Collection Defense

Do This When Sued for a Debt

By | Collection Defense, Uncategorized | No Comments

Have you just been served with a collection lawsuit? Sucks! Make sure to protect yourself by doing the following things:

  1.  File an Answer to the lawsuit.
  2. Answer any Discovery Requests.
  3. Request Debt Validation from Plaintiff.
  4. Settle (if debt validation is satisfactory).
  5. Attend court hearing to dispute the debt (if no settlement).

File an Answer which includes defense of Statute of Limitations if you believe the debt is too old to be legally collected. Statute of Limitations is 4 years in Texas  – usually calculated from time of last payment. If Discovery was served with the lawsuit, you have 50 days to respond.

Request Debt Validation which will include asking for original loan documents, credit card application, proof of assignment (if Plaintiff is not the original creditor), proof of all charges and payments etc. The plaintiff is the party that is suing you whose name is on the court document.

Settle the Debt by making an offer of settlement to the plaintiff. Start low at about 20% of the total debt, so you have room to negotiate. Lumpsum cash offers are most attractive to creditors. However, ask for a repayment plan if you need one but the settlement amount might be higher. Negotiate that creditor will not file a judgment against you in the meantime OR that the judgment will be released upon final payment.

Attend Court Hearing by showing up at the scheduled date. The court clerk can tell you when the date is, if you call to the clerk. Prepare your side of the story, challenge the debt as needed, and hope for the best. Remember, you can still settle up until the day of the final hearing.

You can find help for the above at a local law library which might have forms for you to use. Some courts also have basic forms available. If uncomfortable handling any of the above by yourself, be sure to enlist the help of a lawyer immediately so you can protect your rights and your credit.

What’s In Your Wallet?

By | Collection Defense, Consumer Rights | No Comments

It’s time for the yearly check up. So, what’s in your wallet? Or more aptly, in your credit reports?

Improve Your Credit Score! As of 2015, according to FICO, the national average credit score in the U.S. is 630. Credit scores can go up to 900 and a score of 750+ is ideal. If your credit score can stand to be improved, talk to a professional that can analyze your credit reports and guide you in what actions to take to start improving your score. The credit score affects all aspects of life such as interest rates, credit limit, renting, insurance quotes, employment etc. Most credit reports have errors in them that can be fixed to boost the score.

I recently met with a top executive at Regions Bank who explained some of their financial programs to me. Their secured credit line program got my attention. Very few banks offer this program and the few that do, require a hefty initial deposit to open the account. At Regions, one can be opened for under $300! This is an excellent way to rehab credit rating because Regions reports monthly to the credit bureaus which quickly improves the score.

For more information on how to take advantage of this program, contact Bill Ownbey at 512.250.2242

BONUS SUGGESTION: Draft or Update Your Will! The idea of a will may seem far-fetched and even a little morbid, especially when we are feeling healthy. You may say; “I am too young”; or “I don’t own any assets that can be put in a will.” You owe it to your loved ones and things get very messy and expensive when there is no will. A basic will provides for expenses, lists an executor or personal administrator, and provides for specific distribution of real and personal property. It will also appoint a guardian for minor children. You may also want to appoint a power of attorney for medical or other reasons. It always makes it easier for loved ones left behind to sort things out. Make sure to consult an attorney for more information on getting a Will drafted in 2016.

Let’s make it a good year!