Credit card debt is one of the largest types of consumer debt in the United States. While most people carry some credit card debt, some borrowers use more credit than they can pay back and may get behind on their payments. When this happens, borrowers could get a lower credit score, higher interest rates on loans, and even legal action from creditors. So, what happens if you are sued over credit card debt? Keep reading to find out.
Credit Card Basics
Credit cards allow borrowers to use credit for purchases now while paying off their balance later. In most cases, credit cards have a credit limit that borrowers cannot exceed without penalty along with other terms and conditions.
These terms may include:
- An annual percentage rate (APR) or interest
- Minimum payment amounts
- Balance transfer policy
- Billing cycle dates
- Grace periods (when applicable)
- Late payment fees
- Statement balances
It is crucial that borrowers read the terms and conditions for their credit cards.
While most of the terms listed above apply to most credit cards, some cards do not have a credit spending limit or may have specific rules for their cards. Regardless of the terms, however, the most important rule for credit card users is paying off their balances. If a borrower cannot pay off their debt, they may face severe consequences.
If a borrower cannot pay their debt, debt collectors may employ collection methods ranging from calling the borrower to taking legal action. In extreme cases, debt collectors may take a borrower to court by filing a lawsuit. Debt collectors do not typically file a lawsuit unless they have already pursued other collection methods.
A lawsuit begins when the credit card company files a complaint against the borrower in the county in where the borrower lives. After the credit card company has filed its lawsuit, the sheriff or other authorized agent of the court will attempt to contact the borrower and them you with a summons and a copy of the complaint. The summons alerts the debtor to the fact that they are being sued and shows who is suing them. The summons will also tell you how many days that you have to file a response to the complaint (usually 30 days). When a borrower is served, they will also receive a copy of the complaint which the credit card company filed with the court. The complaint details the relationship between the borrower and the credit card company and specifies the amount of money which they claim that the borrower owes
When any individual is served with a lawsuit, the best course of action is to contact an attorney so that the attorney can explain the details of the case and what one should do next. Generally speaking, a borrower who is sued needs to file an answer to the complaint against them. Failure to respond could have serious consequences including the court ruling in the credit card company’s favor. In these cases, the collection company may garnish wages to collect the debt.
What To Do After Receiving a Summons and Complaint
Once an individual has been served with a copy of the summons and complaint, they must verify the debt. If the debt is not theirs, or if there is no validation letter with specific details about the debt then there may be grounds for a counter claim against the debt collector. Alternatively, the borrower may request additional information about the debt to confirm whether it is theirs.
After the debt is verified, the borrower must decide whether to settle the debt or go to court. Debt settlements happen outside of the courtroom and can often save time and money overall. If the borrower elects to pursue a court appearance, they should consult a qualified attorney.
Protect Your Rights
If you are facing legal action from a credit card company and/or debt collectors, you must contact the Law Offices of Mark A. Bandy, PC. Our attorney can help you decide whether settlement or a court appearance is best for you and provide support every step of the way.
Contact our attorney at the Law Offices of Mark A. Bandy, PC for more information.