Getting Sued Over A Debt Already Paid

QUESTION: A collection agency says they’re going to sue me over a debt I already paid, I don’t know what to do.

I have a few emails of paid in full, but a couple of the companies didn’t send me anything, and when I tried to call them it says it’s no longer a working number.

ANSWER: First of all, I would suggest that you pull a copy of your credit bureau reports. You may obtain a free copy through www. AnnualCreditReport.com It is the only website that the Federal Trade Commission has approved of for a free credit report. You might find useful information on that website. Also, do you have old bank statements or cancelled checks to prove you paid?

If a third party debt collector is threatening to sue you on a debt that has been paid (whether you can prove it right now, OR NOT) then it seems your rights have been violated. I would suggest you contact a consumer rights attorney who has experience going after abusive debt collectors. They will probably want to look up this debt collector that is threatening to sue you. Specifically, they will want to see if this debt buyer is a common litigator; and also, they will want to find out if this debt collector has a surety bond on file with the Texas Secretary of State. If they do not, then this whole thing sounds like a scam- an illegal scam.

Keep in mind that the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act allows you to collect a statutory award, other damages, as well as your attorney fees. That is the reason why many consumer rights attorneys do not charge clients up front for their time. They can get paid for by the defendants. I strongly suggest you get your payment history together and call a consumer rights attorney licensed in Texas.

This information is provided for educational purposes only. There is no attorney-client relationship with Karni Law Firm until a contract is signed by the attorney and the client.

 

Sued By A Junk Debt Collector

QUESTION: Sued by a junk debt collector for $1500 on unsecured CC debt from 2011.  This clearly seems to be an attempt to get a default judgment by an attorney who expects that I will not answer. I’ll pay $250 to any licensed TX attorney who will answer on my behalf in the expectation that the junk debt collector will abandon hope due to the presence of an attorney and the weak claim. I seem to be one of many thousands of people who received court docs today judging by the quality of the summons. I’ve been doing research and this seems very easy to defeat. I’m wondering whether or not I should even bother to research how to defeat this when there might be an attorney willing to accept $250 to do it for me.

Last payment on the card was March 19th, 2011. I was served by someone in a $200 car on March 26th, 2015. The lawyer lives 300 miles away. The summons is very sketchy looking.

ANSWER: I don’t know who sued you and who their lawyers are. The debt buyer industry has been empowered over the last 2-3 years for a whole host of reasons. Yes, they may simply be interested in obtaining a default judgment. On the other hand, I have had many debt buyers – the likes of Midland Funding, Portfolio Recovery Associates, and many others up put a fight, even for very low balances. Their attorneys are in court with huge dockets all set for the same day: it is unlikely they would be coming to court for your case only. Plus, if this is a lawsuit in the Justice of the Peace court system, then the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure are severely relaxed, making it much easier to obtain a judgment.

You seem to be a terrific negotiator, considering your online bidding efforts here. Any lawyer that makes an appearance for you in an answer is on the hook for the entire case, not just the answer. An attorney who values their law license and their reputation will not get hired for the limited purpose of filing an answer and then asking the court to withdraw from your case. (I may be wrong, of course.)

If you fail to answer the lawsuit, or if you appear – pro se or through an attorney – and lose the case, the judgment will likely be significantly higher than $1,500.00, including interest, fees, court costs and attorney fees. The damage to your credit report, as well as the risk of post-judgment collection would be reasons for you to hire an experienced attorney.

 

How To Clear My Mother’s Name From A Loan

QUESTION: What do I need to do to clear my mothers name on a loan she has no ideal on how it happen? Her name is on the loan papers.

I’m my mothers executive over her health & finances, she has been diagnosed with dementia. My nephew took her with him to a dealership saying he was going to buy a truck. Later I started receiving notices of declines of loans in the mail so I look up her credit report and seen a loan was taken out on a truck and the payment was over a month late. After confronting him he said her name was not suppose to be on the loan. That’s when I told him he needs to go and have it removed. After four months of no payments he finally made one payment. I told the loan company that she is not making any payments and that I’m working on removing her name on the loan. My mother is 89 so time is precious and I don’t need any problems like this upsetting her. Is there any thing I can do to help my mother?

ANSWER:  There are two sides to this: one is with the finance company. The other is with the credit bureaus. In both cases, you will likely need to file a complaint with the police against the nephew. Will your mother need credit? Consider how important (or unimportant) it is for her to live out the rest of her life without credit. 

If the finance company ever comes after your mother (or her estate) for the deficiency, you will be able to raise the issue of her dementia as a very good defense. You will need doctor’s reports to support the defense. I would suggest you obtain those records now, while she is still in the doctor’s care.

This information is provided for educational purposes only. There is no attorney-client relationship with Karni Law Firm until a contract is signed by the attorney and the client.

