Robo-signing in the debt buying industry…

According to study out of New York, “researchers found that over the course of a year, one debt buyer’s affiant identified himself as the custodian of records in 47,503 affidavits, thereby claiming to have personal knowledge of the facts of each and every case” (The One Hundred Billion Dollar Problem in Small Claims Court: Robo-Signing and Lack of Proof in Debt Buyer Cases, Peter A. Holland,

We see this kind of problem all the time. Just last week, we represented a consumer in a suit brought by a company which allegedly purchased the debt owed by our client. At trial, the debt buyer sought to introduce into evidence an affidavit of an employee of the debt buyer. However, amongst the dozens of pages that comprised the affidavit was yet another affidavit of an employee of a mid-stream buyer of the debt. The primary affiant claimed in its sworn statement that the account changed hands a total of 3 times: from original creditor to debt buyer A, from debt buyer A to debt buyer B, and then from debt buyer B to the company suing our client. The affidavit of the mid-stream buyer, however, said in her sworn statement that the account changed hands only twice, not three times. The Judge sustained our objection to the affidavit, resulting in a take-nothing judgment in favor of our client.

If you are getting sued by a debt buyer, you should always investigate the chain of title. Moreover, look closely at the statements made by the affidavits in the case. Do they conflict with the chain of title documents? Are there inconsistencies between affiant testimony as to who owned the account and when? If so, chances are the debt buyer may not be able to prove their case in court.