Legal Question in Credit and Debt Law in Arizona

Hello, I received a summons from a debt collection agency; they are seeking a judgment. The debt was originally from a Discover credit card whose account activity was closed in 2002. I had been making payments on and off since then per an agreement I made with them over the phone. The agreement was a verbal contract (I never signed anything) which stipulated that I pay a certain sum each month and they did not charge overdraft fees or further interest. I last made a payment to them January 2010, which was when I was laid off. Since then, they seem to have turned the debt over to a collection service.

I was not contacted by mail or phone until the summons, but they claim that they offered a settlement deal months ago and that I did not respond. I know that the Statute of Limitations on credit card debt in Arizona (where this occurred) is 3 years. Does the clock on SOL start when I've made my last payment to the credit card company or when the card's account was closed (2002) because I never signed an agreement to pay after that point. The collection agency had previously offered me a discount % off the original debt in a letter which I did not receive until after the expiration date of the offer. Would it be feasible to try and take them up on the offer, even though I would have to pay it in increments? Also, I did not personally receive the summons - it was given to my mother, as I am currently not living in Arizona.

Any information/advice on how I should proceed would be much appreciated.

Asked on 3/05/11, 3:18 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Richard Groves Law Office of Richard Groves

You presented several questions...

1. The Statute of limitations for a contract that is "evidenced in writing" is 6 years, not three...

The issue is whether or not the Plaintiff (the person suing you) can prove they have a written contract with you.

2. You do not necessarily have to be contacted prior to being sued.

3. The "settlement deal" that you made payments on MAY restart the statute of limitations, whether you agreed in writing or not.

4. The "feasibility" of accepting an offer to pay usually hinges on three issues (1) can you afford to pay? (2) Are the terms such that you will be able to continue to pay (3) what is the viability of the debt collector's "case" against you.

5. The term "currently not living in Arizona" is somewhat vague...however, service is effective on your mother only if you were served at your "residence" upon a "person of suitable age and discretion residing therein." If you don't currently "reside" at the address where your mother was served, then service would be invalid.

However, if you fail to respond to the summons, default judgment will be granted against you. If you file an Answer, you will be waiving the defense, and will be subjecting yourself to the jurisdiction of the Court.

I advise you to seek legal advice from an attorney who is experienced in consumer law issues.

Read more
Answered on 3/06/11, 10:18 am

Related Questions & Answers

More Credit, Debt and Collections Law questions and answers in Arizona