You had every intention of repaying your debt, but for one reason or another, you did not do so. Now, a creditor has filed a lawsuit against you, further compounding your legal and financial difficulties. As it so happens, you do, in fact, have defenses against these sorts of lawsuits. If you would like more information on how you can defend yourself against a creditor lawsuit, please continue reading, then contact an experienced Los Angeles, California debt defense lawyer today.
What defenses can you raise in a creditor lawsuit in California?
In general, a defense is a reason why the plaintiff should not win its case. In a debt collection lawsuit, a defense is a reason why the plaintiff failed to prove its case or you do not owe the money. If one of those defenses succeeds, the plaintiff will lose and you will win. Please keep in mind that the following arguments do not constitute defenses per the Golden State’s rules and statutes:
- The reason that you fell behind on your bills
- The reason that you can’t pay the debt today
- The fact that the creditor or debt collector refused to make reasonable payment arrangements in the past
- A statement that you want to settle the case or make a payment agreement
What are some proper defenses for creditor lawsuits in California?
Thankfully, one or more of the common defenses discussed below in all probability applies to your case. Your possible defenses include:
- Identity theft or mistaken identity: The creditor is suing you for a debt you do not owe. In fact, someone stole your name and personal information and opened up credit accounts in your name. Alternatively, the creditor might be confusing you for someone with a similar name.
- Statute of Limitations: In the state of California, all creditors have four years, from the date of the debtor’s last payment, to bring forward a lawsuit. If they do not file a lawsuit during that time, the court will throw out their case for lack of standing.
- You were only an authorized user: Another person gave you permission to use his or her card, which you never agreed to share responsibility for. Thus, the creditor can’t hold you accountable for that debt.
- Payment: In actuality, you have paid your debt, but you believe the creditor has not credited you for the payment.
- Dispute the amount of the debt: The plaintiff must prove that the principal, interest, collection costs and attorneys fees are all correct, agreed to in the contract and lawfully charged. You argue they have not done so.
- No business relationship with the plaintiff: The plaintiff is a debt buyer, not your original creditor, allowing you to challenge the debt buyer’s right to sue you.
- Bankruptcy: You previously declared bankruptcy, a process which discharged the debt the creditor claims you owe.
Before you raise any of these defenses, you should speak with a skilled California consumer lawyer first.
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