One popular dictionary defines a credit card as “A card authorizing purchases on credit,” and a lawsuit as “A case before a court.” Simple addition, coupled with a little common sense, might define a credit card lawsuit as “A case before a court involving the use of a card to make purchases on credit.” But what is a credit card lawsuit really? Remove the “card” portion of the equation and most of the time it is nothing more than a bad debt lawsuit seeking the recovery of money under a “promissory note” type legal theory of recovery. And that is all a credit lawsuit boils down to really, a bad debt lawsuit – at least that is how most Texas Courts have defined and interpreted credit card lawsuits.
Naturally, during the “discovery” period of our cases, one question we always end up asking the debt collector when defending credit card lawsuits is “So where is the promissory note?” You would be surprised how many times, figuratively speaking, that question is met with a blank stare. The document typically produced in response is a generic credit card “card member agreement” that usually has nothing to do with our client. In fact, we have yet to see a card member agreement bearing our client’s signature or even identifying a client by name. The resulting lack of a signed “promissory note,” coupled with the confusing addition of multiple credit card opt-out provisions, amendments, variable interest rate calculations and bank consolidations can make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for a credit card debt collector to prove breach of any specific written agreement.
As mentioned throughout this website, important facts like these can act as difficult obstacles and may actually prevent a debt collector from being able to prove its case. They would be of no help at all, however, to a person who either a) got sued by a credit card debt collector and did nothing; or b) got sued and hired the wrong lawyer. Both decisions are poor ones that could transform the victim of a credit card lawsuit from a simple debt collection lawsuit Defendant into a “Judgment Debtor.” That is not a pleasant situation to be in or an easy one to get out of – believe us.
Being on the business end of a credit card lawsuit is probably not something that you, as a consumer, ever envisioned happening. But if it has happened, regardless of why or how it happened, it is not wise to ignore it and hope that it will magically go away or resolve itself on its own. In our experience, that is just not a likely scenario.
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