Credit Card Debt Lawsuit Defense Strategies in New Jersey
For most people, being sued is frightening and stressful. This fear and stress is only magnified when you are being sued by a collections agency or credit card company over a credit card debt that you may be unable to pay.
Collections companies can be particularly aggressive in their tactics, and it is important that you understand your rights if you are being repeatedly contacted by these entities with respect to a credit card debt lawsuit.
An experienced lawyer can help you understand the various credit card debt lawsuit defense strategies in New Jersey and could help you formulate the response that best fits your case.
Potential Defense Strategies in New Jersey
Some of the credit card debt lawsuit pdefense strategies in New Jersey are strictly procedural and serve to protect the rights of debtors. For example, a credit card debt defense lawyer can help the debtor assert that he or she was improperly served.
Each state has its own rules governing the service of a summons and complaint, and the creditor must abide by those specific rules in order to give the debtor notice of the lawsuit. New Jersey generally requires that the summons and complaint be served in person, or via registered certified mail in certain cases.
Other potential credit card debt lawsuit defense strategies in New Jersey include:
- Statute of Limitations. In New Jersey, if the credit card debt is more than six years old, the creditor is legally prohibited from suing to collect the debt. The statute of limitations period begins to run on the date the last payment on the debt was made.
- If the debtor can prove that he or she partially or fully repaid the debt, the creditor is unable to sue to collect more than it is legally owed.
- Identify Theft. If the debtor did not actually incur the debt, he or she may assert identify theft as a defense.
- Discharge in Bankruptcy. If the credit card debt was discharged in bankruptcy, the creditor is legally prohibited from suing to recover it even if the creditor did not receive full repayment via the bankruptcy proceedings.
- The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA, prohibits some of the more aggressive and harassing tactics that collections agencies may employ. For example, these agencies are not permitted to call after 9 P.M. or use abusive and threatening language, and may be required to contact the debtor’s attorney instead of the debtor.
What if the Original Creditor Sold the Debt?
In many cases, the original creditor will sell an old debt to a debt purchasing company, which will then pursue collections efforts against the debtor. These debts are often sold for only a fraction of what is actually owed and, as the value of the debt decreases over time, the original debt may be sold multiple times.
One of the potential credit card debt lawsuit defense strategies in New Jersey is that the party suing the debtor does not have the standing to sue. This defense strategy requires that the debt purchaser produce specific evidence proving that it purchased the actual debt in question. Evidence that the debt purchaser merely purchased some debts from the original creditor is insufficient—the specific debt purchase must be proven through documentation.
Because some debt purchasers will be unable to obtain this documentation, lack of standing is often a valid defense to a credit card debt lawsuit.
Role of a New Jersey Credit Card Debt Attorney in Lawsuit
A defense lawyer can help you evaluate the applicability and potential success rates of the various credit card debt lawsuit defense strategies in New Jersey. A lawyer could also ensure that you assert any applicable defense in the answer to the summons and complaint in order to avoid waiving your rights to defend against a potentially unfair lawsuit.