How to Defend Against Unifund CCR

Unifund CCR is a debt-buyer who buys debt from original creditors like Bank of America or Citibank for pennies on the dollar. Their goal is to sue consumers and obtain a judgment so that they can then go and freeze a consumer’s bank account, garnish their wages or place a lien on their real property. Unifund frequently retains Mulloooly, Jeffrey, Rooney and Flynn, a common debt collection law firm to sue consumers, obtain judgments, and enforce on those judgments. Unfortunately, most judgments are obtained on default because service of the summons, and complaint or lawsuit, is very poor in both New York and New Jersey. These judgments also allow Unifund or any other creditor to accrue 9% judgment interest in New York significantly increasing the amount of the judgment. The marshal or sheriff then generally add on their 5% fee inflating the amount further.

It is essential to answer a summons and complaint as soon as it is received so that a default judgment is not obtained. Alternatively, an order to show cause to vacate the judgment must be filed immediately after learning of the judgment to have it removed. By doing this, a consumer has the ability to defend themselves. Under CPLR 317 a consumer can vacate a judgment up to 5 years from the entry of such judgment as long as they were not personally served, and they have at least one meritorious defense. This is important because to vacate a judgment under CPLR 5015 a consumer must show that they have a meritorious defense and a reasonable excuse for not answering. In addition, they must file within one year of learning about the judgment. Alternatively, a judgment can always be vacated if the wrong address is served due to a lack of personal jurisdiction. The courts have said that a lack of jurisdiction makes a judgment null and void.

Vacating a judgment allows a consumer to submit an answer with the necessary standing, privity, and hearsay defenses that have the potential to dismiss a Unifund matter. MJRF will frequently contact us to settle these matters for much less than the balance once they see that these defenses have been asserted, and they no longer have a judgment against the consumer.

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