If I am being sued for an old credit card debt, what are my options?

UPDATED: Aug 17, 2011

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If I am being sued for an old credit card debt, what are my options?

I did try to arrange payments with the credit card company but they refused until the account was brought current, which was not financially possible. Then the debt was sold off. Do I have any options other than coming up with the amount they are asking for? Could a lawyer benefit the situation financially?

Asked on August 17, 2011 Washington


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You know, I hate to take the bread out of a fellow attorney's mouth - and I do think that sometimes people are treated better as attorneys which is really not fair to everyone else - but before you hire someone to help, lets try a couple of things.  If they do not work then get legal help.  First, call the party that holds the debt at this point in time.  Do not speak to the customer service people that answer the phone.   Ask to speak with a supervisor.  Keep a piece of paper with you and write down names, time you called and contact information for the supervisor.  Keep notes on the conversation.  Tell the supervisor that you have tried to resolve this issue before but were unable to do so with the prior creditor.  That you wish to resolve the matter and pay your debt.  That you qualify under the law for various programs that would either allow you to discharge the debt all together or reduce it significantly but you wish to honor the original agreement because that is the kind of person that you are.   That you would like to come to an agreement to stop the interest from running and pay off the debt over time.  Ask what they can offer you.  It will be a large amount over a short period.  Tell them you can not afford that.  That you wish to extend the time and lower the amount.  Keep telling them no until you reach an amount you can afford.  Generally 2 years is about their limit to extend so see if that works for you.  If they give you a hard time tell them that you have spoken with an attorney and that should they sue, no judge in the world would make you agree to an amount to pay only to default on the loan.  And if they sue and cause you to incur additional fees you are raising bad faith. Confirm with a letter. Good luck.

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