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How to Respond to a Debt Lawsuit from United Collection Bureau

Getting Sued by a Debt Collector is Stressful – But You Have Options

Getting served with a summons for a debt lawsuit can be an incredibly stressful experience; those letters from the court are intimidating, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed or want to just ignore it. But I’m here to tell you – don’t panic, and whatever you do, don’t ignore that summons. Responding properly is crucial for protecting your rights and resolving this in the best way possible.I know it’s a scary situation, but you have rights and options for dealing with this debt lawsuit from United Collection Bureau. In this article, I’ll walk through all the key steps for how to respond, what your main defenses could be, and how to put yourself in the best position to fight this and hopefully get it resolved favorably.

First – Don’t Ignore That Summons! Respond Properly and On Time

The first and most important piece of advice is this: do NOT ignore the summons and complaint you received about this debt lawsuit. As tempting as it can be to just avoid dealing with it, that’s the worst thing you can do. If you fail to respond at all, the court will simply grant a default judgment in favor of United Collection Bureau – meaning you automatically lose the case.By responding properly and on time, you force United Collection Bureau to actually prove their case against you in court. They have to show documentation that you owe the debt amount they’re claiming, that they had the legal right to collect on the debt, and more. Just by responding, you keep your options open and prevent an automatic loss.So when you get served with those court papers for the debt lawsuit, one of the first things it should tell you is the deadline for filing your official response, typically around 20-30 days from receiving it. Don’t miss that deadline! Respond on time, every time.

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How to Actually File Your Response to the Debt Lawsuit

For most debt lawsuits, your official response is called an “Answer” and it involves filing some specific court forms. The main Answer form will have you respond paragraph-by-paragraph to the allegations United Collection Bureau made in their complaint against you.For each allegation like “defendant owes $5,000 on credit card account XXXX-XXXX,” you’ll have to state whether you admit, deny, or don’t have enough information to admit or deny that specific claim. Don’t just admit to everything – deny any allegations that you aren’t 100% sure are fully accurate.The Answer form also lets you list out any formal legal defenses you’ll be raising in this case. I’ll cover some of the common debt lawsuit defenses in the next section.In addition to the Answer form itself, you’ll likely need to include or attach other documents like a fee waiver form if you can’t afford the court filing fees. Follow the instructions carefully and include all required documents.Once you’ve completed the Answer forms, you’ll need to file the originals with the court and also serve a copy on United Collection Bureau’s attorneys (sending by certified mail is a good option). Keep copies for your own records as well.I know filling out court forms can be intimidating, but don’t let that stop you from responding. If you’re struggling, look for free legal clinics or self-help resources in your area that can provide guidance or even forms tailored for your state’s rules.

Common Defenses to Raise Against a Debt Lawsuit

So what are some typical legal defenses you can raise in your Answer against United Collection Bureau’s debt lawsuit? There are actually quite a few potential defenses, depending on your specific situation:Statute of Limitations Expired – There’s a legal time limit called the “statute of limitations” for how long a creditor has to sue you over a debt. In most states it’s around 4-6 years from your last payment, though it varies. If UCB is suing over a really old debt where the time limit already expired, you can use that as a defense.Lack of Standing/Ownership – In a lot of debt lawsuits, the company suing you has bought or been assigned the debt from someone else. But they need to be able to prove they actually own the debt and have proper documentation showing the chain of ownership from the original creditor. If they can’t show they have legal “standing” to sue you for that debt, you can get the case dismissed.Identity Theft/Mistaken Identity – If the debt isn’t even yours, because you were a victim of identity theft or UCB has simply mixed you up with someone else, that’s an extremely strong defense. They have the burden to prove you are the one responsible for that debt.Incorrect Amount – Even if you don’t dispute owing something, you can still fight the amount United Collection Bureau is trying to collect if you have evidence it includes improper fees, charges, or interest. Make them prove the full amount is correct.Bankruptcy Discharge – If you previously went through bankruptcy and that debt was formally discharged, then it’s no longer collectible and you can use your bankruptcy as a defense.Those are some of the biggest potential defenses, but there are others like violations of debt collection laws, or that the debt itself was the result of some kind of fraud or illegal activity. The key is raising all possible defenses in your Answer.

Gather Evidence and Be Prepared to Argue Your Case

Once you’ve properly responded with your Answer and defenses, United Collection Bureau will have to actually prove their case against you if they want to keep pursuing the lawsuit. Don’t just take their word for anything – make them provide documentation and evidence backing up their claims about the debt amount, their ownership of it, and more.On your side, start gathering any documentation you have about the debt, payment histories, letters or recordings from the debt collectors, etc. Anything that can help argue your defenses and poke holes in UCB’s case.If you have a solid defense like identity theft or bankruptcy discharge, request that the court grant a judgment in your favor and dismiss the case. But be ready to argue your case at a hearing and bring your evidence to counter what UCB will try to show.

