Debt Lawsuit Defense

Credit Card & Student Loan Defense

SO YOU'VE BEEN SUED

If you're looking at this page, you have probably been served with a summons and complaint. Maybe you are being sued for credit card debt. Maybe it is student loan debt. Either way, it's pretty likely that you've never heard of the company that is suing you. If it's for credit card debt, it's probably a junk debt buyer. If it's for a student loan, it's probably a debt buyer or a trust that purchases bulk student loan debt.

WHAT IS A DEBT BUYER?

A debt buyer is a company that purchases defaulted debt for almost nothing. They purchase old, bad debt and for pennies on the dollar and then try to collect it from consumers. Some debt gets passed around from buyer to buyer. Eventually one of those buyers will file a lawsuit and hope you don't respond so they can get a judgment. In short, think of the worst company you have ever done business with. Multiply that by 100 and you'll have the average debt buyer.

HOW TO FIGHT BACK

So you've received a summons and complaint. The debt buyer expects you to ignore it so they can take a default judgment and start garnishing wages. What they don't expect is that you'll hire a lawyer and defend the lawsuit. They hope against hope that you don't do that because their records are almost universally terrible. It's a rare case that they have the documentation they need to prove they own the debt. If they can't prove that they own the debt, you can fight back hard and win.

ANYTHING ELSE?

Of course. Sometimes debt buyers bring lawsuits that they don't have the documents to prove. When that happens, they often get counter-sued for violating the FDCPA. So if you have been sued by a debt buyer, don't just ignore it. If you fight back, you might just win.

WHAT ABOUT STUDENT LOANS?

STUDENT LOAN DEBT IS A BIG PROBLEM

More money is owed for student loans than credit card debt. Student loan debt is a big, scary deal. It might be holding you back from your true potential. I can help you manage it and move on.

The amount of student loan debt currently owed is over one trillion dollars. That’s $1,000,000,000,000.00.

Think of it this way—you would have one trillion dollars if you made one million dollars every day for the next 2,737 years.

Student loans are a little different than credit card debt. They are much more difficult to discharge in bankruptcy, but there are a number of repayment options available that are not otherwise available for credit cards.

STUDENT LOAN REPAYMENT PLANS

The most important factor in determining how to pay back student loans is the type of loan that you have. There are a number of loan repayment options available for government loans that are not available for private loans. Each private loan company may have its own loan repayment programs. You may also be eligible for a forbearance, deferment, discharge, or forgiveness. Each of these options has possible tax and legal consequences, so it is usually a good idea to talk to a lawyer or tax professional who understands the ramifications of various types of student loan repayment options.

Debt Collector Harassment

Debt collectors have to follow rules. My job is to make sure they do. If debt collectors are calling you, I can make them stop and possibly get you paid for your trouble.

Debt collectors often do bad things. They call you when they aren’t supposed to. They threaten, harass, and annoy you. They send nasty letters. They threaten to file lawsuits based on debt that they cannot possibly sue under. They do this with impunity because most people don’t know that they can sue them for violating  the law.

DEBT COLLECTORS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO:

  1. Contact you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., unless you’ve asked them to;
  2. Contact you at work if they know you do not want them to;
  3. Use any threats of violence or harm;
  4. Publish a list of names of people who refuse to pay their debts (caveat: they can provide this information to credit bureaus);
  5. Use obscene or profane language; 
  6. Repeatedly call to annoy a debtor;
  7. Falsely claim that they are attorneys or government representatives;
  8. Falsely claim that you are a criminal or have committed a crime;
  9. Falsely represent that they operate or work for a credit reporting company;
  10. Misrepresent the amount you owe, even by a small amount;
  11. Misrepresent the nature of forms they send you;
  12. Claim you can be arrested if you don’t pay your debt;
  13. Threaten to seize, garnish, attach, or sell your property or wages unless they already have a judgment or intent to get one;
  14. Threaten to sue in cases where doing so would be illegal (statute of limitations, etc) or if they don’t intend to take the action;
  15. Provide false credit information about you to anyone, including a credit reporting company;
  16. Send you anything that looks like an official document from a court or government agency if it is not the document it purports to be; 
  17. Use a fake company name to prevent identification or mislead you;
  18. Try to collect any interest, fee, or other charge on top of the amount you owe unless the debt instrument or applicable law allows the charge;
  19. Deposit a post-dated check early;
  20. Take or threaten to take your property unless it can be done legally; 
  21. Contact you by postcard or in any way that identifies the correspondence as being from a debt collector on its face;
  22. Garnish any of the following, even after proving their case against you in a lawsuit:
    • Federal Emergency Management Agency Federal Disaster Assistance
    • Compensation for Injury, Death, or Detention of Employees of U.S. Contractors Outside the U.S.
    • Foreign Service Retirement and Disability Benefits
    • Longshoremen’s and Harbor Workers’ Death and Disability Benefits
    • Merchant Seamen Wages
    • Railroad Retirement Benefits
    • Student Assistance
    • Military Annuities and Survivors’ Benefits
    • Service Members’ Pay
    • Civil Service and Federal Retirement and Disability Benefits
    • Veterans’ Benefits
    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits
    • Social Security Benefits
  23. Contact you after they have received a letter from you saying you do not wish to be contacted any further about the debt. The collector can still contact you to confirm there will be no further contact or to advise you of additional actions being taken against you, such as lawsuit.

[Source: FTC.gov]

Debt collectors who behave badly are usually violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (or FDCPA). When a debt collector violates the FDCPA, they are statutorily liable for damages up to $1,000.00 plus any actual damages, costs, and attorney’s fees. That’s right – if a debt collector violates the FDCPA, you hire me to sue them, and we are successful, they have to pay your costs and my fees.