Can the president of an S-Corp be held personnally liable for CC debt acrued by the business, if the business is no longer open?

Asked almost 5 years ago - Saugus, MA

I received a letter for collection for debt made on a business credit card. I sent them certified letter disputing that I personally owe the money and asked for proof and contracts and that all further communications should be via mail. I recieved 2 letters, one from original cc stating I should work with the collections agency, and second letter from collections agency stating call to arrange payments. I did not call and sent 2nd letter. They are now calling me, my mother, and a former employee who was an authorized signer. Should I send a 3rd letter? I can not afford the debt, should I just file bankruptcy?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. William T Harrington

    Contributor Level 14

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    Answered . You are not personally liable for the debt unless you guaranteed it. Unforunately, you likely personally guaranteed the debt when your company signed up for the credit card. I would look at the agreement and, if you do not have it, demand a copy. I would not file for bankruptcy without consulting with a bankruptcy attorney. How much is owed?

  2. William J Mcleod

    Contributor Level 11

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    Answered . Whether you should file bankruptcy is not a question an experienced attorney can answer based solely on the facts you provided. However, if you should probably consult with an attorney to determine what your rights and options are.

    Chances are, you're personally responsible for the debt. With small businesses, unsecured lines of credit are almost always personally guaranteed by an individual - such as yourself as the owner/shareholder. The fact that the business is no longer operating is not relevant - the debt remains, and you're responsible for it. The best but not necessarily the only way for you to determine for sure if you are responsible for it is to review your agreement with the lender.

    Good luck,

    Bill McLeod

  3. L Jed Berliner

    Contributor Level 11

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    Answered . The responses of my two Massachusetts colleagues are spot on. I add the possibility of suing whoever called your mother which, depending on a number of factors, might make the debt go away without a bankruptcy.

    This was a business debt, so the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act does not directly apply. However, a judge might turn to the FDCPA for guidance on what is reasonable and what is abusive, especially where someone called your non-obligor mother - perhaps with the sole purpose of harassment. You might get to where you want to be when it's all over.

    Consider these questions or, even better, consider these questions from the point of view of whoever called your mother: What's the value of having embarrassed you before your mother? Was your mother upset? Did she tell anyone else? Will the judge treble the emotional distress damages? And so on.

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