Mom's being sued for credit card debt

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  #1  
Old 04-25-14, 06:05 PM
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Mom's being sued for credit card debt

A couple weeks ago my mom received a summons saying she was being sued by a collection agency and she had 21 days to respond. She sent back a letter saying shes on SS etc and her husband has given her less money then he was and can't afford the credit cards. Less then 2 weeks later she got a notice that she has to appear in court in may and its a bench trial. Whats going to happen. She is retired and living on SS. she does get a pension buts its only $89 a month. I give her about $200 out of each paycheck to help with rent which is $350 a month(we live in a trailer park). my parents are no divorced yet and are not legally separated but are not living together. He gives her $200 a month cash. So what happens if they decide she can afford to pay the debt. All lawyers she talked to said they can't touch her social security. We rent we do not own the trailer. I supposed they could take the van but is a 2001 Pontiac Montana not in best of shape. bent fender sagging fuel line and rough idle front end shakes allot. Will they come after me since I work to pay of her debt and garnish my paycheck to pay her debt. I live with her.
 
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Old 04-25-14, 06:22 PM
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Many things come in to play, that should have been checked on before she sent any letter. Is the debt valid? How long has it been in arrears? Is she a co-owner of the account or just an authorized user? Has she ever paid on this account? Did she receive any prior notices that it was in default? Call the court and verify there is an actual bench trial, as that seems awfully quick to me. What is the amount owed?

Your money means nothing, that's just you paying your share of rent and helping out. It could end tomorrow, and I'm sure you haven't kept receipts. Make no mention of that. Make no mention of your Dads money either, unless he gets receipts or has already told them.

Officially, yer mom is living on SS and pension...thats it. You are not in any way responsible for any debt unless the account had your name on it as well.

Check and see if you have a local legal aid where you can get advice for free or a very low cost. Sometimes it may be just a para-legal, but that may be all you need.

Collection agencies are truly some of the worst bottom feeders of society. Not always the workers, but the owners and managers.
 
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Old 04-25-14, 07:20 PM
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The debt is valid. We think its on a credit card owned by major shopping channel. First she received a summons saying she had 21 days to respond or a judgement would be made on her behalf. She sent a response stating shes on SS etc and can't afford to pay it etc. Not even 2 weeks and she has today received a notice to appear in court on a bench trial. She talked to some credit lawyers a couple years ago back when I was out of work and dad had cut her back and all the lawyers she talked to said that since she is on SS to tell the credit card company's to take a hike. A few were understanding. but This one seams to have gone all out. She tried calling the debt service to see who is suing her but can't get through. She never received any default notices or final notices saying were going to take action etc. Looking at the court letter they started the process march of last year and went to a 1000 different courts before finally getting to my mom on April 12th of this year.
 
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Old 04-25-14, 09:05 PM
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"The debt is valid. We think its on a credit card owned by major shopping channel."

Not good enough...they have to tell you exactly where it came from.

They are victim shopping...it may not even be her's but someone with her name.

Call an advocate..be it legal aid or someone else. You are being victimized.

What is the balance? Did yer Mom buy a bunch of stuff off TV?

You have to be real proactive...not just asking here.
 
  #5  
Old 04-26-14, 03:26 AM
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Was the summons issued by the court? Often collection agencies will use scare tactics to get their money. Unless the amount is large I doubt they'd go thru the expense of going to court. I would think that if they can't garnish her income all they could get would be a judgement [piece of paper that verifies amount owed plus interest]

I've worked with some boys that filed bankruptcy and they were always allowed to keep one vehicle, one guy was allowed to keep both his car and truck because the judge realized they were both worn out.

As Vic said, there is usually free legal help available to those with low income.
 
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Old 04-26-14, 06:41 AM
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IMO make sure you go to court.If you dont they will put a jusdgement against her anyway..

Possibly they may not be able to garnish her SS but they will go into any bank accounts and take the money once there is a judgement. Once that happens its very hard to have direct deposit and what not without the fear of the money disappearing.

Like I said make every effort to go to court. Do not discuss any moneys you contribute since its not your dept...
 
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Old 04-26-14, 02:52 PM
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I agree with the others here if your name is not on the account then you are in no way responsible for your moms debts. It sounds like your mom got herself into debt using credit cards because her income is low now and she is having a hard time figuring out how to pay for things. That is perfectly understandable it happens to people every day and it is getting harder for some people to pay their debt off. What your mom needs as soon as possible is a bankruptcy attorney he would know what is legal and what is not and could work on a sliding scale.

It might be too that the attorney could negotiate a settlement and keep your mom from having to have to declare bankruptcy. Also if he feels your mom should be getting more from your dad he can help work something out with that too. He can also explain the different kinds of bankruptcy to your mom as there are many different ways you can declare bankruptcy. If your father had part of that account then he can force your father to pay up in court and take some of the legal burden off of your mom.
 
