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Acquired debt in Dubai. Could not pay and moved to US w/o settling. Can they still collect? What are my rights if I can't pay?

Encino, CA |

I moved here end of 2008 and stopped making payments to my loan and credit card. Did not hear from them at all until now, almost 4 years later. They have sent a final notice email and contacted a family member in Redondo Beach threatening INTERPOL action. I didn't think they had jurisdiction in the US to criminalize me, though I understood that I could never go back to the UAE. What can I do if I cannot pay back? Is it better to ignore any calls and deny my identity or should I hire a lawyer, and if so, what kind? And when does their right to pursue me expire?

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

They will have a difficult time suing you in California. First of all, non payment of a debt is a civil matter, not a criminal matter. Secondly, if the creditor is a business entity, it must be licensed and registered with the California Secretary of State in order to file a lawsuit in the courts of California. Third, if they sue you here, you can make a motion requiring them to post a bond under CCP 1030 to cover your court costs. Fourth, if they sue you here, you can counter sue them for violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by threatening criminal prosecution. Fifth, if they sue here, they will need to bring witnesses from Dubai or wherever.

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Asker

Posted

Thank you so, so much. Very helpful. I've heard they sell the debt to US companies - if so, does the above still apply or does it have different regulations? Again, I can't thank you enough.

Asker

Posted

Sorry, one more question: should I have a legal contact/representation in case all of this happens? Or should I wait until any action has been taken on their part? I have never needed legal counsel, so have no idea how it works or how to go about it. Thanks again.

Richard Scott Lysle

Richard Scott Lysle

Posted

You can probably wait. Also, if they "sell" the debt to a US company, they will still need to bring witnesses from Dubai to court in the US if you, with an attorney, make them prove their case.

Posted

Have you contacted a lawyer in Dubai. I would contact a lawyer there who is familiar with Debt Collections and include them on any Petition you file here.

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Sandra Maria Nutt

Sandra Maria Nutt

Posted

Include "them" meaning the loan and credit card, not a Dubai lawyer! ;-)

Asker

Posted

I have not yet, didn't think I needed to since I had no intention of going back, am a US citizen and hadn't heard anything about it until now. I think I can contact a lawyer in Dubai but I have a suspicion that the bank has sold the debt to a collection agency, possibly one in the US.

Posted

This is a question for a lawyer in Dubai. An American lawyer is not familiar likely with Dubai laws of collection and enforcement unless he or she is an international lawyer. Further I believe that there are serious ramifications of owing money in Dubai from one article I read about a Ferrari Enzo left there in the desert because of a debt owed and it sat in the desert and deteriorated because of the rich guy had to leave the country because he owed a debt. You can likely look up about this on the Internet.

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Illinois. Responses are answers to general legal questions and the receiver of such question should consult a local attorney for specific answers to questions.

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Posted

You're right, it is a very big deal in Dubai, punishable by prison. Which is why a lot of people flee the country back to their country of citizenship when their contracts are violated (also very common in Dubai - they do not honor contracts).

Asker

Posted

I was in a similar situation. First I was contacted by email by a US collection agency in another state. I ignored the letter. Now, I'm being contacted by a collection agency in Dubai. There is no conclusive solution to our situation. You will get many different answers from people, lawyers included. I suppose the bottom line is you can negotiate and pay it off or hope that it goes away. But given the financial climate in the UAE, I think that this kind of thing is becoming more rampant and they are looking for solutions to these kinds of situations, such as finally considering bankruptcy in the region, which didn't previously exist.

Posted

Sit back and wait for the lawsuit. They may not even sue you since they are out of the country and you may have a statute of limitations argument.

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Asker

Posted

Thank you, appreciate the answer.

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