Often the most effective defense is to cry poor. Most companies know they cannot squeeze blood from a stone and will accept a significantly reduced sum. You should also seek a payment schedule for as long as possible.
In addition, some of the most common defenses to these credit card collection actions are:
1. The credit card company or collection agency does not have the original paperwork, the company does not have your signed application, the company does not have signed receipts, and therefore the claim is barred by the statute of frauds.
2. The claim is stale, the credit card company filed the suit too late, and it is barred by the statute of limitations.
3. The collection agency does not have the proper paperwork to prove it has been assigned the credit card company's claim or the proper papework to prove it is authorized to pursue the credit card company's claim.
4. You did not incur the charges.
5. If you are in bankruptcy or your debt has been discharged, they cannot pursue a claim against you.
6. If the collection agency or credit card company has done anything to violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act you can raise that.
If any of the credit card statements or responses to your discovery requests support any of the above defenses, then you should use them.
Hope this helps. Good luck at your settlement conference.
Credit card statements would normally be considered valid evidence.
Since you mention a CMC is coming up in a few days, I assume you already filed an Answer, and therefore are not asking about potential affirmative defenses that you could or should have asserted in your Answer.
Rather, I assume you are asking about good defenses to get the case settled or dismissed? Crying poor AND being able to demonstrate lack of assets and income would be a good "defense" to getting a case settled, but would not be a viable defense in an Answer to the Complaint.
If you still need to file an Answer, Attorney Kalpan lists some excellent examples of common defenses to the credit card collection actions.
Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult with your own attorney.