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Old 04-27-14, 04:24 PM
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Yeah the first time she got a letter saying she got 21 days to respond it didn't tell her who was sueing her other then the collection agency. The summons saying she has a court date was issued by the 37th district court of warren,MI. The debt is valid as its over 1000. She was paying on it until she was cut back by dad. Most of the credit card company's have been understanding. but a couple still call and this one went all the way. She tried calling the debt collection agency when she first got a summons which was issued by a person who showed up and handed it to her. The 2nd one saying she has a court date came in the mail. She has tried to file for bankrupcy but its like a $1000 to do it. I will show her this thread so she can get some ideas. She will go to court otherwise they will issue a bench warrant for her arrest. The court letter says the name of the collection agency vs my mom.
 
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Old 04-27-14, 04:40 PM
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She will go to court otherwise they will issue a bench warrant for her arrest.
Thats a scare tactic... There is no debters prison and there never was as far as I know.. The cant put you in jail.

When she goes to court if she brings all her financials and documents showing that she tried to call and reason with the debt collector , the judge has the option to dispose of it right there..

She must go to court!!!! If not they will issue a judgement automatically. That makes life more difficult as then they can garnish wages and go into bank accounts with a warrant from the sheriffs dept...
 
  #10  
Old 04-27-14, 07:41 PM
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Well the arrest part I don't believe is false as this was a summons by a judge. If she doesn't go she will be in contempt of court and she can be jailed for contempt but no not for the debt. Usually though you can get a public assistance lawyer to handle things and maybe the judge can even help her get connected to a lawyer either that or the clerk of the court. I agree with Mike she needs to go before the court and explain to the judge exactly what is going on. Most judges are understanding and try to help people with their problems.

I also agree with Mike when he says the judge will automatically give a judgement to the debtor if she does not appear. I know that for a fact as we had dead beat tenants that we had a judgement against and in the final court case the gentleman didn't appear and the case was automatically given to us. If she becomes ill or for some other valid reason can't appear then she needs to wright a note to the court explaining why she can't appear and requesting a continuance. A continuance is only temporary she still must appear or must get a lawyer to represent her in court.

As for debtors prison yes actually there used to be debtors prison but debts are no longer considered criminal matters and you don't go to prison for debts. They can take property and as has been mentioned garnish wages or get money out of bank accounts with a court order but can't jail you.
 
  #11  
Old 04-28-14, 09:51 PM
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Well we found out who is suing her. She looked up the account number in her book of passwords and found it's fingerhut that the collection company is representing.
 
  #12  
Old 04-28-14, 10:22 PM
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Knowing which company is suing your mom helps especially if they handle the debt. Some companies have banks that handle their credit cards. Some banks that you may have never even heard of but that do have depositors but very few branches. So now you have some more homework you and your mom need to find out if Fingerhut handles their own credit or if a bank does on their behalf. You can still send a letter to Fingerhut but if they don't handle their own credit they may turn a deaf ear to you.

Some of these banks that handle store credit cards are tough to deal with and don't want to give an inch so if it is a bank that is handling this then they will be aggressive and try every dirty trick in the book. This is why it is so important for your mom to go to court.
 
  #13  
Old 04-29-14, 09:28 PM
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Mom did some more digging. Fingerhuts payments go to web bank and web bank is using a collection agency to get there money so there taking her to court to try and get it. She sent a email directly to fingerhut but will still have to go to court.
 
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Old 05-01-14, 10:20 AM
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Well now capital one is suing her. She called back this one credit collection company that kept calling also and it was for capital one and they said did you get your summons and complaint yet. So now shes going to have to go to court for that one also. She does not have the money she can maybe give them 10 dollars a month on both but thats it. She used to have food stamps but that was cut off so now she has to by food so she doesn't have the money to make payments on the cards. Coming out of the wood works now and she hasn't been paying em for a couple years. And all the lawyers she talked to when she first stopped paying was tell them tough.She can't afford to hire a lawyer.
 
  #15  
Old 05-01-14, 11:11 AM
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She needs a credit counseling service to help her fix things. There are many different ones out there who can help her but you have to watch out there can also be sharks so to speak in the ocean. I found the state of Michigan's website that concerns consumer credit counseling here is a link AG - Credit Repair Scams & Choosing A Credit Counselor go to the bottom of the page and you will see another link to IRS approved credit counselors it will be at the top of the page and will ask for your state.

You should have received a PM from me giving you the address of the bank your mom was first dealing with I am going to send you another PM with the name of a couple credit counselors I found on that list that sound promising but with no guarantees as to how good they are so please look for it. Credit counseling now though looks like your moms only choice to help her. I certainly wish her all of the luck in the world!
 

