Defaulted PayDay Loan

QUESTION: Can I be sued in the Texas for a defaulted online payday loan?

I taken out a few payday loans online and pretty much got in over my head paying them back ! Can I be sued in Texas?

ANSWER: Most payday lenders do not sue in Texas. Having said that, they are certainly entitled to sue you if you defaulted on a loan.

I would be curious to know who is threatening the lawsuit and whether they are a “usual suspect” – – the kind of payday lender that actually does file suit in Texas. If they are not customarily in court, then their threat is illegal, and possibly a violation of either the Texas Debt Collection Act and/or the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The collection industry for payday lenders is infamous for being abusive. I would suggest you keep track of all collection phone calls and keep all of the collection letters.

If the threat to sue is in writing, I would suggest you forward a copy to a consumer rights attorney. If the threat to sue is made verbally, you might still want to talk to an experienced consumer rights attorney who can do a bit of research and find out whether this collector is blowing smoke, or not.

Finally, you might want to have a look at your credit bureau reports through www.AnnualCreditReport.com (That is where you can get your credit reports for free.)

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.

 

Mail Theft & Fraud

QUESTION: Mail theft and possibly fraud. Ex girlfriend stole. Illegal?

I found out that my ex had both stolen my keys, in addition to a few packages out of mailbox. Not on lease, not married.

ANSWER: Yes, this sounds illegal. If you have concerns that she is also stealing your credit, I would suggest you request a fraud alert with the credit bureaus. I would also suggest that you monitor your credit reports on a regular basis going forward. You may obtain a free copy of your credit reports once every year from each of the three credit bureaus at www.AnnualCreditReport.com. If you discover that accounts were taken out in your name, you will want to file a police report. Send that police report to the original creditors and the credit bureaus in order to clear your name. If the accounts are not removed from your name, you would have grounds to sue under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

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.

If I change my SSN what happens to my debt?

QUESTION: If I change my SSN what happens to my debt? I received a letter in the mail today about an inquiry for credit that I never requested. I don’t know if someone else has my information and/or what damage may have been done that I haven’t noticed. I know I have some debt of my own, but would changing my social security number be like a poor man’s bankruptcy or would it still follow me over to the new number?

ANSWER: The Social Security Administration does not allow anyone, even victims of identity theft, to switch out their old social security number for a new one very easily. While it may be possible to get a new SSN, it is extremely difficult and rare.

I would suggest you pull a free copy of your credit reports through www.AnnualCreditReport.com. That website was designed to follow Federal Trade Commission regulation to allow every consumer one free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus every 12 months. It will link you directly to TransUnion, Equifax and Experian.

In reviewing your credit reports, you will want to see whether there are any new accounts that you do not recognize. You can also have a look at the back of the credit report to see whether there are inquiries made by companies that you did not authorize. Hard inquiries are usually made before a lender extends new credit. There are also soft inquiries that are usually made by your existing lenders just to check up on you.

You can request a short-term or long-term fraud alert be linked to your social security number. You should also call the company that mailed you the letter and ask what it’s all about. If you are going to let that bank, or anyone else know that your identity has been stolen, you should send certified mail with a return receipt so that you have a paper trail. You may also want to file a police report that you can attach to your letter to lenders and the major consumer reporting agencies.

Finally, you may want to consult with an attorney. Most attorneys who handle consumer credit and debt collection abuse cases do not charge their clients an up front fee. The reason for this is because the Fair Credit Reporting Act (as well as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) allow consumers to collect damages as well as their attorney fees and court costs.

I wish you luck.

These materials have been prepared by Karni Law Firm, P.C. for educational and informational purposes only and are not intended to be legal advice. This communication does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Dana Karni or of Karni Law Firm, P.C. or any of its attorneys, employees, or clients, and are not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or up-to-date. This site is not intended to create, and access to or receipt of information included in this site does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship. No one should act upon this information without seeking professional counsel. Although we would be pleased to communicate with you by e-mail or otherwise, do not send us information until you speak with one of our lawyers and get authorization to send that information to us. Please be aware that if you communicate with us by e-mail or otherwise in connection with a matter for which we do not already represent you, your communication may not be treated as privileged or confidential. If you communicate with us by e-mail in connection with a matter for which we already represent you, please remember that Internet e-mail is not secure and you may wish to take steps to encrypt sensitive or confidential materials before sending them on the Internet.

How do I contest and reverse a court judgment which has been erroneously attached to me and thus my credit report?

