How To Win A Credit Card Lawsuit As A Novice
Lawsuits are often hard to get around with if you don’t know how to handle them.
But as long as you know an attorney, or you know where to find one, then you’re already halfway there.
For credit card lawsuits, you might have been in a dire situation for you to owe so much on your card, considering the pandemic seems to not be let off soon.
We do have a few guidelines you can follow to pull yourself back on track.
How To Get a Credit Card Lawsuit Dismissed
An experienced attorney can certainly help you to lessen or dismiss the amount you owe to your card provider.
There aren’t really any guarantees, but your lawyer can do their best to have your case dismissed or your dues eliminated.
Before the trial even begins, lawyers can have your case dismissed when they force your credit card company’s lawyer to show proof about your case.
They often file thousands of cases each year, so more often than not, they forget to return back to lawyers about their requests.
When the credit card company is threatened with a potential lawsuit so they can provide the papers to prove your case, your case is often dismissed.
If the creditor’s lawyer or the debt buyer provides the papers, your lawyer can still get them dismissed by citing any paperwork errors.
Your case can also get dismissed most of the time because the credit card company usually does not actively pursue their case against you.
If your case sits a long time, and the credit card company or the debt buyer does nothing, the court can dismiss your case. It will then be called a dismissal for want of prosecution.
One other way to have your case dismissed is just by simply showing up to trial.
More often than not, the credit card company’s attorney doesn’t show up, and sometimes, the court dismisses the case.
Why Your Credit Card Company May Likely Sue You for Unpaid Debt
There are credit card companies that file for credit card lawsuits in about 15% of debt collection cases.
If you owe a lot to a credit card company, you will need to think of your options if your account gets over 180 days past due or it becomes charge-off status.
If in case that happens, your credit card company will write off your account as a deficit and will count it as a loss for accounting.
Although even with a charge-off status, credit card companies can still sue a debtor for repayment or sell their debt owed to a credit card account to a collection agency.
If you still can’t pay the collection agency, they can sue in civil court, although it might be less likely to happen if the balance you owe is below $1,000 or if you have the debt settled.
Especially if the statute of limitations is up, which depends on the state.
But lawsuits are not a credit card company’s first option for people who don’t pay their dues, as litigation can be very costly in time and money. There’s also the likely possibility that the court might not rule in their favor.
You’d, of course, want to avoid lawsuits, too. They can be very expensive, and it will most likely show up on your credit report, hurting not just your credit score but your chances of also getting a loan.
But here are reasons your credit card company might choose to take you to court.
You have paid nothing to your balance for at least 180 days. This is where your credit card company has to write off your dues as a loss. They can still sue for repayment at this stage, and more often than not, they always do.
Your credit card company feels they have no other options. If they’ve been trying to reach you but to no avail, the chances of a lawsuit being filed will increase.
It can certainly be frightening to face your creditors, but it’s better than facing a lawsuit.
But remember that collection agencies only have a specific time frame that they can contact you. Anything more than that must need your explicit permission to do so.
If your balance is enough to justify a lawsuit, then most likely, your credit company will sue.
Most companies will not continue if your balance is just a small amount that they can actually forgive part of it for a lump-sum payment.
A settlement will hurt your credit, but it’s better than facing a lawsuit or filing for bankruptcy.
It is always best to work with your creditors to pay off your balance, as the damage can still be contained. But if worse comes to worst, make sure you talk to a lawyer to help you with your lawsuit.
A Credit Card Company Sued You, What’s Next?
Many people have trouble paying off their card debt, and they may be sued for it.
It might even lower your credit score or raise your interest rates on any loan.
If in case months pass by and no payments have been made on your account, it might be turned over to a collector who might even send you a court summons.
Collectors can certainly take you to court, but not unless they attempted to collect on the debt.
Staying calm is the key. Best to know how to deal with collectors so you can also manage your anxiety. It might even help to beat them in court!
Although here’s the good news: you can’t be jailed for card debt, and your debt collectors will break the law if they even imply that you might.
Still, a court summons can be stressful and time-consuming. So how should you respond to a summons for card dues?
Never ignore the summons
Make a plan of action. Pay attention, especially that you’ll have 20 to 30 days to respond to it. Read the summons carefully so you can plan your defense properly with your lawyer.
Don’t ignore your court summons, as it is never a good idea to do so. Your collector might even win the case, resulting in your wages being taken until you pay everything off.
Confirm the debt
Check if the loan is really yours. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act requires collectors to send a validation letter listing information about the loan, including the current creditor and the amount of loan owed.
This should be received no later than five days after the first communication.
If it is not yours, or you really don’t have an idea if it’s really yours, don’t be afraid to ask for additional information.
Write a debt verification letter to your collector so you can confirm if it’s really yours or not.
