A lawsuit for a credit card debt as well as many other forms of consumer-debt
requires that the creditor first send certain documents to the courthouse.
After the creditor files the lawsuit the creditor then has to perform
some very specific steps. The full list of requirements are detailed in
Florida Statutes § 48.031 but broadly speaking, a debt collector
still has to find the consumer and either hand the initial court papers
to them or to someone who lives in their home over the age of 15. The
full procedures that they have to follow are a little complicated, consult
an attorney if you want the precise details, there are exceptions.
While these steps are not particularly burdensome, debt collectors still
make mistakes all the time. Instead of delivering the documents in person
as generally required, Debt collectors sometimes instead…
● Mail documents to the consumer.
● Tape the documents on the consumer’s door.
● Leave the documents in the consumer’s mailbox.
● Slide the documents under the consumer’s door.
● Leave them with a parent, relative or friend who they do not live with.
● Give them to a person with the same name as a consumer, at a different address.
Any of those mistakes may be grounds to fight the debt collector, or at
least to reset the clock on the lawsuit until the debt collector properly
delivers the documents. The list above are mostly mistakes or carelessness,
there are incidents where debt collectors outright ignore the law on purpose.
A recent class action lawsuit in New York accused a debt collector on a
wide scale basis of engaging in what is sometimes called “sewer
service”, where they claim that the legal documents were delivered
to the person being sued but they were never sent out at all. It is called
sewer service because the documents are thrown away or “tossed in
the sewer”. The person who is supposed to deliver the documents
then lies to the Court and tells them that the documents were properly
The time to start fighting a lawsuit is as soon as you learn you are being
sued. If someone has tried to deliver court documents to you or even made
any of the mistakes above, that does not mean you have some breathing
room, that means you need to act even more quickly. If you believe you
are being sued by your creditors, contact our office or another law firm
as soon as you are possible to ask for help.
This document has been provided for informational purposes only and is
not intended and should not be construed to constitute legal advice. Please
consult your attorney in connection with any legal issues related to the
matters discussed in this article as the applicability of state, local
and federal laws may vary.