What Happens if a Debt Collector Sues You at the Wrong Address?
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act says that debt collectors can only sue you in two places: (1) where you signed the contract; or (2) where you currently live. The relevant section of the FDCPA is 15 U.S.C. § 1692i.
In Massachusetts, where most debt collection cases are filed in District Court, this means that if a debt collectors sues you in the wrong court, they might have violated the FDCPA. Each district court covers only a few cities or towns. For example, if you live in Boston, but a debt collector sues you in Lynn District Court, then so long as you didn’t sign the contract in Lynn (or the other cities within its jurisdiction), the debt collector probably violated the FDCPA.
Or, if the case is filed in Massachusetts Superior Court, the relevant court would be the county court. Using our same example, if you lived in Boston and the debt collector sued you in Essex Superior Court, this could be an FDCPA violation because the proper jurisdiction would actually be in Suffolk Superior Court.
Under the FDCPA, a debt collector may be liable for up to $1,000 in statutory damages, actual damages, costs, and attorney fees.
And, if you did not receive notice of the lawsuit but the debt collector already obtained a judgment against you, you may also be able to vacate the judgment and re-start the case.
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Culik Law is a Massachusetts Law Firm. The posts on Culik Law’s blog are not intended as legal advice. If you have questions about your particular situation, CONTACT CULIK LAW for a Free Consultation.