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How to Win a Citibank Debt Lawsuit

Hannah Locklear | January 10, 2024

Hannah Locklear
Editor at SoloSuit
Hannah Locklear, BA

Hannah Locklear is SoloSuit’s Marketing and Impact Manager. With an educational background in Linguistics, Spanish, and International Development from Brigham Young University, Hannah has also worked as a legal support specialist for several years.

Summary: Citibank is a global bank and the world’s largest credit card issuer. If Citibank collections is coming after you, it’s probably because you owe a debt. There is also a chance your debt has been handed off to a debt collection agency. The best way to defend yourself in a Citibank debt lawsuit is to respond with a written Answer.

If you are being sued by Citibank for credit card debt or a loan, then you need to act quickly. Citibank has a skilled legal team that goes after consumers that do not pay their debt. This is why after you have been served with a debt lawsuit, you will be faced with a series of events that you must do.

When you default on credit card debt with Citibank, there’s a good chance it will result in a lawsuit. If Citibank wins the case with a default judgment, they may end up garnishing wages, seizing your property, or even taking money directly from your bank account.

If you’re being sued by Citibank, you have a few options. You can ignore the lawsuit and lose by default judgment, or you can try to negotiate a debt settlement with Citibank. If you know you don’t owe the debt, you can also fight the lawsuit and win in court.

In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about Citibank and how to beat them in court.

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Respond to a debt Citibank debt lawsuit

The first step to winning a debt lawsuit is to respond in court. You should respond by filing a written Answer with the court. Just responding will increase your chances of winning. The alternative is to ignore the lawsuit and lose automatically when a default judgment is entered against you.

With a default judgment, Citibank collections can garnish your wages and seize your property. Don’t let this happen to you. Fight back by responding to the lawsuit ASAP.

If Citibank is suing you, follow these three steps to respond:

  1. Answer each claim listed in the Complaint. Your Answer document should focus primarily on responding to the specific claims, or allegations, listed in the Complaint document that notified you of the case. In response to each allegation, you can admit, deny, or deny due to lack of knowledge. Most attorneys recommend denying as many claims as possible, because this will force Citibank to do more work to prove their side of the case. If they don't have the proper documentation for proof, their case won't stand.
  2. Assert your affirmative defenses. An affirmative defense is any legal reason that Citibank should not win the case. For example, the statute of limitations is a common affirmative defense to include in an Answer. There are dozens of other defenses you can use to strengthen your side of the case.
  3. File the Answer with the court, and send a copy to Citibank’s attorneys. This is the last and most important step. Keep in mind that you have 14-35 days to file your Answer, depending on which state you live in. Make sure to send a copy of the Answer to Citibank via certified mail with a return receipt requested.

To learn more about these three steps, check out this video:

What is Citibank?

Headquartered in New York City, Citibank is a multinational bank that’s been around for more than 200 years. Citibank is also the world’s largest credit card issuer, so if you are being contacted by Citibank collections regarding an unpaid debt, you’re definitely not alone.

Below is Citibank contact information:

Citibank phone number: 800-347-4934
Citibank address: 399 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10043-0001

Keep in mind that Citibank is a creditor, meaning they have a collections department, but they’re still the same agency. That being said, it’s common for outside debt collection agencies to purchased charged-off Citibank accounts that have fallen so behind on payments, Citibank considers it a loss.

If your Citibank debt has been purchased by a debt collector, you should learn about your rights as a consumer to protect yourself from abusive debt collection practices.

The FDCPA protects you from aggressive debt collectors

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) protects consumers, like you, from unfair debt collection tactics. Debt collectors are known for harassing, threatening, and pestering consumers until they pay up. The FDCPA gives you rights that will help you put debt collectors in their place.

Under the FDCPA, debt collectors are forbidden from:

  • Contacting you after 9 p.m. or before 8 a.m.
  • Attempting to collect a debt that does not belong to you
  • Threatening legal action and arrest
  • Calling after you request them to stop
  • Lying and pretending to be lawyers
  • Contacting your family, friends, or coworkers about your debt

So, if a debt collector has purchased your old debt with Citibank, informing them you will report them if they violate your rights will prompt them to use the proper channels to collect the debt. Report any abuse to the FTC online platform or call 877-382-4357, submit a complaint on the CFPB website, or call 855-411-2372.

