Credit card companies use lawsuits as a means of forcing clients to pay for outstanding debts. If the court rules in favor of the company, the company can place a lien on the debtor's real property or seize non-exempt personal property (think toys – motorcycles, dirt bikes). However, many judgments in favor of credit card companies are default judgments because the defendant cardholder does not respond to or contest the lawsuit. If you choose to contest the lawsuit, the credit card company will bear the burden of proving that you owe the debt. There are several ways to contest a lawsuit from a credit card company:
- Statute of Limitations Expired: In Texas, a credit card company has four years to file a lawsuit against you for lack of payment, starting from the date of your last payment. If it has been longer than four years, the statute of limitations has expired.
- Improper Service of Lawsuit: The credit card company must serve you notice of the lawsuit it has filed against you, either in person or by certified mail. If the server cannot find you, the company may request service by publication. If all attempts to serve you fail, the company may receive a default judgment. However, the company must make a good faith effort to find you.
- Violation of Fair Debt Collection Practices Act: The FDCPA protects consumers from abusive or misleading practices by credit card companies and related debt collectors. You can file a countersuit, claiming that the creditor violated your rights under the FDCPA.
- Debt Already Paid: A credit card company may come after you for a debt you have already paid. You can dispute the lawsuit by providing documentation that you have already paid the debt, either in full or in part. The lawsuit cannot demand more money than what you actually owe unless it is interest on the loan, court costs, or attorney fees.
Contesting Credit Card Debt
There are multiple positive outcomes you can obtain by responding to a lawsuit from a credit card company. You can receive a favorable ruling from the court if the statute of limitations has expired, or you can convince the company to settle out of court for less than what you owe. However, you must respond quickly once you have received notice of the lawsuit. A Frisco, Texas, bankruptcy attorney at The Page Law Firm can guide you through your response to the lawsuit and represent you in your case. Schedule a free consultation by calling 214-618-2101.