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Everything posted by BackFromTheDebt

  1. All of this is interesting speculation. However, a scam is a scam, whatever kind of scam it is. Best to avoid it.
  2. Um, yeah, but sorry to say, if someone sues an employer, that person is sometimes blackballed. I went through some amazing **** at a previous job, stuff that was completely unfair to the point where the attorney for the head office was giving the local HR people tips on how to convince me not to sue. At the same time, their attorney was dealing with a case where a really big name in the company sued them, and they fought it. The attorney basically said he did NOT want to deal with my case, because it was so much stronger. So I spent a few more years at the company until they closed down the local plant. Now they give me excellent references. There is no way I could've gotten my current job had I sued my previous employer. It could NOT have happened, However, if you are planning to leave this company anyway, and if you don't give a rat's patootie about references (it seems they don't like you anyway), then go ahead and sue, preferably as soon as you find another job.
  3. YES! Put the case number on EVERYTHING. That is how they know what case it belongs to. You also need to find out what the rules are for motion hearings in small claims courts in your county.
  4. I think this is the wrong forum for this issue. You would need to talk to someone in employment law. There was one time, decades ago, when I was getting screwed over by an employer. A lawyer told me I could fight it and probably win, but at the cost of my job. So I let it lie.
  5. A settlement is a possibility. That depends on your comfort level and your finances. Realize, you have a case where you are being sued. If you don't fight it, you will lose, and you will have a judgment against you for the original amount, the interest, and possibly some court fees. I don't know VA law about the last of them. AND, you have a judgment on your record, which is not good. You would be facing debtor exams, garnishments, etc. until it is paid off. So you have to fight the case. Filing an MTC could take the matter out of courts entirely. Junk debt buyers don't like arbitration. If you get your MTC, you will probably win completely. You can always call them about a settlement. That would be faster than an MTC, and less work, but ONLY if they agree to a settlement before the date when you have to reply. They could drag out the settlement, you might think a settlement is just around the corner, and bing-bang-boom you have a judgment against you and they don't care about the settlement offers. That happens at times. If you don't want to deal with the hassle of an MTC and court cases, etc., figure out what you are willing to pay, call up their lawyer today, and offer LESS than what you are willing to pay. That gives room for a counter offer. You never know. One time I offered a settlement before charge-off that was so ridiculously low I thought they would laugh at me, but then they agreed to just 5% more. (I offered 20%, they took 25%). Sometimes it is better to have them make an offer first, and see if you can live with it.
  6. I looked up warrant in debt, and that is apparently the Virginia equivalent of a small claims court debt suit. Please correct me if I am wrong, From what I can tell, the consumer almost always loses these cases. IIRC, AmEx still has an arbitration agreement, which may have a suitability clause. Citi USED to have an arbitration agreement. I think they took it out just after you defaulted. In other words, WHO OWNED THE ACCOUNT AT THE TIME OF YOUR LAST PAYMENT. If it was Citi, use the Citi agreement. If it was AmEx, use the AmEx agreement. If it isn't clear, include both to be safe. Which means -- there was an arbitration agreement in effect at the time of your default. I cannot remember if the Citi or Amex agreements have a small claims exemption or not. I don't think so, but I hope someone will chime in if I am wrong. I don't know Jack about the VA rules for warrant debts. In most states you could file a MTC (Motion to Compel arbitration) to get this out of court.
  7. All I could find of the company on the internet is a Facebook page. Can't tell if it is legit or not. The address is different from the one on your letter, which means nothing. A DV letter will either expose this as a scam, or, less likely, reveal a debt you didn't know about. Again, my feeling is this is either a scam or SOL. Nobody would offer $39 settlement on a real $550 debt unless there was something really weird going on.
  8. I did find a company by that name on the internet. It is a company that factors freight bills. Did you have a freight bill for this amount, and if so, was this a commercial or consumer debt? My advice in my last post is geared towards consumer debt.
  9. It could very likely be a scam. It could be a fake debt or a debt past SOL. One possibility -- send a DV letter to them. If they don't show the origins of the debt, it's not real. If they don't answer the DV letter, it's almost certainly a scam. Also, if they don't answer the DV letter, even if it IS real, they can't legally collect in the meantime. EDIT TO ADD: On the small possibility that this IS real, there are some FDCPA violations. Failure to warn about the 30 days, not to mention overshadowing by the 14 day limit and no notice of the 30 days to respond. I would not worry about it now. On the off chance this is real, they probably won't sue, and if they do sue, you have counterclaims more than the alleged debt.
