Small Claims Defense
ELIOT WAGONHEIM: If you believe that every bit of what is said in the lawsuit is true, your best response would be to call up the plaintiff and make payment arrangements.
PETER HOLLAND: Maybe you can resolve it with them out of court, but if you ignore it, nothing good can come from it.
ELIOT WAGONHEIM: Because the worse thing that happens is, you call up the plaintiff and you explain the circumstances and that person says, look I do not care, I am getting a judgment. Well in that case, they have a right to do that.
PETER HOLLAND: I see all the time people get sued for $300 or $500 and they say well I made over my head in debt anyway and I cannot owe the money anyway, so I am just not going to take the day off work and go to court. Then they get a default judgment answered against them. Then that default judgment goes on their credit report. Then that default judgment turns into a wage garnishment and they take wages out of the person's job or they take money out of the person's bank account.
ELIOT WAGONHEIM: If there is any possibility of winning or getting all or part of the claims will decide one should respond.
PETER HOLLAND: Maybe you don't owe as much money as they say you owe.
ELIOT WAGONHEIM: Or you do we that much, but on the other side that person also owes you for something. In other words, there is a set off or there is another claim that you may have.
PETER HOLLAND: Maybe you won't owe the money but the debt is too old and they miss their chance to file lawsuit in time and the statutory limitation has barred it.
ELIOT WAGONHEIM: If you believe that much time has passed and that the debt cannot be legitimately collected, absolutely I think that you should contest it.
PETER HOLLAND: You could look out, maybe the other side did not appear that day or they did not have the documents they needed to prove their case. By ignoring it, you are guaranteed to lose. By going to court, you may have defenses that you did not even know about and you may win that case that you thought you are going to lose.