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Everything posted by BackFromTheDebt

  1. The judge denying the motion for default judgment is a victory. An expected victory, but a victory nonetheless. Now prepare for the June 29 hearing. And try not to panic. Their biggest weapon is fear.
  2. It depends on how badly you want to keep this out of court. Nobody can answer that question except you. If you really, really want to keep the matter out of court, you have to file in JAMS before they file in court. At this point, they would probably NOT take a 10% deal. I said probably, because I do know of some cases in the past where 10% deals were accepted. The only way to get them to take 10%, or possibly 0%, would be to go ahead and file in JAMS. Most debt collection law firms have some way of communication for settlement offers. You need to figure out how to communicate with them. They will probably respond to your letter about arbitration. They might say unless you file by such and such a time they will sue. Or maybe not. One possibility is to send them another letter after giving them a chance to reply to your arbitration election. You can give them an offer, with a strict time limit, of 10%. Note to them that if they don't accept the offer by the time limit, you will file in JAMS. They will probably reject the offer. In that case, file in JAMS right away. As soon as you do that, your negotiating power increases dramatically. One thing some people have done -- fill out the JAMS forms. Send they a copy and say you haven't filed in JAMS yet, but these are the papers you will send in at such and such a date unless they take your 10% offer. That shows them you are serious, and they are more likely to accept a 10% offer at that point.
  3. If you are certain this cannot be filed in small claims, then there is PROBABLY no harm in waiting for them to sue. Given the current COVID-19 situation, I don't know how long it would take for them to sue. There are a few situations in which you do NOT want to wait for them to sue: 1. The case will be in small claims. 2. There is some reason you do not want a court case on your record. For example, if you need a security clearance, or you work in a profession where it would be bad to have on your record. For example, I am in banking now. I had to show that all my court cases were all cleared up before I could get a job in banking. There used to be a small scale politician who posted here frequently. He doesn't want any more court cases on his record. 3. I once filed a preemptive JAMS when it was my wife's account. She was not capable of defending herself in court, and I could not defend her in court. So I filed in JAMS so I could represent her in JAMS. 4. You will need a large loan soon, and an open court case would destroy your chances. Not likely if you recently defaulted on a debt anyway. If none of these apply to you, you have nothing to lose.
  4. This is looking better for you. Much better. When Citi sold the debt to a JDB, the JDB took on the entire contract. That means the arbitration agreement is still valid. However, JDBs are less likely to pursue arbitration. Use the same strategy I lined up. Send the lawyer a letter, CMRRR, saying you elect arbitration for all disputes concerning this debt. Wait until they sue, then file an MTC, since this is not small claims or the equivalent. It will take a number of months before the court will even hear any new cases. When you get your MTC, file in JAMS. They will probably go away. Not 100% certain, but probably.
  5. I do not know NJ law, but if this debt is above the amount for small claims, then the small claims exemption would not apply. Since this is an OC, they will very likely follow into arbitration. The point of arbitration is to use the $$$$ pressure of JAMS to attempt to get a better settlement. In general, you can get a better settlement BEFORE they sue than you can AFTER they sue. However, you say settlement is impossible right now. I don't know what is going on with the NJ courts. Many courts are simply not hearing civil cases these days. It would be difficult for them to file, and difficult for them to pursue a case after filing. That can buy you some time to get a settlement which might not be as good as what you can get now. Since this is not small claims, you probably don't need to file a preemptive arbitration. You can wait until you are served, and then file a MTC. It might take a number of months for an MTC to be heard. Then you file in JAMS, which gives you a little leverage, especially in between the time you file and they pay. You will have to work out your game plan at some point. This is not to say your game plan can't change. When I defaulted on a lot of debts, my game plan changed quite a bit during the process. But put together some sort of game plan. They will PROBABLY pursue this case. I was able to beat Citi in arbitration because I had some genuine FDCPA violations against the law firm. There is one tactic which MIGHT work. WARNING: There is no case law to support this, but I had some success with it a little over a decade ago, and this was part of how I got a fantastic settlement with Citi: Reply to the law firm, and demand they file any cases against you in arbitration. They will probably insist you file against yourself, or else they will sue. Demand again that they file their own case against you in arbitration. When they finally sue, file an MTC. Then, when you file in JAMS, file a claim against them because (a) they threatened to sue after your election of arbitration and (b) they actually sued. That may or may not work these days, but in olden times I got quite a bit of success with that tactic, depending on the law firm. Note that in my case, it was a lot more effective because they messed up and filed in court AFTER I had already filed in JAMS. Oops. I have gotten some success with this as a tactic, but only when there were other factors as well. So this tactic may or may not help you get a better settlement you may or may not be able to afford anyway.
  6. There is still a lot of information we don't have. Who is the OC on this? You implied there is a small claims exemption for arbitration. Some OCs do have this exemption. Where is the OC located? What is the choice of law for the arbitration agreement? This is important. I was able to beat a debt because it was a few months before the SOL in Wisconsin (my state) but the debt had passed the SOL in Delaware, which was the headquarters for the OC. The arbitration agreement said Delaware law would apply in arbitration. So. what does your agreement say?
  7. You should demand (not "ask for") an in-person hearing. That is your right. Of course there will be no in person hearings for a while, but that is another issue. An in person hearing is more expensive. They have to pay for the costs -- including travel costs for the arbitrator if the hearing is outside where the arbitrator lives. Filing objections is not only your right, but a necessity. Use it or lose it. If the other side does something you don't like, you must object, or you lose your right to object. And that can run up the costs.
  8. Since it is already SOL, will it fall off your CR before you get a new home? If so, there is no point in this. If this would be on your CR for another year or two, it is worth it. Sometimes the credit reports say when an item is due to fall off.
  9. I understand. You don't want an otherwise sterling 10 year old account to be removed. Did you mean 2017 rather than 2007? A 10 year old account would not have a derogatory from 2007, and any 2007 derogatory would have fallen off by now anyway. There is the possibility of good will. Meaning, since you have a good relationship with this lender, you can ask them pretty please to remove at least the 2015 derogatory, and possibly the 2017 derogatory as well. The idea being you haven't missed a payment in over 2 years, so pretty please with a cherry on top could they do you this favor? They will probably say no, but they MIGHT say yes. It can't hurt to ask. Sometimes you get what you ask for, especially if you run across someone who just got yelled at by the previous customer and then you are very nice and pleasant and charming. But it may be out of their hands. So you might ask very nicely and politely if there is a supervisor who has the power to do that change, and thank you so much for at least trying.
  10. Very nice, although the OP said it was a motion for a default judgment. Basically they are claiming you never replied to the summons properly. That is not true. Take all the quoted advice, and write it up as an Objection to the Motion for Default Judgment. I once had a plaintiff file a bogus motion for default judgment against me. I had followed all the procedures correctly. The judge had a hearing, I explained what I had done, and the judge ruled against them. So don’t be scared.
  11. I hope you haven't already shot yourself in the foot. These are Synchrony accounts. Synchrony is easy to beat -- with the arbitration strategy. I really don't know enough about Georgia to tell if this is too late to file a MTC arbitration. I would strongly suggest doing so BEFORE the MSJ. In some places, you are considered to have already waived your rights to arbitration. In others, you can elect arbitration up to just before the trial. It also varies judge to judge, and sometimes differs depending on the mood of the judge. So file an MTC ASAP. Just in case it isn't too late. The longer you wait, the worse it is for you. THEN, you need to address the MSJ, and file an objection. That will take more time, and more effort, but do it anyway, even though this is at best a Hail Mary. You need to see if there is any material issue of fact in dispute.
  12. There probably was a security leak. Contact the CRAs about putting a freeze on your account. Also pull your credit info, see if there is anything weird on there. If so, you may need to file a police report as well, which could be of benefit in the future.
  13. In that case, they may or may not pay to get you to go away. And stuff like that happens. My job involves fixing errors like that for banks. Such as, when the account number changes, what happens to the old account. Regulators get involved and it can be expensive. There are no guarantees. For most, but not all, judges they could beat this with BFE. It all depends on how hard you want to press this, and whether they are willing to pay to make this go away. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t.
  14. HUGE question here. Do you have proof? Did you send this CMRRR? Did you save a copy of your DV letter and the green card receipt? If not, you can’t prove a violation so forget it. If so, you could try to get them to pay you not to sue. That worked for me once. The other times it did not. But, that one time was $1000 that I needed. If the threat to sue doesn’t work, you can go ahead and file a claim. Maybe their lawyer will arrange to pay you $1000 to make this go away. Maybe. If you get to court, they will have a good defense of bona fide error. Most of the time you lose, but sometimes you win. If you are very busy it might not be worth more than the first letter. If you aren’t busy and really need money, take them to court if they ignore you. tl:dr You have a violation. If you have the time to pursue this, they might pay you some money to make you go away.
  15. @Clydesmom is correct. The thing is, bankruptcy is a weapon that can only be used infrequently. Once you file, you can't file again for a while. That is why people who have recently BK are often given more credit than usual. These are extremely uncertain times. Nobody has a clue what the economy will be like in the near future. We as a nation could take a mild hit, or it could be a disaster. Nobody can predict what will happen to you, personally, in the near future. The danger is if you file BK now, and after you are finished, bad things happen. Suppose you let this run its course. Suppose between now and the end, your financial situation has gotten worse. In that case, you would be happy to have waited to file BK. OTOH, if things haven't gotten worse, you haven't lost much by waiting. If things have gotten better, you may be in a position to pay things off.
  16. Did they give you instructions? IIRC, when I did my lists for JAMS, they asked me to strike X number of names, and rank the others in order. So yes, 1,2,3... In theory, at least JAMS would try to find the arbitrator most acceptable to the participants. But they won't give you an arbitrator you struck.
  17. This might be a good strategy. You don't HAVE to BK until after the arbitration hearing. By that time, who knows what will be going on in this economy.
  18. No. If you hire an attorney they can no longer talk to you except through your attorney. If you are representing yourself in arbitration, and have not retained an attorney, they have to talk to you directly.
  19. I am sorry to hear this. I hope you are both working again soon, and I hope you stay healthy. The silver lining is, you have leverage. If you are on the edge of BK, then if you do file for BK, this debt can be part of it. All they would get would be whatever percentage of your assets they are entitled to. A BK attorney could tell you FAR more than I ever could. Your leverage is this: if they are not willing to settle for an amount equal to or less than what you would pay them in BK, which might actually be nothing, you can let them spend all their money in arbitration, get their award, and then see their award vanish in BK. The flip side is: if your financial situation improves, which I hope it does, and you are able to avoid BK, you lose some of your leverage. Either way, you have the leverage of them at some point getting tired of the bills for arbitration. One possibility would be to let them know you have both lost your jobs, and ask if they have any programs to forgive loans for unemployed. Most of the time they won't, but it won't hurt to ask.
  20. The usual good advice from Harry. One tactic some have used -- if an account has an arbitration provision, offer a settlement amount similar to that of the filing fees. For example, if the filing fee is $200 or $250, offer $150 at first but be willing to go up to $250 or $300. It is worth the extra $50-$100 to make this go away and not have to deal with arbitration for most people. YMMV
  21. Why would the OP ask friends to help? Looks like the OP is getting some good advice here.
  22. Lots of people don’t seem to be scared of Coronavirus. Some claim it’s “just the flu” Look at the numbers. The worst flu epidemic in my life was the extremely contagious Hong Kong Flu, which was brought to the US by soldiers returning from the Vietnam War. It came in 2 waves. The first wave was 1968-69. The second wave, which I caught, was 69-70. The second wave was worse because the first wave came when schools were closed for the winter. The total number of deaths in the US was about 100,000. Not quite as bad as the Asian Flu a decade or so earlier, but bad enough. Very few precautions were taken. They didn’t lock down stares or close schools. The Coronavirus pandemic is, as far as we know, in its first wave. Look at the number of deaths so far in NYC, which has been in lock down for about a month so far. My MIL and FIL haven’t left their apartment in a month. People are taking precautions. Schools and most other businesses are closed. NYC seems to have hit its peak, but there will be thousands more deaths. If one takes the official death count, which is probably severely undercounted because of lack of testing, and extrapolate thorough the population of the US, we would see a death rate of over 500,000. This is just part way through the first wave. Nor is NYC the hardest hit. New Orleans has been hit at least as hard, maybe harder. Normally this time of year it is hot enough in NOLA to kill off any flu virus. Consider that a normal flu virus dies in about half an hour in 80 degree weather. Some researchers put the Coronavirus in an oven for one hour at 140 degrees F. The virus survived and was able to replicate. They were able to kill off the virus at 200 degrees F in 15 minutes. So summer may not save us. This is NOT the flu. This is much deadlier than any flu virus seen in the past 100 years.