collection agencies

Opening Credits, the Q & A section of, recently interviewed me about the law in Alabama as applied to minors who obtain credit cards in their own names.

Ms. Erica Sandberg writes a periodic advice column on the popular credit advice website  One of her readers had a question about the enforceability of a credit card contract entered into by a minor.  In Alabama, minority is a defense to a breach of contract lawsuit.  To enforce a contract, the creditor must show that there was an offer, an acceptance of that offer, consideration exchanged, capacity, and legality.  The age of the person entering the contract can create an issue regarding the person’s capacity to enter into a contract.  The general rule in Alabama is that contracts entered into by minors are voidable.  See Ex Parte Odem, 537 So.2d 919 (Ala. 1988).  This means that they aren’t automatically invalid, but the minor cannot be compelled to perform their obligations under the contract if they do not choose to do so.

This includes contracts for the extension of credit, such as a credit card.  In other words, if a lender is dumb enough to lend money to someone who isn’t old enough to enter a contract, the law doesn’t have much sympathy for them.  That’s why so many student loans are co-signed by parents or spouses.

Keep in mind, however, that lying on a credit application about your age or income can be considered fraud, and that could create a separate route for a creditor to take legal action against you.  Though to be honest, in hundreds of debt collection cases I’ve dealt with, I have never seen a credit card company or debt collector sue for fraud on a credit application.

The original article can be found here:

What Makes a Debt Collection Call Illegal? – Alabama Consumer Credit Attorney Judson E. Crump 1

Are You Getting Harassing Telephone Calls From Debt Collectors?  They Might Be Illegal! Sure, a bona fide creditor has a right to ask you for payment, but when do good faith collection efforts end and illegal harassment begin? There are basically two ways that a phone call can be illegal: The […]

Who is Convergence Receivables? – Alabama Consumer Credit Lawyer Judson E. Crump 1

Have you received a lawsuit summons from Convergence Receivables, LC?  Who are they?  What do they want?


Hey folks.  I am Judson Crump, an Alabama consumer protection lawyer.  One of my specialties is defending people who have been sued by companies they’ve never heard of.  One such company is Convergence Receivables, LC.

Convergence Receivables, LC is a debt buyer.  This means that they purchase old charged off accounts from banks, credit card companies, auto finance companies, or other creditors, and then try to collect them.  Sometimes, you may never get a phone call, letter, or any contact whatsoever from a debt buyer, then WHAM!  You get a lawsuit demanding thousands of dollars.

To make things worse, a lot of times, debt buyer lawsuits don’t even bother to explain why they think you owe them so much money.  They just hope that you don’t answer the complaint and they can get a default judgment and try to garnish your wages or bank account.  Or scare you into paying them.

The most important thing to remember about debt buyer lawsuits is that even if you really did owe money to someone in the past, that doesn’t automatically mean that any collector who comes along can get it from you.  Here’s why:

Imagine if you borrowed $100 from your friend, Will.  You admit that you owe Will $100, but you can’t pay him right now because work is slow and you have 3 kids.

One day, as you are walking into work, a guy named Bubba comes up to you and says “Give me $100.”  What would you say?

“Hell no, I’m not giving you $100.”

“You owe Will $100 and I paid Will $5 for your debt.  So give me $100.”

“I want some proof.”

Well, that’s the problem.  Anyone claiming to sue on behalf of another must prove not just that the money was owed, but that they have the right to the money.

So if you get sued by Convergence Receivables, LC, or some other debt buyer, you don’t have to file bankruptcy, and you may have a good chance at beating them in court and saving thousands.

The key is to call a lawyer with experience fighting these sorts of cases.  I’ve beaten dozens of collection lawsuits.

If you live in Alabama and are facing a lawsuit or abusive collection tactics by Convergence Receivables, then call me at 251.272.9148.

“If you have a bill in collections that is dragging down your credit score, chances are high that it’s medical.”

So says a recent Washington Post article about the US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s recent study of medical bill collections.

The study found that over half of the delinquent accounts that are reported against US citizens’ credit reports were medical bills.  And there were a LOT of people – about 15 million – whose only delinquent account on their credit report was a medical bill.

Medical bills are often hard to prove.  Very often, there is no written contract.  The provider may have not submitted the bill to insurance properly or timely, and therefore lost the right to collect from insurance and instead just decides to try to collect directly from the patient.

And a short visit to a single hospital can spawn a dozen separate bills – one from the hospital, one from each lab that handled your blood, one from each doctor who either saw you or your X-rays, one from a pharmacy, and God knows what else.  You may have never encountered these people and have no idea who they are, but they’re still asking you for money.

And if you ask for verification of the amount allegedly owed, you may not ever get any information.  The whole process is very mechanical and there’s often little to no human involvement in the collection process.

So what do you do if you have strange or inflated medical bills showing up in your credit report?

First, you should contact the medical provider and ask for an itemization of the bill.  How much are they charging you and why?  Will they give you a discount for what your insurer won’t cover?

Second, you should send a written dispute to the credit reporting agencies.  Tell them how much you legitimately owe and ask them to report nothing more than that.

Third, NEVER pay money just to get something off your credit report. A LOT of collection agencies report bogus amounts just to coerce you into paying.  If you owe a hospital $60, a collector may report that you owe $100, just because they’re betting that you’ll pay them the full amount to clean up your credit records.  Don’t fall for this.

Fourth, don’t be afraid to challenge them if they’re asking you for an unreasonable amount.  If they were to take you to court, they’d have to prove that the charges were reasonable and medically necessary. If they inflate the ‘price’ of services to compensate for discounts they provide to insurers, then they can’t just force you to pay whatever they want to put on some bill.