Consumer/Debtor’s Rights

VLAS Publications

Consumer/Debtor’s Rights

VLAS Publications

» After the Court Has Already Issued a Judgment

You’ve been sued and lost. What happens next? The “judgment creditor” has options for trying to collect from you, but you have some protections.

» Arbitration 

You are giving up important legal rights, including the right to sue, if you sign a contract with a mandatory arbitration clause. Read carefully and think ahead.

» Auto Repairs

Your rights when seeking auto repairs and what you can do if things go wrong. Information also covers what might happen if you don’t pay for the repairs.

» Bankruptcy

Compares straight bankruptcy (Chapter 7) and debt adjustment (Chapter 13) plans. Who can file bankruptcy? Should you file?  Alternatives to bankruptcy. Basics of the procedures and effects of bankruptcy.

» Buying a Used Car

Some things to keep in mind when buying a used car and what you might be able to do if you have problems, including possible warranties.

» Car Title Loans

Avoid car title loans; they can lead you into financial and legal problems that you may not be able to escape. Read more here to find out why.

» Consumer Fraud and Unfair Sales Practices

What you can do if a seller has defrauded you or has taken advantage of you by sales practices that are unfair or illegal under state law.

» Contracts

Things to know and be careful of before signing a contract. What you are agreeing to when you cosign for someone else?  What happens when someone breaches the contract?

» Fair Debt Collection

What a debt collector is not allowed to do when trying to collect a debt from you, and what defenses you might have. Applies only to debt collectors, such as collection agencies, other than the original creditor.

» Garnishment 

What happens when a judgment creditor tries to take part of your wages or bank account? How to claim exemptions from garnishment.

» Getting Sued

How to defend yourself if you’ve been sued. The procedures and impact of a lawsuit and judgment against you.

» Know Your Rights in General District Court

Whether you are suing someone (or someone is suing you) in a Virginia General District Court, you need to know the basics about how it works.

» Medical Debt

Read about what to do if you are having difficulty with medical bills, especially if you are facing serious collection. Tips on possible help available to you, and how to respond to collection notices and possible lawsuits.

» Payday Loans

Avoid payday loans; they can lead you into financial and legal problems that you may not be able to escape. Find out what they are and why you should avoid them.

» Public Utilities 

Learn some of the rules and regulations that utility companies must follow when providing you with electric and water services. What are your rights?

» Repossessions and Deficiency Judgments 

When and how someone can repossess your vehicle or other personal property if you get behind in payments.  And whether they can sue you for money you still owe after they repossess and sell your property.

» Surviving Debt

Offers tips on how to cope with your debt. It may help to seek budget counseling.

» Taking a Civil Case to General District Court

Procedures and tips for bringing your lawsuit in GDC. From filing and serving the papers, to preparing for your court hearing and presenting your case to the judge, to collecting on your judgment when you win.

» Telecommunications 

Regulation of telephone services, including wireless, and optional plans for low-income persons.

» Vehicle Lemon Laws

Lemon Laws may cover some problems you have with a new or used vehicle with the original warranty still in effect. Most used cars are not covered by Lemon Laws. Read carefully for the limited application of these laws in Virginia.

» Warranties 

Explains different kinds of warranties you may have on something you buy, and how you can use those warranties to get it fixed or replaced. Not everything you buy (including a vehicle) has a warranty, and many warranties are limited in what they cover. Be careful when you’re buying.


El Consumidor y Derechos del Deudor

VLAS Publications en Español

El Consumidor y Derechos del Deudor

VLAS Publications en Español


Helpful Resources

» Legal and Law Enforcement General Information

Click here to view law enforcement and court reference information.


Video Resources

Dealing with Debt Collectors

Are you being illegally harassed? If you are having problems with debt collectors, watch this video to learn about your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and state laws.

I Received Notice of a Lawsuit; What Should I do?

If a debt collector files a lawsuit against you to collect a debt, discover what to do next.

Defending Yourself in a Lawsuit

If you want to learn how to represent yourself, hear about common defenses against debt collectors, and gain knowledge of possible outcomes to your trial, then watch this video.

Was I served Legal Papers Properly?

Learn about one of your key defenses.  Determine if you were served papers properly.

I have a Judgment Against Me.  Money is Being Taken from My Bank Account

Learn about one of your key defenses.  Determine if you were served papers properly.