Just because you owe, does not mean you should fail to fight a credit card lawsuit against you for credit card debt. You should not allow a default judgment against you for not responding.
Felix Salmon writing “Why you should always contest a credit-card lawsuit” for Reuters U.S. makes the point, “The simple act of asking the plaintiff to prove that you owe what they say you owe will very often make the whole suit disappear.”
Summons For Credit Card Debt
A recent purchaser of my Credit Card Debt Survival Guide was served with a summons for $3000 in credit card debt from a junk debt buyer accompanied by a sworn affidavit from an employee of the junk debt buyer attesting to the validity of the debt. There were no original creditor documents.
In small claims court this consumer does not have to file a motion to dismiss for inadequate documentation or proof of the debt. He can simply ask the judge or administrator running the court, “Why am I here, they have not proven any contractual connection with me?”
Junk debt buyers (JDBs) do not expect to collect from 100 percent of the old overdue credit card accounts they purchased for 2 to 15 cents on the dollar. 50 percent would be immensely profitable. They have no way of producing original creditor documents supported by employee –signed sworn affidavits.
Here is how another consumer figured out how to eliminate debt.
When confronted with a demand for original creditor documentation a junk debt usually folds their cards. A few years ago the Wall Street Journal reported it was the business plan of one of the largest JDBs in the U.S. to only seek default judgments and to not pursue any claim where the consumer legally answered the credit card summons.
Apparently original creditors can have the same problem documenting credit card debt for a court as all junk debt buyers do. You can read about J.P. Morgan Chase’s robo-signing problems in a recent blog of mine.
An original creditor sued another purchaser of the Credit Card Debt Survival Guide in a mid-Atlantic state. At court the collection attorney said to this consumer, “Let’s just both go home.” He had no documentation to show the court to back up his claim for the credit card debt this consumer did owe.
The good news is most consumers who owe will be fighting a credit lawsuit in a small claims court. Here is a link to a list of state-by-state small claims court monetary limits from $2500 to $25,000 with most in the $5000 to $10,000 range.
Small claims courts do have reduced filing fees, which are beneficial to the collection law firm and creditor and which allow them to file numerous claims knowing most will default. But, playing the numbers game also means they are likely to not follow through against the consumers who demand proper documentation. There is also less chance of a consumer being tripped up by procedural details known mostly to attorneys familiar with the local courthouse’s procedural biases.
You can and should always at least consult a consumer rights attorney if you get served with a credit card debt summons. Most of them have reasonable fees because they are confident they can defeat poorly equipped collection attorneys (as in poor documentation).