Credit card debt lawsuit defense Lawyers
Do I need assistance with predatory debt collectors or credit representatives?
Buyers of old credit card debt, including Midland Funding, Cavalry SPV, Jefferson Capital Systems, and Portfolio Recovery, file suit counting on the people they sue to not know their rights or hire attorneys to represent them. In the lawsuits filed, the burden is on the debt buyers to prove the debt, but since most people do not have attorneys and do not defend themselves, they have judgments entered against them. The judgments are then used to garnish wages and bank accounts.
However, when debt buyers purchase accounts, they often do not receive all the information and documents from the original creditor. Commonly, the debt buyers only have a few statements and very basic information about the account. Many times, the debt buyers do not know if the balance they are seeking is correct and take no action to verify the balance amounts. If proper objections are raised by a lawyer on your behalf, the company that purchased your credit card account will not be able to have the information on your account introduced into evidence and considered by the court, and will not be able to win their lawsuits.
Many people assume they cannot hire a lawyer to defend them, however Florida Litigators team of lawyers will work at no cost to you. We do not charge our clients for attorney fees or costs in these matters. Instead, we work on a contingency fee basis and seek payment of our fees from the debt collectors in these lawsuits. We also investigate countersuits for our clients to sue the debt collectors for unfair collection practices. Further, we review credit reports for inaccurate reporting of the lawsuit debt and other line items, also at no cost to our clients.
If you are being sued by a debt collector in Florida, take action and hire the lawyers at Florida Litigators to defend you.
The lawyers at Florida Litigators will investigate and raise defense on your behalf including:
- Missing paperwork – The debt buyer must have paperwork that verifies the agreement between you and the original creditor. This might include the original card member agreement, copies of prior statement, and payment records. If the debt buyer does not have these documents, it is possible to get the case dismissed.
- No Standing to Sue – Standing is a legal term which means that the debt collector must have a legal interest in the case. In other words, the debt buyer must be able to prove it owns the debt. This requires providing the court with documents, such as a purchase contract or an assignment between the original creditor and the debt collector. Sometimes the debt has been bought more than once and the debt buyer must be able to show this proof of purchase contract or assignment multiple times. If the debt buyer does not have the documents, the documents contain errors, or the debt buyer cannot get the documents into evidence, we may be able to win your case.
- Inaccurate credit and billing histories – Debt collectors typically purchase debts from the original creditor “as is”. If your payments have not been properly credited, or the debt collectors do not have up-to-date billing and statements, they may not be able to prove the debt belongs to you.
- Statute of limitations has expired – If a lawsuit has not been filed within the time period prescribed by Florida law, it will be dismissed by the court.
- Lack of evidence – If the debt buyer lacks the evidence to prove its case or is not able to have the evidence accepted by the court, the case may be dismissed.
- Creditor filed a 1099-C form with the Internal Revenue Service which stated that your obligation was discharged. In the event the creditor declared the amounts forgiven or cancelled it cannot now be collected by debt buyers.
- Failure to provide written notice of assignment – The Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act requires a creditor to give a debtor a notice of assignment at least 30 days before any action to collect the debt. If this notice was not provided, the court may dismiss the lawsuit.
A debt collection lawsuit is a serious matter and failing to respond to it can result in a default judgment and garnishment of your bank account and wages. Get help now and hire Florida Litigators to defend you. With our contingency fee agreements, the services are provided at no cost to you. Our services also include an investigation into potential claims you may have for violations of the Debt Collection Practices Act, Fair Credit Reporting Act, and the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act. In the event you have a claim, the debt collector or credit reporting agencies may end up paying you.
The Junk Debt Industry
Junk debt is assigned debt that is purchased for pennies on the dollar with little or no documentation of the underlying contract, payment history, or the chain of assignment. The consumer may not owe any money at all. Even if there is an underlying obligation under contract law, often times the amount being claimed is inflated in the form of interest, late fees, and court costs or attorney’s fees.
There is a difference between original creditors and junk-debt buyers. The original creditors had a business relationship or transaction with the consumer. The junk-debt buyer is a stranger to the consumer. Hoping to make money the junk-debt buyer has invested in a portfolio of cheap assets such as old credit card and other accounts which have been abandoned by the original creditor with the intention to sue on them. With the lack of information and the assignment of debts with little information it is not uncommon for someone to get sued twice on the same debt, get sued on an account which they never had, get sued past the statute of limitations, or get sued on a debt already discharged in bankruptcy. It is not surprising to find out that the documents submitted by a plaintiff in a junk-debt case have been forged or robo-signed.
It is important to distinguish between original creditors trying to collect money actually owed on a credit card and a junk-debt investor trying to collect on their own behalf. The investor paid only pennies on the dollar for the consumer’s debt and is seeking a windfall. Some publicly traded junk debt buyers have reported huge earnings.
Sales of accounts to junk-debt buyers occur only after the original creditor determines it’s no longer worth outsourcing the collection or pursuing the collection itself. By the time a junk-debt buyer is in court, the original creditor is not asserting a claim and will receive no benefits if the case is won and no detriment if it is lost.
