How to respond to a debt collector’s requests for admission

A favorite litigation tactic used by collection lawyers in a debt collection lawsuit is to serve an unsuspecting consumer with requests for admission. These are typically a series of statements that you are asked to admit or deny. In other forms of litigation, requests for admission are typically used to figure out what facts are disputed in the case. But debt collectors don’t use requests for admission to learn more about what facts you dispute. In fact, they could probably care less about your answers and would prefer that you didn’t answer them at all.

284894404_cef7f3e0471Why? Because if you don’t answer the requests for admission within 30 days, every statement in them is then considered to be true. So debt collectors structure them in a way that if you don’t answer, you’ve admitted each element of their case. And debt collectors are well-aware that the majority of people will not answer the admissions because they don’t understand the serious consequences of not doing so.

This is just another example of debt collectors using a court rule for something other than its intended purpose. I’ve seen debt collectors ask judges to rule in their favor based only on the consumer’s failure to respond to the requests for admission. They didn’t produce any billing statements, applications, terms and conditions–any evidence. And though I suspect that most judges know exactly what the debt collector is up to, their hands are tied to a certain degree by the court rules.

So the lesson here is to respond to every request for admission within 30 days. You only have to admit the statement if you know for a fact that its true. For example, if the statement asks you to admit having a credit card with a specific 16-digit account number, unless you know for sure that is your account number, you can probably deny the request. Of course, if you have copies of your billing statements with that account number on them, you’ll probably have to admit that request.

(photo: David Micheal Morris)