What can I do to prep (docs, research, strategy) for court on Jan. 2; being sued for a credit card balance? Goal: settlement/mo

Asked 7 months ago - Pekin, IL

-Can I file an "answer" instead of appearing?
-Sum appears to be inflated, but not able to confirm from the original creditor (the plaintiff, a law firm, included the last balance statement and two additional payments I made to them after the debt was charged off by the card co., and passed to the law firm). They, of course, added attorney's fees of $350.
-When I made the 2 payments to law firm in August, I told them I wanted to do a settlement. They were very unreasonable in their negotiations and spoke of $3k-$5k lump sums. I told them if they couldn't do a more reasonably monthly-type payment plan, the best chance of getting them a lump sum settlement would be after first of the year, after income tax returns.
-The firm continued to call relentlessly and finally sent the summons.

Additional information

Should I contact the law firm in advance of the appearance date and try to settle, or is this a bad play with respect to trying to get the balance reduced?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Judy A. Goldstein

    Contributor Level 20

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You need to appear if you are required to do so. Your answer is not in lieu of an appearance. You would benefit from a consultation with a consumer debt or collections attorney, especially one who handles the defense side.

  2. Joseph Paul Giamanco

    Pro

    Contributor Level 11

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Based on your question it sounds like this is a collection company opposed to an original creditor, if so you should speak with a collection defense attorney before you do anything.

    Many of us give free consultations, and even if one charges you it will likely be a wise investment.

    If you have been served, do not ignore this and do not skip a court date, doing so will result in you being defaulted and waiving any defenses you have to the claim. If you are going to represent yourself you will need to personally appear on every court date.

  3. Daniel J. Winter

    Contributor Level 9

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Call a bankruptcy lawyer right away to discuss your options. If this is your only debt, it may or may not be worth it to file for bankruptcy. However, by the time you spend money on defending yourself, you may be better off with bankruptcy, which will eliminate the debt, if you qualify. Also, even defending the claim will not guarantee that you win or can get a better settlement.

    If you have other debts as well, bankruptcy may be best way to go. Bottom line, call and set up an appointment with a Bankruptcy lawyer in your area to review your options.

    Daniel J. Winter
    BankruptcyLawChicago.com
    djw@DWinterLaw.com
    Offices in Chicago, Gurnee, Oak Lawn, and Skokie, IL
    312-789-9999

    Any advice given is general in nature and cannot be relied upon until the client retains the attorney after a full... more
  4. Michael J Corbin

    Contributor Level 20

    2

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . You are proceeding under several false presumptions. First, if a court date is scheduled for Jan. 2, that means, in all likelihood, that you're already in default on this since you mentioned that you haven't filed an "answer" to the complaint. Filing an answer, assuming you haven't already done so, would have been required long before a court date was scheduled. More important, however, is this basic fact - you don't deny owing the money. You've admitted it to the law firm. You've made payments to the law firm. There is no way you're not going to have a judgment entered against you. None. So, what you're really looking for here is some kind of deal to settle this. Let's be 100% clear - you are not entitled to a "deal." No one is. Just because you want one doesn't mean the creditor has to give it. If they think their better option is to simply obtain the judgment and then garnish your pay or levy your accounts, that's what they'll do, and there is nothing on earth you can do about it. Now, you can certainly contact them and make some kind of proposal, but it probably won't involve making payments - they'll want a lump sum immediately. They aren't going to wait some indefinite period of time to get it. Frankly, it's a waste of time to litigate this - there is nothing in dispute here. You owe the debt. The question now is how it is going to be paid.

    Answers on Avvo are not to be considered a response to a specific legal issue in a specific jurisdiction - they... more

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask a Lawyer

Get free answers from experienced attorneys.

 

Ask now

26,601 answers this week

2,831 attorneys answering

Ask a Lawyer

Get answers from top-rated lawyers.

  • It's FREE
  • It's easy
  • It's anonymous

26,601 answers this week

2,831 attorneys answering