The case is CACH LLC v. Jon J. Askew, SC91780. The holding is quite simple – if you owe a debt to a credit card company, mortgage lender etc. and your debt is sold to another collection agency (happens frequently), that new company cannot just haul you into court. First, the new company has to have standing to sue you – the debt collection company has to prove they have a right to be there. Specifically, the Missouri Supreme Court held that the debt purchaser – the collection agency, has to have a custodian of records there who can testify as to the validity of your debt. Oftentimes, this means that the original company who sold your debt will have to fly in to testify in a case that they are no longer a part of.
What does this mean for the debtor? It's great news! For any one who has slipped behind on a payment and has been subjected to the frequent debt collection calls, it can be harassing and embarrassing. The debt collection companies are supposed to abide by certain regulations that limit when they can call you, who they can call, and what they can say. They often don't adhere to these guidelines and when they stray, you may need a debt collection defense attorney. The scale used to be tipped in favor of the debt collection companies meaning it was quite easy for these companies to sue to collect the debt. This created problems as companies began to get sloppy. They found it easier to sell the debt to an outside vendor to collect the debt. The original company would then completely lose track of the debt and how it was recovered. These new collection agencies would sue people who weren't even responsible for the debt, attempted to collect too much, or simply had no proof that anything was owed at all. This new decision will make the collection companies prove their case.