Recourses available for a lawsuit on a previously paid account
I received a summons for a credit card account I already paid for in 2003. What should I do?
I paid off a credit card account in 2003 when I was in Oklahoma. I moved that year to Texas and don't have my documents. I thought everything was just fine. Then in June 2007 I received a summons. The attorney's request for summary judgment received today shows a demand letter sent to me in December 2006. I did not receive the December demand letter. The creditor wants $9,000.00 even though the total balance I paid was about $4,000. Oh, yes, prior to paying the debit in full, in 2002 I tried to do credit consumer counseling. The creditor refused to count any payments made by the credit counseling corporation. What do you think I need to do?
Since you have been sued on a debt that you claim you do not owe, I strongly encourage you obtain legal counsel to represent you in court. You are going to need to find some documentation showing the payment you made to the creditor so that you can substantiate your claim that you paid off the account. It is not uncommon for creditors to fail to properly update account balances, and then sell the accounts to third-party debt buyers who proceed with collection activity as if the debt were owed in full. Given the age of this debt, the scenario I just described may very well be what has transpired in your case. An attorney should be able to assist you in disputing this debt and demanding that the creditor show documentary evidence that you owe the money claimed. If the creditor fails to prove that you owe this money, then the judge will likely refuse to grant the Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment. However, if you fail to oppose the motion appropriately, the court may enter a judgment in favor of the creditor with little or no review of the evidence. An attorney should be able to assist you in responding to the motion for summary judgment and hopefully help you prevent a judgment from being entered against you.
You mention in your question that you do not have any of your records regarding the payment you made to pay off the account. Unfortunately, without some proof of the fact that you paid the account off, you may be facing an uphill battle in your effort to fight the lawsuit and prevent a judgment from being entered against you. Your attorney may be able to assist you with obtaining account records from the original creditor to prove that you paid off the balance. In addition, you may be able to dispute the debt with the current creditor demanding that they produce documentary proof that you owe this debt and that the balance they are claiming is accurate. Again, I encourage you to speak with an attorney about the options available to you and the best course of action to prevent this lawsuit from causing you further problems. You may also want to review your credit reports to determine to see how the account is appearing on your report and if the credit reports reflect a payment being made near the time you state you paid off the account. You can obtain a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus- Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion- by visiting Annualcreditreport.com.
If you do not know an attorney who can assist you with this matter, you may want to contact your county or state Bar Association to obtain a referral to a qualified consumer rights attorney. The Texas State Bar offers provides information about its referral service.
I wish you the best of luck in resolving this lawsuit, and hope that the information I have provided helps you Find. Learn. Save.