Last time, we considered home equity loans and cashing in retirement savings, and why those strategies aren’t great ideas for paying down credit card debt. We talked about how consolidation loans pay off credit cards but put the collateral — the borrower’s house — in jeopardy if the homeowner continues to use those accounts or is otherwise unable to make the mortgage payments.
In the next several installments, we talk about about alternatives and the tools a debtor can use to manage debt without jeopardizing valuable assets.
Defending and Filing Lawsuits
Some people like to take the the head-in-the-sand approach. You know what I mean. Turning off the ringer on the phone, dumping the mail in the trash without opening it. Generally, ignoring those obnoxious collectors at all cost. At least until they get the message from the process server that they’re being sued on one of their accounts.
We’re certainly not talking about ignoring your creditors, although it may be possible for you to travel through life with a 350 credit score. Consider what might happen if, instead of ignoring the situation and letting creditors take judgments against you in court, you take an active stance against the creditors and collectors? We’re talking about the active defense of credit card lawsuits and proactive ways to fight collectors before they can do any harm.
Armstrong Kellett Bartholow P.C. has a lively practice defending clients in lawsuits filed by credit card companies. You might be surprised how these creditors react when a consumer law firm comes to the defense of their hapless customers.
Is it worth it to pay a lawyer to defend you on an account that you owe? Consider this, in order to prove that you owe the money, credit card companies have to provide the court with documents like your application, terms of account and how your balance was calculated. Interestingly enough, many credit cards can’t do that, but they’re banking on the fact that most consumers won’t challenge them in court. We at Armstrong Kellett Bartholow P.C. know this and our record of winning credit card suits for our clients is impressive. Not to brag, but in some cases as soon as we file an answer in court on behalf of our client, the credit card companies withdraw their suits.
But, you must act fast. Once you’ve been served, you have a limited time in which to file a response in court, often less than 20 days. Contact a lawyer immediately (you can reach us at 214-696-9000).
There’s another way this approach can benefit you. Federal and state laws govern how bill collectors can treat you. Time and again, however, collectors blatantly break those laws. They lie, they pretend to be someone they’re not, they call your friends, co-workers and relatives, they call all hours of the day and night. Collectors engage in many harassing and harrowing activities to intimidate you into paying debts, even debts that you may not owe. Why? Because those tactics work! They know the people they’re collecting from are not very likely to challenge them.
When that happens to our clients, we call the collectors to task on their unlawful behavior and often file lawsuits against them. We’ve obtained some nice settlements and awards for our clients that way (along with forgiveness of the underlying debt). Imagine: instead of paying a credit card company, it may actually be possible for you to say good-bye to the debt after getting a nice check from the company that caused you so much grief. Sweet.