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Everything posted by BackFromTheDebt

  1. I should add — there is at least a small probability that the OC declared the OP dead as a truly perverse form of skip tracing. As in, prove you are alive by giving us all the contact information, so we can sic our collectors on you. Doing so would be illegal. If this actually happened, or if the OC could not show any valid reason why they declared the OP dead, the bank could get into trouble, and may very well be willing to walk away to get the OP to drop any claims against the bank. If I were the OP, I would demand the bank show good reason why they declared him deceased.
  2. Braking the law in order to find a debtor who seems to have flown the coop. At one point, I had to change my phone number because the phone system was attached to a water tower that burned down. To get a new phone ASAP I needed a new number. Almost all the debt collectors were smart enough to call 411 to get my new number. One OC was not. As a ruse, they sent a letter to my wife saying her account was suspended because of a high volume of unusual and large charges. She had only used the account once, for a balance transfer. The letter was designed to shock her into contacting the OC and asking about the charges. That was illegal under state and federal laws. What we did: She sent a letter CMRRR demanding an explanation, disputing the entire debt, and demanding an investigation of all charges. The letter included what federal statutes required them to investigate. Instead of answering my wife’s letter, the OC sent the account to a CA. Over the next few years, my wife sent letters to each CA refusing to pay the debt until an investigation came through. Eventually it went to a law firm. At that point my wife filed a claim in JAMS for fraud, identity theft, etc. I was able to represent her in JAMS. Their lawyer was not happy with his client after discovery. I cannot tell what the settlement was.
  3. Which is why I mentioned passwords. I need to give a password for my accounts when dealing with banks, etc. to show I am authorized to get certain information. But, that is not sufficient to prove that I am who I say I am. There are many scams which prey upon grandparents, for example, in which the caller pretends to be the grandchild calling from jail. The scam artists are quite good. I know of a case in which one of the most brilliant attorneys in Long Island was scammed. Back when I was a professor, one time I was talking to a student who called from home, two counties away. He asked for his grades. My interpretation of federal privacy laws were I could not give him the information, because authorization had to either be in person or in writing. Fortunately I made the students come up with passwords at the beginning of the semester. Legally, I could give out the grades corresponding to they password.
  4. Both my wife and I work and have worked in several fields which have VERY strict federal privacy laws, and both of us have been trained on how to deal with federal privacy laws. I am currently in banking, and I have been trained in personal confidential information handling. Phone calls are NOT a good way to deal with private information. I can get on the phone and say "I am Groot". That does not make me Groot. Private information is best handled either (a) by mail or (b) using a password. By mail is best. True, debt collectors generally do not follow strict privacy practices. A random CA can call me up and ask for Groot, and when I say "I am Groot", they wind up giving out all sorts of confidential information. Heck, many years ago I had a debt collector from Citibank scream at me because I said I was NOT Groot, and I didn't know how he could find Groot. He accused me of lying. I have always advised people not to deal with debt collectors over the phone, since we laymen can easily say something stupid. Any bank that would call someone up, and use a statement that the recipient is Groot as proof that the recipient really is Groot, is asking for trouble with federal regulators. Unfortunately, I don't have any idea what the laws are regarding a bank declaring you dead. My advice for the OP to save and document everything, which the OP is wisely following, is the best I can do. If I were the OP, I would spend the time to look into what the bank is or is not required to do in order to declare one of their customers to be deceased. Maybe the bank followed the law to the letter, maybe they did not. I can say, based upon my short experience in the banking industry, that I know of cases in which banks have simply written off part or even all of a debt in order to steer clear of federal regulators. I was personally involved in a project in which staggering amounts of money were written off.
  5. When things get weird, anything can happen. Which is why I recommended earlier that EVERYTHING be well documented and saved. This could be a mess up by the OC. This may or may not be an honest mistake. They could verify. This could be ID theft. This could be one illegal skip tracing. As I have mentioned many times in the past, I got one of the most dogged OCs to drop a case with illegal skip tracing they refused to investigate. We don’t know what is going on. The OC may handle this correctly, and there may be no violation. Or, the OC could mess this up and the OP saving all the evidence could blow this up in the OC’s faces. When an OC did some illegal skip tracing on my wife’s account, we got the OC to walk away and also got a law firm to pay a couple of dimes for their violations. So don’t assume this is just an innocent thing for which you have no recourse. Even if it is innocent, they may well be willing to make an extremely favorable settlement to avoid having to explain to a judge or arbitrator why they presumed you dead without any evidence.
