J Thomas Black
Board Certified, Consumer Bankruptcy Law- Texas Board of Legal Specialization

Here in the Houston area, "debt buyer" credit card lawsuits have become big business in the past two or three years. Debt is a commodity now, bought and sold like corn or wheat. Certain companies buy up old credit card debt, or medical debt, or any kind of debt, at a discount, and then try to collect the full amount of the debt from consumers, often plus interest, attorney fees, costs, etc.

Locally here in Houston, debt buyers are filing large numbers of lawsuits against people, generally over delinquent credit card debt. Some people call it "zombie debt" because they thought it was dead, but it has come back to life in the form of a lawsuit. When I counsel a debtor about such a credit card lawsuit, I always try to determine how old the debt is. The statute of limitations for most debts in Texas is four years.

If the debt buyer has waited too long, they may not have a valid suit. Also, debt buyers can have real problems proving their cases in court. If you just have one or two debt lawsuits, it may be possible to successfully defend them, or possibly settle with them. But if you have too many, or if the stress of dealing with debt collectors is just too much, it may make sense for you to consider filing a bankruptcy.

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