Am I obligated to pay a credit card bill that I am not sure if mine?

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Am I obligated to pay a credit card bill that I am not sure if mine?

Collections lawyer stating I owe for a credit card that I have not had in 4 years and I asked for statements to see if they are mine they refuse. This is on my credit report and I did have some identity theft in the past. I am not 100% sure I do not owe for this, however I do not think I do and all I am requesting is a printout of the purchases. Do I fight this in court and if I lose will there be additional costs?

Asked on October 2, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) You only have to pay debts that are yours, so no--you don't need to pay a debt if you don't think it is yours, or even are not sure. Instead you can make them sue you to recover the money.

2) If you are sued and lose, generally the creditor can only get the amount you owed him, her, or it--not additional sums. The exception would be if the credit card agreement or other agreement says that the creditor can get legal fees or collection costs. So depending on what the agreement says--if this is a valid debt of yours--you could possibly owe more than the actual debt.

3) You should send written demands to the creditor, asking them to validate and prove the debt. Send the demands some way you can prove delivery (e.g. certified mail with return receipt; fed ex; etc.) If they do, then you can look at the paperwork to confirm whether you owe the money and, if you do, presumably pay; but if they won't validate the debt, it may be a scam or fraudulent; you'll need to decide whether or not to pay a debt that may not be yours, or make them take you to court (if they even will) to try to recover it.

 

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) You only have to pay debts that are yours, so no--you don't need to pay a debt if you don't think it is yours, or even are not sure. Instead you can make them sue you to recover the money.

2) If you are sued and lose, generally the creditor can only get the amount you owed him, her, or it--not additional sums. The exception would be if the credit card agreement or other agreement says that the creditor can get legal fees or collection costs. So depending on what the agreement says--if this is a valid debt of yours--you could possibly owe more than the actual debt.

3) You should send written demands to the creditor, asking them to validate and prove the debt. Send the demands some way you can prove delivery (e.g. certified mail with return receipt; fed ex; etc.) If they do, then you can look at the paperwork to confirm whether you owe the money and, if you do, presumably pay; but if they won't validate the debt, it may be a scam or fraudulent; you'll need to decide whether or not to pay a debt that may not be yours, or make them take you to court (if they even will) to try to recover it.

 


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