I recently attended at Case Conference Meeting at my local courthouse for an old credit card debt and judgement. Prior to the conference I contacted the attorney (listed on court docket) representing the debt buyer and was informed the attorney no longer represented the firm and it now with a new debt buyer.
At the meeting an attorney from the listed debt buyer attended. He was very ill prepared. I informed the judge of my calling the listed attorney and the response. He therefore, decided to send the case to arbitration and told me in the meanwhile to recontact the listed attorney on the court docket to try to make payment arrangements!?
Could this possible be thrown out at arbitration? Should I try to hire an attorney. Both my husband and myself are unemployed which is how we got to this point. I am trying to handle this on my own due to finances.
Can I represent myself during the arbitration hearing? The judge told me if the listed attorney does not show up the case will be thrown out. I live in Pennsylvania.
Thank you for any advice.
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I am not a lawyer, and you would need to speak to a lawyer licensed in your state for legal advice.
As much as your case has been passed around at this point, I think there is a real concern over whether the current debt buyer can even provide sufficient proof that you actually owe the debt.
You can see in "Debt Validation Finally Defined" and "The Power of Debt Validation" why asking for proof is so critically important. A creditor should be able to present clear evidence that they actually own the debt to make sure they have the authority to collect the debt and/or sue you.
Considering the fact that your case is already in court and you want to attempt to successfully address the issue, it would make logical sense to hire a local attorney to pursue this debt validation approach for you. It could take as little as a letter from the attorney to the current debt buyer to make this all go away.
If this situation is just representative of a larger financial mess with other debts, then it might make more sense, considering your current employment situation, to either do nothing right now till you think you might find work and deal with the situation then, or think about filing bankruptcy to wipe the slate clean and get a legal fresh start. After all, that's what bankruptcy is designed to do by law. You can typically talk to a local bankruptcy attorney for free to better understand what bankruptcy would mean for you.
If you did nothing now or lost the suit and the creditor went on to get a judgment, the debt and judgment would be cleared with a future bankruptcy. I am under the impression that in Pennsylvania a creditor as you describe would not be able to garnish your wages over the judgment. Again, check that with a local attorney.
At the very least, my primary worry about your situation right now is that I have no confidence that the current debt owner even has sufficient proof to pursue you for this passed-around debt. But debt buyers sue people all the time without the necessary proof because typically people don't try to defend themselves, so they lose by default.
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