I had a small construction business, an LLC in Ohio, in Jan 2006 I closed it due to lack of work and had a small number of bills the company could not pay. All have gone away so I did not bother to file bankrupcy. Two years later American Express resurfaced. I moved to Kansas in 2007 a Kansas attny contacted me in Jan 2008 and is sueing me personally for roughly 6k. I requested they provide eveidence I signed for the account personally as I know I did not, I signed for the account which was in my corporate name with “pres.” after my signature. The account was always paid with corporate checks. The attny’s response was to sue me in civil court. I’ve been unemployed all year and cannot afford an attny.
What is the stratagy for making this go away? I know that the AMEX likely sees it differently but I signed for the account as an officer of a LLC which in the sate of Ohio protects me personally do they have a leg to stand on going after me?
Since I don’t the specific agreement you signed with American Express all I can do is speak in general.
As far back as I remember, American Express has always made people sign to be personally responsible for the card even though it was issued in the name of a corporation or LLC. Here is some wording for their current agreement as an example.
I as an individual and the Authorizing Officer of the Company (a) request that you open an account (“Account”) in the name of the Company and in my name, (b) request that Card(s) be issued on that Account as indicated on this application, (c) understand that you will renew and replace the Card(s) until I cancel, (d) agree to be individually, jointly and severally liable for all charges to the Account made by all Cards issued on the Account now or in the future, (e) agree on behalf of the Company and myself to be bound by the agreement governing the Account (“Cardmember Agreement”), and (f) REPRESENT THAT THE CARD(S) WILL BE USED FOR COMMERCIAL OR BUSINESS PURPOSES.
I understand that the Cardmember Agreement also provides, among other things, that (i) the Account terms, such as fees, are subject to change and (ii) I am personally responsible for payment for all charges on the Account and the Company is also jointly liable for all such charges.
This is why American Express is so excited to issue you a business card, because in the fine print, you are on the hook for it.
I would be this is exactly what happened in your situation. And if so, when your company folded and they went after you personally.
You can ask for proof you are personally responsible, but regardless I bet you will go to court and lose. A judgment will be issued against you and once you start to earn some money you can being to pay it off or have your wages garnished.
Alternatively, you can always look into bankruptcy to severe your past due debts. Find a local bankruptcy attorney that you like and go talk to them.
Please update me on your progress by posting updates here in the comments section of your question. I’m very interested in how this works out for you.
P.S. Be sure to read ‘The Secret of Surviving Through Difficult Economic Times. What I Learned On My Journey‘.