  10. It wouldn't hurt to use them, and it might help. So go ahead, There was a little confusion earlier among some of the posters, I think. The Synchronicity card allows for arbitration in Small Claims. The OTHER card does not, so for the OTHER account, make sure to file BEFORE they sue.
  11. In the end, this won't end well, but there are some things you can do in the meantime. There may be some free legal advice in your area, or you may look up some of this online. If they sued you in a state where you no longer live, sometimes you can get the case thrown out of court based on improper venue. You need to check the laws in the state where you were sued, and see what you can do about it. If they get a default judgment against you based on you not replying, that judgment can be domesticated, meaning they can collect where you now live, instead of where they sued. So you don't want them to get a judgment. Start by contacting the law firm that is handling the case, if you can get that information. Maybe you can get them to agree to dismiss the case without prejudice so it can be refiled in your new state. Of course, at that point if the suit is thrown out in your old state, they will just sue you again in your new state, but that MIGHT buy you some time to negotiate. If the negotiations don't work out, there are other strategies that SOMETIMES work to buy some time for more negotiations. For example, you could force them into arbitration. You would lose, but that would be more expensive for them, and SOMETIMES they are willing to settle for less to avoid the costs of arbitration. However, they will pursue you to the ends of the earth to get their money back, unless you settle. If you get a judgment against you, they can collect post-judgment interest until it is paid off, which can be a lot of money over the years. There are other strategies. If the debt is large enough, you might consider bankruptcy. With a low income, you should be eligible for Ch. 7. That does have it's price -- you cannot declare bankruptcy again for a few more years afterwards, so you have to be really careful with your finances. This is NOT the end of the world. If everything falls apart and you have to declare bankruptcy, you will get a fresh start. Just try to learn from your previous mistakes.
  12. One of the biggest mistakes I ever made in a court case was because I didn't come to CIC with what seemed to be an obvious question. Turns out what I thought was the obvious answer was WRONG. If I had asked the stupid question here, I would not have made that mistake.
  13. If the arbitration agreement says that, send a letter, CMRRR, requesting that they pay for your share of the arbitration fees. You want to create a paper trail. If they are serious, they will send a form for you to fill out. If they ignore it, you have the paper trail in case they claim you didn't pay your fees at some later point.
  14. See what the other side does now.
  15. Has your friend called the DA's office yet? If not, he should do so. There is good news and bad news. The good news is, if your friend calls the DA's office, MOST of the time your friend can work out as good a deal directly with the DA as your friend could get with a lawyer. Notice I said MOST of the time. SOME of the time, the DA's office is overworked and drops the ball on the case. That happened to one of my daughters on a traffic ticket -- she was waiting for the DA's office to get back to her, and they never did, so the judge ruled against her in default. If your friend works out a deal with the DA, your friend has two choices: (1) follow through with the deal, or (2) a felony conviction. The felony conviction is MUCH worse than whatever the DA demands, no matter how unreasonable or unfair your friend thinks the situation is. This is the real world here. The bad news: If the DA's office drops the ball on this, guess what? It is your friend who pays the price, not the schlub in the DA's office who dropped the ball. If your friend can't get a deal with the DA's office right away, your friend needs a lawyer ASAP. Other bad news. As @Clydesmom pointed out, they are not likely to trust your friend very far. He had a long time to come up with the money and contact the mechanic, and completely dropped the ball. Meaning, best case scenario might be an offer from the DA's office to pay off every penny by the end of the month or even the end of the week or else go to jail. They are not likely to accept payment plans. If they do, the penalty for missing a payment, even a day late, can be jail. Saying "I could get the money in a couple of months" is the quickest path to the pokey.
