Consumer Credit Card / Debt Collection Program

The Luzerne County Consumer Debt Diversionary Program is a collaborative effort between both the public and private sectors to address consumer debt in Luzerne County, which is   presided over by the Honorable Lesa S. Gelb of the 11th Judicial District of the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas.

Initiated in August 2017 by Local Rules 1144 - 1144.1, the primary objective of the Consumer Debt Diversionary Program is to provide a single unified process for the amicable resolution of consumer debt proceedings through court intervention, counseling, and conciliation. The Program's success relies on the cooperation of the Luzerne County Bar Association’s pro bono lawyers, a nonprofit counseling agency, and the parties. The civil docket consists of at least 25% consumer debt actions. Due to the Consumer Credit Diversionary Program, the cases are able to be streamlined through the court system.  

Participation in the Program

Following the filing and service of a consumer debt action, the court issues a practice order scheduling the matter for the next available conciliation conference list and staying any pleading deadlines in the matter pending the outcome of the conciliation conference.

How the Program Works

The Borrower is ordered to schedule an appointment with the following certified credit counseling agency:

Rosemary Lavelle
Manager of Counseling
Advantage Credit Counseling Services, Inc.
(888) 511-2227; (412) 390-1300, ext. 112

At the time of the appointment, the Borrower should receive an action plan with regard to their debt. At the time of the conference, one of the following will happen:

  • Removal from the program with a scheduling order;
  • Continuance for another conciliation hearing allowing enough time to reach an agreement between parties; or 
  • Resolution of the issue resulting in settlement and discontinuance of the case.

Failing to Participate in the Program

Failing to participate in the program will result in a judgment against the Borrower or dismissal of the case, depending upon which party fails to attend.