Can a credit card company say they have no record of debt and then try to sue?

UPDATED: Mar 5, 2012

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can a credit card company say they have no record of debt and then try to sue?

My father-in-law got a credit card in his name and added my husband onto his account. My husband’s father passed away and his mother kept paying the bill. She stopped paying it around 4 1/2 years ago and did not tell us. We applied for an auto loan at our bank 8 months ago and was turned down. We got a copy of our credit report and it showed that the credit card hadn’t been paid for all that time. My husband called the credit card company and the collection agency both to try to settle the debt so we could get an auto but both said they had no record of the debt. Now they are threatening to sue. Can they do that? Would it help if we had a copy of the phone bill showing that we tried to call them?

Asked on March 5, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Tennessee


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

As a practical matter, it's difficult to see how they could sue--in order to sue and win, a presumptive creditor must be able to prove the existence and amount of the debt. The burden is on the party suing to establish or prove its case (provide evidence supporting its case), and it must be able to do so by a "preponderance of the evidence," or that it is more likely than not that you owe the money. Without records, it is difficult (or impossible) to see how they could do that.

If they do try to sue without having records, they may be violating both debt collection laws (e.g. the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, or FDCPA) and/or consumer fraud laws. If they try to sue, therefore, you should consult with an attorney--not only should you have an excellent chance of defeating a lawsuit which lacks evidentiary support, but you may have a counterclaim against them. Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption