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Can I Expect to Be Sued?


strumpeace
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Here's the deal -- I had 12 outstanding debts. I completely paid off 8 of them. But it's going to be impossible for me to pay off the remaining 4. I'm planning to file bankruptcy, but I would reconsider if I thought I could escape with no judgments against me.

My 4 debts:

Discover $8000

American Express (now with Zwicker & Assoc.) $1900

Chase (now with Cambece) $4000

Monogram Bank of Georgia $1500

A couple of those are really big amounts, particularly Discover. What are my chances of being sued? I think I'd rather have a bankruptcy on my credit than a judgment that I'll never be able to pay.

Thanks.

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I think you can count on Discover coming after you. I've seen them sue for much less than that. If Discover agreed to a settlement then backed off that may be a good way to reduce your liability...if you have proof of the agreement.

Since these are all unsecured debts I don't think you'd have to worry too much if you went BK...but this really isn't a very substantial sum. I personally would try to find some way to settle for a lesser balance. The ones that are in the hands of collection agencies can probably be settled for less than half if you use the threat of bankruptcy to your advantage. Once you file, then they get ZIPPO, so they (even Discover) might be encouraged to settle for less rather than get nothing at all.

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We were very, very stupid with Discover. They turned the debt over to a collection agency, which swears up and down that it's not really functioning as a collection agency -- They say Discover still owns the account, and Discover has retained them more or less to harrass us until we pay. Looks like a CA, sounds like a CA -- but they swear they are not a CA.

Anyway, in a phone conversation after they had called 50 or so times, I finally agreed to the following:

*$200 to be paid by bank draft each month for the next 6 months

*No further interest or penalties assessed

*Negotiate a settlement at the end of the 6 months

*They called the 6 months of $200 payments "good faith"

Well, after my first payment, I got a statement from them. My balance WENT UP instead of going down $200. I called back. The person I spoke with disavowed the deal I had made; she said since I didn't have it in writing, they were not obligated to follow it. She said my interest had been raised to 29.9%, and an over-the-credit-line fee and late penalty were being added each month.

Well, of course, I felt like a complete sucker. That was before I found this site and learned more about dealing with these jerks. (This site is how I knew I could demand that Cambece and Zwicker stop calling me at work.)

So Discover--or their "non-CA" got my $200, but they have not gotten another penny since then. Of course, they have all my banking information -- acct number, routing number, bank, etc. I'm going to a different bank today to open a new account in order to avoid any last minute pre-bankruptcy shenanigans by Discover.

Anyway, that's my story.

With the impending new bankruptcy legislation, I'm going to go ahead and file. Since Discover, AmEx, Chase, and Monogram have already charged-off, I don't think BK will have much effect on my credit score (which is currently in the 560 range).

I paid off all of my accounts that had not been charged off yet, and I hope that helps my credit score. Since I just paid them all off a couple of weeks ago, my credit report hasn't been impacted yet, but I'm hoping for a little boost over the next couple of months.

With my credit score already being so low, I just don't think a BK is going to make it much worse. Again, all the accounts are already charge-offs, which according to most folks I've come across, are as bad as a BK anyway.

I do plan on renting a new apartment this fall -- and I expect that the BK and the charge offs will cause me to have a harder time finding one.

Thanks.

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Who is handling this for Discover? If they are not Discover employees then they are collectors and it is a violation of the FDCPA for them to deny it. If they are Discover employees operating under another name, then they are STILL debt collectors and Discover looses their exemption from teh FDCPA.

Original creditors that use fake names in attempts to colelct, become debt collectors under the definitions of the FDCPA. :-)

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By the way --

I found out today that collection agencies cannot sue in small claims court here in Arkansas. Neither can they sue in Municipal Court. They have to sue in Circuit Court, where the stakes are a little higher -- the cost of doing business in the Circuit Court here is a lot higher, and they have to have an attorney licensed in Arkansas. That helps me a little, I think.

So, if AmEx or Monogram Bank think that I'm a bankruptcy risk, and I owe them less than $2000 -- and the cost for filing and retaining an attorney here would be at least $1000 -- it doesn't seem realistic that they would actually sue me.

Discover will, I think. The CA for Chase might, though they seem to be gutless cowards. When the guy from Cabece called me at work, I just laughed at him. I asked him at least two dozen times for Cambece's mailing address, and he refused to give it to me. After he hung up on me, I called him back and demanded their address. It worked, I sent the C&D letter, and I haven't heard from them again.

