Millions of people are still heavily in debt in today’s scenario. Paying of mortgages, education loans and credit card bills can be quite a burden. Hence it is not surprising that a lot of people go in for debt settlement. There are many firms in the market which offer clients a quick and easy of not only cutting out debt, but also paying it off as fast as possible. Such an offer would usually be too good to refuse. However, the debt settlement industry is still largely unregulated. Hence clients are not really protected. This has led to many fly by night scams where shady debt settlement firms have fleeced their clients and taken off with their money. In case you are considering debt settlement, make sure you have chosen a good firm. If you are one in a group of such clients then you can definitely consider going in for a class action settlement.
Step 1: Hire a good lawyer
If you have been cheated then the first thing to do is to contact an attorney who specialises in consumer law. S/he will be able to tell you what your rights are. One of the earliest and basic measures of handling such cases is through a legal notice. The attorney may advise you to send a notice on their law firm stationery, to the firm threatening to sue unless they give you your money back.
Step 2: Send the debt settlement firm a legal notice
If you are lucky, then this may make the firm sit up and go in for negotiations with you and your lawyer. Usually firms tend to do that because they want to avoid a long and usually expensive lawsuit. On the other hand, if they refuse to acknowledge or respond to your notice, then the ball is in your court. You have to decide whether you want to go in for a lawsuit or not.
Step 3: Going to court with a class action lawsuit
If you have a strong case for your class action settlement, then your attorney will work for you on a contingency basis. Which means that instead of charging you for a fee, s/he will take a risk on fighting the lawsuit and in the event of you winning it, will charge a percentage of your fee from the amount that the court will award you. If you don’t win, you don’t have to pay your lawyer any fee. You might have to pay the legal and court costs, however.
Step 4: Filing a complaint with the important departments
One thing that you must remember is that whether or not you are filing for a lawsuit, you must lodge a complaint against the firm with the state attorney general’s office, at your local Better Business Bureau along with the Federal Trade Commission. These complaints will not help you to get your money back or undo the damage done to your credit score, but it will be up there for the other clients to see. It shall also prevent the firm from doing good business in the future. People, who were thinking about using that debt settlement firm, might think twice or even back off.
If there is a big group of aggrieved clients like you, and if all of you register individual complaints with the state attorney general and the FTC, then they might consider taking legal action against the firm. They even might file a class action lawsuit against the firm on behalf of all the clients who were cheated.
About the author
Jenna has been a consumer law attorney for the past decade. She recently filed a class action settlement against a credit counselling agency and got her clients awarded damages. Jenna likes to knit as a hobby. To know more about her visit – http://debt-settlement-review.toptenreviews.com/