Debt Collection Lawsuits

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If you’re getting sued for debt, you’re not alone. In Pennsylvania, tens of thousands of people are sued each year for old debt. Many are sued by debt buyers like Midland FundingCavalry SPV I LLCLVNV Funding, or Portfolio Recovery Associates. Others are sued by creditors, like Capital One Bank or Americredit.

Proving debt collection lawsuits in Pennsylvania is difficult. To win collection lawsuits, debt collectors must produce various documents and testimony. Many times, they don’t intend to produce this evidence or they don’t have it at all. 

BCJ Law’s debt defense attorney regularly defends and wins debt collection lawsuits filed against Pennsylvania consumers. To get a free case review today, please fill out our contact form or give us a call at 1-800-997-5561. 

Can I actually win a debt collection lawsuit?

In order to win a debt lawsuit in Pennsylvania, debt collectors must produce the following: 

  • Assignments and other documents showing they own the debt.
  • Contracts (like a credit card agreement) that show the terms applicable to the debt.
  • Account statements detailing all credits, debits, fees, interest, charges and other amounts that make up the debt.
  • Any statutory notice documents or other writings required by statute.
  • Witnesses to testify about the documents and to explain how they apply to the debt at issue.

Many times, rather than produce the required documents and witnesses, debt collectors instead hire an “appearance attorney” to show up to court with limited documentation. These attorneys can’t testify in place of witnesses, generally don’t know much (if anything) about the case, and simply are hired to present whatever documents a debt collector may have.

If a debt collector tries to prove its case without the proper documents or witnesses, your chance of success is high. To get more information about how you can win your specific case, read our pages on magistrate court lawsuitscourt of common pleas lawsuitscredit card lawsuits, and repossession lawsuits. To get a free case review from BCJ Law’s debt defense attorney, call us at 1-800-997-5561 or complete our contact form.

You may have defenses and counter claims.

People sued by debt collectors sometimes have legal claims or defenses. Asserting these claims or defenses can lead to dismissal of a lawsuit or monetary recovery. Here are examples of common claims and defenses: 

  • A debt collector sues on a time-barred debt.
  • A debt collector sues in the wrong court.
  • The original lender inserted unlawful loan terms.
  • The debt is not your debt.
  • You already paid the debt.
  • You were harassed, deceived or otherwise treated unfairly before or after a lawsuit was filed against you.

To see if you have any claims or defenses, call us at 1-800-997-5561 or complete our contact form.

Should I hire an attorney to represent me?

"Overwhelmingly, debtors with an attorney succeeded in having the[ir] case dismissed."

Junk Justice (2014).

Debtors can win and have won debt collection lawsuits on their own. That said, we believe your chance of success increases significantly if you hire a debt defense attorney.

First, depending on where you are sued, and the stage of your case, if you hire a lawyer, you won’t have to attend court. This forces the debt collector to prove its case using its own documents and witnesses. As explained above, it sometimes is difficult for debt collectors to do this. 

Second, competent debt defense attorneys know what arguments to make and what arguments to avoid. For example, self-represented individuals may make arguments that appeal to emotion, but disregard the law. That’s the opposite of what you should do. Courts care about the law and what it requires (and rightfully so). Debt defense attorneys know this and will tailor arguments accordingly.

At least one study suggests that a debtor’s chance of success increases significantly when hiring an attorney. A study entitled “Junk Justice,” which analyzed thousands of collection lawsuits, found that debt buyers recovered 62% of the debt against unrepresented parties, but recovered just 21% of the debt against represented parties. “Overwhelmingly, de[btors] with an attorney succeed in having the[ir] case dismissed.”

Can I just ignore a debt collection lawsuit?

"84% of consumers failed to respond [to debt collection lawsuits]."

Junk Justice (2014).

Most people ignore debt collection lawsuits. In fact, one study found that 84% of consumers failed to respond. Other consumers will call the debt collector and settle the case by agreeing to make payments.

If you ignore a debt collection lawsuit, a default judgment likely will be entered against you. That means the debt collector wins automatically and doesn’t even have to prove its case. Once a judgment is entered against you, debt collectors can garnish bank accounts, attach liens to property, and in some instances sell personal property.

So, while you can ignore a debt collection lawsuit, that won’t make the situation go away. Instead, it allows the debt collector to engage in more aggressive tactics in trying to get money from you.

Hire BCJ Law to help!

If you’re sued by debt collectors in Pennsylvania, please contact BCJ Law for help. We may be able to win your case or get it dismissed. You also may have legal claims or defenses to assert, which may lead to monetary recovery.

Please contact BCJ Law’s debt defense attorney today for a free case review. You can fill out our contact form or call us at 1-800-997-5561.

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