you, your attorney, the creditor that's suing you and their attorney, or the attorney of the debt collector suing you. That being said, a debt collector can contact third parties such as neighbors, relatives, or even your employer—but only in an effort to track you down. The law does not allow a debt collector to disclose the fact that you owe a debt or to discuss your finances with third parties.
If a debt collector has discussed your debt with family members or friends, they are in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and you may be entitled to compensation. Report this behavior to the CFPB, FTC, or your state's attorney general.
Trying to avoid communicating with a debt collector often makes people anxious, concerned, and stressed out. It can be difficult to speak with a debt collector, but actively avoiding contact with the debt collector can be just as stress-inducing.
What happens if debt collectors can't find you? If a debt collector is unable to find you, don't think you are in the clear. If you continue to ignore communicating with the debt collector, they will likely file a collections lawsuit against you in court. If you are served with a lawsuit and ignore this court filing, the debt collection company will be able to get a default judgment against you. Once a default judgment is entered, the debt collector can garnish your wages, seize personal property, and have money taken out of your bank account..
Like we said earlier, you can run, but you cannot hide from debt collectors. Here is the bottom line: ignoring a debt collector is almost always a bad decision. Why? Because, as we discussed above, ignoring the debt collector typically worsens the situation and does not lead to a resolution. Ignoring the debt does not make it go away. This is why it is important to take action if you are contacted by a debt collector or served with a debt collections lawsuit.
SoloSuit makes it easy to fight debt collectors.
You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit, to send letters to collectors, and even to settle a debt.
SoloSuit's Answer service is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your Answer. Upon completion, we'll have an attorney review your document and we'll file it for you.
"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 is an overview of what you need to do if you are sued by a debt collector:
In your Answer, make sure to raise any applicable affirmative defenses (e.g., the statute of limitations) and demand that the debt collection company prove that you are responsible for the specific amount owed. These are examples of strategies you can use to defeat a debt collector in court.
Watch this video to learn more about how to respond to a debt collection lawsuit:
The best way to respond to a debt collector is with a Debt Validation Letter. A Debt Validation Letter is a powerful document that stops debt collectors in their tracks by citing the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and requiring them to show validation of the debt. In the letter, you can also dispute the debt, force the collector to report the debt as disputed to the credit bureaus, and force them to stop contacting you. It's powerful.
All of SoloSuit's documents are designed with the average consumer in mind. When dealing with debt collectors, pick the document that best works for your situation. If you are unsure which is right, you reach out to our customer support line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have to run from debt collectors, run to SoloSuit. The best way to fight against debt collection companies is to know your rights. SoloSuit compiles those rights for you while helping thousands of consumers win debt-collection lawsuits.
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.