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Debt Collection Lawsuits

Debt Collection Lawsuits

When they are unable to collect money through phone calls and letters, creditors and debt collectors may file a lawsuit in Municipal Court or the Court of Common Pleas.

After the lawsuit is filed, the court papers must be hand-delivered to the debtor.  Even if you were the victim of identity theft, even if you believe you paid the debt in full, or even if you’ve never heard of the company suing you, DO NOT IGNORE ANY COURT PAPERS YOU RECEIVE!  Seek legal help as soon as you receive court papers.  Even if you don’t have a lawyer, it is important to go to your court hearing.  If you don’t go, the other side may automatically win.

If you’ve been sued in Municipal Court:
Municipal Court hearings are scheduled when the lawsuit is filed.  The court date is printed on the front of the court papers.  It is important to seek legal help as soon as you receive court papers.  Even if you have not sought legal assistance, it is important to show up at court on your court date or the other side may automatically win.  Whenever possible, ask for your hearing to be postponed so you can have more time to get a lawyer.

If you’ve been sued in the Court of Common Pleas:
Many debt collection lawsuits filed in the Court of Common Pleas are scheduled for arbitration when they are filed.  That date appears at the top of the court papers.  However, that date may be cancelled and the other side may automatically win if you don’t file a response to the lawsuit within twenty (20) days after receiving the court papers.  Seek legal assistance with filing that response.

What we can do: 

Many people have strong defenses to the collection lawsuits.  We often provide legal information, advice, and representation to people who have been sued in Municipal Court and the Court of Common Pleas.

How to get help:

Walk-in Intake

Community Legal Services
North Philadelphia Law Center

1410 West Erie Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19140
Monday, Wednesday, Friday
9:00 am -12:00 pm

Philadelphia Legal Assistance
718 Arch Street, Suite 300N
Philadelphia, PA 19106-1535
Monday, Wednesday
9:00 am – 11:30 am

Phone Intake

Philadelphia Legal Assistance
215-981-3800
Tuesday, Thursday
9:30 am – 12:00 pm