Last week I discussed some of the underhanded, even illegal, tactics creditors will use against you in court. In some cases, they’ve reported thousands of dollars in trial that the consumers didn’t even owe.
Unfortunately, they often get away with these dishonest strategies because we as consumers don’t defend ourselves. It’s very difficult to prove what you owe and don’t owe if you don’t have a record of it in the first place.
Here are a few things to remember when using e-billing as a form of payment:
- Always keep a record for yourself.
Print out online receipts and put in a file where you can find it easily. Do the same for any communication with the creditors, like email.
- Keep notes.
If you talk with creditors over the phone, make a note of it for your file. Write down the date and what you talked about.
- Regularly check your spam folder.
You never want to be surprised in court by a bill or notification you never saw in person.
- Keep bank account statements.
Your bank account can often prove what you’ve paid and haven’t paid. Make sure to get regular account statements by regular mail or online, and keep a copy for your records.
Lastly, don’t give in.
This is a big one. If a creditor takes you to court for a debt you’ve already paid, or tries to charge you more than you owe, they often assume you won’t fight them. Why?
Because lawyers are often expensive, and they assume if you can’t afford the debt then you can’t afford a lawyer to defend you, either. So they easily win in court and are allowed to garnish your wages or even freeze your bank account over a debt you don’t even owe.
As a bankruptcy attorney in Memphis, I know that most lawyers will tell you just to pay the bill (even if you don’t owe the money!) because you can’t afford that lawyer’s services. It has always been my policy to help clients in that situation without charging you the legal fees another attorney will typically charge.
If you’re being sued over debt, you should be talking with an attorney anyway. Bankruptcy may be the best option for you, and you need someone compassionate who won’t just push you to a decision like bankruptcy without considering what’s best for you.
Our attorneys will talk with you about all of your options and help you with creditors’ lawsuits. Contact us today for a free consultation.