Tag Archive | credit card lawsuit

Sued By Calvary SPV?

You’ve just been served with a lawsuit from Calvary SPV, and your first question is …. “who is Calvary SPV?” and your second question is “what do I do now?”.  Let’s address each question in some detail.  For the first question, Who is Calvary? its a pretty simple answer.     Calvary SPV is a very large debt buyer who purchases delinquent credit card accounts for pennies on the dollar and then tries to collect 100% of what is owed.  They purchase these accounts at a substantial discount and then come after consumers like you for the full balance.  These purchases are often made electronically such that a large volume of credit card accounts can be transferred at the touch of a button.  We frequently see sales of 5,000, 10,000,  20,000 or more.  This is a perfectly legal endeavor and it happens on a daily basis.  Credit card companies like HSBC, Capital One, Bank of America and Chase often sell their defaulted credit card accounts rather than pursing individuals through the collection process.  At the time of this writing, Calvary is in what we at our firm call one of the “big 4″…the four largest  debt buyers that we deal with (along with LVNV, Midland Funding and Portfolio Recovery Associates).

The second question, “what do I do now” has a few correct answers, but some are more correct than others.  Let’s start with the WRONG answer.  The wrong answer is to put your head in the sand and do nothing.  Believe it or not, this is a very common response from consumers and frankly I cannot understand it.  If you are being sued, the last thing that you want to do is ignore the lawsuit.  The next WRONG answer is to contact a debt settlement company.  This is also a very common response and I can understand the thinking here.  You hear a great radio ad about this company that can help you get out of debt.  You’ve been meaning to call them and now that you are sued, this is the perfect time to call.  Again, this is the WRONG answer.  Debt Settlement companies, at least 99% of the ones that my clients have dealt with, are not worth the exhorbitant fees that you pay them, or worse yet, are scams.  Granted, there are a few debt settlement companies out there that are legitimate, but in my experience, they are few and far between.  The next WRONG answer is to contact Calvary SPV directly yourself.  This, quite frankly, may be worse that doing nothing.  This puts you in the position of dealing with a debt buyer directly without representation.  You will be taken advantage of, that is a fact.

Now, for the RIGHT answer, you should consult with a consumer attorney, especially here in Pennsylvania.  Any good consumer attorney is going to tell you to defend, defend, defend.  It sounds self serving, I know, but it is the correct course of action 99% of the time.  I mentioned earlier that Calvary buys thousands of these accounts at a time.  Well, when they make these purchases they make them on an AS IS basis.  This means that they have no way of knowing if the information that they receive from the original creditor is legitimate, accurate, or authentic.  On top of that, how much information do you think they get for something that they paid 2 cents on the dollar?

There are limited times when I tell a consumer to settle with Calvary.  The first is if there is an urgency to clean a credit report, say for a job or home purchase.  The second is where the debt is very small.  If they are suing you for $500-600, it may be more cost effective to settle at a discount rather than to defend.  Having said that though, you should still consult with a consumer attorney on any Calvary lawsuit.

As always, we offer free consults on debt buyer lawsuits.  Call our office at 412-823-8003 or email your inquiry using the contact page on this site.

 

Posted in Other

Settle with Midland Funding?

You’ve just received a letter from Midland Funding (or its subsidiary Midland Credit Management) or worse yet, a deputy delivered a lawsuit to your door.  Your first question is, “Who is Midland Funding?”  Midland Funding is a debt buyer, a very large one.  They buy delinquent credit card accounts for a few pennies on the dollar and then they try to collect from consumers like you.  It often starts with a letter from Midland Credit Management.  The letter alleges that you owe a debt and then states that they would be happy to settle with you.  There is often a “discount” settlement offer included in this letter.  It may go something along the lines of “Pay us 50% right now, that is a tremendous savings for you” or “Pay us 60% in three easy installments”.  Typically, if you do not pay, you will receive a second and/or a third letter.

So the question is, should you settle?  Most times, the answer is NO NO NO.  I find that for the most part, the people who call my office are good people.  They had a credit card that they could not pay, usually due to a divorce, a job loss/income reduction, or a health issue for themselves or a family member.  They want to pay the debt, but they simply could not pay it at that time, or, they still cannot pay it now.  I understand that, and it makes sense.  Please keep reading though and you’ll see why we think that you should not pay them.

