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TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4430
Experience:  Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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I have unpaid credit card debt that I cannot afford to pay

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I have unpaid credit card debt that I cannot afford to pay due to no income. I received a letter from a law firm saying that they were debating filing a lawsuit against me, however no decision has been made whether they will or not and that I needed to respond (which I haven't). Can they legally do anything? Can any sort of summary judgement be applied as a lien against my personal property? What should I do regarding this situation?

Thank you for your question. The law firm is representing your credit card company. As their attorney, the firm has the ability to file a lawsuit against you to seek the judgment for the unpaid debt.

If they file the lawsuit, you will be served with a copy of it and will have the opportunity to file an Answer, which is a response. You would at this point deny their allegations to make them prove the debt at court. The law firm has to have all the proof that you owe the debt. Also, they have to show that the debt is within the statute of limitations. In Oregon the statute of limitation is 6 years. This means if you haven't made a payment in 6 years, then you don't owe the debt any more. However, if your last payment was within six years of when they file the lawsuit, the statute of limitations does not help.

Can they put a lien on your person property?

If they get a judgment then yes.

Enforcement of a money judgment may by way of a writ of execution (ORS 23.030) or a writ of garnishment (ORS 29.135). Execution may be against the property of the judgment debtor or for the delivery of the possession of real or personal property. (ORS 23.040.) All non-exempt property, including franchises, or rights or interest therein, of the judgment debtor, is subject to execution. (ORS 23.160.) Garnishment of wages is permissible but the maximum part of the aggregate disposable earnings of an individual for any workweek that is subjected to garnishment may not exceed 25% of the individual's disposable earnings for that week; or the amount by which the individual's disposable earnings for that week exceed $170. (ORS 23.185.)

In general, a debtor may claim exemption of his homestead and certain personal property from attachment or execution or forced sale for the payment of debts.
A debtor is entitled to a homestead exemption up to an amount of $25,000 in value for an individual and a combined exemption of $33,000 if two or more members of a household are debtors whose interests in the homestead are subject to execution. The homestead must be the actual abode of and occupied by the owner or the owner's spouse, parent or child. (ORS 23.240.)
Personal property which are exempt from attachment or execution may include books, pictures and musical instruments to the value of $600; wearing apparel, jewelry and other personal items to the value of $1,800; tools, implements, apparatus, team, harness or library, necessary to enable the judgment debtor to carry on the trade, occupation or profession by which the judgment debtor habitually earns a living, to the value of $3,000; a vehicle to the value of $1,700; domestic animals and poultry kept for family use, to the total value of $1,000 and food sufficient to support such animals and poultry for 60 days; household goods, furniture, radios, a television set and utensils all to the total value of $3,000, if the judgment debtor holds the property primarily for the personal, family or household use of the judgment debtor; provisions actually provided for family use and necessary for the support of a householder and family for 60 days and also 60 days' supply of fuel; all professionally prescribed health aids for the debtor or a dependent of the debtor; spousal support, child support, or separate maintenance to the extent reasonably necessary for the support of the debtor and any dependent of the debtor; the debtor's right to receive, or property that is traceable to an award under any crime victim reparation law, a payment or payments, not to exceed a total of $10,000, on account of personal bodily injury of the debtor or an individual of whom the debtor is a dependent; and a payment in compensation of loss of future earnings of the debtor or an individual of whom the debtor is or was a dependent, to the extent reasonably necessary for the support of the debtor and any dependent of the debtor; the debtor's interest, not to exceed $400 in value, in any personal property. However, this exemption may not be used to increase the amount of any other exemption. (ORS 23.160.)
Other exemptions may include qualified retirement or pension plans (ORS 23.170, ORS 23.185), vocational rehabilitation benefits (ORS 344.580), veteran benefits (ORS 407.595), welfare benefits (ORS 411.760) and workers' compensation benefits (ORS 656.234).

If you are able to make any sort of payments, or have enough money to settle the case, then you should contact the law firm and see if they will entertain a settlement of the debt, either as a lump sum at a reduced rate, or at payment plan of a reduced amount of the total currently owed.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
It seems to me based off of this letter they sent me that they purchased my debt from Wells Fargo credit card services? Does this make any difference? Maybe I wasn't clear? The letter says the following:

This firm has been retained with the authority to file a lawsuit agianst you for debt owed by you to midland f**king LLC, purchaser of your WELLS FARGO BANK< N.A./ CORE PLATINUM debt; but at this time of the writing of this letter, no decision has been made whether or not we will file a law suit.
Demand is hereby made upon you for payment in the sum of $7641.58.
Unless you notify this office within thirty days after receiving this notice that you dispute the validity of this debt or any portion therof, this office will assume this debt is valid. If you notify this office in writing within thirty days from receiving this notice, this office with obatin verification of the debt or obtain a copy of a judgment and mail you a copy of such jedgment or verification. If you request this office in writing within thirty days after receiving this notice, this office will provide you with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current creditor.
At this time, no attorney has personally received the particular circumstances of your account. However, if you fail to contact this office, your account with be reviewed by an attorney to determine whether to exercise the authority given to this firm to sue you or whether not to exercise authority and return the file to our client.
This communication is from a debt collector. this is an attempt to collect a debt, and any information obtained will be used for that purpose.
They are a debt collection firm.

How long ago was the last time you made a payment?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Approximately a year and a half to 2 years ago. I have no replied to this letter and the same attorney whom wrote this letter has left me voice mails. A friend (no law background) keeps telling me that they are just making threats and that they can't do anything. He says eventually they just give up. I am extremely poor and not sure what to do.
They can sue you. However, most debt collectors don't actually go through with it. I would ignore them. If they do sue you, then contact them and see if they are willing to accept a payment plan. If not, then its not likely they will do anything other than hurt your credit even if they have a judgment. The amount you owe and the fact that you don't have any money means that you aren't really a target for them to pursue.
TexLaw and 2 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you so much for your help. I will continue to ignore them and if the situation escalades, I will seek further help. Have a great day!

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