Credit card owners can quickly get themselves in a fix when they have credit card debt. It could pile up pretty quickly, and before they know it, the credit card issuer could be filing a lawsuit against them for their credit card debt case. So what do we do when faced with such a situation? What are our legal rights on credit card debt? Let us look at the possible defense actions we can do to protect ourselves from having to go to court:
Show up in Court
Some credit card owners who get sued for their debts mistakenly think that the best way to deal with this situation is to hide and not show up in court. However, it is actually more advisable to show up in court and defend yourself, because doing so can increase the chances of success. An advocacy group for New York residents with low income also advised against ignoring a debt collection lawsuit just because one can’t find a lawyer. It was said that it is hard for creditors to prove that they have the right to sue those who owe them, that they are indeed the right individual who owe them money, and that the amount owed is correct.
Know your Rights
Most debt collection attorneys who file lawsuits usually take advantage of the fact that unrepresented individuals do not know their rights. It is therefore important to learn about one’s rights and research regarding credit card debt collection laws. Ask the creditor to verify the debts they claim you owe by providing proof that the amount of debt really exists. For all you know, the creditor can be misstating the debt they claim you owe them and the credit card debt collections they are making are really against the law. It is therefore important to ask for specific business records and proof of solid identification, as the court rules out unclear representations and unclear records of business records that do not clearly point out that a debt has been made under your name.
File a Formal Written Response
It is essential to file a formal written response to the debt collector answering their claim with the court that you have credit card debt. Not filing a lawsuit will be similar to admission that you really owe the amount of money the creditor is suing you for. Standing up to defend and fight for your right is the only way to make creditors back down from their pursuit to scare you and make you give in to what they want.
Ask Them to Prove their Standing
Be aware of the group that sues you and look to see if they are the original creditor who can rightfully sue you or just a debt purchaser. Ask the debt purchaser to provide you with proof that your account was one of the accounts they have purchased. It will also be difficult for the debt owner to transfer the debt to two to three more entities, and they may also have a hard time providing requirements of the court which asks the creditor to have a witness that can testify to the accuracy of the business records.
Ask for Original Documents
Sometimes, you might have a similar name to the person that owes the creditors money, so you can use mistaken identity as a line of defense. Ask for proof that you indeed owe the debt and request for the court to ask the creditor to provide the original documents so that everyone can see if the details such as signature, address, and any other forms of identity which can tell if you are indeed the person they are looking for.
Check if the Process is Right
You should also check how the complaint of lawsuit has been served to you and see if the process and delivery is correct and conforms according to the laws in your state, town or city. The service requirements usually differ according to the amount that the creditor is asking for. Should you notice that the creditor has not properly served you with their complaint, you should address this upon responding to the lawsuit filed against you.
Check if the Debt is Too Old
The filing of a suit of a creditor is controlled by the law in each state and is usually from three to six years. The time for the debts starts after making the last payment. For those who have a three-year limit debt and who haven’t make payments in two years, a payment will start the time running all over again.
Assert Payment as Defense
For debt collectors who bought debts from another collector, a defense you can use is that you accidentally paid the wrong party and that you only paid part of the debt. The new owner of the debt will then need to get the payment from the original creditor if you haven’t received any alert of the debt transfer. A creditor may only be entitled to the amount you owe and nothing more than that.
Check for Fair Debt Collection Practices Act violations
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) requires debt collectors to give confirmation of credit card debt case as soon as you request it. It also imposes a stop in pursuing debt collection until the collectors provide the necessary confirmation.
Dispute Fraudulent Credit Card Charges
You might also get charged with unauthorized credit card charges from things you’ve never bought or from places you’ve never been to. As soon as you notice that something is amiss from your last statement of account, notify your credit card company immediately and make a police report so that you can prove that the charge is still on your statement of account.
Whatever line of defense you may come up with for the creditor or debt collector who will file a suit against you, it’s important that you read about your legal rights on credit card debt and know all about credit card debt collection laws in your area so that you can be better equipped for credit card debt collections anytime.