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Quite possibly hundreds of thousands of credit card lawsuits are filed each year in Pennsylvania. Credit card companies, banks, debt buyers, and a handful of law firms file the vast majority of these lawsuits.If you’re sued for a credit card debt, you may be able to win the case filed against you. Even if you can’t win for some reason, you may be able to negotiate a favorable settlement.
BCJ Law’s credit card defense attorney charges flat fees to defend credit card lawsuits. Visit our debt collection lawsuit page to learn more. You won’t owe any fee to us unless we win. To get a free case review, please call 1-800-997-5561 or complete our contact form.
The consumer credit card debt load has grown continuously for the last five years in the United States. Throughout 2018, various sources estimated the ongoing consumer credit card debt at or around one trillion dollars.
Credit card delinquency rates also have risen in the past few years. Generally, a credit card account is delinquent if it’s 30 days overdue. According to public reporting, delinquency rates for larger banks have hovered around 2.5% in 2018, while those rates for smaller banks rose to around 6% in 2018. The larger bank delinquency rate is much lower than at the peak of the great recession, while the smaller bank rate actually is higher.
When consumers stop paying credit card debt, credit card companies usually “charge-off” the account. A “charge-off” does not mean you don’t owe the debt. It’s simply an accounting procedure credit card companies use to write debt off their books.
When credit card companies “charge-off” debt, they do one of two things. They may try to collect the debt on their own or through a third-party. They also may sell your debt for pennies on the dollar to a “debt buyer.” After debt buyers purchase discounted debt, they pursue collection in their own name.
Most consumers are surprised when they’re served with a credit card lawsuit, especially if the amount at issue is relatively small. Companies sue on credit card debt because they think it will scare consumers into paying. Credit card companies also may sue to get a judgment against you. A “judgment” is a court order stating you owe a debt. After a credit card company gets a judgment, it can engage in aggressive collection practices, like seizing property or bank accounts.
It is possible to win credit card lawsuits. BCJ Law’s credit card defense attorney frequently wins credit card lawsuits filed by debt buyers, and also has had success defending credit card lawsuits filed by original creditors. We often win because debt collectors don’t have the documents or witnesses they need to prove their case.
To win a credit card lawsuit, a contract must exist. To prove that, a debt collector must: 1) produce the credit card contracts that apply to the account at issue; and 2) show how the parties agreed to those terms.
Since most credit card contracts don’t have signatures, and since most consumers never read or see the contracts that apply to their accounts, debt collectors must produce documents and witnesses to meet their burden of proof. If there aren’t sufficient documents or witnesses, you should win.
In addition to proving the existence of a contract, debt collectors must prove what is owed. Pennsylvania law requires a list of all charges, fees, credits, payments and debits associated with the account at issue. To comply with the law, debt collectors must: 1) produce all account statements from a zero balance that show all charges, fees, credits, payments and debits; or 2) list the date, amount and purpose of each charge, fee, credit, payment, and debit that comprises the debt at issue.
If debt collectors can’t produce all account statements from a zero balance, or if they can’t adequately break down the components of the debt they claims is owed, you may be able to win your case.
A fundamental element of any credit card lawsuits is proof of account ownership. Put differently, the party suing you must be able to show it owns your debt. When original creditors file suit, proof of account ownership is relatively straightforward. But, if a credit card lawsuit is filed by a debt buyer or a credit card servicer, it may be more difficult to prove account ownership.
Debt buyers are companies that purchase old debt for pennies on the dollar from credit card companies. Midland Funding, Cavalry SPV I LLC, LVNV Funding, CACH LLC, and Portfolio Recovery Associates are examples of debt buyers. To learn more about debt buyers generally, read this post: “What is a Debt Buyer?”
Surprisingly, it’s difficult for debt buyers to prove they the credit card accounts they purchase. Debt buyers must produce the contracts and assignment documents that reference the account at issue, but usually produce a single page “bill of sale” that references a computer file. If this happens, you’ll likely win.
In sum, debt collectors must prove: 1) the existence of a contract; 2) what is owed; and 3) that they own the debt. To do that, they must have: 1) credit contracts; 2) account statements; 3) assignment documents; and 4) witnesses to testify about their case.
In our experience most debt buyers, and various credit card companies, lack the documents and witnesses they need to win. If you want more information on your chance of success, you can read our pages on magistrate court lawsuits and court of common pleas lawsuits. You also can fill out our contact form or call our credit card defense attorney at 1-800-997-5561 for a free case review.
There are various ways to settle credit card lawsuits. While our credit card defense attorney usually takes cases with the goal of getting a judgment or dismissal, we sometimes defend cases with settlement in mind.
If you’re trying to settle a credit card case on your own, the best way to do so is making one large lump sum payment. Debt collectors often accept substantial reductions in debt if you can make a large payment. Single lump sum payments also are better than setting up a payment plan because there is no possibility that you will miss a scheduled payment and default on your obligations.
You also may be able to set up payment plans to settle a case, but you may not enjoy a substantial reduction in what’s owed. That said, if you are thinking of hiring an attorney, or taking advantage of protection under the bankruptcy code, that information may help in settling your case.
If you want more information on settlement or litigation strategies, give our credit card defense attorney a call or fill out our contact form.
There are many debt buyers, credit card companies, banks, lawyers, and law firms that file credit card lawsuits in Pennsylvania. Here’s a list of some of them:
If you’re named in a credit card lawsuit, please contact our credit card defense attorney for help. BCJ Law charges flat fees for debt defense. Please fill out our free case review form or call us at 1-800-997-5561.
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