Posted on 19 March 2010
We have seen a recent increase in the number of consumers sued on an alleged debt arising from an old Providian credit card account. Many people are surprised at these credit card lawsuits because those credit card accounts were so old. Those lawsuits are not brought by Providian, which does not exist any longer; instead these credit card lawsuits are typically brought by debt collectors (for example, Arrow Financial) who have purchased the debt from Providian, or its successors: Washington Mutual (WaMu) Bank or J.P. Morgan Chase.
The good news is that you may have legal defenses if you are sued on an alleged Providian credit card debt. However, you need to assert those affirmative defenses promptly, or you may lose the ability to use those defenses later in the case, including at the trial of the credit card lawsuit.
There may also be other ways to defend against a debt collector seeking to collect an alleged Providian debt. For example, the lawsuit needs to comply with Florida’s court rules for the summons and complaint; often, they do not. As another example, many debt collectors cannot prove their case as required under the applicable Florida laws and rules of evidence. This is important, because debt collectors often try to collect on debts even when they do not have a legal right to do so, such as when the statute of limitations has expired.
It is important to use an attorney experienced in defending credit card debt collection cases to maximize your chances of winning. We have had good success in defending Providian credit card litigation using our knowledge of Florida’s laws, including statutes, court rules and rules of evidence. If you have been sued on an alleged Providian credit card debt anywhere in Central Florida, please call us right away for a free consultation about preserving your rights and a free evaluation of your case. Don’t lose the ability to defend your case properly! You can reach us on our office telephone (407-323-4949), on our toll-free number (1-888-834-5297), by fax (407-323-4955) or by clicking here to send us an email message. Remember, we welcome your calls and emails at any time, including in the evening and on weekends.
Posted on 17 March 2010
During a debt collection lawsuit, the other side may send you requests for production of documents. Those requests are exactly what they sound like: a legal request for you to produce the listed documents. However, keep in mind that you also have the right to ask the other side to produce documents relevant to the case. In a debt collection case, that includes documents proving the debt collector owns the debt, copies of your billing statements, copies of your credit card agreement or other loan documents, envelope “stuffers” sent to you that discuss the terms of your contract, and numerous other documents. Each side must generally produce the requested documents that are in their possession, custody or control, unless there is a legal objection or the documents are privileged.
Such requests are an excellent opportunity to find out whether the debt collector has the documents necessary to prove its case against you. If they fail or refuse to produce the necessary documents, you should object to them later trying to present evidence about those documents at trial or court hearings.
If you receive such requests and believe they are inappropriate, or would like to determine your rights and responsibilities for producing documents, you should promptly consult with a consumer rights attorney near you. Here in Central Florida, please feel free to contact us for a free consultation: you can contact us by clicking on the Contact Us link, calling our toll-free number (1-888-834-5297), or by faxing us. We are happy to represent consumers sued by shady and unscrupulous debt collectors.
Posted on 16 March 2010
During the “discovery” phase of a lawsuit, both sides may have the opportunity to ask the other side to answer interrogatories. These are written questions that must be answered under oath. They can be very important in finding out what evidence each side has to support their case – and what evidence they don’t have! If a debt collector refuses to answer questions about your debt, or provide documents to prove the debt, that may be a sign they will be unable to prove their case at trial.
A person sued by a debt collector needs to be very careful in answering such interrogatories. It should go without saying that the answers need to be truthful. However, you have the right to object to certain questions. For example, there is no legitimate reason to answer interrogatories asking for your bank account information. That information is not relevant to whether you owe the debt or not. Instead, debt collectors use this shady tactic to be intimidating and to save time later on, in case they win. Generally, the best response to an irrelevant question is a legal objection.
If you have any questions about whether specific interrogatories are appropriate or not, you should contact a local consumer attorney experienced in defending debt collection cases to discuss the specific facts of your particular case. If you are located in Central Florida, or have been sued for an alleged debt in Central Florida, (including Seminole County, Orange County, Lake County, Brevard County, Volusia County or Flagler County), please feel free to click on the “contact us” link or call us toll-free at 1-888-834-5297 for a free consultation with an experienced consumer attorney.