The junk-debt buyers claim to have bought various accounts, but the sales of the accounts are careless and messy at best, and probably more accurately described as sketchy. What is being sold is often not what it appears to be. The junk-debt buyers ordinarily lack the documentation to prove the terms and conditions of the underlying credit card contracts as well as the chain of assignment. The original creditor determining it’s time to sell a debt is a good indicator that the account may have defects and little or no proper documentation. Most agreements between original creditors and junk-debt buyers are made without warranties or representation, with no recourse, and without any duty on the part of the seller to investigate the accuracy of what is being sold. Once the original creditor has sold off the accounts, they do not want to be bothered with them again and no longer have a financial interest in the summary of accounts sold.
Don’t think of this as one transaction either. The junk debt is sold to wholesalers that then resell it to other purchasers. It’s not uncommon for junk-debt to be part of multiple transactions where it is resold and packaged in different bundles based on the type of debt, age of debt, and geographic location. Every time the debt is repackaged and sold, it provides an opportunity for inaccuracies and lack of documentation to increase. This ultimately results in questionable judgments entered by default. The plaintiff in junk-debt lawsuits often has insufficient and non-reliable documentation of the debt and the debtor and if challenged by the defendant would not have prevailed. However, in most cases, there is no challenge and judgment is entered by default. Whereas, in most cases with challenges, the cases are dismissed or judgment is denied.
Junk debt buyers have complained about the requirement that a junk-debt buyer must give the court documentation establishing proof the consumer debt existed because the documentation is often unattainable for a variety of reasons, the most important of which is the original creditor no longer has the information or did not have it when selling the account.
Frequently Asked Debt Defense Questions F.A.Q.
What if i have no money to hire an attorney to represent me in the debt collection lawsuits?
We take your case on a contingency basis. That means you pay us nothing. No fees or costs. If we win, we seek to get your fees and costs paid by the debt collector. If we are unsuccessful, you will not have to pay our fees and costs.
Should I respond to the lawsuit and tell them why I Cannot pay the bill?
No, this is not a legal defense to the suit. It does not matter why you cannot pay and in the process you may be admitting that you owe the debt as presented, effectively losing your case. Don’t get caught by these pitfalls. Contact us to explore your options. Our no-obligation consultations are free. If you decide to hire us and we take you on as a client, the services will be provided at no cost to you.
If I am sued by a debt collector should I just call their law firm and work out a payment plan?
No, call us first. Often collection law firms want you to sign a document consenting to a judgment against you and waive your future rights in the process. This type of agreement allows them to skip proving that they have a right to collect the debt, and if you miss one payment enter a final judgment against you.
If I am being sued by a company that I have never heard of and did not borrow money from can I ignore it? Are they allowed to do this to me?
Yes, a company you never heard of can legally obtain your debt and sue on it. However, whether they will be able to prove in court that they legally own the debt, and you owe it is a different question. And if you ignore the lawsuit, the company will not have a difficult time proving it with no one defending you.
How do debt buyers get judgments against consumers if they cannot prove their cases?
Most consumers either do nothing or agree to pay the debt. Most creditors win their lawsuits because the consumer does nothing and the creditor gets a default judgement and automatically wins. In other cases, the consumer writes admitting they owe the debt and cannot pay it and loses their case.
If we lose, do I have to pay you or the other side’s legal fees or costs?
No, you do not pay our legal fees and costs if we lose. You only pay the creditor’s legal fees and costs if they ask for them in their lawsuit and the judge awards them. If the creditor does not ask for them in the lawsuit, they waive their right to attorneys’ fees and costs. As a practical matter, in most debt buyer lawsuits the creditor asks for costs but does not ask for attorney fees.
What is a judgment?
A judgment is a legal document from the court determining who won the case. If the creditor gets a judgment it is usually for a sum of money in the lawsuit and costs which include their filing fee. The judgment gives the creditor the ability to garnish wages and bank accounts and to attach to the consumer’s assets.
IF my wages are garnished, how much do they take?
25% of your net income or the amount over 30 hours of minimum wage, whichever is less. However, there are exemptions from garnishment which require a hearing with a judge.
How do creditors know which bank I use? Can they find my money?
If you sent the debt collector a payment with a check or electronically from your bank they will have that information. Also, once they receive a judgment the court will order you to disclose all your financial information.
How long are judgments enforceable?
20 years but they may be discharged in bankruptcy.
What is the debt statute of limitations?
Typically, five years from the charge off date. If you make a payment the 5 years starts over.
Who is Florida Litigators and What do we do?
Florida Litigators is a local, independent, experienced Team of professionals serving our Florida communities since 2013. With our extended experience, across multiple disciplines and fields of expertise, we fight for our clients to recover benefits and build satisfaction and peace of mind out of legal and claim disputes.
We work with you starting with a free consulation and represent our clients on a Contingency Fee basis. This simply means that we only make money when we make money for you. No hidden fees or recurring costs come out of your pocket. Period.