Use these defenses if you don’t owe the debt

In some cases, you might not owe anything on the debt. You could be a victim of one of the following situations:

  • Already paid off debt: If you have proof that you already paid the debt, then you can simply respond with this information and the case should be thrown out.
  • The statute of limitations has run out: In every type of civil lawsuit, there is a statute of limitations. This varies from state to state and can be anywhere from 4 to 6 years. but most are in the 4-to-6 year range. The last day that you made a payment is when the clock starts over again on the statute of limitations. This means if the complaint was filed with the court after it has ended, the lawsuit is considered invalid. Despite this, you still must show up in court and explain to the judge that the statute of limitations expired.
  • Look into the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act: Also known as the FDCPA, this is a federal law. It requires debt collectors to do, and not do, a variety of different provisions. If they violate one part of the law then you will have the ability to countersue.
  • Fraud: In some cases, you may have had your identity stolen. If this was the case you may not even realize that your credit card is in default. It is essential to find out if that happened and present your case to the court.
  • Mistaken identity: Another method of fraud might be that you never signed up for a credit card but then have suddenly be served with a lawsuit. In this case, you can run a free credit report to see if this account was opened in your name.
  • Bankruptcy: Any time that you file for bankruptcy it means that any debt should be completely wiped out. This is a real defense to use to not pay a debt that you should not pay.

Let’s take a look at an example.

Example: Shawn is being sued by Citibank for an old credit card debt in Maryland. He knows he owes some money to Citibank, but it’s been years since he’s made any payments, so he thought he was in the clear. After doing some investigating, Shawn learns that the statute of limitations on credit card debt is three years in Maryland. Since Shawn hasn’t been active on his Citibank account for almost four years, Citibank can no longer sue him for the debt. Shawn uses SoloSuit to draft and file an Answer to the Citibank lawsuit, using the statute of limitations as one of his affirmative defenses. The case gets thrown out, and Shawn is off the hook.

What to Do If You Owe the Debt

If you have been sued then you will be served with a copy of the complaint against you as well as the court summons. This then will tell you the day you need to show up in court for your hearing. Typically if you are given three to four weeks to respond. You can settle the debt and this happens out of court. In some cases, you may need to respond directly or go through bankruptcy court.

It is essential to file in court because you do not want a default judgment to be entered against you. This means you automatically lose the case.

The first step in fighting a debt collection lawsuit is not to ignore it. Ignoring your lawsuit can only lead to being negligent. It was found that in over 90% of credit card collection cases, the consumer does not show up in court. In this case, a default judgment is automatically given to you, and you will automatically lose your case.

Protect your property from debt collectors. Use SoloSuit to file a response fast.

Send a Debt Validation Letter to Citibank collections

They are also required to provide you with a validation notice of your debt immediately or within five days of contacting you. The notice will include:

  • How much is owed
  • Who the notice is from (a debt collector)
  • Your right as a consumer to dispute the debt within 30 days

This would technically be violating the FDCPA if they do not provide this, and if the plaintiff violates the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, then you can file a counterclaim.

Don't let debt collectors push you around. Respond with SoloSuit.

Reach a Citibank debt settlement

In some cases winning your case is not an option, but settling is. In this case, you are essentially attempting to provide some incentive to avoid going to trial and settle by paying a smaller amount of your debt. This is common because oftentimes your debt has been sold at least once, but even multiple times. In this case, your debt will have been sold for a fraction of the cost, so there is room to negotiate.

When attempting to settle the debt you can offer to pay a portion of it. Ask the company to forgive the rest and cancel the lawsuit. You can also ask to be held without blame to protect your credit score. If your settlement is accepted, then you need to ask for written notification to ensure it is not seen as simply a payment, but rather a settlement and completion of the debt.

To learn more about how to negotiate a debt settlement with Citibank, or debt collectors who are coming after you for a Citibank debt, check out this video:

What is SoloSuit?

SoloSuit makes it easy to fight debt collectors.

You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit, to send letters to collectors, and even to settle a debt.

SoloSuit's Answer service is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your Answer. Upon completion, we'll have an attorney review your document and we'll file it for you.

Respond with SoloSuit

"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

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Complaints against Citibank are common

If you feel like Citibank has treated you unfairly, you’re not alone.

As of 2022, the Better Business Bureau has received more than 6,500 complaints against Citibank in the most recent three-year period. Similarly, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has reported more than 28,000 complaints against Citibank in the past ten years.

Many of these complaints involve sketchy debt collection tactics used by Citibank collections. Let’s take a look at a real complaint from the CFPB database (edited for clarity):

“I was a victim of a scam. I attempted to explain this to the card company before the payments were behind and they were rude, non-believers, and made fun of the situation. Now I am getting an extreme number of calls from them, over 50 so far just this month. It's only noon, and they've already called 4 times today. I feel completely and totally harassed by them and they are causing me extreme anxiety.”

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