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Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 23539
Experience:  14 yrs practice, Civil, Criminal, Domestic, Realtor, Landlord 24+ yrs
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My husband has an old credit card debt that has now been purchased

Resolved Question:

My husband has an old credit card debt that has now been purchased by a collection/law firm. They are requesting income information, which I am reluctant to give. We have offered to pay part of the bill as a settlement but are wondering if we are better off to plead our case in court, since there were extenuating circumstances (my husband was down sized and the credit card refused to set up a reasonable payment plan with me until our circumstances changed.) Wonder what the best course of action is to take?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Barrister replied 11 months ago.
Hello and welcome! My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.
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I need to ask a few questions before I can comment...
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Has the creditor actually filed suit or are they just threatening to do so?
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How long has it been since any payments have been made on the account?
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Thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 11 months ago.

The last payment was made in 2009 and they have only threatened to file suit.

Expert:  Barrister replied 11 months ago.
Ok, thank you for that information. I just wanted to check on the statute of limitations to see if this was an enforceable debt. The SOL is 6 years in Minnesota so it would still be within the time for them to collect.
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With that said, if you were to take this to court, the judge will simply look to see if there was a debt that husband agreed to pay that he didn't. He doesn't have the power to consider outside factors that may have been the reason for the default. He can only look at the black letter law about whether the debt is valid or not. Further, if this went to court, under the card agreement signed long ago when the card was taken out, it is standard for it to say that the debtor will be liable for all costs of collection. This means that they could tack on several thousand in attorney fees if they had to take it to court.
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So at this point, it would be better to try and negotiate a payment plan or settlement with them rather than going to court. Husband can always tell them that he is considering filing bankruptcy to discharge this and other debts if he can't work something out. They know that if he actually filed BK, they would likely get nothing so that can give them an incentive to try and settle the case. If this is a debt collection company, then they likely purchased the debt for 10-20 cents on the dollar, so that gives them a lot of room to settle and still make money.
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Thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 11 months ago.

What if any income information a required to give them ad since my husband is only listed on the card do have to share my financial income?

Expert:  Barrister replied 11 months ago.
I don't think I would volunteer any income information at all. You are not under any legal obligation to do so at this point and they could only compel you to provide it if they sued, got a judgment and then were attempting to enforce it.
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But if you did choose to provide anything, I would only give them husband's information and black out anything that referred to you or your income or personal information.
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But legally you don't have to give them anything at this point..
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Thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 11 months ago.

That was my thinking as well. They also wanted him to send permission to contact his employer. Not! So the best plan is to get them to give us a settlement amount then?

Expert:  Barrister replied 11 months ago.
Yes, I would agree that getting a settlement amount would be your best course of action. They can ask for financial information and to contact the employer, but no prudent consumer would agree to give them that right or information as that would severely hinder your settlement efforts if they think you can easily afford the entire debt.
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Obviously I would start out lower than you can afford. So if the debt is $2K for example, and they want $1800 to settle it, and you can afford $1000, I would start out at $500-600 and work my way up. Don't be afraid to tell them that he is thinking of filing bankruptcy to get rid of this and some other debts as that can make them more open to settling the debt because they know "half a loaf is better than none".
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Thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 11 months ago.

That makes sense. Thank you for your help!

Expert:  Barrister replied 11 months ago.
You are very welcome. Glad to help.
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Thanks
Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 23539
Experience: 14 yrs practice, Civil, Criminal, Domestic, Realtor, Landlord 24+ yrs
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