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Can someone please tell me what to do?

I was served papers yesterday by a sheriff that I am being sued by LVNV for a debt from a cc company. I'm sure I owe this as I lost my job and got so far behind that i don't know if I'll ever catch up.

I just need to know what to do next. it says I have 20 days to respond. There is a very generic attachment to it from LVNV of what I owe them with just the last 4 digits of account number. I'm an idiot when it comes to this stuff, and the more I read the more confused I get. Can someone just tell me exactly what I do here. From what I read, there is no actual hearing date set yet. Just says, if I don't respond, it will proceed without me. I really don't want to go to court. If it means paying them, then I need to know that. Although I can't afford the whole balance at once.

Do I write a letter to the court? And if so what should it say? Do I write a letter to LVNV or call them? I think the debt is about 3 years old, although it doesn't say that.

Help, please!!

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You only owe it if they can prove you owe it, and LVNV tends to not have enough evidence to present in court to win a case. I do encourage you to fight this. Keep reading these forums, give more information on they alledged debt your being sued for (the original creditor, type of debt -credit car, car loan, etc.- when you made your last payment) and we'll all do our best to help you.

Also, google your county court system to find your court's website, and find the rules of proceedure. This will tell you what you need to do to answer the suit. You MUST answer and you MUST appear in court or you will lose automaticly. You can post you answer here before filing it and we can suggest any changes you may need to make.

I know you don't want to go to court, but that's what scum like LVNV count on. However, if you feel going to court is just impossible for you to do (and again I do encourage you to fight this), then your best option is to negotiate a settlement out of court with LVNV. Make them an offer (say 20% of what you owe. If you owe $1000, offer them $200). They'll likely counter, keep negotiating but don't agree to an amount unless you are SURE you can pay it and still eat. Get this deal in writing, make sure they agree that the debt is then paid in full and they can't collect on the balance, or sell the balance to another junk debt buyer. Also make sure that they agree to dismiss the suit and then follow up and make sure they actually dismiss it. If you can, also see if you can get them to agree to delete this from your credit reports, may as well clean that up while you're at it. When you pay, DO NOT give them your bank account and routing number so they can electroically debit your account, and DO NOT mail them a check. Send them a money order, you do not want to let these people have your banking info, they can clean you out for the full amount, and good luck getting it back.

Whatever you decide to do, make sure you do something. Either fight it or settle, but don't ignore it. If you ignore it you'll get a default judgement for the full amount plus court/lawyer costs. If you don't/can't fight in court you may as well negotiate a settlement and save some money.

Edited by debtfreein18
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Thanks so much for helping me. I calmed down a little just reading the responses. I've been a little stressed all day.

It is for a credit card, from Credit One for 1200.00. The last payment was made in april of 2008. I'm sure I do owe this. As I said I lost my job and just got so behind and tried to look the other way. I'm still not in a great financial state, but am trying to get my head back above water and am willing to fix this if I have to.

So, if I decide to try to settle with them, do I call them or write to them? (does anyone have that contact info?) Also, do I still need to respond to the summons if I decide to settle?)

I know I should fight them, but I also feel like giving up. I just don't know what to do and I really appreciate the help. Thank you so much!8]

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The SoL in Pennsylvania is 4 years. That is four years from the chargeoff date or 120 days after your last payment. This debt is clearly within the SoL and so that is not an affirmative defense.

The way I see it, you have two options. Both require that you answer the summons. We cannot stress the importance of answering the summons enough. It is one thing to thumb your nose at a JDB, it is quite another to do it to the court.

OPTION #1

Some people on these boards will cringe, but your first option is to cut a deal. Appear at the summons. A member of the court will call everyone by name who has been summoned. You won't be alone. Those that aren't present will receive "summary judgment" which basically means everything that the collection agency said is assumed true and judgment is based upon that. In short, you lose...big.

After role is taken the judge will leave the chambers and the lawyer will call each person present up one at a time as an attempt to reach settlement and avoid clogging up the court. The lawyer wants you to admit your debt and sign a paper saying so, signing this paper or making even a partial payment will start the SoL anew. By doing this you avoid court and you agree to the repayment terms. At this point, if you default again in the future their case will be rock solid and they will clean you out because you have signed that paper admitting it is your debt.

The lawyer has limited negotiation powers in court because his forms are pre-printed and standardized. You have little wiggle room to negotiate concepts beyond a payment schedule. For a $1200 debt they may have paid $120 for the rights to it. I would start my opening offer at $240. That assumes I make a payment right there and it is considered "full and complete".

If I don't have $240 I might go to $375 paid in three monthly installments of $125. At no point would I exceed $600 (50%) of the debt if I am dealing with a JDB (which you are).

You can talk money all you'd like. But if you want additional concessions like "removed from your credit report" or shown as "paying as agreed" the lawyer is not going to be able to guarantee those concepts in a binding way in the middle of a courtroom. If that is a deal breaker for you I would move to option #2 and reach a final deal in writing before going to trial and actually fulfilling method #2.

Never, ever, ever admit the debt is yours. You are negotiating to clean your report, to put an end to this issue, peace of mind, whatever...you are not paying because this debt is yours. Until you reach the terms you can agree with the debt is not yours and you should not admit such. Obviously, once you sign the paper you are admitting it is yours.

