Credit Card Laws in PA

Credit Card collection lawsuits are rapidly increasing in Pennsylvania, especially with the down economy. The volume of phone calls and emails that I receive on this topic is astounding. What I have discovered is that many people do not know their rights or how to handle these situations. I can say with certainty that contacting a Consumer Attorney is a very good move. Unfortunately, many people call me after the credit card company or collection agency has a judgment against them. Had they called sooner, I might have been able to help them.

Credit card lawsuits are instituted on the basis that you have failed to pay (defaulted) on a credit account. Certain credit card companies like Capital One will simply file a lawsuit against you. Others will sell your account to a collection agency for pennies on the dollar. The collection agency will then try to collect from you, and will then file a lawsuit if you do not pay the alleged debt.

It is important to understand your rights and obligations in this regard. Let’s start with the most important question of all “How long do they have to sue me”? In Pennsylvania, the answer is typically four (4) years from the date of the default on the account. The date of the default is typically 30 days after you have made your last payment on the account. It is important to know that this doesn’t mean that they cannot sue you after that time. I tell my clients that anyone can sue you for anything at any time. The key is that you have to present the proper defense to the lawsuit. Submitting a statute of limitations issue is presenting a viable defense.

The next important right that you have is to know how much you allegedly owe. A credit card company or collection agency must be able to document, with absolute certainty, the exact amount of principle, interest, late fees and so forth. If they cannot document it then they are not entitled to collect on it. The way that they typically would document this is to provide a copy of every account statement that you have had, from inception of the account to the current time.

Another important right is to know who exactly is entitled to sue you. This is often an issue where a collection agency is involved. A collection agency typically does not have the right to sue you unless they have been “assigned” that right. This assignment would come in the form of a written document from the original creditor to the collection agency and would list your specific account for sale. Without sameFree Reprint Articles, a collection agency does not have the right to sue you in a court of law in Pennsylvania.

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