An increasing number of consumers have reported that they have received a summons from the company Midland Funding. If you are one of them, it is likely that you don’t recognize this company. So, who are they?
They describe themselves as ‘one of the nation’s largest buyers of unpaid debt’ but those in the business refer to companies like these as Junk Debt Buyers. These companies buy old debts from banks and credit card companies for next to nothing with the hope of pursuing the debt and collecting payment.
We might imagine that you owned a credit card five years ago but you fell into some financial trouble and couldn’t pay your bill and so defaulted on payment. Your credit card company chases you for the payment for a while, maybe even for a few years but you are unable to pay. The credit card company eventually gives up and charges off your account. They may be able to put it down as a tax loss. As the debt is still valid, the credit card company sells off the debt, for pennies, to a company such as Midland Funding. Now, the junk debt buyer will pull out all the stops to collect that money.
So, now you understand who is suing you, you need to know how to fight back them. That, in itself is your first step.
Decide to Fight
These junk debt buying agencies buy thousands of debts hoping that they can simply sue and collect. Receiving a summons is greatly intimidating under any circumstances and most people assume they are the underdog so they roll over and submit. Midland doesn’t expect you to fight or know anything about this kind of lawsuit, so they don’t plan for that.
An important factor in this is that the burden of proof is with the plaintiff. That means that the Midland Funding has to prove everything and have evidence to back it all up. Surprisingly, this is something that they consistently struggle to do.
What’s more, with so many consumers deciding not to fight, the junk debt buyers would rather just sit back and collect from the easy cases rather than spend time and manpower chasing a few thousand dollars.
Answer Your Summons
However you decide to play it, it is vital that you respond to the Summons and submit an answer on time. If you ignore it or present it late, then the junk debt buyer will receive a default judgment against you, meaning that you lose and giving them the chance to garnish your wages and clean out your bank accounts. Again, this is what they hope for as it means little or no work on their part and it will be over before it has even started.When reading your summons, pay close attention to the deadline given. Some states will give you 20 days, others will allow 30 days in order for you to answer you summons.
As part of your answer, you will need to admit or deny their allegations one by one.A word of caution when answering your summons: be very careful not to incriminate yourself by admitting the debt. Yes, you may have defaulted on a credit card but remember that they have the responsibility to prove that. If they cannot provide the necessary documents as evidence that you owe this exact amount, then they cannot prevail.
If you are having difficulty completing your answer to the summons, The Defendants package has clear instructions, tips and examples that can help you submit an answer.
Your keys to success
Your success in the court case ultimately comes down to how much homework you are willing to do. You are going to need to research your local court rules as well as your state rules to help you win.
As we have previously mentioned, the plaintiff has the burden of proof and for them to win, they need to prove several things to you and the court.
- Check Statute of Limitations
This means that you need to check if your debt is too old to be sued on. Any contract has a given amount of time before it becomes too late for a party to sue. Each state differs in the time allowed and considering that in some states it is as low as 3 years, it may be likely that your debt is too old. Of course, they hope that you don’t notice that.
If it is too old, you may submit a motion to dismiss a long with your answer.
The complaint that you received with your summons is nothing more than a list of allegations. Any individual or company could accuse someone of the same thing. To win a case, they need to back-up and prove, with evidence, that the allegations are true.
An Affidavit may come with the summons. This is the junk debt buyer’s version of evidence but you need to examine this closely. It should be signed by an employee of the original creditor. If it is signed by an employee of the junk debt buyer then it is not real proof.
Midland cannot testify to a statement from another company is not official nor compelling. If this is the case, you could file a motion to strike the case as hearsay.
Don’t be Intimidated
These companies will try devious and underhanded tactics to get what they want and to bully you into surrendering. In most cases, this is all that they have – aggression. If they don’t have any dependable evidence that is not based on hearsay, they have very little else to stand on so they resort to bullying and harassment.
Familiarize yourself with the codes of practice outlined in The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) which was created to protect consumers from these unethical methods. Also, remember that the best defense is a good offense, so throw everything you have back at them and show them that you are not ready to lie down and surrender. The Defendants Package has been specifically designed to help you fight back.