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Collection Defense

As a New Jersey Debt Defense Attorney, I represent individuals who have been sued on credit card debt, medical bills and other debts. Often, we are able to make settlements for substantially less than the amount sued for and/or make payment arrangements.
Credit Card Debt
After a credit card holder is more than 6 months late in making payments on a credit card, the credit card company will frequently sell in bulk its delinquent credit card debt to a “debt buyer.” These debt buyers will buy hundreds, if not more, of delinquent credit cards in one transaction for only pennies on the dollar. The debt buyer will then turn around and try to collect from the credit card holder the full amount owed, sometimes adding on substantial fees, interest and late payment charges. Often when the credit card holder is first contacted by a collection ageny or lawyer on behalf of the debt buyer, the consumer thinks that there must be a mistake, since they have never heard of the debt buyer and never did any business with them. However, the credit card holder must be careful, because if their credit card debt has been properly sold, they may now be legally liable for any amount owed on the credit card to the debt buyer.
Subsequently, if the lawyer or collection agency is unsuccessful in settling the debt sold to the debt buyer, in New Jersey cases, a lawsuit is then filed in the New Jersey Superior Court, Special Civil Division on behalf of the debt buyer. Almost always, the lawsuit is then served on the credit card holder by the Court mailing two copies of the lawsuit to the credit card holder, one copy via regular mail and one copy via certified mail, return receipt requested. Once served the credit card holder has 35 days to respond, otherwise a default will be entered, followed by a default judgment. If judgment is entered the credit card holder, the next step for the debt buyer is to attempt to collect on the judgment, using such means as a wage execution or bank levy.
Some of the more well known debt buyers and credit card companies who sue to collect are:

  • Allied National
  • American Express / American Express Bank / American Express Centurion Bank
  • Arrow Financial Services LLC
  • Asset Acceptance Corp.
  • Asta Funding
  • Barclays / Barclays Bank
  • Baxter Financial, LLC
  • Cach of NJ, LLC / Cach of New Jersey
  • Capital One Bank
  • Cascade Capital
  • Cavalry / Cavalry Investments / Cavalry Portfolio Services
  • Cavalry SPV / Cavalry SPV I, LLC / Cavalry SPV II, LLC
  • Citibank
  • Columbia Credit Credit Services, Inc.
  • Credit Acceptance Corporation
  • Cypress Financial
  • Department Stores National Bank
  • Discover Bank
  • Encore Capital Group
  • FIA Card Services
  • Ford Motor Credit
  • GE Capital / GE Capital Retail Bank
  • Interstate Risk Management Alternatives
  • Lancer Investments
  • Laridian Financial, LLC / Laridian Financial ll
  • LVNV Funding / LVNV Funding LLC
  • MSW Capital, LLC
  • New Century Financial Services
  • NCO Group
  • Palisades Collection
  • Portfolio Recovery Associates
  • Razor Capital
  • Resurgent Capital Services L.P.
  • Retail Recovery services of New Jersey
  • RJM Acquisitions
  • Sherman Acquisitions / Sherman Financial Group
  • TD Bank
  • Toyota Motor Credit
  • Unifund CCR Partners
Unfortunately, many individuals who have defaulted on credit card debt have had no previous experience with the legal system, and find themselves bewildered in how to handle a lawsuit, or find themselves subject to a default judgment, and their wages garnished or their bank accountes levied upon. Thus, if you have never been involved in a lawsuit before, it is important that you spend your time doing your homework or find an experienced attorney who can represent you in such matters.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I just ignore the lawsuit by not signing for the certified mail letter sent by the Court?
No. As long as the letter sent via regular mail or certified mail is not returned by the post office as undeliverable because of a bad address, the fact that the certified mail letter is not signed for by you will not make the lawsuit go away. You still must file an answer to the lawsuit. In fact, failure to do anything will likely result in a default judgment entered against you.
Should I call or write the lawyer or collection agency that is suing me?
You can, but you should be very careful as what you say and do not admit owing the debt. Sometimes, these calls are recorded. Any admission that you make on the telephone or in writing can be used against you in the court proceeding and can come back and haunt you. Thus, one advantage of hiring an attorney to represent you is that the call or contact your lawyer has with the other side will generally not be construed as an admission, which could be used against in the lawsuit.
Even if I owe the debt, shouldn’t I just pay it?
No. In many of these cases, your credit card debt has been sold to a third-party and you are no longer dealing with the original credit card company. Thus, any payments you make are not going to the original credit card company, but rather to the debt buyer. If the lawsuit goes to trial, these debt buyers have the burden of proving that you owe the money. However, because sometimes these debts are several years old or the debts have been sold multiple times, the debt buyers do not have or cannot get the paperwork to support their claims for payment. Similarly, the debt may be too old, and the debt buyer or credit card company may not have any right to recover on the debt.
What if I never answered the lawsuit and have a default judgment against me, isthere anything that can be done?
Even if you have default judgment against you, it may still be possible to have the default judgment vacated or thrown out. This is especially true if the default judgment is less than a year old. Even if your wages are being garnished or your bank account is being levied upon, it may not be too late to take action.
What is the advantage of hiring an attorney to represent me, rather than trying to do it myself?
We aggressively fight these collection lawsuits on behalf of clients, by answering the lawsuits, and asserting counterclaims where appropriate. We have been successful in significantly reducing the amount owed and settling the cases on favorable terms or arranging a payment plan to make payments on the outstanding debts. It may even be possible to make the whole lawsuit go away. Additionally, we have also been successful in overturning default judgments, even after wage execution has begun. Remember, the other side has an experienced collection attorney representing them, and so should you.
Even if I have a judgment against, can I be forced to pay the judgment amount?
While New Jersey does not have a “debtors jail”  for persons who do not pay judgments against them, collection law firms and judgment creditors use certain tool to collect on those judgments if the debtor does not voluntarily want to pay the amount of the outstanding judgment.   These tools include wage executions,  bank levies, and liens on real property.  
Medical Bill Debt
Sometimes consumers are sued on hospital bills or doctors bills related to medical treatment. These lawsuits may be the result of treatment that is not covered by an insurance plan, treatment that is considered in excess of coverage provided for by a health insurance plan, or by disputes with one’s insurance company as to coverage. As with credit card debt, we represent individuals who have been sued on medical bills, and attempt to either get the case dismissed, or settled on favorable terms with the provider. If necessary, we can bring the insurance company into the lawsuit. Again, healthcare providers will frequently settle their bills for less than the amount originally owed.

Some of the law firms that we have been against in debt collection matters are:

  • Apothaker and Associates
  • Glazer and Kamel
  • Forster, Garbus & Garbus
  • Lyons, Doughty & Veldhuis
  • Fein, Such, Kahn & Shepard, P.C.
  • Celentano, Stadtmauer & Walentowicz
  • Mele and Associates
  • Donnelly, Warner & Breur

If you have been sued on a debt, and need an attorney to help.


For more information, please contact:
Law Offices of Lawrence Hersh
17 Sylvan Street, Suite 102B
Rutherford, New Jersey 07070
Tel: (201) 507-6300
Fax: (201) 507-6311


Serving New Jersey, including Bergen, Passiac, Hudson, Essex, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Union and Morris Counties, as well as New York City. Feel free to call us to discuss your legal problem or concerns.