ONE MORE QUESTION:

Since neither Cambece nor Zwicker sent me anything in the mail within 5 days of their initial call, would that be something I could present in court if they sued me? I remember reading that the fair debt collection act requires them to send me something in writing immediately after contacting me by phone. Is that correct? How can I use that to my advantage?

Thanks.

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By the way --

I found out today that collection agencies cannot sue in small claims court here in Arkansas. Neither can they sue in Municipal Court. They have to sue in Circuit Court, where the stakes are a little higher -- the cost of doing business in the Circuit Court here is a lot higher, and they have to have an attorney licensed in Arkansas. That helps me a little, I think.

So, if AmEx or Monogram Bank think that I'm a bankruptcy risk, and I owe them less than $2000 -- and the cost for filing and retaining an attorney here would be at least $1000 -- it doesn't seem realistic that they would actually sue me.

Discover will, I think. The CA for Chase might, though they seem to be gutless cowards. When the guy from Cabece called me at work, I just laughed at him. I asked him at least two dozen times for Cambece's mailing address, and he refused to give it to me. After he hung up on me, I called him back and demanded their address. It worked, I sent the C&D letter, and I haven't heard from them again.

ONE MORE QUESTION:

Since neither Cambece nor Zwicker sent me anything in the mail within 5 days of their initial call, would that be something I could present in court if they sued me? I remember reading that the fair debt collection act requires them to send me something in writing immediately after contacting me by phone. Is that correct? How can I use that to my advantage?

Thanks.

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Failure to follow the FDCPA only works as an affirmative defense occasionally. Most of the time it doesn't. However...

Because the FDCPA is a strict liability law which regulates how CAs can behave, wether or not you owe money is irrelavent if they violate this law. The best tactic is that you use the violations to offset the amount you legitimately owe. Proving just one FDCPA claim justifies payment of your attorney fees as well.

So if they sue you for a $500 debt and create one provable violation that has a statutory $1000 penalty, the net result is they owe you $500 even if you loose on their claim.

If they rack up violations, document each and every one carefully. If the amount they claim is less than the cost of the violations, they will think twice about filing suit. At least for one year....FDCPA claims must be brought within 12 months of the violation or they don't stick.

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Failure to follow the FDCPA only works as an affirmative defense occasionally. Most of the time it doesn't. However...

Because the FDCPA is a strict liability law which regulates how CAs can behave, wether or not you owe money is irrelavent if they violate this law. The best tactic is that you use the violations to offset the amount you legitimately owe. Proving just one FDCPA claim justifies payment of your attorney fees as well.

So if they sue you for a $500 debt and create one provable violation that has a statutory $1000 penalty, the net result is they owe you $500 even if you loose on their claim.

If they rack up violations, document each and every one carefully. If the amount they claim is less than the cost of the violations, they will think twice about filing suit. At least for one year....FDCPA claims must be brought within 12 months of the violation or they don't stick.

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Income and assets are the criteria used by most creditors in deciding whether or not to pursue recovery options against debtors. Basically the less you own and the less you earn the better. With regard to Discover, their recovery operation NOVUS Services will likely be watching your credit profile to determine how they will disposition your account. Typically they file consolidated lawsuits against most people in the area where they reside. If you're not one with money to burn so to speak you could probably negotiate a 50% settlement with the big "D".

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Income and assets are the criteria used by most creditors in deciding whether or not to pursue recovery options against debtors. Basically the less you own and the less you earn the better. With regard to Discover, their recovery operation NOVUS Services will likely be watching your credit profile to determine how they will disposition your account. Typically they file consolidated lawsuits against most people in the area where they reside. If you're not one with money to burn so to speak you could probably negotiate a 50% settlement with the big "D".

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It's something like NCO Financial Services or something like that. Out of Atlanta.

Oh my.. I HATE NCO. They are the biggest jerks. Be prepared to sue them. They will ignore any C&D, they will come off one report and jump on another, they will do nothing but violate you. Bud Hibbs said this about NCO:

NCO is so bad, that in 2003, they have been sued 40 times for violations of the FCRA. Anyone... can you be hired at NCO if one has bad habits and a need for fast-cash.

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It's something like NCO Financial Services or something like that. Out of Atlanta.

