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Sued for Old Debt?
If your last payment on a debt was over four years ago, debt buyers, credit card companies, finance companies, and lenders generally can’t sue you. Lawsuits filed past the statute of limitations violate multiple laws, including a federal law called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and a Pennsylvania law called the Fair Credit Extension Uniformity Act (FCEUA).
If you’re getting sued for old debt, contact BCJ Law for help. We may be able to win your case and get you a positive monetary recovery. To get a free case review from our debt defense attorney, call 1-800-997-5561 or complete our contact form.
Let us answer your debt defense questions:
Can debt collectors sue on old debt?
For most types of debt, Pennsylvania law prohibits filing suit if your last payment was made over four years ago. This is called the statute of limitations. It applies to credit card debt, personal loan debt, auto loan debt, private student loan debt, and various other types of debt obligations. When a debt is past the statute of limitations, it is called a “time-barred” debt.
Can I ignore a lawsuit filed on a time-barred debt?
No, do not ignore a debt collection lawsuit, even if you think it’s past the applicable statute of limitation. Unfortunately, courts do not independently verify whether a debt collection lawsuit is legitimate. If you don’t point out the flaws in a debt collector’s case, the court will treat the case as valid. In other words, if you ignore a collection lawsuit, the debt collector wins automatically. In fact, if you don’t contest a debt lawsuit, the company suing you doesn’t even have to show up to court to win.
When you ignore a debt collection lawsuit, Pennsylvania courts generally enter a “default judgment” against you. When debt buyers, credit card companies, finance companies, and lenders get default judgments, Pennsylvania law permits them to engage in aggressive debt collection tactics. These include garnishing bank accounts, attaching liens to property, and forcing property sales.
Is it illegal to sue for a debt past the statute of limitations?
Yes. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibits debt collectors, debt buyers, and debt collection attorneys from filing lawsuits on debts past the statute of limitations. Pennsylvania’s Fair Credit Extension Uniformity Act (FCEUA) places similar prohibitions on credit card companies and lenders.
What should I do if I'm sued for a debt past the statute of limitations?
If your debt is past the statute of limitations, your best course of action is to hire a debt defense attorney. The reason for this is two fold. First, debt defense attorneys know how to asset a statute of limitations defense. If you don’t properly assert this defense, you could be stuck paying a debt you don’t have to pay. Second, the fees you pay your debt defense attorney may be recoverable against the company that sued you, as explained in the next section.
Are damages available for time-barred debt lawsuits?
Yes. Getting sued on a debt that’s past the statute of limitations is a serious legal violation. There are various categories of damages available. First, the debt collector is liable for any legal fees or costs you paid, and may be liable for up to triple the costs and fees you paid. Second, the debt collector is liable for any anxiety or emotional distress its legally deficient lawsuit caused. Third, the debt collector is liable for up to $1000 in statutory damages. Finally, the debt collector may be liable for punitive damages if it initiated the lawsuit without probable cause.
How much does a debt defense attorney cost?
BCJ Law charges flat fees to defend debt collection lawsuits, but when you’re sued on a time-barred debt, we often can recover our fee from the debt collector that sued you. Not only that, as explained in the previous section, we may be able to recover significant additional damages against the debt buyer, credit card company, lender, or attorney that sued you. In other words, it usually costs you nothing to hire a debt defense attorney when your debt is past the statute of limitations. In fact, you most likely will end up getting compensation from the company that sued you.
Hire BCJ Law to help!
If you’re getting sued for a lawsuit that’s barred by the statute of limitations, please contact BCJ Law for help. To get a free case review from our debt defense attorney, call 1-800-997-5561 or complete our contact form.
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Debt Defense Attorney Pittsburgh
BCJ Law defends consumers in credit card lawsuits, personal loan lawsuits, auto loan lawsuits, student loan lawsuits, and other types of debt collection lawsuits. We charge flat fees for our debt defense service and our clients don’t owe us anything unless we win. To get a free case review from BCJ Law’s debt defense attorney, complete our contact form or call 1-800-997-5561.
Sued for a debt? Here's how we can help.
If you’re getting sued for a debt, BCJ Law may be able to help in one of two ways. First, we may be able to win your case outright. That means you won’t owe the debt collector anything. Second, we may be able to get you a favorable settlement. Whether we can help and what we can do depend on the following factors:
If you’re getting sued by a debt buyer BCJ Law can likely win your case. A debt buyer is a company that generally pays pennies on the dollar for old debt, then sues consumers for profit. Debt buyers include Midland Funding, Portfolio Recovery Associates, CACH LLC, LVNV Funding, Unifund CCR, and Velocity Investments.
We beat debt buyers because they almost always lack the documents necessary to prove their case and don’t bring witnesses to court. Without documents or witnesses, its difficult for debt buyers to win their case. To learn more about how BCJ law can win for you, visit our debtdefensepa.com website. This website is dedicated to BCJ Law’s debt defense and debt harassment practice area.
Do I need to hire an attorney if I'm getting sued for debt?
It depends. Sometimes, hiring an attorney to defend your case or obtain a settlement is not worth the money. If we think you won’t benefit from our services, we’ll let you know. That said, hiring an attorney in the right circumstances can be valuable.
Here are some of the benefits of hiring BCJ Law if you get sued for a debt:
How much does it cost to hire a debt defense attorney?
BCJ Law offers money back guarantees for our debt defense service. If we don’t meet your goals, whether that is settlement or dismissal of your case, we will refund any attorney fee you pay. The only non-refundable cost we charge are any court costs, like appeal fees, that may be necessary in your case. If we think you will pay any of those costs, we will let you know at the outset of your case.
Our debt defense fee is based off a number of factors, including the following:
Generally, BCJ Law’s debt defense fee ranges between $500-$1500. That said, we may drop our fee below this range if the amount of debt you’re getting sued for is relatively small, or if special circumstances exist. Conversely, our fee may increase if your case is pending far from Allegheny County or if other factors are present. To get a free quote and case review, call us at 1-800-997-5561 or complete our contact form.
Can I ignore debt collection lawsuits?
If you ignore debt collection lawsuits it may cost you. When people ignore a debt lawsuit, a default judgment is entered against them. Once a debt collector has a default judgment it can engage in aggressive collection tactics, like garnishing bank accounts or seizing property. Judgments also can last for years, and allow debt collectors to try to garnish your bank account up to 20 years after they get a judgment against you. So, while you can ignore a collection lawsuit, failing to deal with a lawsuit at the outset can be costly.
What debt collectors does BCJ Law fight?
Here’s a list of some of the debt buyers, credit card companies, lenders, and law firms against which we offer debt defense services:
I. Debt Buyers:
II. Credit Card Companies and Lenders:
III. Lawyers and Law Firms:
Where does BCJ Law offer debt defense services?
Our debt defense attorney currently represents consumers throughout counties located in Western Pennsylvania. These counties include:
We also may be able to offer our debt defense service to consumers in other counties located outside Western Pennsylvania.
Hire BCJ Law to help!
If you’re getting sued by credit card company, debt buyer, finance company, collection agency, or some other entity in Pennsylvania, please contact BCJ Law for help. To get a free case review from our debt defense attorney, you can call us at 1-800-997-5561 or complete our contact form.