Hello; I am James Foley, debt defense attorney for Burleson. I have several questions: Is credit-card debt robbing you of your peace-of-mind? Are you facing a potential credit-card lawsuit? If the answer to any of these questions is 'Yes', I can help! I can guide you through the complexities associated with credit-card debt that you wouldn't want to face on your own.
Whether you are dealing with divorce, death of a spouse, job loss, hefty medical bills, or other financially-burdensome circumstances, you are not alone – millions of Americans have difficulty making credit-card payments due to a variety of reasons.
The first step towards financial recovery is to become empowered. Below, I have provided some need-to-know information on what to expect if you find yourself faced with delinquent credit-card accounts. Read the information and, then, give me a call to set up a complimentary case-assessment – it's time to get your life back!
Unsecured Credit Card Debt
The term 'unsecured' can create a false sense of security with credit-card holders since many people believe not paying 'unsecured' credit-card debt has minimal ramifications – nothing could be further from the truth. Lives can be turned inside out if credit-card accounts are left unpaid. Some possible consequences of unpaid credit-card debt include:
*** drastic decline of your credit rating
*** additional fees and penalties and/or much higher interest rates on balances due
*** continual calls from creditors or collection agencies
*** a lawsuit filed against you
*** the serving of a citation
*** frozen bank accounts or savings accounts
*** seizure of business property or personal property
It may be possible to negotiate a settlement with credit card companies where you may be granted a temporary reprieve from payments; or you may be able to negotiate terms or interest rates. It is vital to get any settlement agreement in writing. BE ADVISED THAT FORGIVEN DEBT CARRIES TAX CONSEQUENCES. Contact your CPA or tax professional for more information.
In some cases, however, the best option is bankruptcy. Through Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you are allowed to keep your property while paying all or part of your debt. With Chapter 7 bankruptcy you lose little or no property, as well as being able to discharge your credit-card debt.
Credit-Card Debt Lawsuits
Delinquent credit-card accounts can translate into a possible lawsuit filed against you by the creditor or debt-collector. If a judgment is issued against you, your personal income, bank accounts, savings, vehicles, tools and virtually any other possessions that are deemed 'valuable' can be used as payment towards the debt.
Ignoring a lawsuit complaint can make matters worse; or if you don't respond to the lawsuit quickly enough, the plaintiff would win its case, by default; and you will have relinquished all your rights to plead your case. In Texas, you may have as little as 14 days from the date of service to avoid a default judgment which would give the creditor everything it asked for.
Your Do Have Rights
When presented with a credit-card lawsuit, the legal system offers protection for the debtor.
1. Statute of Limitations
With the statue of limitations, the debt has aged to the point where it is no longer collectable – the creditor or debt-collector can no longer pursue you. There is a slight catch, however: you must provide evidence, in court, to prove your account meets the statute of limitations guidelines, since the time period for the statute of limitations starts on the last date of activity on the account, which can be different from the date the account went past due! Various activities on a delinquent account can restart the statute of limitations; and those actions can include:
*** acknowledging the owed debt
*** in writing
If your evidence, however, proves your account meets the statute-of-limitations time-line, you are free of liability. Without proof, the plaintiff wins and a judgment would be issued against you.
2. Inability to Prove Ownership of the Account
Often, debt-buyers such as Midland Funding and Portfolio Recovery are involved in transactions which include huge numbers of accounts. Sometimes it can become impossible to determine if your account was part of those transactions. In fact, debt-buyers may be unable to prove the sought-after amount they claim you owe, is accurate. Additionally, a debt-buyer may be unable to verify if you, even, own the debt, at all. If so, you may have a defense to a collection lawsuit.
3. Inability to Authenticate Documents
It can become impossible for debt-buyers to to authenticate documents of the original creditor. In many states, a creditor or debt collector suing for collection must: 1) attach a copy of the account or a copy of the written contract or agreement to the complaint or 2) state, in the complaint, why the account or document is not attached. If this 'attachment rule' is not adhered to, you may be able to get the lawsuit dismissed.
Debt-Related Lawsuit Outcomes
1. A Non-suit of the Case
If the plaintiff were to noin-suit your case, while a good result, you wouldn't want to celebrate too much since you could get sued, again. If errors are found to have contributed to the dismissal of the case, a re-filing of the lawsuit would be a possibility. The good news is when a debtor is represented by strong legal counsel, creditors may choose a type of withdrawal where they would non-suit their case against you. This action would be considered 'without prejudice' since it would involve a ruling that is not based on the merits of the case.
2. A Ruling in Your Favor
A ruling in your favor is the ultimate 'win' since the creditor or debt collector would no longer have jurisdiction to pursue the lawsuit against you. In this situation, you would have the legal option to file for monetary compensation against the creditor. I would be happy to help you remove the debt from your credit report.
3. A Ruling in Favor of the Credit Card Company
A ruling in favor of the credit card company means the creditor has won and would issue a judgment against you. You would be forced to pay the debt amount stipulated by the creditor or debt collector. Bank-account levies, property seizures, and other measures could be used as payment towards the outstanding debt. Here, also, you could be held responsible to pay all court-related costs associated with the lawsuit.
4. An Agreed Settlement
An agreed settlement means a negotiated agreement was reached by the plaintiff and the defendant, thereby, avoiding a trial. Here, the creditor might accept a lump-sum payment less than than the full amount owed – sometimes, significantly less. If a creditor were to accept a debt settlement, it can damage your credit score.
You Need a Staunch Ally on Your Side
Nobody likes the idea of being hounded by creditors and/or facing the very real possibility of a credit-card-debt lawsuit; but Foley Law will be with you every step of the way. You owe it to yourself to go from financial chaos to financial recovery; and Foley Law can help get you there!
Creditors have skilled lawyers on their side to fight for their rights – so should you!
Call me, today, for a complimentary case-assessment in any of these areas:
*** Debt-buyer suits
*** Original-creditor suits
*** Vehicle repossession
*** Loan-deficiency suits
~Credit Card Lawsuit Defense & Bankruptcy Attorney~
~Your peace of mind is only a phone call away~