Let’s assume that you had a credit card account with JCPenney.  For whatever reason, you default (be it job loss, divorce, health, doesn’t matter).  When you default, JCPenney has a decision to make.  They can sue you, OR, they can sell the debt to a debt buyer like Midland.  In many cases, they sell the debt.  When they sell the debt, they SELL it.  What I mean is, they retain no ownership rights whatsoever in that account.  If you settle a claim with Midland, the original creditor is not going to see an additional dollar.  So, are you really paying your debt if the original creditor isn’t getting any money? We say no, you are not.

To compound the issue, let’s look a little further into what Midland is acquiring.  They are buying allegedly defaulted credit card accounts, in bulk.  These sales can range from 500 accounts up to 25,000 or more.  That’s alot of credit card accounts… and they make these purchases several times per year.  When they buy these accounts, they are bought on an AS IS basis.  Maybe you have heard that term before with a used vehicle… it means that the accounts (and the limited paperwork or information contained therein) are not authenticated to be accurate.  Think about that for a minute… they are buying accounts that may or may not contain  accurate information, amounts, documentation, contracts, or contact information.  Why would you pay on something that might not be accurate.

To make matters worse, often times these accounts are sold several times.  We have seen many scenarios where a person settles a debt, or rather, believes that they did, and then they are sued by another company alleging to own that same debt.  This is a nightmare scenario for the consumer and its one of the main reasons that we generally advise against settling with debt buyers.

If you have been sued by Midland Funding or if you have received a letter from Midland Credit Management, please contact my office for a free consult.

Posted in Midland Funding

Credit Card Lawsuit Defense Tips

Large quantities of credit card lawsuits continue to be filed on a daily basis.  Credit card lawsuits can be defended quite successfully, especially when the debt has been sold to a debt buyer.  Rule number 1:  Do not ignore the lawsuit.  This happens with such great frequency that it is mind boggling.  People often put their heads in the sand when they are sued.  Why?  I have no answer for that.  Get on to google and search for a consumer attorney…get a free consult, and see if anything can be done.  Rule number 2:  DO NOT DEFEND YOURSELF.   You are being sued, for real money.  This isn’t a game, or a movie, or a chance for you to play attorney.  A wise man once said, anyone who represents themselves in a court of law has a fool for a client and an even bigger fool for an attorney.  The collector knows what he is doing.  This is their job, their career, their payday.  You cannot go into an internet chat room and figure out how to defend yourself.  Rule number 3:  Get a current copy of your credit report.  This can show many things.  Date of last payment, charge off amount, payment history, account ownership.  We recommend www.annualcreditreport.com.  The site is free, you receive 1 credit report per year.  Rule number 4:  Do NOT call the collector.  Their incentive is to get you to pay, period.  They are working on a commission…that means that they get a cut of whatever amount you pay.  They are not looking to protect your rights and interests.  Discuss the matter with a consumer attorney first.  Rule number 5:  Do not assume that you owe the debt.  Yes, you may have had a Home Depot card and you may have stopped paying on it, but, that doesn’t mean that you owe the debt.  When you defaulted, Home Depot had a choice to make…sue you, or, sell the debt to a debt buyer.  If the debt was sold, then they have effectively washed their hands of you.  If you pay the debt buyer, you are paying a scavenger.  The claim that the debt buyer purchased is based upon an old account that they bought in what is called an AS IS sale.  That means that all information is treated as unreliable… they have no way of certifying that the amounts are accurate or that you do owe the debt.

If you are reading this, pick up the phone right now and call my office for a consult.  Its free, and I may be able to help you.

Posted in Lawsuits

Credit Card Lawsuits – DO NOT Represent Yourself

It is amazing to me how many people choose to represent themselves in credit card lawsuits.  I imagine the scenario is this:  get served with a lawsuit, browse google for a few minutes to see how to defend a case, end up in a debtor’s internet chat room, take advice from a McDonald’s employee who happened to make the last post, and then consider yourself a legal expert.  (nothing wrong with the McDonald’s employee, I am just making the point that the person is NOT an attorney).

For the life of me, I cannot understand how somebody without a legal education can think that they can do what we do.  Attorneys have at least 3 solid years of law school, have passed a bar examination, and have hundreds if not thousands of cases of trial experience.  And you think that you can beat one of us?  Amazing.

