How many lawsuits?

Is it possible that there are more debt collection lawsuits filed in the United States than all others combined?

Debt collectors abuse consumers, and they abuse the legal system as well.

A study published in 2008 in the Florida Law Review observed that Virginia, with a population of about 7 million, is inundated with more than a million civil lawsuits annually. The vast majority of these cases are consumer debt collection cases.

In July 2010, the National Consumer Law Center published a study of debt collector abuse of the legal system. Some of the observations of that report include:

• In 2009, one large debt collector alone filed 375,000 debt collection lawsuits.
• In 2008, another large collector filed over 420,000 lawsuits.
• In Massachusetts, 3 out of 5 lawsuits are brought by debt collectors. In Boston, over a five year period studied, 85% of small claims actions were brought by collectors against consumers.
• In 2008, in New York City, filings by 7 collectors alone accounted for 30% of all civil filings.
• In the overwhelming number of debt collector filings, upwards of 80-90% of the time, the debt collector wins by default judgment. This often occurs after faulty service to the alleged consumer debtor.
• A disproportionate number of lawsuits are filed in jurisdictions with low income and disadvantaged populations.

A July 10, 2010, article in the New York Times reported one collection firm with 14 lawyers was filing over 80,000 cases per year, averaging to 5,700 cases per lawyer.

For debt collectors, a lawsuit is just one more weapon in their arsenal to attack unsuspecting (and often defenseless) consumers. It is not uncommon for these lawsuits to be served improperly, contain false information, and be unsupported by proper documentation. They are targeted for quick uncontested judgments in an unfair manner.

If you think that your rights are being or have been unfairly prejudiced by a debt collector seek legal advice. In all legal manners, timing is of the essence. Act now! You have rights. Don’t be taken advantage of!

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