How to sue a Creditor

By Legal Editor

The choice to sue a creditor is often difficult. In addition, once the choice to sue is made, many don't know how to proceed. The following tips are guidelines for how to sue a company that has misreported your credit history or harassed you when trying to collect payment. In these instances, suing a creditor helps keep collection agencies and lending companies accountable for their (often illegal) actions.

Decide if they've made one of the seven cardinal sins that are worthy of a law suit. Research this with a credit bureau or the Internet. Some actions of a creditor that substantiate a law suit are: failure to validate a debt; calls you at work or very late at night; erroneous reporting of your credit history; and, refusing to note partial payments on your credit.

Get proof of a creditor's wrong-doing and/or harassment. In some states it's illegal to record a phone conversation without someone knowing, so research this with a law professional or online. Save all emails and document every time you correspond and describe the nature of the correspondence in detail.

File the claim with either Small Claims court (for amounts smaller than a couple thousand dollars) or State or Federal court. Remember that with the latter, you must have a lawyer, while for Small Claims, you don't need one. To file a claim, just go to the county courthouse and get the appropriate forms. Make sure to follow all the legal steps for filing this claim, including notifying the other party.

Prepare for your hearing. Collect as much evidence as you can, mentally go over how you will present your argument and have proof that you've attempted to get your matter handled out of court first.

Go to your hearing. Present your case and be short and concise. Answer all the questions the judge asks completely and be well-dressed and well-mannered.