Everyone knows the story; big financial corporation gets caught practicing crooked business and gets a slap on the wrist from the consumer protection watchdogs. After being sentenced to a time-out, the corporation, feeling no remorse and having learned nothing, promptly resumes the same profitable, yet shady, business that landed them in hot water in the first place.
Today, the villain in that well-known story is JPMorgan Chase Bank.
Once upon a time, in 2011 to be exact, Chase abruptly stopped its practice of pursing legal action against customers who had failed to make payments on their credit card accounts. The cease in lawsuits was the result of regulators blowing the whistle and exposing how the company had been filing tens of thousands of actions that often exaggerated the amount of money the consumer owed. Often, the only supporting documentation that established grounds for the lawsuit was an affidavit swearing the truth of Chase's claims that was signed by a handful of low-level employees with little knowledge of the actual details of the consumer's account. This practice of signing off on paperwork without reviewing any evidence is known as “robo-signing” and often contributes to inaccurate claims of debts owed.
While the company never officially admitted any wrongdoing or liability, it did make a promise to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to provide better supporting documentation in the future. It seems, however, that they only planned on keeping this promise for the time demanded in the consent order. The provision expired at the beginning of 2020, and since then, civil dockets around the country have been slammed by Chase's suits against debtors. One Texas county saw more than 1,000 consumer debt lawsuits from Chase in 2021 after seeing an astonishing total of only 7 in 2020.
Chase seems to have returned to its past wicked ways of mass-producing legal affidavits without verifying the accuracy of the information. These affidavits are often the only evidence admitted into the record and courts tend to assume they are honest guarantees of truth. The rest of the consumers' payment and account history is almost never asked for or readily available as the borrowers account is often deactivated once they fail to make payments on the balance.
While Chase maintains that it has seen the error of its ways and stands behind the accuracy of its present-day documentation, the CFPB estimated that the 2011 lawsuits had about a 10% rate of error. Consumers may not be so quick to believe the bank after such a major failing of trust.
Once a consumer is sued for defaulting on credit card debt, it can be very difficult for them to prove they don't owe the money. While this may seem like a hopeless situation, there are options and resources available for consumers to fight against these lawsuits. Having an experienced debt-defense attorney on your side can shift the balance of power in your favor and force the courts to demand more evidence.
If you receive a summons and complaint from JPMorgan Chase Bank, or any other debt collector, Peterson Legal can help ensure no one takes advantage of you. We have the experience and knowledge to work the system and ensure our clients gain a favorable outcome. Call us today to get your questions answered and see how we can help you to regain financial stability.