  6. Yes, OCs can be abusive when they call. That is one of the many reasons why I used a call blocker back in the day. (This was so long ago, it was a land line). Revocation of right to call works better with cell phones than with land lines. AND, it works better if it is a robo-call and you can prove it is a robo-call. Otherwise, if you don't want to speak to the OC, block their calls. I did once have an OC that committed all sorts of nasty offenses on my wife's account when we changed our phone numbers. In that situation, they did some illegal skip tracing, claiming there were a lot of unusual charges on her account. When she demanded to know what the charges were, and demanded an investigation, they ignored her. That really came back to bite them in the posterior when they finally threatened to sue her. Of course your situation is different. They may or may not handle this one properly. The best advice I can give you is: 1. SAVE EVERYTHING! 2. Make copies of everything you send out, and save the copies. 3. Send all letters CMRRR. Save the green card. 4. Save all correspondence from the OC and any collection agencies. 5. SAVE EVERYTHING!!!!! I hope I am not being too subtle in emphasizing how you need to save everything. At some point, if the OC does commit a violation, you need all the evidence to nail them. In my wife's case, saving everything was worth the equivalent of a few months' salary.
  7. The short answer is, your credit score will increase. I can't tell you exactly how much it will increase. I think Credit Karma has a tool you can use to see what changing certain things would have on your estimated FICO score. Please note: this is NOT your real FICO score. It is an estimated score, and the effects the tool shows are rough estimates. Better than what any of us could predict, based on our extremely limited knowledge of your situation, and not knowing the FICO algorithms.
  8. There were some extenuating circumstances, Extenuating circumstances play a huge role. Every OC is different, and there can be huge differences from case to case. Back about a decade or so ago, I was able to get a 25% settlement just before charge-off with FNBO. That was normal in those days. Sometimes the state laws can make a difference as well. Back in those days, BOA (now BAML) kept very bad records, and settlements of 10-15% were quite common. My state had very strict records requirements, so I was able to use that to keep BOA from ever suing, and also to beat Cap 1. Still, this is one of the best settlements we have seen from Discover. Other good settlements have generally been between the time Discover was billed for the hearing, and when they paid the bill. I don't recall seeing this good a settlement this early.
  9. Excellent deal. Take it. BEFORE you sign, read it carefully and make sure this settles all claims. They normally put that language in there, but just make sure. They might have a stipulation that you never apply for nor use a Discover Card ever again. That is normal.
  10. I am very sorry about your father. Unless there is a prohibition in Oregon state laws, your wife may represent you in JAMS. This does not require a POA. I represented my wife in JAMS. In that case, my wife and I sent a signed statement to JAMS and the opposing attorney that I was an unpaid non-attorney representative for her. That way I could not be charged with unauthorized practice of law. Nobody at JAMS objected, nor did the AmEx attorney. I believe some states do NOT allow this, but I don’t know which states.
  11. We can't really give you any advice without seeing a redacted version of the agreement. I am completely confused by this post. Are they agreeing to walk away from the dispute, or are they asking you to agree to pay some money?
  12. I’ve been in that situation myself. First and foremost, file an objection to the MSJ on the grounds that your MTC takes the case out of the court’s jurisdiction. Improper venue.
  13. I can't read their minds, but they do seem to be sending a very clear message with their silence, i.e. they are not taking your offer seriously. The way to get them to take it seriously is to have your MTC ruled on favorably, and then file in JAMS. Then, make the same offer again. MAYBE they will reply. Maybe not. You say this is an old debt. Is it within the SOL?
  14. Well, it will be very difficult to drag out arbitration unless you are actively participating in arbitration. If you stop participating, either the case will be closed or they will just rule against you. Either way, you would find yourself in court very quickly. Also, a BK attorney could file BK and do all the work for you while you are gone. You don't have to be there. Not to mention, if you have any expectations of inheritance, it would be far better to file BK while your father is still alive. Otherwise any inheritance you get would be taken away to pay your creditors. If you have already spoken with a BK attorney, I am sure you have discussed this. I can't see that tax liabilities are any reason to delay BK either. But, you have spoken to an attorney already, and the attorney almost certainly has a better idea of the situation than anyone on this board. If you are certain that BK must be delayed, and you feel it is absolutely necessary to drag things out in arbitration, you should (a) choose possible arbitrators right away. I think you are right at your deadline. Do that NOW. Don't miss any deadlines. (b) File a letter with the case manager, ASAP, of course with a copy to the opposing law firm, stating that due to your father's impending death you are requesting a continuance of the proceedings for 4 months. (c) If no continuance is given, then wait until an arbitrator is chosen. As soon as an arbitrator is chosen, file for a continuance based upon your father's impending death, and you needing to be around to help him. This way, you will probably get your continuance, so you can deal with important matters, without needlessly wasting everyone's time in arbitration. If continuances are denied, then sorry, but the only way to drag things out would be do everything in arbitration, including discovery, by email while you are with your father.
  15. At this point, you need to follow the advice of your BK attorney. If the attorney says file now, file now. If the attorney says drag it out, then pick some arbitrators. It doesn't matter, because you will lose anyway. How long does your attorney say you need to drag this out?
  16. How is that? I am asking for information rather than to argue. It appears the creditor state SOL only comes into play if a lawsuit has already been filed. If no lawsuit has been filed, then why wouldn’t Delaware choice of law prevail? I think different arbitrators may rule differently. It doesn’t seem so cut and dried as you make or seem. What am I missing?
