Do you have a credit line of any kind, including a home, auto, or student loan? What about a credit card? Odds are you have one of these things so you have a credit history, and it’s also highly likely that you are not fully aware of your rights as a consumer that you are legally granted when you take out one of these loans. Lenders are forbidden from certain practices when it comes to debt collection, but that doesn’t stop those who wish to target consumers from preying on them and making money back through unjustified lawsuits, bank account freezes, and more.
One recent example is the case of Joseph Onwuteaka, and his small firm on the edge of Sharpstown, Texas, called Samara Portfolio Management. Onwuteaka specializes in buying debt from loan companies and retailers for pennies on the dollar, and then forcing lawsuits through courts to freeze bank accounts, harass consumers, and more in an attempt to collect the money. But here’s the catch: in many cases the lawsuits are filed in courts which have no jurisdiction over the consumers.
Onwuteaka files more than half of his lawsuits in a Harris County court, but laws in Texas require debt collection lawsuits to be filed either in the court where the consumer lives or where the loan was initially taken out. While not all of the suits are in this court, most of them are in courts where he can gain an “unfair advantage” over consumers, making it a difficult burden for them to travel to defend themselves against the suit. In some cases, those facing the suit must travel 200 miles or more to attend their hearing. As a result, debt collectors usually win the hearing, and are authorized to use tactics such as bank account seizure, harassing calls, and other debt collection practices. Consumers are forced to pay debts they can’t afford as a result of a lawsuit that should never have been allowed to pass.
The issue of the lawsuit being filed in the wrong court must be raised by one of the parties, or in this case, the consumer, since Onwuteaka is more than happy to use the court he files the suit in. Doing so involves submitted a notarized request, but if a judgment has already been issued then it’s too late.
The loans that are the most vulnerable to this type of fraud are short-term, high-interest loans, such as payday loans and store credit cards.
Know Your Rights
If you have been served notice of a debt collection lawsuit being issued against you, you only have a limited amount of time to respond. This means it is crucial that you speak with a Chicago consumer attorney as soon as possible. Having a lawyer on your side can ensure your rights are protected and that you don’t fall victim to these aggressive and sometimes fraudulent cases.
At Atlas Consumer Law, we are a dedicated and compassionate team who has your best interest at heart. We understand how stressful and overwhelming calls from debt collectors can be, and we know how difficult it can be to fight back against them. When you trust your case to our firm, we use our aggressive and tireless method of representation to help you achieve the best possible outcome to your case, and we won’t settle until we’ve helped you stop the harassment and your rights have been maintained. If you have been the victim of harassment, you may also be eligible to receive compensation.Our team is standing by and ready to help you with your case! Call Atlas Consumer Law today by dialing (312) 313-1613 to request a case evaluation.