Last edited by hedgeclippers; 05-01-14 at 11:26 AM.
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Old 05-01-14, 10:22 PM
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Ok saw the PMs you sent. She talked to a guy about a year or 2 ago and he said she didn't have enough money to work with a credit counselor. I emailed her the address for webbank. Will have her call and see what they say.
 
  #17  
Old 05-01-14, 11:30 PM
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Calling that one bank will certainly help but I still believe she needs credit counseling. You say she talked to a guy who said she didn't have enough money to work with a credit counselor. Did this guy happen to work for one of the creditor banks or was she referred to a credit counselor by one of the creditor banks? You don't have to answer me but I hope you ask your mom if that was the case. Banks from what I understand have to offer counseling now. But just who is doing the counseling the bank or some company the bank hires out to? Good question to find out the answer to.

There are plenty of non profit counseling agencies out there though that want to help and are in no way connected to a bank. Some who work there might have at one time worked at a bank or other loan company and have inside knowledge of how banks work and who to talk to. Sometimes they can negotiate a settlement or have the debt wiped off of the books. They will not however say your mother doesn't have enough money to work with them. That is the difference between a non profit counselor versus a for profit counselor who may or may not care.
 
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Old 05-02-14, 03:58 AM
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That is the difference between a non profit counselor versus a for profit counselor who may or may not care
I think that's the main thing! While I don't have any personal experience with credit counselors it's my understanding that there is a big difference among them. Some just want your money but there are many that work for free. Did you check out the link that hedgeclippers posted?
 
  #19  
Old 05-09-14, 05:51 AM
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You should not make partial payments or any payments on this debt, otherwise that will draw you into it.

You might have her negotiate a pay-in-full settlement with the collection agency for a fraction of the principal (minus all finance charges, interest, fees, and penalties). This needs to be in writing.

A collection agency is subject to all of the defenses you may have or have had against the original creditor.

Another thing you may do is have her use up her non-IRA savings first, before you help make rent payments, pay for groceries, etc. and before she uses her social security income.
 
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Old 05-09-14, 02:01 PM
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You should not make partial payments or any payments on this debt, otherwise that will draw you into it.
I have to disagree with that to some degree I think if you have money and want to give your mom some to help her with her bills that is certainly not going to draw you into the debt. Even making one payment on your own checking account with the account number on it will not draw you in unless you are on the same credit card and checking account. Separate accounts don't worry about it. People help others pay down debt all of the time and the banks and creditors could care less. What they really want is for your mother to pay her debt and don't care about the rest.

I agree though with the rest of what AllanJ has said things need to be in writing not done over the phone. If you have a credit dispute then it always needs to be in writing. You may contact someone on the phone and get a name of a person and explain things but that needs to be followed up with a written letter. Preferably the letter should be if at all possible done on a word processor and then signed with the date at the top of the letter and the contact persons name.
 
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Old 05-21-14, 10:58 AM
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Alright she went to court today and they settled out of court. Agreed to pay 10-15 a month.
 
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Old 05-21-14, 11:54 AM
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I hope there aren't any ongoing interest or finance charges? That would eat up all of the payments pretty quickly.

If they settled for such a plan now, why didn't they in any prior discussion?
 
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Old 05-21-14, 01:20 PM
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I am wondering why they didn't settle too usually a note to the creditor explaining everything in writing does the trick. If not then as I have said before having a good credit counselor helps too. I also hope no more interest charges are charged your mom. Now that a judge has looked over the settlement it can be kept honest and the creditors can't try anything illegal or they will be fined by the judge. Well I am glad it is over with now your mom hopefully can have some peace and quiet and have no further letters or calls from creditors.
 
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Old 05-21-14, 01:56 PM
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Hedge...no Judge involved. They settled out of court. I just hope it's an honest contract as well, not just a verbal thing.
 
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Old 05-22-14, 11:53 AM
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You are right there wouldn't be a judge it would be a contract and probably verbal at least most of the time. It was that way when we settled with our old tenant and that can be a mistake. Had a family friend pass away so I wasn't thinking too straight at the time. We never did get back all of the money owed us and I don't think we ever will from our previous tenant. Later on though our attorney had this put on the record on his credit score and it would stay on his record for ten years. Been a while now though so it could be off his record by now I haven't kept track of it anymore.
 
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Old 01-09-15, 01:16 AM
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Well here we go again. Fingerhut now wants to take her state refund tax. She got a letter from the court saying they were going to garnish her refund. Turns out the payment plain she was on was in good faith and not with fingerhut.
 
  #27  
Old 01-09-15, 10:25 AM
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Unfortunately they can do that with a court order and not just state refunds but also federal too. That is where credit counseling services help as they get an agreement in writing. If it isn't in writing then they can change the rules at any time. I am sorry that your mom is having so many problems.
 
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