What is the risk of suing a collection agency?
So here’s a common scenario: you have a debt collector who’s bothering you and being so rude and deceitful that you’re virtually certain they must be breaking some law. But there’s one problem: you do actually owe the money. At least, you owed the money to the original creditor, and they seem pretty sure about their right to collect from you. If you sue them in Alabama under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, what will happen? Can they turn right around and sue you for the money you owe? It is possible, but unlikely. Particularly if your lawyer knows what he is doing.
As I’ve written before, debt collectors very often don’t have the witnesses and documents necessary to prove their case. So even if they do counterclaim, they may not win anything on the counterclaim. Sure, they could pony up and hire a real litigator to play hardball, but that rarely happens. Why? Because litigation is expensive, and debt collectors hate spending money. Their business is taking money in, not putting it out. And since the FDCPA requires them to pay your attorney’s fees if they are found to have broken the law, what seems like a simple collection suit can become an expensive, drawn out battle that can vastly outweigh whatever amount of debt they can prove that you owe. What usually happens is this: their lawyer calls your lawyer and they review the evidence. Once your lawyer convinces their lawyer that you actually have a case, they offer you a nuisance settlement amount. Then negotiations continue until they reach terms everyone agrees on. Ideally it involves a release of the debt, payment of your attorney’s fees, and cash in your pocket. So don’t be afraid. If the people dealing with you are breaking the law, they need to pay.