  17. That language was added since my arbitration with Discover. As you mentioned, this new SOL addition would not matter, because no suit had been filed. Just to make clear, I filed in JAMS before a suit to have a stronger claim to the Delaware SOL. My situation may not apply to the OP. For anyone reading this, if you have a defaulted Discover account which is past the shorter Delaware SOL but within your state’s SOL, it may be a wise move to file in JAMS before they file in court, and use Delaware choice of law and SOL as a defense against their counter claims for the debt.
  18. I should have added ... In cases for which the creditor's state does NOT have a borrowing statute for SOL, then the passing of the SOL is a valid defense in arbitration, but NOT court. For my case, that was an essential difference. I was able to win in arbitration with a defense that would have lost in court.
  19. One exception to that, which I used to get a very nice settlement with Discover: If your state has a longer SOL than the home state of the OC, AND the arbitration agreement has a choice of law provision to use the home state of the OC, AND the SOL for the OC's home state has passed, but NOT the SOL for your home state, THEN you can file a pre-emptive arbitration against the OC, demanding that their home state's SOL be applied. Realize that Delaware, for example, has a relatively short SOL. Even so, Discover dragged the case until just before the hearing before agreeing to settle.
  20. If you demand the case be settled in JAMS, one of the three following things will happen. 1. They will drop the case, and let some other law firm deal with it. It is not likely this will happen. if this happens, some other law firm will eventually do #2 or #3. At best this will buy you some time. 2. They either demand you file in JAMS to prevent them from suing, or else they will send you forms for you to fill out to file in JAMS, with a note that if you don't file in JAMS they will sue you. At that point, if you do NOT file in JAMS, they will use that against you when they sue if you file an MTC. This often happens. 3. They will completely ignore you and sue. This often happens. Always keep copies of everything you send to them, and send everything CMRRR. If #3 happens and they sue anyway, and then claim you waived your rights to arbitrate, you can show the judge you demanded arbitration, and they blew you off.
  21. 1. Discover will go through arbitration to the bitter end, unless there is a compelling reason for them not to. A BK filing is a compelling reason for them not to. Yes, they will spend tens of thousands to chase a few thousand. 2. You already have an attorney. Your attorney is familiar with your specific situation. We are not. 3. Unless and until you file in BK, you need to do whatever you need to keep the case alive in JAMS. If for some reason you don’t file BK, there will be a window for negotiation between the time the hearing is billed for and when they pay the fees.
  22. @Harry Seaward has she right idea. There is probably no reason to call them. The problem with calling is you might accidentally admit to the debt or make some other mistake to shoot yourself in the foot. These are professionals You are not Any and all correspondence should be in writing If you contact them at all, it should be a DV letter. After they have validated, you can sit and wait for them to file, or you could possibly write and tell them you demand the case be settled in JAMS. If you are feeling generous, you could offer to settle the case for $250, which is the most you could pay in JAMS. However, they probably wouldn’t accept the offer, so you would probably just be wasting your time.
  23. If you are planning to buy a house, there are a few things you should know. 1. If something does not show up on your credit report, it will probably not hurt you when you are house hunting. 2. Some places will put an item on your credit report as soon as you start applying for loans. Which means you can't ignore the stuff in collections. The only bills you specifically mentioned were medical bills. In general, if you call up and arrange a payment plan you can live with, medical debts will stay out of collections if not in collections yet, and if the debt is in collections but not on your credit report, it will stay off your credit report So why not call, and work out some arrangement, perhaps with an auto deduct, in return for keeping the debt off your CRAs?
  24. Having a game plan, including what to do if something goes unexpectedly wrong, is not a bad idea. However, steps such as an appeal are a bit down the road. It is fine to consider the possibility, but pointless to worry too much about it. You will lose enough sleep as it is. Focus on your immediate steps first. Just be careful not to over worry about things that could go wrong, but probably won't.
  25. To answer the other questions: Unless you get an agreement right away, you will need to file in JAMS. Don't wait more than a few weeks. If negotiations are stalled, just file. If you do that the right way, it doesn't hurt you at all. When you file in JAMS, you MUST send a copy of everything to the attorney. Everything. Mail it at first. If the case gets going, you will probably later do everything by email, but that is a few steps in the future. (For one JAMS case, I used an email account that was only for the arbitration correspondence). When you file in JAMS, do NOT pay right away. As @Impress mentioned, some of the agreements have clauses for which they pay the arbitration fees. I had two JAMS filings for which I never paid the fees. In one case, we had a mutual walkaway between the time I filed and when the fees were due. So no fees. In another case, the attorneys stupidly claimed that Cap 1 would pay all the fees. Cap 1 never paid their fees nor mine, so the case was dismissed. Seeing as how this is Midland, the chances are you have pretty much won this case, and you may not need to pay the JAMS fees. If the arbitration agreement says YOU have to pay the fees, and you can't reach a mutual walkaway agreement before the fees are due, then you will have to pay the JAMS fees. They will never pay, and the case will be dismissed from JAMS for non-payment. As for the court docs -- if you have a court order for arbitration, by all means include that with your JAMS filings. Refer to the document in your filings, and include the court order.