What can I do if my debt collector is charging me an unfair amount? 18 Answers as of August 24, 2011

A debt company called me stated I had a credit card 1996-2001, went to court 2003 for a judgment of $10,000 against me. I was not notified. I know my limit has never been $10,000 so I will assume there are fees? The debt company says they are reopening my case unless I pay $10,000 asap. I asked for statements of my charges & they cannot give them to me, only they know I owe $10,000. What are my rights?

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Mercado & Hartung, PLLC
Mercado & Hartung, PLLC | Christopher J. Mercado
Dispute the debt and ask for validation.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 8/24/2011
Financial Relief Law Center
Financial Relief Law Center | Mark Alonso
General unsecured credit card debt has a statute of limitations of 4 years to collect on it. However, in your case, your creditors sued you and obtained a judgment. Judgments last 10 years and are renewable upon every 10 years. They also carry 10% judgment interest rate. If your judgment was entered at $10,000, and you say that your balance was never that high, it could be the result of the pre-judgment that can accrue until the account charges off and the creditor sues you to obtain a judgment. They can also include the attorney's fees and other court costs into the judgment, so that is probably what happened here. If you have a copy of the judgment entered against you, it should give you the breakdown of the pre-judgment amount, plus the costs, etc. However, the bulk of the increase to about $10K is probably due to the pre-judgment interest. If you wanted to question this amount, you could have done so to request verification prior to the creditor taking such actions to sue you years ago. However, at this point, you are left with a court ordered judgment that is carrying interest going forward. Filing bankruptcy may be a way to discharge this debt, but being able to file bankruptcy depends upon your income and ability to qualify. If you have other debt or even if you don't, you may want to consider this route to file bankruptcy and get the debt discharged. I would recommend talking with an attorney to go over your financial situation and determine what is the best course of action to take.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/22/2011
Law Office of John C. Farrell, Jr.
Law Office of John C. Farrell, Jr. | John C. Farrell, Jr.
The first thing I would do is find out which court the action was file din and go to the court to get a copy of the file including the judgment. A judgment is good for 20 years in MA which means the creditor can enforce what legal means to collect during that time. On another note, if you can prove that you were not properly served the original complaint/summons then you may possible have grounds for filing a Motion to Vacate the Judgment.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 8/22/2011
Dan Wilson Bankruptcy
Dan Wilson Bankruptcy | Dan Wilson
I don't do debt collection defense so this is very general. You should research the state and federal Fair Debt Collection Acts. Just google them. Creditor is required to give you an accounting of the charges. Also, the statute of limitations may have run, making the debt uncollectable. There are a whole lot of bottom feeders in collections. They buy up old debt for very little and start calling debtors. You can also make them stop calling you by sending a demand in writing that they no longer contact you. As to the amount of the debt, its amazing how fast the interest piles up on defaulted credit cards. When you default the interest jumps way up, maybe 20%.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 8/19/2011
Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
If you already have a judgment against you it is too late to contest the charges. The judgment creditor can use all legal means to collect, including wage garnishment and bank levy. You might want to consider filing bankruptcy.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/19/2011
    Tucker Legal Clinic
    Tucker Legal Clinic | Samuel Tucker
    A debt that old is likely uncollectable. Usually judgments expire after seven years, but can be renewed. After a creditor obtains a judgment tour next step is a bankruptcy because creditors next step is garnishment.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis | Eric Lewis
    Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, you can request validation of the debt, in writing, be provided.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    The answer is the same as when you last asked this question. A judgment means you already lost the court case. See a bankruptcy lawyer who can review what options you have to deal with a judgment.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/19/2011
    Charles Schneider, P.C.
    Charles Schneider, P.C. | Charles J. Schneider
    Your right is to dispute the debt in a court of law when they sue you and prove your case.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Lewis Adams and Associates
    Lewis Adams and Associates | Lewis P. Adams
    If they have a judgment, in Utah that judgment is valid for 8 years. If it has been more than years since the judgment entered, there may be nothing they can legally do. If it has been less than eight years, the judgment can be renewed for an additional eight years. Once a judgment has been obtained, it becomes the legal document for collection, not the underlying contract.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Ross Smith, Attorney at Law
    Ross Smith, Attorney at Law | Charles Ross Smith III
    Wait until they sue you then get an attorney and answer. An attorney can demand proof of their claim. You will have trouble doing this. But it's simpler for the attorney. They often lose and hiring an attorney is worth it. Good luck. Thank you for reading me. I hope you found this answer to be helpful. This answer is not intended to create an attorney/client relationship. It is general information that should be discussed with your own attorney. Because the law in other jurisdictions is different and the facts of each case are different.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Melinda Murphy Dionne, PC
    Melinda Murphy Dionne, PC | Melinda Murphy Dionne
    Do not pay the collector anything without proof of what you owe. You should write the creditor a letter disputing the debt. Ask for proof of the debt. If the debt is as old as you say, collection of the debt may be time barred.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    not allowed to. let them try to sue or you sue them
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Colorado Legal Solutions
    Colorado Legal Solutions | Stephen Harkess
    You have the right to dispute the debt and to check the court records to determine why the creditor believes you were served and what the actual judgment amount was.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Theodore N. Stapleton, PC
    Theodore N. Stapleton, PC | Theodore N. Stapleton
    You may qualify for a chapter 7 bankruptcy or you can contest the judgment.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Carballo Law Offices
    Carballo Law Offices | Tony E. Carballo
    If there is truly a judgment entered against you then there is nothing you can really about it since the court has already determined the debt is valid and set the amount you owe. You no longer have any rights. To set that judgment aside after so long on the basis that you were not served with the summons and complaint would be very expensive in legal fees and it might not even succeed. Therefore, you need to work out a settlement of the debt for a lump sum amount, a payment plan or consider bankruptcy as an alternative if you qualify. The judgment is good for 10 years and can be renewed. It goes up by 10% per year.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley | Maureen O'Malley
    He's bluffing, trying to scare you. If there was a judgment which you didn't get, and you still lived where your bills were sent, the judgment is no good. The debt may also be too old to be collected (statute of limitations). DO NOT acknowledge the debt in any way, or its validity will be renewed. If they call again, tell them to file suit or leave you alone. I think they'll run. If they do sue, they must prove the amount due, plus the validity of service for the judgment, plus proof that the debt is yours (your signature on the contract), plus proof that the statute of limitations has not run.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 8/18/2011
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    You can file for bankruptcy on the debt or you can fight them in a civil lawsuit for the amount they are charging you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/18/2011
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