What is Debt Defense
Debt defense is the process whereby Shmucher Law, PL defends a debtor who has been sued by a credit card company or a junk debt buyer. When a debtor is sued by a debt collection company or a credit card company they will be served with the lawsuit at their house. Served means that a process server will come to your house and drop off the lawsuit with either you, a spouse or someone that lives in that residence. Once a debtor has been served they have TWENTY days to respond to the lawsuit. If you have been served please contact our office immediately so that we may assist.
What Defenses are available?
There are numerous defenses that a debtor may bring up when they are sued by a debt collector or credit card company. They can include the following:
1. Improper Service – Sometimes process servers can actually serve the wrong person or the wrong residence. If an invalid service takes place, one debt defense that a debtor can bring up is that the service is void and the creditor must reserve the debtor. Recently we had a case where the process server actually served the wrong person and the creditor was able to obtain a default judgment against my client. We went back into court and vacated the judgment as well as quashed the service of the process server.
2. Not Me – Another defense that Shmucher Law, PL can use on behalf of the debtor is that they are suing the wrong individual. In South Florida, there are many common names and people with similar social security numbers. A debt collector a credit card company can sue the wrong Joe Smith and it is a lot more common than people think.
3. Statute of Limitations – A junk debt buyer or a credit card company has a limited amount of time to bring a lawsuit against a debtor. One debt defense that can be used is the statute of limitations, whereby we say that the creditor bringing the suit cannot do so because the time for them to sue has expired. Typical statute of limitations, in Florida, are either FOUR or FIVE years since the last time the debtor made a payment.
4. Prove It – The debt defense of prove it only applies to junk debt buyers that sue a debtor. When a junk debt buyer purchases debt from a credit card company they are provided documentation showing the debt they purchased, the debtor, and any relevant information. There are many cases where junk debt buyers purchase debts from other junk debt buyers over and over and it becomes difficult for the junk debt buyer who is actually suing you to provide the chain of title to show they are the actual owner of the debt.
What if I do nothing when I am Sued?
The biggest mistake that a debtor can do, once they are sued, is to do NOTHING. By doing nothing the debtor lets the credit card company or junk debt buyer win by default and they may potentially lose the ability to bring up valid debt defenses to defeat the case. It is a lot easier to settle or defend a case when it is inactive status rather than then a default judgment has been entered against the debtor.
What if no Defenses are Available?
After Shmucher Law, PL is hired and we review your case, we may inform you that there are no debt defenses available on your case, but that doesn’t mean you should let the creditor win and obtain a judgment against you. Our firm will still file an answer on your behalf and perhaps take the case to mediation or work out a debt settlement agreement with the creditor.
How Do I Hire Shmucher Law, PL
To hire Shmucher Law, PL, give us a call at 305.741.5553 once you are served with a lawsuit or a creditor sends you a demand letter. Be prepared to provide the case number and county that it is filed in so we can review the lawsuit. We will be able to tell you rather quickly what we can do and what options are available to you. Consultations can take place in person or over the phone.
What are the Fees Involved?
Shmucher Law, PL charges a flat fee per debt settlement ranging anywhere from $100.00+ depending on the size of the debt, the creditor, and that status of the collection effort. Based on our experience we can advise you on what we feel we could settle the debt for and what terms (lump or number of months) we can achieve that result for. If you choose to retain us for debt settlement services we would execute a retainer agreement that states we don’t collect our fee until we execute a settlement or stipulation agreement.