Know Your Rights in Dealing with Debt Collectors

It’s also really important to understand your rights when dealing with debt collectors like United Collection Bureau under laws like the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). They have strict rules to follow, and you can potentially counter-sue if they violate your rights.For example, debt collectors are prohibited from engaging in harassment like calling repeatedly, using abusive language, or contacting third parties about your debt. They also have to provide you with a debt validation notice and cannot try to collect if you dispute the debt in writing until they provide proof.If UCB or any other debt collector has violated these laws, you may be able to get the debt lawsuit dismissed on those grounds and potentially recover money damages from them. Don’t let them get away with illegal behavior.

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Consider Getting Professional Legal Help

Dealing with a debt lawsuit is undoubtedly stressful and complicated, with all the legal procedures, evidence, and arguments involved. While it’s possible to represent yourself, you may want to consider getting professional legal help, especially if the debt amount is substantial.Look into free or low-cost legal aid services in your area, as they can provide advice or even full representation by an attorney if you qualify based on your income level. Or you can hire a private consumer law attorney, which will obviously cost more but ensures you have experienced legal counsel on your side.An attorney can make sure you don’t miss any deadlines, file everything properly, raise all possible defenses, gather the right evidence, and put you in the best position to fight the lawsuit successfully. It’s an investment, but it takes a lot of the burden off your shoulders.

Don’t Let Debt Lawsuits Stress You Out – You Have Options

I know being served with a debt lawsuit summons from a debt collector like United Collection Bureau is incredibly stressful. Those court papers are intimidating and it’s easy to feel hopeless or just want to stick your head in the sand.But I want to reiterate – do NOT ignore that summons! By responding properly and on time, raising any possible legal defenses, and being prepared to argue your case, you can absolutely fight back against this debt lawsuit. You have rights as a consumer, and there are potential violations and errors you can use to your advantage.So take a deep breath, follow the steps I outlined for responding, gather your evidence, understand your rights dealing with debt collectors, and consider getting legal help. You’ve got this! Don’t let United Collection Bureau or any debt lawsuit intimidate you into just rolling over. With the right approach, you can put yourself in a great position to resolve this in the best way possible.

Specific Defenses to Raise Against United Collection Bureau

Now let’s dive into some of the more specific legal defenses and arguments you may be able to raise against United Collection Bureau in particular when responding to their debt lawsuit:Lack of Proper Documentation – United Collection Bureau is a debt buyer, meaning they purchase defaulted debts from original creditors and then try to collect on those debts themselves. But in doing so, they need to be able to properly document the full chain of title and ownership from the original creditor all the way to them.If UCB is missing key pieces of documentation proving they have the legal standing and ability to collect on that specific debt, you can use that lack of proper documentation as a defense to get their lawsuit dismissed. Don’t let them collect on debts they can’t conclusively prove they own.Expired Statute of Limitations – Different states have different statutes of limitations on how long a creditor has to file a lawsuit to collect on a debt, generally between 4-6 years from either the last payment made or when the debt went into default.United Collection Bureau may try to re-age or revive zombie debts that are way past that statute of limitations by the time they purchased and tried suing over them. If you can show the debt they’re going after is too old based on your state’s statute of limitations, their lawsuit has no legal ground to stand on.Violations of FDCPA or State Debt Collection Laws – The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) sets strict rules at the federal level for how debt collectors like UCB have to operate and what they can and cannot do. Many states also have their own debt collection laws with additional rules.If you can show that United Collection Bureau violated these laws – through harassment, deception, failing to provide required notices, illegal threats, or other improper conduct – then you may be able to get their lawsuit dismissed and potentially countersue them for money damages. Don’t let them get away with breaking the rules.Improper Debt Calculation – Even if you don’t dispute owing the original debt itself, United Collection Bureau still has to accurately calculate and justify any additional interest, fees, or charges they tacked on top of that principal balance when they bought the debt.Scrutinize their full debt calculation closely. If you can poke holes in it and show they improperly calculated or included any amounts, you can use that to argue the claimed total debt amount is inaccurate and inflated.Mistaken Identity or Identity Theft – This is one of the strongest defenses if the debt United Collection Bureau is trying to collect on simply isn’t yours, whether due to a case of mistaken identity mixing you up with someone else, or if you were a victim of identity theft.The burden is fully on UCB to prove with proper documentation that you are the one responsible for that debt. If they can’t conclusively show that, you can get the lawsuit dismissed. Don’t let them bully you into paying debts that aren’t yours.Those are just some of the more specific defenses and arguments you may be able to raise when responding to United Collection Bureau’s lawsuit. The key is closely scrutinizing their documentation, evidence, and conduct – and being ready to poke holes in their case wherever possible.