Now, to get down off of my soap box, yes, it is possible for a non attorney to beat an attorney on a junk debt case.  In those few instances where the debt buyer has zero documentation, those cases are not very difficult to win.  Unfortunately, as we are finding, these buyers are coming up with more and more documentation and are starting to use better collection firms to handle their claims.  This will make it very difficult for a self represented person to prevail on a credit card case.  Remember, the attorney representing the debt buyer does this every day, probably 10-12 hours per day, as his job.  Your one single hour browsing the internet does not qualify you to defend a case.  The part that is so confusing to me is that people would risk thousands of dollars by defending themselves.  You can pay a consumer attorney a few hundred dollars to defend a case to save yourself thousands.  That is the right move, every time, just do it.

Call my office for a free consult at 412-823-8003

 

Posted in Lawsuits

What can a collector do to me?

This is the number one question at my law office right now, everyone wants to know what the creditor can do to them.  I usually do not answer this question until I ask several of my own questions first.  Who is pursuing you?  That is the most important quesiton that I ask in every case.  If the answer is ” a collection agency” or “A debt buyer”, then I do not ever answer the client’s initial quesiton of “what can they do to me” because it will never matter.  If you are being sued by a debt buyer, then you MUST hire a consumer attorney, whether its my firm or another firm, because you are very likely to prevail in court and then it will never matter “what they can do to you”, as they will not be able to do anything after we beat them.

Now having said that, not every case that my office handles is a winner.  There are times when an original creditor will beat us and the question “what can they do to me” has merit.  The first thing is that if you do not file an appeal, their judgment can become final in the Court of Common Pleas.  That judgment will accrue interest at the rate of 6% essentially forever.  After judgment, they can attempt to garnish a bank account, if they know where you bank, and if the account is not a spousal account (spousal joint accounts cannot be garnished by a collector unless the judgment is against both husband and wife… this protection applies to ALL spousal assets).  The collector can also try to place a levy on your personal property (to expose it to public sale) but this route is taken in less than 20% of all judgment cases, in my opinion.

The collector CANNOT garnish wages in PA for this type of debt.  That being said, they can garnish a bank account that has wages in it.  Once a wage is deposited into a bank account, it is no longer a wage.

The collector can also send out what are called “Discovery requests” in the form of interrogatories.  These are questions asking you to list all of your assets.  Unfortunately, you must answer these questions or you can be subject to sanctions from the court.  Once the creditor learns of any assets after using these forms, they can try to execute on these assets using a Sheriff and a Writ of Execution.

This is pretty much the gamut of what we see being done by collectors.  If you are facing a credit card or other collection lawsuit, please contact my office for a free consultation.

 

Posted in Other

Schuylkill County Credit Card Case

We received some pretty fantastic news today.  We are representing an individual in a collection agency case in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. This individual was sued by LVNV, which is one of the larger junk debt buyers that we deal with. The lawsuit was typical, typical in that it was severely lacking in information and details. As a matter of course, we filed objections to the case to raise the issue of legal sufficiency.

While we always expect a judge to agree with our reasoning, this judge went one step further.  He took action that would have a permanent effect on credit card cases in Schuylkill County, he issued a written opinion on the case.  A written opinion doesnt happen on every case.  To the contrary, written opinions are rarely issued.  A common pleas judge typically only writes an opinion where the case at hand has important issues that are recurring and can affect a number of people.  With the rise of credit card lawsuits in Pennsylvania, and in Schuylkill County in particular, this judge felt that it was important to set the law for the county.

The opinion focused on the defective nature of the lawsuit, namely, that the junk debt buyer (LVNV) didnt comply with the pleading requirements on credit card cases in Pennsylvania. The judge issued a ruling and opinion that the lawsuit was defective, and that if it was not corrected in a timely manner, it was subject to dismissal. We are hopeful that LVNV will not meet its burden on this case.  We have not only helped our client on this particular case, we have helped the wonderful consumers of Schuylkill County who are facing similar legal issues.

Posted in Collection Agencies, LVNV


Credit Card Lawsuits

If you are faced with a credit card lawsuit, whether its an original creditor or a junk debt buyer, contact my office at 412-823-8003 right away. We offer a free, no obligation review of any credit card based lawsuit that is filed in PA.

FDCPA Attorneys

Many Debt Collectors threaten people, that's a fact. Threats of wage garnishment, jail, fraud charges and contacting employers, friends and relatives happens every day to people just like you. The truth is that most of these threats are illegal. If a debt collector is threatening you, contact our office at 412-823-8003 for a free initial consultation.
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