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Ask Fritz Your Own Question

Fritz
Fritz, Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 302
Experience:  Florida attorney with extensive experience in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 consumer bankruptcy cases
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can a debt collector acquire and combine two different/seperate charged off credit card ac

Customer Question

can a debt collector acquire and combine two different/seperate charged off credit card accounts and combine them to sue me for them as one debt as well as "accrued interest" when the accounts have been closed for at least 3.5 years?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Expert:  Fritz replied 1 year ago.

Fritz :

Hi, I'd like to help you with your bankruptcy questions this morning.

Customer:

hello


 

Fritz :

The statute of limitations on credit card debt in California is 4 years.

Fritz :

So the short answer to your question is likely yes, unfortunately.

Fritz :

Has it been over 4 years since you made a payment?

Customer:

but the two accounts have different charge off dates, and yes it has been over 4 yrs


 

Fritz :

Has a lawsuit been filed against you in state court to collect on the debt?


 

Customer:

yes, and they got a default judgement from the clerk

Customer:

but the total is outrageous and I will never be able to pay them

Customer:

and I have no assets, and work a part time job

Fritz :

Have they made any attempts to collect on the judgment?


 

Fritz :

i.e. garnishing your wages


 

Customer:

not yet


 

Fritz :

And do you know when the default was entered against you?


 


 

Customer:

august 1

Fritz :

The default is not good, you may have waived some legitimate defenses you may have had if you would have defended the lawsuit.

Customer:

can I do anything about it now?

Fritz :

Yes...


 

Customer:

the last payment on the larger account was 2/08

Fritz :

You could file a Motion to Vacate Default within 6 months of the date the default was entered against you.

Customer:

Can I do that by myself?

Fritz :

Yes, although it's much better to hire an attorney.

Customer:

If I cannot afford one, do i have any choice?

Fritz :

You would basically need to demonstrate "excusable neglect" in order to have the default vacated.

Fritz :

Did you receive notice of the lawsuit filed against you? If so, why didn't you respond?


 

Customer:

how do I do that?

Customer:

I think so, but it was never clear about when to reply by, or a court date, and it looked like a fake document that they printed- not from the court

Customer:

also had a strange handwritten return address, so I thought it was from a person- not a debt collector

Fritz :

If you received the complaint but didn't see anything about a deadline to respond or a court date, that might constitute excusable neglect.

Customer:

I have all the things they sent me, one of them only had zeros for the amounts where they were supposed to have totals

Customer:

So the documents are supposed to show a date somewhere?

Fritz :

If you can't afford an attorney, the best thing to do is simply explain all of this in your Motion to Vacate Default as clearly as you can. Attach documentation showing that there weren't any dates on the papers you received and the account statements with zeros for the amounts.

Fritz :

There should have been a summons stating exactly how many days you have to respond.

Customer:

ok. is the last date of payment for the one account being beyond the legal time allotted any significance?

Fritz :

It would have said something like "A lawsuit has been filed against you. You have X days to respond..."

Customer:

again, they have combined two separate accounts

Customer:

ok, i will find that letter

Fritz :

See, that's the problem with the default... the time issue, while a potentially strong defense for you, isn't relevant right now because you've been defaulted.

Fritz :

Only once the default has actually been vacated (if it is) do those issues become relevant again.

Customer:

as far as wage garnishing, if I make like 200 dollars a week, how much will they be able to take?

Fritz :

I realize that they combined two accounts, but by failing to respond and being defaulted, you've basically made a legal admission that everything they're claiming is true (even though that may not actually be the case, based on what you're saying).

Customer:

i understand. If the judgement is vacated, then will I have the opportunity to defend myself?

Fritz :

They could potentially garnish up to 25% of your wages.

Customer:

it would not end the case, is that true?

Fritz :

If the judgement is vacated, then will I have the opportunity to defend myself? Yes


 

Fritz :

Correct, the case would continue, you would file an Answer asserting all of your affirmative defenses (everything you've discussed above), and then you would receive discovery requests from the debt collector (asking you to produce documents and answer questions).

Customer:

it seems so unfair to charge for interest on closed accounts. and this whole thing is overwhelming. thank you for your help


 

Fritz :

You don't need everything you file to be technically 100% correct if you're doing it yourself. Just explain each of your points in clear, simple language.


 

Customer:

ok

Fritz :

Do you have any other questions for me this morning?


 

Customer:

not at this moment.

Fritz :

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX luck with your case!

Customer:

Thank you Fritz

Fritz, Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 302
Experience: Florida attorney with extensive experience in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 consumer bankruptcy cases
Fritz and other Bankruptcy Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Fritz replied 1 year ago.
Please let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks!

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