What To Include In Your Answer To A Credit Card Lawsuit

QUESTION: I have been sued by a credit card company. I have to file a written answer with the Clerk.

My debt is for 11, 000 dollars. I would like to know what I need to include in the written answer to the district court?

ANSWER: You need to contact a consumer rights attorney for a number of reasons. Firstly, the debt-collection litigation industry is a very-well greased machine in the courthouse. Unless you are an attorney yourself, I would have serious concerns that you may not properly represent yourself.

An experienced consumer rights attorney will also want to review all debt-collection materials and your credit bureau reports to see whether your rights have been violated. In other words, you may have good grounds for a counter-claim.

There are several attorneys in the greater-Houston area that handle consumer rights exclusively. I encourage you to contact an attorney. You might find that you will end up ahead, even if you pay out-of-pocket for representation.

This information is provided for educational purposes only. There is no attorney-client relationship with Karni Law Firm until a contract is signed by the attorney and the client.

Settling A Credit Card Lawsuit

QUESTION: I am involved in a credit law suit in TX and a court date has been set. I have been offered a settlement by the plaintiff for about 60% of the debt payable over 5 years with no interest. The questions I have are: 1.) Is the offered settlement reasonable or should I ask for a larger discount? The discounted amount is slightly less then the principal. So effectively the discounted amount strips out the accrued interest and the attorney’s fees. 2.) The plaintiff’s attorney has drawn up a Rule 11 Agreement and a Agreed Final Judgment to be filled with the court, which requires me to agree to a full judgment sum. Do I have to agree to the Final Judgment? Do these agreements have to be filled with the court?

ANSWER: You have many valid questions. The debt collection lawyer might be giving you answers, but you should certainly seek counsel. An attorney with experience handling the defense of credit suits should review the agreed judgment before you sign it. 

With respect to your credit reports: the agreed judgment will appear on there, just as any judgment would. Have you considered other routes with the goal of avoiding a judgment altogether? Depending on the amount of debt that is at issue, you might be better off hiring an attorney, or at least consulting with an attorney. There are not just debt collection defense matters here, but also debt collection abuse and credit reporting angles that should be considered.

This information is provided for educational purposes only. There is no attorney-client relationship with Karni Law Firm until a contract is signed by the attorney and the client.

Settling A Credit Card Lawsuit

QUESTION: I am involved in a credit law suit in TX and a court date has been set. I have been offered a settlement by the plaintiff for about 60% of the debt payable over 5 years with no interest. The questions I have are: 1.) Is the offered settlement reasonable or should I ask for a larger discount? The discounted amount is slightly less then the principal. So effectively the discounted amount strips out the accrued interest and the attorney’s fees. 2.) The plaintiff’s attorney has drawn up a Rule 11 Agreement and a Agreed Final Judgment to be filled with the court, which requires me to agree to a full judgment sum. Do I have to agree to the Final Judgment? Do these agreements have to be filled with the court?

ANSWER: You have many valid questions. The debt collection lawyer might be giving you answers, but you should certainly seek counsel. An attorney with experience handling the defense of credit suits should review the agreed judgment before you sign it. 

With respect to your credit reports: the agreed judgment will appear on there, just as any judgment would. Have you considered other routes with the goal of avoiding a judgment altogether? Depending on the amount of debt that is at issue, you might be better off hiring an attorney, or at least consulting with an attorney. There are not just debt collection defense matters here, but also debt collection abuse and credit reporting angles that should be considered.

This information is provided for educational purposes only. There is no attorney-client relationship with Karni Law Firm until a contract is signed by the attorney and the client.

Debt Collection Tactics

Debt collectors are notorious for engaging in what can often be described as abusive and harassing tactics in order to collect a debt. Some debt collectors will even go as far as threatening to come to your home or place of employment to serve you with lawsuit papers. In my experience, these particular debt collectors are the worst of the worst, and most often they usually are not even licensed to collect debt in Texas.

If, however, the party that was calling happens to be a legitimate debt collection agency, then one would probably be within their rights to sue them for violations of the federal and Texas debt collection laws. My office has handled many suits against abusive debt collectors. The laws allow the consumer to recover damages, in addition to all of the attorney fees and costs incurred while suing the debt collector. Many consumer rights lawyers will handle debt collection abuse cases on a contingency basis.

Before proceeding with a lawsuit, it is advisable pull your credit report to determine if the particular collection agency in question is listed. Depending on when the account in question went into default, it may or may not appear as a negative comment on your credit report. A free copy of your credit report can be downloaded once every year from www.AnnualCreditReport.com. Any suspicious lines listed on your credit reports should also be taken up with a consumer rights attorney.

Finally, if you have the name and/or phone number of the collection agency, and especially if you have any recordings, feel free to send that information along. My office will gladly do some research to determine if the collection agency is legitimate.

This information is provided for educational purposes only. There is no attorney-client relationship with Karni Law Firm until a contract is signed by the attorney and the client.