May 07, 2021
Summary: Are you being sued by Capital One for an old debt related to your Synchrony Walmart Card? Find out why you are being sued and what you can do about.
Walmart, a renowned retail merchant, recently dismissed its long-term credit issuer, Synchrony. The merchant switched to Capital One Financial Corp, ending a 19-year partnership with Synchrony.
Walmart stated that Synchrony was taking a significant portion of its revenue and contributed to its losses. Conversely, Synchrony expressed frustration with Walmart's reduced marketing efforts aimed at selling Synchrony's credit cards.
Capital One's take over meant that it needed to purchase a $10 billion existing portfolio. As a result, the new credit issuer will likely begin reaching out to debtors to pay credit card debts. Capital One is even more likely to use aggressive debt collection tactics, including lawsuits. If you find yourself a victim of this situation, see below for how to win your lawsuit.
You don't want to ignore a lawsuit from a credit card company. These cases often have a limited window for the defendant to file an answer, and if you fail to file an answer, are late, or provide an incomplete answer, the court will enter a default judgment against you.
This means the credit card company may be able to garnish wages, levy your bank account, or apply a lien on your property to collect a debt owed. When filing an answer, your first concern should be the length of time allowed to file the answer, which varies by state.
For example, in Texas, debtors have 14 days to file an answer unless served by publication (this allows a window period of 42 days). In New York, you have 20 days to file an answer if you've been served by hand and 30 days if served via another method.
The content of the answer also determines whether the judge will rule in your favor. The court is not concerned with why you haven't paid your debt; the court wants to decide whether you owe the credit card company. As such, if your answer has a list of reasons you can't pay, the court may deem it an admission that you owe the debt.
The best way to file an answer is to address all the statements made by the credit company. Admit to those statements you agree with and deny those parts that aren't entirely true. For example, you can deny that you owe the amount listed or that you owe Capital One Financial Group.
If you disagree with all the statements, you should not write a single line stating that you deny everything on the complaint. You need to respond to every numbered section in the complaint. Then provide a specific response to the allegation you disagree with.
Note: It is the plaintiff's burden to prove their allegations unless you admit to the allegation. When you agree, you state the allegation is true.
A statute of limitations is the time limit a creditor has to file a lawsuit against a debtor. Capital One is likely to acquire very old debts, and if you're one of these debtors, then stating a statute of limitations may be a valid defense.
This limit varies by state and the type of debt. New York, for example, has a statute of limitations of six years for credit card debts. However, according to a recent court decision, the statute of limitations for some credit card debts can be as short as three years.
If your last credit card payment was over three years ago, you might get a reprieve. Be sure to seek legal advice or do your research first to determine if your defense will hold in court. If so, the court must dismiss the case, so you will want to bring this defense to the court's attention. This is referred to as an affirmative defense.
While the judge may notice it independently, the lawsuit papers rarely indicate the debt's age. This means that the judge won't know unless you tell them by filing an answer and stating your defenses.
This is a perfect defense because Capital One is simply a debt buyer and not the original creditor (Synchrony). Since you never entered into a contract directly with the debt buyer, you can challenge the debt buyer's legal standing.
The plaintiff may not be able to prove that they own your debt, which allows the judge to dismiss the case. Even if they have an assignment letter, Capital One still needs to prove that it owns your debt specifically.
This defense also holds when the plaintiff is just a debt buyer and not a debt collector. In this case, Capital One has been compelled to purchase the credit card debt, but it is not licensed to collect the debt.
Some states like New York require debt collectors to be licensed to collect a debt. An instant license check on the Department of Consumer Affairs website should show you if the debt buyer is licensed. If not, the court is obliged to dismiss the case.
Any of these defenses can help you get a case dismissed or negotiate a lower settlement. It can also help if you consult a defense lawyer to ensure you understand your defenses and those most suitable for your situation.
Authorized users can't be sued for credit card debt. Conversely, if the credit card agreement shows you jointly agreed to be responsible for the credit card, you are a cosigner. Cosigners are equally responsible for the debt owed even if none of the charges were theirs.
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 for other states.
Being sued by a different debt collector? We're making guides on how to beat each one.
Is your credit card company suing you? Learn how you can beat each one.
Need more info on statutes of limitations? Read our 50-state guide.
Need help managing your finances? Check out these resources.