I received a summons in the mail. It is from a creditor in South Carolina. I was making payments on my credit card until I lost my job a few years back. I instantly contacted them, to inform them of my hardship. They were not willing to work with me. I was not able to make monthly payments and eventually stopped. I tried once again to explain, but they wanted no parts. I believe that the debt was sold off and the new creditor is trying to collect. I read online that I should send an answer of defense. What is the proper way of doing so? Also, I was wondering do I even have a case for defense? I would gladly pay them off, but I am still without a job and just dont have the money right now. Are they allowed to do this? What is the best way I can defend myself in court and gain some leniency?
Debt Settlement Attorney
You should consult with the National Association of Consumer Advocates, www.NACA.net, for a list of Consumer Rights Attorneys who have expressed an interest in matters such as yours. You should seek the advice of a South Carolina-licensed attorney for assistance in responding to the complaint and/or settling the dispute without further court intervention.
Disclaimer: Nothing stated herein is legal advice. For legal advice, consult an attorney; I am not your attorney at this time. This response may constitute ATTORNEY ADVERTISING which has not been approved by the Supreme Courts of New Jersey or Pennsylvania or the Court of Appeals of Maryland. I am a federally-designated “debt relief agency” that provides, where appropriate, relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
I don't understand. Why are you being sued in South Carolina if you live in Pennsylvania?
Are you sure you are being sued or did you just get a letter from a junk debt buyer which is located in South Carolina like Resurgent?
Assuming you are sued, then it may make sense to file an answer but only a South Carolina attorney could advise on that. Your options are not just blindly answering though. Does it make sense to file an answer? Is this your debt? Has the junk debt buyer attached proof that they now own the debt as well as proof of your responsibility? Do you have a statute of limitations claim?
If there is no legal defense (statute of limitations or lack of proof), then it makes no sense to hire a lawyer and file an answer. The junk debt buyer is going to get a judgment against you. However, if you need a bit of time, then the exception might be to file an answer. How much does the creditor claim you owe? Are you being sued in regular court or small claims? If small claims, then filing an answer does not buy much time as no discovery is allowed and you risk a default judgment if you do not appear to defend. You will buy some time if you are sued in regular court and file an answer denying the allegations that its your debt.
As an alternative to litigating, if its for a credit card debt, most junk, debt buyers will settle. The percentages can vary, but around 50% -70% is a ballpark range for a debt in litigation. Do you have that? If so, it might be wiser to try and settle.
If you are not working and do not live in South Carolina, you also have the option of doing nothing. There is no wage garnishment in PA so even if the SC judgment would be transferred to PA, its going to be hard to collect. What assets do you have? Do you own anything in SC?
You get no leniency from the courts so I don't understand how filing an answer gets you leniency. The only question the courts are concerned with is (1) is this a debt of your or one for which you are responsible; and (2) how much do you owe.
If you have the funds and are interested in a non-litigation, non-bankruptcy resolution of the debt, I can assist for a reasonable flat fee (I am licensed in PA and can represent PA clients). You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you wish to litigate, then you need to find a consumer credit card defense attorney who practices in the county in SC in which you were sued, There may be attorneys here at Avvo as well.
I agree with both answers. However a new tactic by credit card collectors is to wait as long as possible then sue in a jurisdiction you cannot go to. First you need to see when your last credit card payment was made. In Pennsylvania contract disputes have a statute of limitations of 4 years. If it is beyond the 4 years they are barred to bring a claim against you. Second you should contact that consumer group the first lawyer stated. Third as a defense you need to file for a change of venue to Pennsylvania for extreme hardship since you cannot fully defend yourself in South Carolina. You can also contact a debt/bankruptcy attorney in PA if you have further questions.
Contact me for further detailed questions and answers. 215-561-0877 DISCLAIMER: Matthew Solomon is licensed to practice law in both the State of Pennsylvania and the State of New Jersey.This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. This answer does not constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship.