Credit Card collection lawsuits are rapidly increasing in Pennsylvania. The volume of phone calls and emails that I receive on this topic is astounding. What I have discovered is that many people do not know their rights or how to handle these situations. I can say with certainty that contacting a Consumer Attorney is a very good move.
Credit card lawsuits are instituted on the basis that you have failed to pay (defaulted) on a credit account. There are a number of issues that the credit card company has to prove in order to prevail in a collection lawsuit against you. The following is a brief summary of some of those issues.
The credit card company first and foremost has to prove that you have established an account with them. This typically requires an agreement that is signed by you indicating that you requested an extension of credit or an account with the credit card company. As some credit applications are taken orally, the company must be able to prove that you requested an account by another means, perhaps by a recording of your phone application.
The next issue that they have to prove is that you agreed to certain terms and conditions, including rate of repayment and interest rate. This can again be done by means of a signed application or a recording of an oral application. The evidence must include proof that you agreed to those terms and that you agreed to pay a certain interest rate on the credit account.
Next, the credit card company must prove that you have made charges on the account. This may be accomplished by means of producing the monthly statements on your account.
Finally, the company must prove that you have failed to pay on the account as per your agreement (again, they must prove that you have defaulted). The date of the default is especially important, as they must bring the lawsuit against you within four (4) years of the date of the last default. This is what is referred to as the Statute of Limitations.
The credit card company can prevail on a collection case against you in Pennsylvania only if they can prove all of the foregoing. It is imperative that you respond in writing, preferably with the assistance of a good consumer attorney, when a credit card collection lawsuit is filed against you in Pennsylvania.
Greg Artim is a Consumer Attorney based in Pittsburgh, PA. He handles Lemon Law and Credit Card Defense matters in all of Pennsylvania. For more answers to your Pennsylvania Credit Card Law questions, please visit his website at Pennsylvania Credit Card Defense Attorney