Hi! LegalGems here. I'll do my best to assist you.I can only provide general information, so a follow up consult with a private lawyer is recommended. I am sorry to hear of this. Yes, as a consumer, you have, per the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the right to request "validation" of the debt.
In Alabama, the statute of limitations for written contracts is 6 years; for account states (i.e. credit card) is 3 years.
Please let me know if you would like a sample validation letter to serve as a model.
Are you there?
Yes, I am.
Were you able to review the above?
I was confused about the process for a moment... Can you answer my question concerning submitting a request for production from the attys who are taking me to court?
Yes, certainly. I believe what you are asking for is a debt validation letter. You can do this either via a letter, or via the discovery process. If you would like a copy of the contract, you can get this via letter also. I can get you a sample letter.
Here are the rules for requests for production (RFP). http://judicial.alabama.gov/library/rules/cv34.pdf
I would appreciate the sample letter. After receiving the summons I looked through some old credit cards and found the one they are referring to. I haven't paid on it in over 6 years. The company actually was shut down by the federal government and ceased writing me. Now, this atty's office is saying that another credit has taken over the old accounts and that they represent them. Please elaborate on the statute of limitations for me.
The statute of limitations is when the creditor (or someone who purchased the debt) is allowed to bring an action. It is considered "untimely" if it falls outside that time frame. So for credit card debt, if the consumer did not pay, and did not reaffirm the debt, the debt would no longer be valid - the collector can still attempt to collect via letters, etc, but if they bring an action and the defendant makes an affirmative defense based on statute of limitations having run, then generally the judge will dismiss the suit - with prejudice - meaning the plaintiff cannot bring a subsequent lawsuit. A lot of times, the plaintiff counts on the defendant not having knowledge of this - you would be surprised at how many debts are paid post-statute of limitations.
Please explain "reaffirm" the debt.
[Your return address] [Date]
[Debt collector name] [Debt collector Address]
Re: [Account number for the debt, if you have it]
Dear debt collector,
I am responding to your contact about collecting a debt. You contacted me by [phone/mail], on [date]
and identified the debt as [any information they gave you about the debt]. I do not have any responsibility for the debt you’re trying to collect.
If you have good reason to believe that I am responsible for this debt, mail me the documents that make
you believe that. Stop all other communication with me and with this address, and record that I dispute having any obligation for this debt. If you stop your collection of this debt, and forward or return it to another company, please indicate to them that it is disputed. If you report it to a credit bureau (or have already done so), also report that the debt is disputed.
Thank you for your cooperation. Sincerely,
[Your name] -
Reaffirming the debt would be stating that you intend to pay it, or that you will pay it in the future. Basically, re-committing to the old debt. That starts the statute of limitations over. The plaintiff has the burden of proof which generally helps the defendant because gray issues are resolved against the plaintiff.
This sounds ok--but I am now being sued for this debt in small claims court. Do you think it wise to try and find out when I originally was issued this card? In addition, how will this affect going to trial since I have already answered the complaint the other day. I have until 10/29/2013 to do so, I haven't received a court date yet.
The statute runs from the date of last payment, so that would be the relevant date. It is good to answer the complaint - otherwise you can get a default judgment against you, meaning that the court would rule in plaintiff's favor because they had no information from you. At the court date, the statute of limitations can be brought up as an affirmative defense. Or you can contact the attorney and ask that s/he dismiss it based on the statute of limitations running. They may very well do so rather than waste time in court.
Oh, so that is why they attached what appears to be a copy of my last statement to the summons. It looks like a bill but shows nothing where I PAID on the bill. I still have a legal right to request the date of last payment from the creditors, right? Not just take the word of the attys who are suing me in court.
Yes, that is right. You would actually request it from the attorney, who would request it from the creditor.
I couldn't find any non-copyrighted sources for RFP's in your state, but here is a general guide that can be modified to fit your situation: http://www.masslegalhelp.org/consumer/forms/request-for-documents.pdf
Ok, can you verify that this conversation is not incurring additional charges?
I'm an end user and am not familiar with your account. I don't have access to billing, as I'm only authorized in consumer protection and estate law. I do know that it is one charge per thread, and I've answered all of your questions in one thread. Does that help?
I would like to know if I can submit the rfp on my own without an attorney--if I gain access to a form
Yes, an attorney does not need to submit it for you; although it is always a good idea to hire an attorney to at least review all correspondence - as a safety check so to speak.
At this point, I will have to do this on my own (no money for atty). Do you have any other suggestions or tips for me? Will this chat be emailed to me?
It won't be emailed to you but the site does send you a link so you can come back here. I believe after you close the chat there is either a print or save button. The main thing would be to attempt to get the attorney to acknowledge the statute has expired and to voluntarily withdraw the complaint - that will save you the hassle of RFPs and appearing in court.
Thanks for your assistance.... I will need to contact the company that took over after the original company was shut down by the government, correct? For original dates and purchases, that is...
You are welcome. Yes, you can either request the attorney to provide the documentation or you can request the company that most recently was in possession of this.
Thanks! Have a good evening!
You too. Take care.
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