PORTFOLIO RECOVERY ASSOCIATES, LLC., bought a charged off credit card debt from GE CAPITAL RETAIL BANK LOWES, they had a local attorney serve me with a civil summons, to appear in General Sessions Court, in Tennessee. I have never been contacted by the local attorney prior to the Civil Summons, and to the best of my knowledge, I have never been contacted by PORTFOLIO RECOVERY ASSOCIATES, LLC. I have never been asked to validate the debt, or given a chance to either confirm or deny I owe the debt. I have less than 30 days until I have to appear in court. What should I do? Should I file a dispute? Can I have the Summons dismissed until given a chance to have the debt validated?
You should consult with a local consumer protection attorney to see how much it would cost to have this debt collection action defended. You may also have counterclaims against the debt buyer. If you search the web, you will find a good bit of negative information about PRA. The papers that you were served should have included a notice about your right to request verification of the debt. You should write the attorney's office that has filed the lawsuit, and indicate that you dispute the debt and request verification of the debt. However, that will not stop the lawsuit. You also need to file a written answer to the lawsuit within the time stated in the Summons, but it would be better if an attorney did that for you, since that will be a better way to preserve your rights, and not say anything that might hurt your case. There may be defenses based on local law that only a local attorney would be aware of. You can look for a local collection defense attorney at the NACA link below.
I agree with Mr. Cantrell's answer. I would be happy to provide you a free consultation regarding the issues specific to your case.
My answer is for general discussion purposes only. It is not intended to be legal advice regarding your specific situation and does not create an attorney-client relationship.
Consumer Protection Attorney
You asked three questions:
Q: "What should I do?"
A: You should get an experienced consumer attorney to defend you. I suggest that you look for one at www.naca.net.
Q: "Should I file a dispute?"
A: I anticipate that you will need to "file a dispute" in the form of an answer to the summons. This is a detail that you can work out with your attorney.
Q: "Can I have the Summons dismissed until given a chance to have the debt validated?"
A: This question reflects a very common confusion about a consumer's rights under federal law to have a debt "validated" and the strict requirements of your state's court rules (which probably require the filing of a written answer with the court). It is risky in the extreme to rely on a request for validation to delay a court case, or to excuse your failure to file a written answer with the Court. This is why you need to have experienced counsel represent you.
Skaar & Feagle, LLP maintains offices in Marietta (770 427 5600) and Decatur (404 373 1970), Georgia. The information ("the answer") provided above is for general information and educational purposes only. The answer should not be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. Posting the question and reviewing the answer does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. My firm will ask you to sign a written contract prior to the commencement of representation in any attorney-client relationship. Please contact 770 427 5600 or 404 373 1970, if you wish to discuss your situation further. Skaar & Feagle, LLP accepts select consumer rights cases. These cases include, but are not limited to, cases of abusive and unlawful collection activity, debt defense, credit reporting of false or obsolete (old) information, high interest lenders (title pawns, payday loans), debt management plans, and fraud or unfair practices in the sale and financing of automobiles.
Debt Settlement Attorney
Is Nathan Horton representing Portfolio or is it Morgan and Pottinger. I have seen Fulton and Freidman pick up some as of late. No matter really, you can win with an experienced consumer protection attorney.
Barnette Law Offices
309 Hollow Tree Court
Nashville, TN 37221
I am not your attorney nor is any answer I may provide legal advice. You may contact me directly for legal advice only if you are a resident of Tennessee insofar as I only practice in Tennessee.