August 27, 2020
Summary: Sued for a debt by Synchrony Bank for the PayPal Extra Mastercard? This guide is for you. Use SoloSuit to respond in 15 minutes.
For Synchrony Bank/PayPal Extra Mastercard (SYNCB/PPEXTR) to win its case against you in court, it must prove the essential elements of its case. This is similar to a prosecutor in a criminal trial. If the prosecution fails to prove an essential element of the case, the defendant is entitled to a dismissal. In a debt collection case, if SYNCB/PPEXTR fails to demonstrate the essential elements, you are entitled to a dismissal.
As with a criminal trial, if the credit card company proves the legally required elements, the court will allow the case to continue, at which point you can present your defense. For your defense to succeed, you must assert recognized affirmative defenses. An affirmative defense is a legally recognized reason for you to ask the judge to dismiss the case. If you prove an affirmative defense, your case must be dismissed with prejudice.
If a credit card company has sued you for an outstanding balance, it must prove that you owe the money. If there is a flaw in the case, you can demonstrate that the company failed to show you owe the money or that you owe a lower amount. During the plaintiffs' presentation, you defend against their case by showing the flaws in it.
A debt collection case from a credit card company is a breach of contract lawsuit. The amount the credit card company is suing you for must be directly linked to your failure to perform responsibilities under a valid contract. Therefore, the first element of their case that must be proven is the existence of a valid contract.
Courts operate on evidence, so the credit card company must present a copy of the contract. This contract must prove that the company offered it to you, you accepted it and that valid consideration was given. Valid consideration could be the services the company provided to you.
In addition, the credit card company must prove that you breached the contract. It will need to show account statements and records demonstrating that you failed to pay the required amount. In addition, the credit card company must show that it suffered harm. For example, if you breached the contract but the company lost no money, then the credit card company cannot prove harm.
When you receive a lawsuit or notification of a potential lawsuit, you should ask yourself some important questions, including the following:
Did I own a credit card from this company?
Are these even my charges?
Is the amount in the suit accurate?
In many cases, the credit card company will have evidence to prove its claim; however, you may have affirmative defenses that entitle you to a dismissal.
Affirmative defenses show that the credit card company violated a point of law, which entitles you to a dismissal of the case or a reduction in the amount owed.
For example, if you paid the balance and the credit card company failed to give you credit, it has breached the contract, not you. If you can show you paid, then you fulfilled your responsibility. If the company failed to account for it correctly, you are not responsible.
Typical affirmative defenses include the following:
Each state sets a statute of limitations. For example, in Florida, a four-year limit applies to breach of contract lawsuits. If too much time has passed, the case must be dismissed, and you owe nothing.
Note: When a statute (law) applies, the company cannot write language into a contract that allows it to get around the law. For instance, if the contract states that the company has five years to file a lawsuit, but the law only allows for four, then the five-year requirement is invalid. The law always supersedes.
Plaintiff Failed to Attach Contract or Other Required Paperwork to the Lawsuit
The company must document its allegations.
The company will hold you to all rules, so do the same to them.
If you never authorized the charges, you are not responsible for the for them. Period. The only exception is if you are a co-signer on someone else's account and that person made the charges.
Late fees, over limit fees, collection charges, attorney fees, court cost and all other fees must be included explicitly in the contract.
Many states limit or bar certain fees. If you have been charged a fee that is unlawful, it must be dismissed, regardless of what the contract reads.
Many jurisdictions place a ceiling on interest rates. You have an affirmative defense if you have been overcharged according to the law.
The worst mistake you can make as a debtor is to ignore a lawsuit. Many people make this mistake because they believe, erroneously, that there is no point if they cannot afford to pay the debt. Nothing could be further from the truth.
If you lack funds, responding is even more important because it prevents the company from receiving a default judgment. When the defendant doesn't show, the court automatically enters an order in favor of the plaintiff for whatever monies are demanded. This can result in a judgment that far exceeds the original debt.
Further, the default judgement gives the creditor the right to levy your bank account or garnish your wages. If you are low on money, this is a terrible result.
Upon receipt of the lawsuit, make sure to file an answer. The answer should demand that the company prove you owe the debt and assert any affirmative defenses. If the company can prove you owe the money, it may be wise to settle out of court. Often, the company will agree to waive fees, interest, penalties and some of the original debt itself.
Since SYNCB/PPEXTR is an original creditor (as opposed to a collection firm that buys debt) it is more likely to have the paperwork needed to prove you owe money and it has the right to collect it. Because of this, focusing on affirmative defenses and negotiating for a lower settlement often works best. By responding to the lawsuit, demanding proof of the debt and asserting affirmative defenses, you gain the leverage you need to obtain a productive settlement agreement.
SoloSuit makes it easy to respond to a debt collection lawsuit.
How it works: SoloSuit is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your answer. Upon completion, you can either print the completed forms and mail in the hard copies to the courts or you can pay SoloSuit to file it for you and to have an attorney review the document.
"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James
Here's a list of guides on How to Answer a Summons for Debt Collection in each of the 50 states.
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