Debts In A Divorce Decree

QUESTION: I financed a car with my ex-wife. The divorce decree states that the vehicle and the debt for it are hers.

She has not been paying on the auto loan, and it is hurting my credit. Do I have any legal recourse?

ANSWER: From a credit/debt rights perspective: Notifying the lender and/or the credit bureaus that your ex spouse was given the car and the car note does NOT relieve you from the liability. Family courts and divorce-court judges cannot force the bank (not a party in the divorce lawsuit) to agree to drop you as liable on the car note. Unfortunately, most divorce attorneys do not go into that sort of detail with their clients.

The only way you can save your credit is by making the payments yourself or encouraging your ex-wife to sell the car. If you make the payments yourself, you will probably have recourse to go back to family court and demand that your ex-wife reimburse you. If you convince your ex-wife to sell the car, any deficiency between the amount owed less the amount recovered through the sale is still your liability.

I would strongly recommend you do everything in your capacity to avoid the vehicle being repossessed. From a credit/debt perspective, a repo is even worse than a late payment or two.

On another note: if the vehicle does get repossessed, you should anticipate getting notice from the lender before the car is sold. That notice is required by Texas law and you should allow a consumer rights attorney to have a look at it to determine that your rights have not been violated. The Texas Finance Code has some terrific relief (damages) for consumers when that letter following repossession is defective.

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.

 

Statute of Limitations On Unsecured Debts

QUESTION: I understand there is a statue of limitation of 4 years to collect unsecure debt (say, credit card debt). The creditor sold the debt to a collection agency at the end of the 4th year of the debt. My question is would the clock reset on this debt account? I meant a 4 years statue of limitation starts all over again with the new collection agency? what if this collection agency now sold the debt to the second collection agency after number of years unsuccessfully to collect, and the circle repeats itself. What rights as a consumer of unsecure debt has to get this old debt off the record for good?

ANSWER: It sounds like your question relates to credit reporting more than potential lawsuits to collect the debt.
The clock for the statute of limitations on debt starts at the date of default. (Some creditors like to argue the clock starts from the date of chargeoff – -180 days after default.) Unless YOU make a payment, nothing else will restart that clock.
The statute of limitations to collect the debt in court is 4 years.
The amount of time that the debt will appear on your credit report is 7 years from the date of default. It makes no difference how many times the debt was bought and sold, it is still seven years. If you make a payment to any debt collector or debt buyer along the way, then the clock starts all over again.

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.

 

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.

 

Getting Sued By A Pay Day Lender

QUESTION: I have multiple online payday loans out since 2012 can they sue me?

I tried to work out arrangements with them but they wouldn’t settle what I could afford and refuse to give me an address to mail payments to them can I be in legal trouble?

ANSWER:  Theoretically, they can sue you. Generally, however, the payday loan collection industry is notorious for its illegal debt collection tactics. I recommend you consult with a consumer rights attorney, not just to review the terms of the payday loans, but also to determine if your rights have been violated (as well as your credit reporting rights.) 

Many consumer rights attorneys do not charge their clients up front, because many of the consumer rights statutes allow them to collect fees from the bad guys.

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.

How To Proceed With Payment Request Letters Totaling $10,000 From A Collection Agencies

It is important to recognize and understand that if you ever find yourself in such a situation your credit score is probably very low. Thus it will be extremely challenging obtaining the best interest rates for any financing (if you even qualify). At the same token, a lot of the very small debt out there (under $1,000.00) ends up on the debtor’s credit report, ends up in collections, but does *not* end up in a lawsuit. While I do not encourage debtors to avoid paying their bills, it is also clear that one may not be in a position where the debtor can legitimately afford to pay the delinquent bills. The negative lines on a credit report will slowly age, have less impact on the credit score, and after 7 years they will come off altogether.

If one happens to have any particular debt that is significantly over $1,000.00, then there is the possibility of being sued for that debt.

If you ever find yourself in such a situation, it is strongly recommended that you keep track of all debt collection calls that are made to you or anyone else. Most consumers are unaware, that they has debt collection rights. You can download a debt collection call log from my law firm’s website to help keep track of callers. Also, whatever debt collection mail that is received should be reviewed by an attorney. Keep in mind that often times debt collection letters have violations in them, and the consumers are really not knowledgeable enough to notice. Also keep in mind that most consumer rights lawyers will not charge an un front fee to handle debt collection abuse; federal and state laws allow consumers to collect their attorneys’ fees from the “bad guys.”

You should obtain a copy of your credit reports. They are available for free, once every year through www.AnnualCreditReport.com. It will enable you to have a complete picture of your debt.

Here are some additional suggestions to bear in mind:
1. Do not ignore the collection letters. Keep them; share them with a consumer right’s lawyer. You are welcome to send them all to my office so that I can advise further.
2. Sometimes it is worth considering calling the debt collection agencies to possibly work out a payment plan, but only after you have shared the collection letters with an attorney in the field of consumer rights. It is important to understand that sometimes paying one collector will open a jar of worms with others who are constantly looking at your credit report and probably wondering, “why is this person paying that debt, and not this one?”
3. $10k worth of debt is probably not enough to make bankruptcy the best option.
4. Bill consolidations is hardly ever the best way to go. Nevertheless, one should consult with an attorney to determine whether the debts may ultimately end up in litigation. If that’s the case, then debt consolidation may operate to prevent an imminent lawsuit.

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.

I disputed an error on my credit report, the creditor removed it on one bureau but decline on another credit bureau!

QUESTION: I disputed an error on my credit report, the creditor removed it on one bureau but decline on another credit bureau! I contacted creditor (home depot) and disputed 30 days late on my credit report. It was first reported on Equifax and was deleted by Equifax, then months later it showed up on my Transunion. This time I disputed with Transunion and the error remains. What ground I have if I need legal assistance?

RESPONSE: It is not uncommon for one credit bureau to report things one way, and another to report the exact opposite. I would recommend that you lodge another dispute- both with the creditor and the TransUnion. All credit reporting disputes should be handled by certified mail with return-receipt requested. You are encouraged to include as much helpful information as possible, including all proof that you have to support your claim.

Finally, if the incorrect information continues to appear on your credit report, you may have grounds to sue under the Federal Credit Reporting Act, as well as the Texas Finance Code. These consumer rights statutes allow you to recover damages, as well as your attorney fees (which is why many attorneys do not charge a fee to handle these sorts of matters – from the credit reporting dispute process through litigation.)

One other tidbit: many consumers obtain their credit reports through various websites that charge a fee. I have seen many consumers ask friends of theirs – in the mortgage industry, or car dealers – to pull their credit reports. The only place I recommend consumers go for their credit reports is: www.AnnualCreditReport.com It is the only website that is approved by the federal trade commission and allows you one free credit bureau report from each of the three major credit bureaus every year.