Ask who the original creditor is, or ask them to confirm if the statute of limitations on the debt has not expired. Better to be prepared so you can have a good defense.
If you already confirmed that the debt is yours and the statute of limitations has not expired, settle your debt instead of going to court.
Your collector will be more than happy to negotiate one, and this can be a good defense.
Get an attorney
Whatever your plans are, best to contact an attorney. They can negotiate a good settlement plan for you or speak to you about how to beat collectors in court.
Some attorneys offer free consults, which are helpful in times of financial need.
The Statutes of Limitations on Credit Card Debt
It is a law that limits the time that lenders or creditors have to take consumers to court for nonpayment.
It depends on each state how long it may take, but it takes three years in 11 states to 10 years in two states, while the remaining are in between those numbers.
It is especially useful if in case your creditor has lost the evidence that they need to prove that they can still hound you for the unpaid debt.
If a creditor wins a judgment against a non-payer, they have two options to acquire the payment: either by wage garnishment or seizing your property.
But all that disappears if the statute is up. Although most people don’t consider it as a get out of jail free card.
Even with the statute of limitations expiring, you still owe the debt, and your creditor can still report you to the credit bureaus, and it will affect your credit score.
How To Settle Credit Card Debt Before Going To Court
Getting a settlement for an old debt is the smartest move you can make. It is one of the best debt relief options you can get, instead of going to court over credit card debt.
But you have to look at your budget first. Can you pay enough toward your debt each month?
Can you pay it off at once, probably digging into your emergency fund or sacrificing your vacation funds? You can then choose to have either a payment plan or a lump-sum payment.
But be sure to choose wisely before settling in on a choice.
But if it’s not your credit card debt, be wary. Many debt collection scams are happening.
But because it gets transferred to many agencies, a mistake may often happen.
It may be someone else’s that has the same name as yours. It may be someone who has previously rented the place you’re in, or it may be that you are a victim of identity theft.
Your debt verification letter will be useful if the debt is not yours. If that doesn’t work, legal help can help you fight it out in court. If you win, they often require your collector to pay your legal fees.
Should I Get a Lawyer for a Credit Card Lawsuit?
If your credit card provider sues you for unpaid debt, it will be best to think about getting an attorney. In most cases, it will be the best decision you ever made.
There have even been studies where people with legal representation in a debt collection lawsuit are more likely to get a good outcome with the plaintiff than those who do not have one.
An attorney can protect you in court, negotiate a good settlement or payment plan, and tell you what rights and responsibilities you might have in a debt collection lawsuit.
But why should you hire a lawyer?
Your lawyer can properly defend you in a lawsuit against you. If you feel that you are in the right, an attorney can increase your chances of winning by giving you legal advice.
Under state law, a collector has a limited time to sue you for unpaid debt, which is called the statute of limitations.
It varies from state to state, but usually, it’s from three to six years. If the statute of limitation is up, then an attorney is your best bet in getting the case dismissed entirely.
If you’re not the one who owes the debt, you can get it dismissed due to mistaken identity.
There should be proof from your creditor that you’re really the one who owes the debt, and your attorney can even help you ask for documentation that will help you see if you’re not the person or you really owe the debt.
The debt collector taking you to court must also prove that they own the debt that you owe.
Credit card companies often sell off old unpaid debt, so your debt collector must have the paperwork to prove they bought the debt from the company where your original credit came from so you can check if they have the right to sue you.
If they can’t prove anything, then your lawyer can help you get the case dismissed as they don’t have the right to sue.
There may even be defenses you haven’t considered.
You may think you have nothing to defend within the court, but your lawyer can help smooth things out by explaining what may happen if you lose the lawsuit or if you don’t respond to the summons.
The court may decide in favor of your debt collector if you decide to ignore the summons, resulting in fees that they may order you to pay that may total to more than what you actually owe.
What Is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
It is a legal proceeding that involves a person or business who cannot repay their outstanding loans.
It begins with a petition filed by the debtor or on behalf of creditors. All the debtor’s assets are looked into and tested, and their assets may pay a portion of the outstanding debt.
Bankruptcy offers a person or a business to start fresh by forgiving debts that can’t be paid while giving creditors a chance to get some assurance that they will be repaid based on someone’s ability to pay or liquidation.
Last Points To Remember
Your credit card debt may feel overwhelming, especially if you can’t make payments.
You have options, though, such as taking a balance transfer credit card or debt relief options such as debt hardship programs.
Just make sure you check every other option available before deciding. Your credit card company or collector may take you to court, but there are options you can look into.
Always get a lawyer to help you in these cases, as they can give you the information that you need when you are taken to court by your creditor or collector.
Take their advice to heart and don’t get frustrated. They are lawyers for a reason, so make good use of them.
Editor’s Note on How To Win A Credit Card Lawsuit:
This guide is created to help and explain how to win a credit card lawsuit.
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