i have a civil action hearing notice for a credit card debt.
1 Answer from Attorneys
Your question is? What to do?
If you received a notice of hearing that means that you have been served with a complaint and that this is in small claims court before a district magistrate.
I am not a litigation attorney and do not believe in litigation as a means of resolving debt unless you have valid defenses to present, such as the statute of limitations has expired, identity theft, or questions concerning lack of proof (especially where the debt has been sold to a junk debt buyer) or the amount of the debt (excluding questions about interest and late fees - these are set forth in your creditg card agreement and can properly be collected).
If the debt was created in PA and it has been 4 or more years since you made any kind of a payment, or if the debt has been sold to a junk debt buyer and there is no proof of assignment of the debt (like a bill of sale showing your credit card company sold the debt to the junk debt buyer suing you) and no original credit card statement attached to the complaint, then I think you should seek out local counsel. I know that Attorney Greg Artim who has been active here is one attorney specializing in credit card defense but I am sure there are others in your area.
If you are within the statute of limitations and have no other real valid defenses or objections and the debt is yours and you own the debt, then it does not matter generally whether you show up or not. The creditor is going to get a judgment against you.
The real issue in such case is what do you want to do about it? Debts and judgments never go away. Judgments can be enforced against real estate for 5 years and can be renewed after that. They are enforcible against personal property (like cars or bank accounts) for 20 years. While there is no wage garnishment in Pennsylvania, your bank account is at risk of being frozen unless you keep less than $300 in any one bank account. So you need to think about resolving the debt.
If this is one of many debts for you, maybe bankruptcy is a better course of action instead of litigating. If bankruptcy is not right for you, what are your circumstances? Do you have the funds to resolve the debt now? Or maybe in a few months? Most credit card companies will settle for between 50% and 80% of the debt. If I know woh was suing you and their attorney I might be able to give you a better idea as to what to expect.
I don't know your assets and circumstances. Please contact me at rachelforjustice@hotmail,com if your would like me to review the specifics of your situation in confidence. I will give free consults via email. I charge $50 for review of docments (like the complaint) and $50 for a 30-minute consult by phone. The consult can include review of your cicumstances, coming up with a strategy to resolve the debt and review of your assets and how to best protect them lawfully. I also resolve debts for an additional reasonable fee.