  16. Also, check with the court about the hearing procedures. For Circuit Court, in MOST counties you would need to schedule a hearing. For small claims court, the hearing may just be part of the assigned call back date. As for settlement? It depends on your comfort level. Getting the case out of court and into arbitration is pretty much a win. As in, you wind up paying $0 on the account. I personally never made a settlement offer on anything which had an arbitration agreement, and I never lost in arbitration. What is the OC for the other account with PRA? If that one has no arbitration agreement, you will probably have to settle, and it would be better to settle before they file in court rather than later. Maybe save the money you were going to use to settle this account for a settlement with the other account. There is also the "don't mess with this guy" list. Sometimes CAs, JDBs and even attorneys hand off cases if they know the target is strong. They make their bread and butter off the easy cases, and don't like the tough ones. There is a certain law firm that was assigned three of my accounts. After I beat them for the first two, they contacted me about a third one. I called them up and asked them nicely to hand off the case, and did they really want to mess with me again. They dropped that case like a hot potato. Which means -- if you settle with PRA on the first case, the second one will cost you. If you beat them on the first case, they might sell off the second one, or just drop it, or settle for less money since they don't want to spend the $$$$ fighting against someone who already beat them. One time, many years ago, I was playing in an on-line tournament against the best female player in the world in a certain game. Metaphorically, she had me on the ground with her foot on my throat. Then she eased up on me. I came back to beat her. It was a double-elimination tournament, and I beat her again a second time to knock her out of the tournament. All because she didn't close in on the kill. YOU have PRA on the ground with your foot on their throat as soon as a magistrate or judge gives signs off on the MTC. Why do you insist on taking off your foot and giving them a break? They just see that as weakness. And when they see weakness, they go for the jugular. YOUR jugular.
  17. I'm not sure about the Oregon Rules of Civil Procedure. Has a hearing been scheduled? You need to know if YOU schedule the hearing or if the judge schedules the hearing in Oregon. In theory, if the other side hasn't objected, you should win the motion right off the bat. That isn't always the case. The judge may allow them to object and state their case in court. Maybe that isn't supposed to happen, but it might. Or they could wait a little while longer to reply, and the judge may allow that. Or not. For the time being, your job is to find out who schedules the hearing, and when the hearing is. Be ready for the standard BS arguments. Just keep in mind that a contract is a contract, and you are holding them to the contract.
  18. @fisthardcheese is right. When you file, send a letter to their attorney demanding they pay the $250 as per the agreement. I once had a case where the other side neither paid my $250, which was in the agreement, nor did they pay their own fees. So the case was closed in arbitration, meaning I never paid a penny.
  19. Ha. I noticed I quoted your unedited post, so I edited out your personal info. About half of my JAMS arbitrations I never payed the $250 fee. I waited until the other side joined the case. Sometimes the arbitration was settled before the fees were paid. Sometimes the case was closed for non-payment. In those situations, I never paid. When the other side joined the case, I did pay. Some of the other arbitration experts may chime in as well.
  20. NOT a good idea to put your personal information out here, unless that is a pseudonym. You should use a pseudonym instead. Some of the law firms read this forum. I would suggest editing the post. This also affects your strategy. You should probably file in JAMS ASAP, because you may have already tipped your hand.
  21. I might do things a little differently. IF you are having trouble getting your JAMS filing together, I would still suggest sending the DV, and using the time to prepare the filing in JAMS. Not everyone is as experienced as fisthardcheese, and for some it takes a while to get everything ready. Once the DV is sent, sometimes they respond in a few days, sometimes a few weeks, sometimes never. In one case, I got the response more than a year later. I've even had some law firms walk away after a DV with arbitration election, but those were generally firms that didn't want to deal with me, and the response of over a year was due to chaos in the law firm. In other words, get your JAMS filing ready, so you can put it in the mail either (a) with your DV, (b) a few days after you send the DV, or (c) as soon as you hear back from the law firm. @fisthardcheese method of filing with the DV (a) is a little safer, and certainly the best option IF you have the JAMS filing ready. (b) and (c) are if you need the time OR are trying to delay for some reason. I used (c) once when I was very close to the SOL, hoping the law firm wouldn't get back to me right away. They did, so I filed in JAMS.
  22. Of course the cost of JAMS is what scared off JDBs. A possible FDCPA claim is icing on the cake. In SOME cases, it can help. I don't know of any cases where it would hurt. I don't think a JDB will say --"hey, we were going to walk away from this, but they have an FDCPA claim, so let's spend tens of thousands of dollars fighting this in JAMS because the FDCPA case offends me"
  23. I have communicated with all three of the people I mentioned recently by PM. I know their records in court and arbitration far better than you do. I know some of them have lost in court, but NEVER in JAMS. They have beaten this particular law firm in JAMS. In Wisconsin. I had a conversation once with the very top consumer attorney in the state of Wisconsin, Briane Pagel. Mr. Pagel told me trueq is a legal genius, and that many of the strategies Mr. Pagel uses were learned from trueq. In fact, trueq taught the arbitration strategy to Mr. Pagel. I know why they were banned, and you don't. You shouldn't talk about things you obviously have no understanding about. I would trust people who have a perfect record in JAMS against this law firm in the state in question over someone who does not.