Asked in Credit and Debit CardsDebt CollectionCredit
If a lawyer says he has taken over a charged off credit card debt and will sue you unless he can collect should you pay him?
May 20, 2014 4:25PM
Unfortunately, he may falsely tell you that he represents the original creditor. You need to find out. One way to determine this is if and/or when he files suit against you, he will list himself/his firm or the original creditor as the Plaintiff. If it's NOT the original creditor, this means he is a junk debt (stressed debt) buyer. If he or his firm has purchased the "rights to debt collection", then you stand a much better chance of defending yourself. But I recommend that you still hire a Lawyer. Also, if he misrepresents himself as working for the original creditor and he does not, he is in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
A "charge off" does not mean the debt is not valid. It means the credit card issuer, or original creditor, has written it off their books for tax purposes as noncollectable. They receive insurance payments and tax credits on the charge off. That account may then be purchased for pennies on the dollar by a third party who will attempt to collect the debt.
There are Attorneys and Law Firms (Mann-Bracken) who specialize in collection lawsuits to recover payment in full but their success is limited against the informed. If you do nothing a default judgment will be made to the Lawyer. There are many things these Lawyers do not want you to know! Read further! If you fail to respond/answer the complaint/summons, and a default judgment is won by the third party collector, they will initiate action(s) to collect. Some of the ways for them to collect are, garnishment of wages and/or bank accounts. Liens against real estate, requests to have non-exempt assets liquidated. All states have a set of exemptions to protect specific amounts of the defendants property.
If you are sued:
Always file an answer to the complaint/summons within the 30 day period!
The first thing you should know and check is that you are protected by various consumer laws depending on what state you live. There are certain time limits, called statute of limitation, in which a Lawyer/Debt Collector has in order to claim remedy. For example it is four (4) years in California from the "Date of Occurrence" or when the account is in default or the date of last payment. Generally the default date is when the first payment was missed if there are no subsequent payments. So if you live in a state where the statute of limitations has expired, you should file an answer to the summons, stating that your debt is beyond the statute of limitation and move that the case be dismissed with prejudice.
Pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, (§ 803.4) these Lawyers or Debt collection agencies are NOT the original creditors. The Lawyer must establish a creditor/debtor relationship with you and establish a course of business dealings between you and he in order to claim remedy. DON'T AGREE TO OR SIGN ANYTHING! The Lawyer must also provide viable validation of the alleged debt beyond his own records. Since the Lawyer is not and does not represent the original creditor, the records they keep are hearsay. This includes affidavits since said records or documents upon which the affiant or the Lawyer relied is not the original creditors or not admitted into evidence or attached to the complaint or affidavit. This means he must provide the original creditors complete records of the alleged debt. As a rule, he will not be able to do this.
He will also claim "breech of contract". In order to sustain the burden of proof for a Breach of Contract the Lawyer must attach a copy of his contract with you (not the original creditors), with your signature on it, to the complaint. If he does not, he fails to establish a contractual relationship between you. Additionally, if implied, it must be established that you, was sent a statement and that you expressly consented to the statement by failing to object. (meaning he sent you letters that you did not reply to) There needs to be a copy of a statement and proof of mailing (registered mail) to establish a presumption of no objection. For an account to exist between the Lawyer and you there must be proof of an agreement between you that a certain balance is correct and due and an express or implicit promise to pay this balance exists. There must be evidence that the parties agreed on any balance due and owing.
Most damaging is that according to the doctrinal law, Volenti Non Fit Injuria, a legal principle that states that one who knowingly and voluntarily consents to and takes on a risk cannot ask for compensation for the damage or injury resulting from it, you cannot claim remedy for an injury which you inflicted upon yourself as the Lawyer has done by willingly purchasing debt on an account that was defaulted and deemed non collectible by the original creditor. Based on this, most cases are dismissed once it is established that the Lawyer is suing on his own behalf (since he purchased the debt collection rights to your account) and not that of the original creditor which is what HE wants you to believe!