Citizens Fight Back with $83Million Judgment Against Portfolio Recovery

Last week’s award of over $83,240,000.00 to a Kansas City woman teaches us a lot about the debt collection industry, especially when they sue to collect a debt.

Here are 10 lessons to learn from Portfolio Recovery Associates (PRA) v. Maria Mejia:
1) PRA is one of the nation’s largest debt buyers (Midland Funding and LVNV Funding are also huge);
2) PRA, like many debt collectors, would prefer to force a consumer to spend thousands of dollars in defending a lawsuit than to admit that they were wrong and dismiss the case (this happens a lot);
3) PRA made $176,500,000.00 in PROFITS in 2014;
4) Debt collectors buy accounts for pennies on the dollar and then try to collect the full amount from the consumer (they can negotiate);
5) Debt collectors almost never have the requisite documents to support their claims in court (if they filed the lawsuit, then they are the plaintiff and they bear the burden of proof so long as you dispute it);
6) A majority of debt collection lawsuits result in a default judgment against a consumer because the consumer doesn’t go to court or doesn’t know how to dispute a debt;
7) Debt collectors love to drag cases along for many months or even years to wear down their opponents in hopes they will give up and either pay the debt or miss a court date (don’t give up, fight for what is right);
8) Most consumers don’t talk to an attorney when they are sued out of fear that it will cost them money (NOTE: I offer a FREE consultation!);
9) If a violation of the FDCPA is found, the debt collector has to pay all of the consumer’s attorney fees and costs (you may never have to pay us for defending you);
10) Don’t be like most people and let a judgment be entered against you. Know your rights! Be like Maria Mejia and stand up against the abuse. Call 808-377-6778 to speak with Attorney Justin A. Brackett for free TODAY!

Read more about the $83,000,000.00 judgment here: http://kcur.org/post/jury-awards-kc-woman-83-million-debt-collection-case

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Defenses to a Breach of Contract Claim

Have you been sued for not paying a bill? The party suing you (the “plaintiff”) is claiming you have breached a contract. Remember, the plaintiff bears the burden of proof and must prove two things: 1) that you owe them at the time they filed the lawsuit, and 2) that the amount they are demanding is correct. There are many reasons that you may not owe them at all (e.g. the statute of limitations has ran, they can’t prove they own the debt, etc..)

Once you are served, you should immediately review your possible defenses and call us at 808-377-6778 to be fully advised of your rights and options BEFORE calling the other side. Remember: I am on your side, but they are not!

Here’s a good link to review your possible contract defenses: http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/defenses-breach-of-contract-claim-33338.html

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GO TO COURT!

Have you received a summons to court? Then you or your attorney must go! If you go, then you will have an opportunity to explain your position, hear what the other side has to say, and you will know what happens. If you fail to appear at any hearing, then the court will likely enter a default against you. Once a default judgment has been entered against you the other side can put liens on your property, garnish your wages, and even take money out of your bank accounts!

Remember to initially DENY the allegations against you and request the proof from the other side. If you’ve ever watched a court TV show, then you’ve probably heard them say: “the plaintiff bears the burden of proof.” This is a correct statement of the law! If you are being sued, then you are the defendant. You should at least ask the suing party (“plaintiff”) to provide their proof. If they have no evidence against you, then you can ask for the case to be dismissed because the plaintiff has failed to meet its burden of proof.

If you never go to court, then you will never know what proof, if any, the plaintiff had against you. So remember: you have every right to go to court and ask to see the plaintiff’s proof. If they present some proof at the hearing, then ask for time to review it with an attorney and give me a call at 808-377-6778. I offer a free consultation and look forward to helping you analyze and defend your case. – Justin A. Brackett, Esq. – Real Debt Relief

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