DEBT DEFENSE ATTORNEYS
Debt Defense Attorneys
ARE YOU BEING SUED BY A DEBT COLLECTOR?
If you’re being sued for debt, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Thousands of people in Pennsylvania are sued each year for old debt. Many are sued by debt buyers such as Midland Funding LLC, Portfolio Recovery Associates LLC, Cavalry SPV I LLC, Discover Bank, Capital One Bank, LVNV Funding LLC, and Americredit Finance, Inc. Fenters Ward is a debt defense law firm and consumer protection agency. We’re here to help.
The Law Firm of Fenters Ward defends Pennsylvania consumers against debt collection lawsuits, and works on debt solutions for people who are struggling with debt problems.
If you’re facing a debt collection lawsuit, please call us at 412-545-3015
To win debt collection lawsuits, debt collectors must produce a wealth of documents and testimony. They often don’t intend to produce this evidence, and sometimes don’t have it at all. In order to win a debt collection lawsuit in Pennsylvania, debt collectors have to produce:
- Debt assignments and other documents proving they own the debt.
- Contracts like a credit card agreement that describe the terms and conditions related to the debt.
- Account statements which detail all debits, credits, interest, fees, and other charges that make up the debt.
- Witnesses to testify about the above documentation and explain how it all applies to the debt in your case.
Some debt companies will hire an “appearance attorney” to show up in court with limited documentation. They won’t know much about the case, and cannot testify against you. They are simply hired to present whatever documentation the debt collection agency has regarding your case.
If a debt collector attempts to prove their case without the proper documentation, you have a good chance of winning the case.
In some cases, people sued by debt collectors have legal claims or defenses they can assert—which could lead to a dismissal of the lawsuit and sometimes monetary compensation. These claims and defenses include:
- You already paid the debt.
- The debt isn’t yours.
- You were harassed or deceived by the debt collector.
- The terms of the original debt were unlawful.
- The debt collector sues in the wrong court.
- The debt is time-barred, meaning it has an “expiration date.”
Should You hire an Attorney for your Debt Collection Lawsuit?
It’s true, you can win and have a debt collection lawsuit dismissed on your own. But your chance of success increases markedly if you hire a debt defense attorney from the Law Firm of Fenters Ward. There are several benefits to hiring an attorney.
First, if you hire a lawyer, you may not have to appear in court. This forces the debt collector to prove its case using its own documents and witnesses. As we explained before, it is often too difficult or costly for a debt collector to do this.
Second, a debt defense attorney understands what type of argument to make and has experience dealing with the intricacies of debt law. We also know what types of arguments to avoid, like an appeal to emotion that may disregard the law. Courts care about the rule of law and are often dismissive of pleas to emotion.
If you fail to respond to a debt collection lawsuit, a default judgement will be issued against you. This means the debt collector wins automatically, without having to prove its case. A study of more than 1400 debt collection lawsuits found that in 90% of cases, the debt collector did not have enough evidence to successfully win the case (source). Many times a default judgement is issued to simply close the case and move on to more important court matters.
Ignoring a debt collection lawsuit doesn’t make the issue go away. And a default judgement when you stand a 90% chance of winning the case doesn’t make financial sense. Allow the Law Firm of Fenters Ward to help you.
How Are Debt Collectors Regulated?
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that limits the behavior of third-party debt collectors who are attempting to collect debts on behalf of a credit card company, bank, or individual.
In Pennsylvania, there is a law called the Fair Credit Extension Uniformity Act (FCEUA) prohibits deception, harassment, and unfair debt collection practices. It also allows you to sue a debt collector if they’ve violated any provision of the FCEUA.
What Qualifies as Debt Collection Harassment?
- Unlawful Communication.
- Using obscene, harassing, or threatening language.
- Excessive phone calls, text messages, and emails.
- Contacting you after hours, between 8pm and 9am.
- Contacting third parties such as family, employers, and associates about your debt.
- Threatening you with arrest or jail time.
- Threatening to seize property or assets unrelated to the debt.
- Threatening to disclose private information.
- Threatening actions they do not intend to take.
- Trying to add unauthorized or unlawful charges to your debt.
- Attempting to collect a debt that you do not owe.
- Misrepresenting the legal status of the debt.
- Making false settlement offers, or filing a lawsuit on time-barred debt.
- Misrepresenting the amount of debt owed.
What Rights Do You Have Under the FDCPA?
The FDCPA not only limits debt collector harassment, it also outlines several valuable rights you can exercise. These include payment protections for disputed debts, debt verification, and the right to modify how you’re contacted about the debt.
Payment Protections for Disputed Debts
If a debt collector is collecting multiple debts, and you make a payment on one of those accounts, the debt collector cannot apply the payment to any disputed debt. They must also apply the payment in accordance with your instructions.
You have the right under the FDCPA to verify your debt. Debt collectors must disclose this right to you within 5 days of contact.
Debt verification requests must be written, and sent within 30 days after initial contact with a debt collector. After 30 days, the debt collector has the right to assume that you see the debt as valid. The FDCPA also prohibits debt collectors from continuing to collect debts until verified.
You can tell debt collectors to stop calling, and also dictate what times are convenient to contact you. If you request the calls to stop, then debt collection agencies must stop contacting you. But this doesn’t mean the problem goes away. It just means if you tell debt collectors how to contact you, they must follow your wishes.
Our law firm has successfully represented hundreds of clients in Pittsburgh, Westmoreland, Butler, Armstrong and surrounding counties in these types of lawsuits. We have had hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt extinguished. Do not let these debt-buyers and credit card companies bully you with a lawsuit. They want you to believe that you have no options, but at Fenters Ward we can turn a lawsuit into a money-saving opportunity and protect your credit score.
You do not have to fall victim to this lawsuit. Visit our web page for more information on Consumer Debt Defense. We are so confident in our attorney’s ability to win that we always offer a money-back guarantee. That’s right, we win your case or there is no fee. That’s the Fenters Ward promise. Call one of our experienced attorneys and let us win the fight!