I had some medical bills in 2018/2019. At the time, I was able to make monthly payments to the hospital, but the monthly amount was not enough for them so they sent the account to collections.
The debt collector called me and they were extremely rude to me. I asked for proof that I owed this money, and they said they had sent out information to me, but I really did not receive anything. They refused to send me anything else by mail because "they had already sent the information." I was angry at their response and attitude, so I agreed to pay them a smaller amount each month than what I had been paying the hospital previously (I know, this was not the way I should have handled this but hindsight).
After months of them taking the amount out of bank account regularly, they stopped taking money out of my account in August. I did not tell them to stop and did not receive anything that said they would stop taking the money out. The last payment was in the end of August and with my kids going back to school, I just didn't even think about it. I assumed they were still taking the money out.
On December 22, I received a letter in the mail stating that there is a court date set for January 17 because of my unpaid debt. I was not served by a process server or sheriff or anything, this came in my mailbox.
I just have a lot of questions:
- Is it legal for them to mail me a notice of a court hearing?
- Is it legal for them to take me to court on a debt that I had been making regular payments on?
- What should my next steps be?
I recognize that I owe this money, and right now the debt is at only $1,600, but I don't have the money to pay it off in full. I can pay half of that, but I want to make sure that this goes away.
I do not have money for a lawyer and I don't want to go to court. I do not trust this company; every time I have spoken to them they have been extremely rude to me and then just stopping taking the money without notifying me and sending me these court papers in the mail seems very shady. I plan on calling them once their office opens but any advice would be helpful.
Edit: I'd like to add that this debt does not show up anywhere on my credit report. I have pretty good credit and I'd like to do whatever I can to keep this from showing negatively on my credit report.