In my debt settlement law practice, I work with clients who have had to use their credit cards to stay afloat. When we face medical emergencies or are trying to keep a small business going, credit cards are often utilized. Other times, credit card spending snowballs and the debt grows into an unmanageable situation. Here are some of the most common credit card debt questions that I am asked:
Common Credit Card Debt Questions
1. I can’t pay credit cards and now debt collectors are contacting me. What happens if I ignore them?
Your debt will not go away if you ignore them. In fact, your situation will get worse. Your debt will grow with accruing interest, your credit will suffer, and the debt collectors could start contacting your family, friends and employers to find you. The end result will likely be that your creditor will sue you in civil court for the total amount of debt that you owe and possibly attorney’s fees as well.
2. I just got notice that there is a lawsuit filed against me. What does this mean?
In a creditor lawsuit, a creditor is essentially asking for a court order giving the creditor the legal right to collect on the total amount that you owe, including attorney’s fees, costs and interests. In some cases, the creditor will file a motion for a summary judgment. This means if the creditor convinces the court that there is no dispute that you owe the debt, then the creditor can win a judgment without going to trial.
3. What if I just don’t answer the lawsuit that is filed against me?
If you ignore the lawsuit and fail to file an answer to the creditor’s complaint, then the court can grant a default judgment. This means you will have to pay the debt. If you can not pay the debt, then the creditor can collet the debt by garnishing your wages, filing a lien against your property or real estate, or seize the funds in your bank account with a bank levy.
4. How can I fight back against the credit card company if they sue me?
Before the court issues a judgment, you or your debt settlement attorney can negotiate with the creditor for a debt settlement. Most creditors would rather be paid a reduced amount in a debt settlement than have you declare bankruptcy and therefore receive nothing. Often times, a settlement can be reached with the creditor and you will end up paying significantly less than your original debt. In my debt settlement law practice, I have received settlements of 60-80% less than the original debt.
5. How long will it take for my credit to improve if I chose to settle me debt?
These negative marks will remain on your credit until you settle and pay off the debt. The good news is that credit experts estimate that your score will rebound in as little as 12 months after completing a debt settlement. Debt settlements can vary from you paying your debt in a lump sum or monthly payments spread out over the course of 2-3 years.
The bottom line is that if you ignore your credit card debt, your situation will only get worse. It’s best to be proactive and take action before you are sued.
Daniel R. Gamez, an attorney focusing exclusively in debt settlement, is licensed to practice in all state and federal courts in California and Texas. Mr. Gamez owns and operates the Gamez Law Firm in La Jolla, CA. For more information, please contact Daniel Gamez at 858-217-5051, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit gamezlawfirm.com.