QUESTION: How do I contest and reverse a court judgment which has been erroneously attached to me and thus my credit report? I was served notice of a suit on a defaulted credit acct/card in 2008, but the name in the suit is different from mine. It is similar, but definitely not mine. And the debt is not mine. Somehow, a judgment was entered against the defendant, and it got attached to me and my credit report. Now I’m being denied credit because if this adverse credit history.

ANSWER: You will need to dispute the judgment as it appears on your credit report. The negative information is called a tradeline – but it was probably not provided by the judgment creditor. Public records with judgments are submitted by the courts. You will probably need to request a copy of the entire court file, which will hopefully have information about the true judgment debtor. You might find other helpful information in the complete court record.

Your dispute to the court and to the three credit bureaus should be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested. If the credit bureaus do not remove the tradeline, you will have grounds for a lawsuit under the Fair Credit Reporting Act and Texas consumer rights statutes (similar to the FCRA).

Many consumer rights attorneys will handle the litigation without charging an up-front fee. The statutes allow you to collect your attorneys fees as part of your damages. There are lawyers (myself included) who will even help you through the dispute process without charging any fees.

I strongly suggest you document all of your efforts to clean up the error, including your damages such as denied credit.

Do I need a debt attorney?

QUESTION: Do I need a debt attorney? Is there a limitation to before a medical bill is to old to collect? Does that include if the hospital has sold off my sons bills to a collection agency? He had a seizure in the water, was care flighted to the hospital and was there a few days. We didn’t have insurance, so we have the bills. The hospital didn’t received copies of the bills even after we requested them. That was 5/3/2011. Now we have a “Shafritz and Assoc, PA” calling us to settle pretty much in full. Does the time frame still hold true?

RESPONSE:The statute of limitations is 4 years. The concern that I have for you relates to the collection agency. It is not listed with the Texas Secretary of State as a licensed debt collector. If you pay them anything, you are risking that you are wasting your money, and that the statute of limitations will start all over again for a new 4 year period.

Under federal debt collection laws, a third party debt collector must send you something in writing within 5 days of the first phone call. If they have not already sent you something, then ask for a letter with an explanation of the debt. If they have sent you something in writing, you may want to share that letter with a consumer rights attorney to determine if your rights have been violated. Federal debt collection laws allow you to collect an award of up to $1,000.00, as well as other damages and your attorney fees. (That’s the reason many consumer rights attorneys can handle debt collection abuse cases on a contingency.)

Also, I would suggest that you check your credit bureau reports to see whether they are illegally reporting this debt to the three main credit bureaus. You can pull your credit reports for free through www.AnnualCreditReport.com. That is the only website that has the stamp of approval of the federal trade commission.

How to get it off credit?

QUESTION: Mom put utilities in my name when I was 17. Moved out at 18 in another state paying my own utilities. How to get it off credit? I didn’t know about it. She stopped paying 2 years later.

RESPONSE: If someone opened an account in your name without your permission, you are encouraged to file a police report for identity theft and/or forgery. That police report will help you in your dispute with the utility company and/or the credit reporting agencies. The sensitive issue you need to contend with is whether to report your mother. Often times, when family members are involved in identity theft, the victim does not want to make the report and turn them in to the authorities.

If you are willing to file the complaint, you will need to turn that in to the credit bureaus and the utility company with your written dispute. Mail your dispute by certified mail with return receipt requested. If the negative information does not come off of your credit reports, then you will have grounds to sue under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. You will be entitled to collect your damages, as well as your attorney’s fees (which is why many consumer rights attorneys can handle these cases on a full contingency.)

Can I write the credit bureaus and have a collection account removed with the status of “Potentially Negative Closed”?

QUESTION:

Hi, I have a question regarding my credit report. I’m only 23 years old and I’ve recently wanted to start cleaning up my credit. After reviewing my credit today I noticed I had two accounts that state “Potentially Negative Closed” and the account is closed. Can I have that removed? If so, how would I go about doing that? Thank you!

ANSWER: Do you know the circumstances for closing the account? If not, you should certainly write to the credit reporting agencies, as well as the creditor that furnished the information, to dispute the listings and request more information. Keep in mind, sometimes when you dispute a listing on your credit report, it becomes very difficult to remove the “dispute” status without re-affirming the debt. In my office, we see people who are trying to buy their first house or car and cannot because there are disputes on their credit reports that they cannot clear.

If the listing is inaccurate, and if you properly dispute the information with no positive results from the credit bureaus, then you might have a good claim under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, as well as the Texas Finance Code.

On another note: kudos to you for being diligent about your credit worthiness!

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.