Not Showing Up To A Civil Suit Court Appearance

QUESTION: What would happen if I do not show up to a hearing concerning credit card breach of contract?

I am a house wife who made regular payments until my husband stopped giving me any money to pay on credit card and anything else at all . I have no income at all to work with and had to move out of our house and in with family just to stay alive due to him canceling my medical insurance and not buying food for the house now I am being sued.

ANSWER: The collection industry can be ruthless. They don’t care what your circumstances: if they can legally collect against you, they will.

Depending on all of the circumstances surrounding your finances, you may want to consider bankruptcy. Bankruptcy will stop the lawsuit against you dead in its tracks.

Otherwise, I suggest you do everything possible to defend yourself. If you/family can afford to hire a consumer rights attorney, that’s your best bet. The creditor/plaintiff is likely to get a judgment against you by default. Even if you cannot afford to pay for the judgment now, the judgment-creditors are patient: they will wait until you find employment, re-marry, gain an inheritance, or win the lottery. Meanwhile, a judgment on your credit reports can be devastating. You should do everything you can to avoid having a judgment entered against you.

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.

 

Collection Case Dismissed For Lack Of Prosecution

QUESTION: I had a debit collection case that was dismissed for Lack of Prosecution.

The case was dismissed for Lack of Prosecution. I had filed a motion to reinstate the case and the judge said he wasn’t going to reinstate. so the  debt was sold to another collection agency. This was the 4 or 5 law firm that has come after me. What can I do to get this off my credit report? The debit type is a private student loan and this loan is NOT a FFELP.

ANSWER: There are two different issues here: the matter of the lawsuit seems to have been resolved if the case was dismissed. I understand that you have concerns that another debt buyer will sue you for it again. That is possible, although unlikely.

On the credit reporting side, you are encouraged to send off a written dispute letter to the credit bureaus and to everyone who ever tried to collect this debt. You should list all of the reasons why you dispute the negative information on your credit report. The fact that you were sued (and that the lawsuit was dismissed for lack of prosecution) does not qualify as a good reason to remove the debt from your credit reports.

If you dispute the debt with the present collector (and every collector beforehand) then they are prohibited by federal law from communicating information about the debt to yet another 3rd party. All of your disputes should be handled in writing, sent by certified mail, return receipt requested.

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.

 

Liens Against Your Property

QUESTION: I went to refinance my home and found 6 liens. None of them actually belong to me. How does this happen and how can I fix this? Seem lazy.

How do people file liens against property without proof it is the correct person. I have to prove these are not me. Some are easy, because the judgments have DOB or Social Security number. They never should have been placed on my title in the first place. Do I have any recourse against the person who placed them there?

In addition to the answers the other attorneys provided, I would also suggest you check your credit reports (if your mortgage broker or other banker hasn’t already done that for you recently). Get your free reports at www.AnnualCreditReport.com. Also, you may want to do some homework and learn more about the underlying claims or judgments that resulted in the liens. If these judgments are related to issues that are rightfully yours, you will probably need the assistance of an attorney to unwind the judgments (assuming you were never served with process.)

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.

Ex-Spouse Defaulted On Car Payment: What To Do?

QUESTION: My ex husband had defaulted on his court ordered mediated agreement of my car payment for two months. What should I do?

Our divorce was finalized in Austin, Texas on January 11, 2013, but we both live in different areas of Harris County.  He has been late off and on since our divorce.  I also struggle getting my spousal support.

ANSWER: I will answer this question from a consumer debt/credit perspective. If you want to keep the vehicle and you are trying to maintain good credit, your fastest and most secure way to do that is to make up the missed payments yourself. It will probably be cheaper for you to pay your way through the vehicle then to deal with the repossession costs. Unless your finance company is especially nice (which most are not) they are probably already entitled to repossess the vehicle. Getting it back may mean that you will have to pay the full amount of the vehicle (it’s called accelerating the payments.) In other words, the finance company is not obligated to allow you to simply come current.

I realize that if you start making monthly car note payments yourself, your ex-husband may try to assume that you are taking over that responsibility. I would suggest you carefully document every communication with the finance company- 1) asking how many payments are behind; and 2) finding out if payments have been made each and every month. Ultimately, you will want to be able to show the family court that you would not have made the payments, except that you were at risk of losing the vehicle. If the vehicle is ever repossessed, make sure the finance company has your correct address. They are obligated under Texas Law to send you 2 notices if they sell the vehicle to another person. You are welcome to send any correspondence from the lender to my office for us to review, whether it is pre- or post- repo.

You should consult with a consumer rights attorney regarding all issues on financing, repossession, and your credit score. You should consult with a family lawyer regarding a motion to enforce; you will want to get a judgment against your ex-husband for payback of the monthly note payments and other obligations he is avoiding.

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.

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.

There was a judgment taken against me, what happens next?

If there was a judgment issued against you and you do not have the time or resources to try and have it overturned, here are some important things to know about what happens next:
 
First of all, it will go on your credit report.  The trade line for the judgment creditor will most likely be listed as one of your bad debts.  In addition to that, the judgment itself will also be listed by the clerk of court in the Judgments/Liens/Foreclosures or Public Records section of your credit report.  The trade line under bad debts can only be listed for 7 years like any other debt, however, the judgment can be listed for 10 years. 
 
Secondly, you may receive what is called “post-judgment discovery requests.”  In these requests, the attorney representing the judgment creditor can ask you about your assets, income and other financial information.  What is scary about this is that if you do not answer these requests the judge may hold you in contempt of the court.  This is the ONLY time that failure to pay a debt will result in jail time.
 
Lastly, with a judgment issued against you, there is a chance that the judgment creditor will attempt to freeze your bank accounts until the judgment is paid off.
 
If you have had a judgment issued against you or you just have questions about being sued or credit card debt in general, contact a consumer attorney in your area.  You may find a local consumer attorney by visiting www.naca.net.
 
This blog covers consumer rights as they relate to Texas State law.  If you reside outside of the State of Texas, please contact a local attorney.