Common Defenses in Small Claims Cases (Third Party Collections)
You have been sued in small claims court. The company suing you claims that you did not pay a debt, such as a credit card debt. However, this is not the company who sold you the credit card (or who loaned you the money).
The company suing you must do the following things:
- The company must list the name and address of the original credit card company (or lender). This must appear in the small claims complaint or the in papers attached to the complaint. If this information is not included, you can ask the judge to dismiss the case. This rule still applies if only the name but not the address of the original creditor is listed.
- The company must:
- bring to court a witness who has personal knowledge about your case, or
- produce an "affidavit," listing all charges and payments made on your account. An affidavit is a sworn, written statement.
A written document that states only the total amount the company says you owe is not enough. Usually a lawyer for the company goes to court but does not bring a witness or the required documents. Again, you can ask the judge to dismiss the case against you.
Here are two sample forms you can use to raise these defenses. If they apply to your case, you can fill out the forms and bring them with you to your court hearing.
View a short video about how we helped a military veteran with this defense.
If you have more questions about how to defend yourself in this type of small claims case, contact us.
Read more about Debt Collection in the Maine Courts.
PTLA # 024