Houston Debt Attorney
Debt Lawsuit Defense
Credit card companies have the right to sue you for unpaid debt. When this happens, you receive a summons or notification of the lawsuit and instructions for when you need to appear in court. Like all lawsuits, you have a right to defend yourself, and though you could plead your case in front of a judge on your own, the outcome is more likely to swing in your favor if you are working with a Houston debt attorney.
We will review the details of your situation and determine which of the potential defenses available is best for you. Your options include:
- Claiming a mistake was made when you were served with notification of the lawsuit.
- No longer being responsible for the debt because the statute of limitations for collecting has passed, making the debt invalid in your state. Statutes vary, but typically range from about three to six years.
- Claiming the creditor did something in violation of debt collection laws. If this is the case, you may have a right to file a countersuit in which you could recover damages and attorneys’ fees, in addition to resolving the debt issue.
- Forcing the creditor to prove they have a right to sue you, which might not be the case if you are no longer dealing with the original creditor.
- Proving you paid the debt in full or settled for a partial amount.
- Showing your identity was stolen or some other type of credit card fraud was committed.
- Proving you are not the debtor in question, even if your name or other identifying information is similar.
- Showing the debt was discharged in a bankruptcy.
This is not a comprehensive list, but covers many of the most popular defenses against a creditor’s lawsuit. The process of defending yourself can be frustrating and confusion, so it’s important to work with an experienced professional who will improve your odds of success.
Settling a debt is one of the best ways to alleviate the stress of owing money without having to pay the amount owed in full. A Houston debt attorney can negotiate with your lenders and reach a settlement that works for you and for them.
Debt settlement is typically an option when you are faced with a large amount of debt and you lack the resources to pay it. A debt attorney might also be able to help you consolidate your debt or negotiate a payment plan to help you afford to pay the debt in full. Together, you and your debt attorney can discuss your situation and determine the best option for dealing with your debt.
Filing for bankruptcy is a complicated process. Even the best intentioned filers have had their requests for bankruptcy denied because of a seemingly small error. If you want to be sure the bankruptcy process goes as smoothly as possible, working with a Houston debt attorney is essential. Not only will an attorney help you file for bankruptcy, he or she can answer your questions, help you determine if bankruptcy is your best option, and attend any meetings or court appearance during the bankruptcy process.
Creditors have legal limitations as to what they can do to collect a debt, but despite these limits many are still guilty of harassment. If you are being harassed by a creditor, you have a right to take legal action, even if a debt is legitimate.
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, “harassment by a debt collector can come in different forms but examples include repetitious phone calls intended to annoy or abuse, obscene language, and threats of violence.”
Other examples of harassment include:
- Phone calls intended to annoy, abuse, or harass you or the person answering the phone
- Use of obscene or profane language
- Threats of violence or harm
- Publishing lists of people who refuse to pay their debts, with the exception of reports filed with the major credit bureaus
- Not identifying themselves as a debt collector when contacting you
In addition to harassment, debt collectors are also not allowed to use deceptive or misleading debt collection practices, such as telling you they are an attorney if they are not, threatening to have you arrested, or misreporting the amount of money owed.
If a debt collector does anything listed above, they are in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a law passed with the intention of protecting consumers against debt collector harassment. If you believe a debt collector has violated this law, you have a right to take legal action and a Houston debt attorney can help. Make sure you are keeping careful records of your interactions with the debt collector and review this information with your attorney.
Are you ready to take control of your debt? We can help. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact us online or call our Houston office at 713.623.4242.