Normally these boards do not support contacting a JDB directly. However, your court case makes time your enemy. I would call them and try to negotiate terms with them instead of in court with their lawyer. On the phone they do have the power to support your additional concessions (like getting off your credit report). Once you have an agreement you can live with have them send the terms to your home in writing on company letterhead. They must be signed by an authorized agent capable of making such an agreement. Again...until you have this paper in your hot little hands this is not your debt.

I would then appear at the summons with this letter. They are supposed to drop the case but I wouldn't trust them to do that. Show up in court anyway. The letter is your proof that a new deal has been struck and litigation is not needed.

I know for a fact this has some members of the board ::puke:: but I think it is fair and practical advice. If you want to fight it in court I will give you some tips for that as well...

Edited by GrumpyGus
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Keb, I suggest you to answer the lawsuit and not give up. Even if they offer you a settlement. Make sure you file an answer, just in case, so they dont trick you and get a default judgment and then go after your bank account and or wages. You pretty much have 2 options other than settling--fighting through court, and i doubt they will have all the paperwork on a 1200 account, or request this to be transferred to a binding arbitration and get this out of court right away. I am 100% confident that they wont go for arbitration on 1200 account. PM me if you want to get more info on how arbitration works and if you need links to your state's RCP and Statutes

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Keb, I suggest you to answer the lawsuit and not give up. Even if they offer you a settlement. Make sure you file an answer, just in case, so they dont trick you and get a default judgment and then go after your bank account and or wages. You pretty much have 2 options other than settling--fighting through court, and i doubt they will have all the paperwork on a 1200 account, or request this to be transferred to a binding arbitration and get this out of court right away. I am 100% confident that they wont go for arbitration on 1200 account. PM me if you want to get more info on how arbitration works and if you need links to your state's RCP and Statutes

I don't know how to PM you on here. I'm new to this board. I would love any info and links you can give me though. Also, can someone please tell me how exactly I respond to the summons? Do I do it in writing? If so, what do I say?

thanks again!

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Can someone please tell me what to do?

I was served papers yesterday by a sheriff that I am being sued by LVNV for a debt from a cc company. I'm sure I owe this as I lost my job and got so far behind that i don't know if I'll ever catch up.

I just need to know what to do next. it says I have 20 days to respond. There is a very generic attachment to it from LVNV of what I owe them with just the last 4 digits of account number. I'm an idiot when it comes to this stuff, and the more I read the more confused I get. Can someone just tell me exactly what I do here. From what I read, there is no actual hearing date set yet. Just says, if I don't respond, it will proceed without me. I really don't want to go to court. If it means paying them, then I need to know that. Although I can't afford the whole balance at once.

Do I write a letter to the court? And if so what should it say? Do I write a letter to LVNV or call them? I think the debt is about 3 years old, although it doesn't say that.

Help, please!!

The first step is take a deep breath and relax, it's not the end of the world. Four months ago I knew nothing about defending a lawsuit in court and just had a case dismissed from the same outfit that is suing you this week. The difference I was sued for almost 15 times what they are going after you for!

A major advantage you have is that the law firm suing you on behalf of LVNV (a junk debt buyer) has major internal costs and has very little to gain taking your tiny case to court. If the truth is known they hope you don't oppose them so they can collect on what is called a default judgment.

Here is what you do to protect yourself while you gain knowledge. As you already know, you must answer within 20 days of being served. Relax, there is plenty of time and people on this site will guide you every step of the way. There are three things you must do:

1. Provide your answers to the lawsuit on a standard form from your local court where you are being sued. I had no idea even what that was after being served!!! Don't worry, it's a simple form you can get a copy of from many places.

2. The first aspect of your answers is to oppose the lawsuit line for line based on what you are accused of in their complaint. Without posting your name or specific numbers, spell out each of the items on the complaint word for word and post them on this forum. You will get plenty of help how to fill out your answers to the complaint.

3. The last aspect of your initial response to the lawsuit is to list something called affirmative defenses to your answer. These are simply legal terms used to challenge the lawsuit regardless of whether you owe the money or not. Even if you owe the money and everybody knows it, there are legal defenses that might prevent the law firm suing you from winning the suit and collecting. This very thing happened in my lawsuit even though the plaintiff had a years worth of actual credit card statements from the original creditor and a sworn affidavit that it was my debt and they had the right to collect it. To people who are not attorneys this can seem very intimating when ready to face a judge face to face. The fact is, these affirmative defenses can mean a lot and easily get you off the hook at a later date. Relax and take your time, because there are a lot of affirmative defenses and you need to sort through them and determine what might be applicable to your case. There is TONS of help right here to help you fill our your affirmative defenses.

So for now take it easy and list the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 etc items written in your complaint so people here can help you answer. You have friends here and will get a lot of help on exactly how to proceed.

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keb,

Welcome to the forum! First take a breath and then start reading and learning. There's some very good suggestions and information others have posted here.

I am posting a site that may be of some help with info and approaching this specific scumpany.

http://creditboards.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=288397&hl=jack

Good luck!

;o)

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