Credit Card Defense
The number of credit cards held by consumers in the United States is a staggering 364 million. The average person has 3.7 credit cards and has credit card balances totaling $1,700 at any given time. The total amount of revolving debt owed on credit cards reached over one trillion dollars in 2018. Despite these statistics, most people agree that credit cards serve a legitimate purpose in our society. They help to ensure that we receive the necessary food, medicine, transportation, and housing needs that are vital. Unfortunately, it is far too easy to fall behind in credit card payments. Once behind, it is difficult to catch up and pay off the interest owed. This results in additional stress, anxiety and loss of enjoyment of life. The inevitable result is lawsuit filed by the credit card company or a third party who seeks to obtain a money judgment for the balance owed.The Credit Card Agreement
The credit card agreement is a central document in any credit card dispute. The agreement regulating use of the credit card is generally attached to the application for issuance of the credit card. It usually provides for cardholder responsibility for all use of the card, for payment of the charges shown in the periodic statements.Defenses
Defenses to credit card lawsuits typically center on ensuring that the party has standing to sue or is otherwise authorized to file suit, that the figures sought are correct, the statute of limitations has not run and that notice and an opportunity to be heard is given to the Defendant. Additionally, the Truth in Lending Act and Regulation Z generally applies to each individual or business regularly offering or extending credit to consumers primarily for business, family, or household purposes when the credit is subject to a finance charge or is payable by written agreement in more than four installments. Nevertheless, when a credit card is involved, some of the provisions of the Truth in Lending Act apply even if the credit is not subject to a finance charge or is not payable by a written agreement in more than four installments. These special credit card provisions apply to business credit, commercial credit, and consumer credit.
The bottom line is that the Truth in Lending Act prohibits the issuance of credit cards without solicitation, limits cardholder liability for unauthorized uses of the accepted credit card, and imposes penalties for fraudulent use of credit cards to obtain goods and services. It also provides that, subject to a limitation as to amount, the card issuer may be subject to all claims (other than tort claims) and defenses arising out of any transaction in which the credit card is used as a method of payment or extension of credit.Arbitration
Most credit card agreements give consumers the right to arbitrate any dispute with their creditor. By asserting arbitration as a “defense” in the lawsuit, a consumer forces a creditor into the awkward position of having to put on its case in an unfamiliar and costly setting, which may result in the case stalling out, being dismissed, or a settlement being reached.Results
There is no silver bullet or one size fits all approach when it comes to defending any given creditor. The result of any credit card defense case may turn on the lawyer who knows the law, rules of procedure, rules of evidence, and the facts of the particular case better than his opponent does.Call for a Consultation
If you have been served with a complaint stemming from a credit card, contact Miami business lawyer Andrew J. Pascale today for a consultation. In most instances, you only have 20 days or less to respond to this type of lawsuit. Let Mr. Pascale’s experience in representing hundreds of credit card defense clients like you guide you toward a resolution.