Unifund CCP Partners, Inc. is a large national debt buyer based in Cincinnati, OH, which purchases, sells and manages “under-performing and distressed” consumer receivables, including defaulted consumer credit card accounts.
Unifund relies on two law firms primarily to file its debt collection lawsuits in California: the Fresno law firm of Lang Richert & Patch, and, from Los Angeles, Kenosian & Miele.
Unifund’s cases suffer from the same core weaknesses as other debt buyer cases: (1) proving that the defendant owed money to the original creditor; and, (2) proving the Unifund purchased the defendant’s defaulted account. Under California law, testimony from the original creditor is necessary to prove that defendant defaulted on a credit card account and owed a debt. The large banks which sell credit card debt to Unifund have not made witnesses available for this purpose, and there is no reason to expect a change. Think of it this way: What are the chances that a major national bank, dedicated to its bottom line, will fly an witness to California to testify in a trial in which the bank has no financial interest whatsoever? Let’s move on. Unifund typically attempts to circumvent this requirement with testimony from its own witness, submitted by declaration. These “declarants”, however, can be subpoenaed to trial for cross-examination. Since Unifund is similarly reluctant to incur travel expenses from Cincinnati plus lodging for its witnesses, favorable settlement offers tend to result in the days leading up to trial.
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