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If you’ve received a letter from Mountain Lion Acquisitions saying you owe them money, you’re probably feeling stressed and overwhelmed. You’re not alone – thousands of people across the country are in the same boat. Mountain Lion buys old, charged-off debts for pennies on the dollar, then tries to collect the full amount from consumers through lawsuits and other aggressive tactics.While the situation seems dire, there are options for negotiating, settling, or even eliminating the debt. Don’t panic – read on to learn more about your rights and how to take control of the situation.

What is Mountain Lion Acquisitions?

Mountain Lion Acquisitions is a debt buyer – they purchase defaulted consumer debts from banks and creditors for a fraction of the face value. This practice is known as debt buying. After purchasing the debts, Mountain Lion attempts to collect through letters, phone calls, lawsuits, garnishments, and other methods.

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Some key facts about Mountain Lion:

  • Based in Los Angeles, CA and incorporated in 2012
  • Primarily buys old credit card debt, but also purchases medical bills, utility bills, etc
  • Has purchased debts in at least 8 states, including CA, TX, FL, NY, and NV
  • Known to file lawsuits against consumers to obtain judgments to garnish wages

While collecting on purchased defaulted debt is legal, some of Mountain Lion’s practices have been questioned. In 2014, they were sued for alleged violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act for misrepresenting that they were licensed debt collectors.

Don’t Panic – You Have Rights

The first step when dealing with Mountain Lion is don’t panic. Take a deep breath. You have rights under both state and federal law. Some key protections include:

  • Statute of limitations – Debts have a statute of limitations, meaning there is a time limit on how long a creditor can sue you to collect. This varies by state, but is generally 3-6 years.
  • Validation of debt – You have the right to request validation and proof of the debt within 30 days of first contact. The collector must provide this proof before any other collection activities.
  • FDCPA – Collectors cannot harass, lie, or engage in unfair practices. You can sue for damages under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
  • Garnishment limits – Federal and state laws limit the amount that can be garnished from wages, protecting your ability to pay for basic living expenses.

Your Debt Settlement Options

Now that you know your rights, it’s time to consider the various options for dealing with the Mountain Lion debt:

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1. Negotiate a Settlement

You can negotiate directly with Mountain Lion to settle the debt for less than the full amount owed. Many people have success settling for 40-60% of the balance. Get any agreement for a settlement or payment plan in writing before sending money.

2. Debt Validation

Dispute the debt and request validation if you don’t recognize the creditor or amount owed. Provide proof if you have already paid some or all of the debt previously. This can result in the debt being dismissed if they cannot verify it.

3. File Bankruptcy

Filing bankruptcy stops collections and discharges most types of old debt. Chapter 7 bankruptcy completely eliminates eligible debt, while Chapter 13 sets up a repayment plan. Speak to a bankruptcy attorney to see if this is the right option.

4. Wait Out Statute of Limitations

If the statute of limitations has expired, a lawsuit filed against you to collect would be invalid. However, they can still attempt to collect through calls and letters.

5. Attempt to Dismiss Lawsuit

If sued, file an Answer denying the claims, and raise any defenses – like expired statute of limitations or lack of proof of the debt’s validity. Seek dismissal of the lawsuit through a motion for summary judgment.

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Don’t Go It Alone – Seek Help

Dealing with debt collectors can be intimidating. Get help from a credit counselor or attorney. Non-profit credit counseling agencies provide free or low-cost assistance with strategies for debt repayment and credit improvement. For legal issues like debt lawsuits, consult a consumer protection attorney in your state that focuses on fair debt collection.You have options – don’t let Mountain Lion bully you into agreeing to more than you should. Learn your rights, seek help, and take control of your finances. With some planning and assertiveness, you can resolve this debt and move forward.

References

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