Debt Collection Defense
Debt Collection Defense –Aledo
Facing a Citation? – There's No Time to Waste!
Addressing a citation to appear in court due to unpaid debt is nothing that should be put off – procrastination could cost you, dearly. The good news is, you have reached the site of James Foley PLLC; and debt-collection defense is my area of expertise. My passion, as a debt-defense and bankruptcy attorney, is having the opportunity to serve those in Aledo who, like you, are facing the unsettling consequences of delinquent debt, including the possibility of having to appear in court.
As your legal representative, I would carefully construct the best debt-defense strategy for your case and guide you through all the legal complexities including any, possible, court proceedings. I offer expertise in the area of consumer-protection law; and I would leave no stone unturned with investigating possible collections violations attempted by debt-collection agencies. If violations were uncovered, it could be very advantageous to your case.
The reason you must act swiftly with submitting a formal response to your citation is simple: Texas law may provide you with as little as 14 days from the date of being served before a default judgment would be issued against you, the defendant. A default judgment would allow the plaintiff to, automatically, win its lawsuit and you would surrender your right to defend your case. A default judgment could, ultimately, result in the confiscation of business and/or personal assets – vehicles, property, money in bank accounts/savings accounts, and other valuables.
Unpaid Credit-Card Debt Takes on a Life of Its Own
Regardless of what type of collector is intent on suing you – whether original creditor, collection agency or debt-buyer – your circumstances surrounding your debt of are no importance to them. All they want is your money or other assets to satisfy the unpaid debt. Consequences of delinquent credit-card debt can include:
*** severe decline of credit rating
*** over-the-top fees and penalties and/or inflated interest rates on balances due
*** continual calls from creditors or collection agencies
*** the serving of a citation and filing of a lawsuit
*** frozen bank/savings accounts and seizure of business/personal properties – assuming a judgment were issued
After reviewing your case, I can determine if bankruptcy would be the best option. Through Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, you could keep your property while paying all or part of the debt. With Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, you lose little or no property as well as being able to discharge your credit-card liability. As an attorney in debt-defense and bankruptcy, I am in a unique position to provide an exhaustive analysis of your case and suggest the most-beneficial financial route.
Being Served Legal Documents – Don't Ignore Them!
Collectors will waste little time with filing a lawsuit against you for unpaid debt. The lawsuit process begins with the filing of a petition, with the court. The petition states the debtor's name, the reason for
the lawsuit, and the total amount owed by the debtor which could include plaintiff's attorney fees, court costs and added interest. The date, by which, the debtor must file a formal response would, also, be included.
In addition to the petition, a citation would be filed which would indicate the debtor being officially sued and served. The serving of these documents is, most often, done in person at the debtor's home or place of employment by a uniformed police officer/sheriff or a plain-clothed professional process server. If the debtor is unavailable to accept the papers, the server can present the documents to another adult. Copies of the documents would, then, be mailed to the debtor.
Wording in your citation may be similar to: You are, hereby, required to appear and defend the complaint filed against you – the words, “to appear” mean you must file a legal paper with the court called a 'motion' or 'answer'. It must be drawn up in proper, legal format; and I would be able to do this, on your behalf, and present it to the court clerk or administrator.
Please Take Note: If the server of the documents is not an officer of the law but is, instead, a civilian-dressed process server who arrives in an unmarked vehicle, that individual has absolute legal authority to serve court documents. Ignoring legal documents pertaining to a lawsuit can result in a default judgment against you.
Also, if a certain debt-buyer were to sue you – even if the debt-buyer were unfamiliar to you – take that debt-buyer seriously, as well, since that entity's goal is to win its case against you, in a court of law.
Laws Protect Debtors
Various US laws protect the rights of debtors facing debt-collection lawsuits:
1. Statute of Limitations
With the statue of limitations, your debt could be legally protected from further collection activities, but a certain amount of time must pass in order to qualify. The time period for the statute of limitations starts on the last date of activity on the account, which is not, necessarily, the same as the date of the first non-payment. A debtor can restart the statute-of-limitations, unknowingly – one must be very careful here! I encourage you to call me so I can determine if your debt qualifies for Texas' statute-of-limitations guidelines.
A debtor must be able to provide proof, in court, that the delinquent debt is old enough to qualify for the state's statute-of-limitations. If proof is unavailable, the plaintiff would win and a judgment would be issued against the defendant.
2. Inability to Prove Ownership of the Account
Creditors, commonly, assign delinquent debt to debt-buyers; but debt-buyers' information on any given debt may not, always, be legally acceptable. If a debt-buyer cannot prove, in court, that the amount you owe is correct or if the debt-buyer cannot prove you owe the debt, it would greatly benefit your case.
3. Inability to Authenticate Documents
Thousands of debt-collection agencies exist in the US; and Midland Funding and Portfolio Recovery are two that are well known. Bottom line: When a debt collector cannot meet the requirements to validate documents of the original creditor, the defendant would be at an advantage and could raise this as a defense for his or her case.
Outcomes of Debt-Collection Lawsuits
1. A Non-Suit of the Case
A non-suit of the case occurs when the plaintiff volunteers to surrender its suit against the defendant. A non-suit of the case can occur when certain errors, in the plaintiff's case, are uncovered by an experienced debt-defense attorney. A non-suit is not a ruling on the merits of the case; but the current lawsuit would be over. It is important to realize, however, that a non-suit of the case would permit the plaintiff to refile the lawsuit against the defendant, at a later date.
2. A Ruling in Your Favor
A ruling in your favor would be reason to celebrate! The plaintiff would be ordered to cease further litigation against your case. At this point, any unauthorized debt on your credit reports would need to be removed as quickly as possible; and I would be able to do this for you and make sure the credit bureaus thoroughly comply.
3. A Ruling in Favor of the Credit Card Company
A ruling in favor of the credit card company means a judgment would be issued against the defendant. As mentioned earlier, the plaintiff would receive everything asked for in the lawsuit which would include the debt amount as well as, possibly, all court-related costs and attorney's fees incurred by the plaintiff, plus additional interest. Property liens, bank-account levies, property seizures, and more could be used to satisfy the unpaid debt.
4. An Agreed Settlement
It is possible to negotiate with a collection agent and end up paying less than you owe. This can be accomplished through an agreed settlement where the plaintiff and the defendant would reach a mutual agreement in the form of a reduced lump-sum payment or revised payment plan. One advantage of an agreed settlement is not having to go to court. The disadvantage of an agreed settlement is having it negatively impact one's credit report for seven years.
Don't Fight this Battle, Alone!
Dealing with the consequences of a debt-related lawsuit can turn one's life inside-out; but you don't have to accept the worst-case scenario! You want your life back; and the good news is, I can help! Collectors have aggressive lawyers on their side to fight for their rights – you should, too!
Call the office of James Foley PLLC, today, for a complimentary case-evaluation in any of these areas:
*** Debt-buyer suits
*** Original-creditor suits
*** Vehicle repossession and the ensueing` Loan-deficiency suits
James Foley PLLC
~Debt-Collection Defense & Bankruptcy Attorney~