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Have you received a Summons from your credit card issuer?
If you think ignoring a creditor's calls about an unpaid credit card debt will make the calls stop, you may be right. The creditor may send someone to your door to let you know "you've been served," instead.
If a debt goes unpaid and you've made no plans to repay it, your credit card company may sue you in civil court for the balance, hoping a judge will order you to pay. Not only could a judgment in the creditor's favor possibly allow them to seize your property or take the money you owe directly from your bank account or salary, but it could leave you responsible for all court-related costs associated with the lawsuit, as well.
While any legal action taken against you is a serious matter, there are steps you can take after receiving a summons to lessen or even alleviate the problem completely.
Alliance Capital Credit can assist you in your fight with the creditor. There are many factors that may affect your defense and depending upon what state you live in and the particulars of your case, a number of proceedings can occur.
Possible issues of a defense include but are not limited to:
Statute of Limitations
This means the debt is too old to be enforced. The time a creditor has to file suit against you is limited by law in each state. The time limit varies from state to state. In most states, it is anywhere from three to six years. The time starts running from the last date you make a payment. If the statute in your state is three years and you haven’t made a payment in two years, a payment to a debt collector who is hounding you will start the time running all over again.
Improper Service of the Summons and Complaint
Each state has its own requirements on how service of process, or delivery of the summons and complaint to start the suit, must be accomplished.
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
The FDCPA is a federal law that governs the actions that can be taken to collect debts. Debt collector is defined broadly to include anyone from the companies that call you when your payment is late to attorneys hired to file suit. It requires collectors to provide you with validation of your debt when you request it and stop collection activities until they do. It prohibits certain collection activities such as threatening to sue on debt that is beyond the statute of limitations.
Lack of StandingA creditor can only sue you if it has a relationship to you. Credit card companies often sell bad debt to debt purchasers. If the party that sues you is not the original creditor and you assert lack of standing as a defense, it will have to prove that it has the right to sue you. Often these debt purchasers will attach bills of sale or other documents to the suit which show that it bought debt from your creditor, but not that it bought your particular account. If you assert lack of standing, the debt purchaser must show proof that your account was one of those that it did purchase. While it sounds easy, some debt purchasers can't do it.
Sometimes the debt is sold more than once. When this happens the current debt owner may have trouble getting documentation that is sufficient to meet the proof requirements of the court. Much of this debt is transferred using computer generated lists without signatures nor affidavits. Once the debt has been transferred to two or three different entities, the original creditor often will not supply any further information. If this is the case, it may make it difficult for the creditor to meet the proof requirements of the court which generally require that the creditor have a witness that can testify as to the accuracy of the business records (at the time they were made) from personal knowledge.
There are many other possible issues that can be used in your defense and we are experts at assisting our clients with their credit and debt problems. If you have been served a summons then don’t wait! Give us a call and speak with one of our knowledgeable customer service representatives so we can begin the process of helping you today!