Understanding Your Rights Under the FDCPA

As I mentioned, one of the potential defenses you can raise against United Collection Bureau is if they violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) or your state’s debt collection laws. So it’s important to understand exactly what rules and consumer protections these laws provide.The FDCPA prohibits debt collectors like UCB from engaging in harassment or abusive conduct like:

  • Calling repeatedly with the intent to annoy or harass
  • Using profane, obscene, or abusive language
  • Contacting you at inconvenient times/places like before 8am or after 9pm
  • Contacting third parties like friends, neighbors, or co-workers about the debt (with some exceptions)

It also prohibits debt collectors from making false, misleading, or deceptive statements such as:

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  • Misrepresenting the amount of debt owed
  • Falsely implying they are attorneys or associated with the government
  • Threatening actions they cannot legally take or have no intention of taking
  • Failing to disclose they are debt collectors attempting to collect a debt

And the FDCPA requires debt collectors to provide you with a debt validation notice, laying out details of the debt amount and your rights to dispute it. If you do dispute the debt in writing, they have to obtain verification of the debt details and provide it to you before taking further collection action.If United Collection Bureau has violated any of these FDCPA rules in the course of their collection efforts against you, that can potentially be grounds to get their lawsuit dismissed. And you may also be able to file a counterclaim against them seeking money damages of up to $1,000 plus attorney fees for FDCPA violations.So pay very close attention to UCB’s conduct and make sure you document any potential violations. Those consumer protection laws are there to keep debt collectors in check – don’t let UCB run roughshod over your rights.

Dealing with Debt Lawsuits – You Don’t Have to Go It Alone

Look, I get it – dealing with a debt lawsuit is incredibly stressful, even more so when it’s coming from a large, aggressive debt buyer like United Collection Bureau. Those court summons papers are intimidating enough on their own. Add in the legal procedures, evidence requirements, court hearings, and everything else, and it can feel completely overwhelming trying to handle this all on your own.That’s why I always recommend at least consulting with a consumer law attorney or legal aid clinic about your specific situation. They can review the details of the lawsuit, your potential defenses, and United Collection Bureau’s conduct to let you know what your options are and the best path forward.Having that experienced legal guidance in your corner can make a world of difference and take a huge burden off your shoulders. An attorney can make sure you file everything properly and don’t miss any deadlines. They know all the right arguments and defenses to raise against UCB’s case. And they can represent you through any court hearings or settlement negotiations.I know hiring a private attorney costs money, which can be very difficult when you’re already dealing with debt issues. But there are also options for free legal aid services if you qualify based on your income level. Either way, it’s an investment that can easily pay off by getting this resolved as favorably as possible.You’ve got rights here, and you don’t have to just roll over for United Collection Bureau’s aggressive debt collection tactics. With the right legal help on your side, you can fight back hard and put yourself in a great position to defend against this lawsuit successfully.

Step-by-Step Guide for Responding to UCB’s Lawsuit

To wrap up, let’s summarize the key steps you’ll want to take when responding to a debt lawsuit from United Collection Bureau:

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  1. Do NOT ignore the summons! As soon as you receive it, read through all the paperwork carefully and note the deadline for responding, usually around 20-30 days.
  2. Gather documentation and information. Pull together any documents, letters, recordings, etc. related to the debt United Collection Bureau is trying to collect on. This will help you build your defenses.
  3. File your Answer with the court. This is your formal legal response, where you’ll respond paragraph-by-paragraph denying UCB’s allegations, and raise any legal defenses you’ll be arguing. Follow the instructions carefully.
  4. Raise all possible defenses. In your Answer, list out every potential defense – statute of limitations, lack of standing, identity theft, improper debt calculation, FDCPA violations, and more. Don’t leave anything out.
  5. Consider hiring an attorney. While not required, having an experienced consumer lawyer on your side can greatly improve your chances of success and take a huge burden off you through this process.
  6. Scrutinize UCB’s evidence closely. Make United Collection Bureau prove they actually own the debt, that the amount is fully accurate, that they’ve followed all laws, and poke holes wherever you can.
  7. Be prepared for court hearings. If the case proceeds, you’ll likely have to argue your case before a judge, so prepare your evidence and arguments thoroughly. An attorney can represent you.
  8. Know your rights dealing with debt collectors. Understand what UCB is and isn’t allowed to do under the FDCPA and state laws. Document any violations they commit.
  9. Don’t get discouraged! I know this is an incredibly stressful situation, but you absolutely have rights and options here. Follow this guide and don’t let United Collection Bureau intimidate you.

I hope this article has helped demystify the process of responding to a debt lawsuit and shown you that you can fight back, even against a major debt buyer like United Collection Bureau. It won’t be easy, but by responding properly, raising strong defenses, understanding your consumer rights, and considering legal help, you can put yourself in a great position to get this resolved favorably.

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