Oh my.. I HATE NCO. They are the biggest jerks. Be prepared to sue them. They will ignore any C&D, they will come off one report and jump on another, they will do nothing but violate you. Bud Hibbs said this about NCO:

NCO is so bad, that in 2003, they have been sued 40 times for violations of the FCRA. Anyone... can you be hired at NCO if one has bad habits and a need for fast-cash.

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Shoot, I would keep my bank account open and somehow have a letter stating you no longer can take payments out of my account, if they do, maybe you can get them in legal action...

By the way, I hope you did learn from that mistake of agreeing to a deal like that, $200 for 6 months, then negotiations, you would only be wasting a lot of money, and in the end, no deletion..

You know, if there is a chance you may be sued, you might want to get a pre-paid legal membership, if you are sued, you have representation.

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Shoot, I would keep my bank account open and somehow have a letter stating you no longer can take payments out of my account, if they do, maybe you can get them in legal action...

By the way, I hope you did learn from that mistake of agreeing to a deal like that, $200 for 6 months, then negotiations, you would only be wasting a lot of money, and in the end, no deletion..

You know, if there is a chance you may be sued, you might want to get a pre-paid legal membership, if you are sued, you have representation.

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You know, if there is a chance you may be sued, you might want to get a pre-paid legal membership, if you are sued, you have representation.

That is probably one of the best pieces of advice I've EVER heard! Prepaid legal is pennies in the bucket compared to hiring a lawyer AFTER you need one!!!

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You know, if there is a chance you may be sued, you might want to get a pre-paid legal membership, if you are sued, you have representation.

That is probably one of the best pieces of advice I've EVER heard! Prepaid legal is pennies in the bucket compared to hiring a lawyer AFTER you need one!!!

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Not to try and sell it....but I am a representative for the company part time...so if you have any questions, PM me.

LadyButler I do not know if you know this but you can also have the attorneys write a DV letter for you, a legitimate letter, coming from a lawyer has a better effect..in some cases.

I actually had them write a letter to everyone of my bad accounts...It was actually pretty funny because when I called TU to check some disputes and discuss my report, they had to have a special handling team, because everytime they sent a letter for me, they also CC'ed it to the CRA's.. :D

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Not to try and sell it....but I am a representative for the company part time...so if you have any questions, PM me.

LadyButler I do not know if you know this but you can also have the attorneys write a DV letter for you, a legitimate letter, coming from a lawyer has a better effect..in some cases.

I actually had them write a letter to everyone of my bad accounts...It was actually pretty funny because when I called TU to check some disputes and discuss my report, they had to have a special handling team, because everytime they sent a letter for me, they also CC'ed it to the CRA's.. :D

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I really appreciate everyone's help.

Just a bit more on my financial situation--

As my credit reports verify, I have approx. $15,000 in credit card debt. I have another $70,000 in student loan debt. I don't own a home. I bring home $1400 a month. My rent/groceries/car payment are approx. $1500 a month. Due to son's illness, wife cannot work anymore (and she was the breadwinner in our family).

At this point, if I do get sued, I cannot see an Arkansas judge forcing me to hand my grocery money over to some out of state credit card company. Especially if the judge hears that I have, in the last year, completely paid off 8 of my 12 credit cards -- including a few charge offs.

Maybe I'm living in a dream world, but I'm feeling pretty safe for now.

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I really appreciate everyone's help.

Just a bit more on my financial situation--

As my credit reports verify, I have approx. $15,000 in credit card debt. I have another $70,000 in student loan debt. I don't own a home. I bring home $1400 a month. My rent/groceries/car payment are approx. $1500 a month. Due to son's illness, wife cannot work anymore (and she was the breadwinner in our family).

At this point, if I do get sued, I cannot see an Arkansas judge forcing me to hand my grocery money over to some out of state credit card company. Especially if the judge hears that I have, in the last year, completely paid off 8 of my 12 credit cards -- including a few charge offs.

Maybe I'm living in a dream world, but I'm feeling pretty safe for now.

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Hang on, your in Arkansas ??

How old are these debts ?? When did you last pay the ORIGINAL CREDITORS ??? AR has a short 3 year SOL, so this is an important question. If its been MORE than 3 years, you've got an absolute defense against ANY lawsuit.

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Hang on, your in Arkansas ??

How old are these debts ?? When did you last pay the ORIGINAL CREDITORS ??? AR has a short 3 year SOL, so this is an important question. If its been MORE than 3 years, you've got an absolute defense against ANY lawsuit.

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