A number of legal defenses are available to a person being sued by a creditor. These defenses will vary depending upon individual circumstances.
Statute of Limitations Defense
If your debt is old, you might have a statute of limitations defense. A statute of limitations is a type of law that prevents parties from suing someone after a certain amount of time has passed. Whether or not a statute of limitations applies will depend on your state. For instance, in California, the statute of limitations for a written contract is four years.
However, you might not be able to claim this defense if you have acknowledged the debt in writing after the statute of limitations has passed or if you have paid any portion of the debt after the statute of limitations has passed.
State Limits on Interests Rates
Check to see whether or not the
interest rate applied to your debt is in excess of state limits. If the interest rate on your debt is higher than the state limit, then the interest rate is "usurious." If your creditor charged you an interest rate that exceeded state limits, they may not be allowed to sue depending on your state.
Payments That Were Not Credited
If you made payments to the creditor that were not credited to your account, you can raise this as a defense in court. Be sure to have copies of receipts account statements, cancelled checks, etc. to prove that you have paid.
Payments on Defective Products
If your debt is a result of buying something that turned out to be defective, you may be entitled to offset the debt with the cost of repair. This defense is especially effective if the person who sold you the product said things about the product that turned out to not be true or if the product was not fit for ordinary use.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
If you are being sued by a creditor, you should contact a lawyer immediately. A lawyer can help you figure out your best defenses and even if you have no defenses he or she might be able to suggest another solution.