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I've been served and want to settle


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Hey all,

I want to begin by saying thanks for the great forum and everyone who helps answer questions!

I've been served a "complaint for breach of contract and account stated". The amount in question is $27,000. I don't dispute the amount or the validity and it is within SOL. I just want to get this resolved so I don't ever have to think about it again.

The OC is Chase and they charged it off and it's a company called Thunderbolt Holdings LTD, that is suing me. I called the lawyer representing Thunderbolt and offered to settle for 50%. They accepted and said if I pay in the next few days, they will be able to drop the lawsuit and I will get a letter saying the debt has been paid in full.

1) Does this sound correct? Am I missing something?

2) I asked about a Pay for Delete, but they said no. I only have a week left before I have to reply to the court summons, so am I correct to assume that I don't have time for further negotiation for a PFD?

3) I guess what I'm unclear about is what would the drawbacks of replying to the summons with a General Denial be and then continue negotiating for a PFD?

Much appreciated!:)

Thanks,

Susan

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What debt will be paid in full?

Their definition of the debt that will be paid in full could be different from your definition.

JDBs are notorious for saying the "debt will be considered being paid in full," then giving the remaining debt back to the OC for collection or selling it to another JDB for collection. Then it is your problem to try to convince them your debt was "paid in full."

Personally, I would not settle for more than 10-15% of the original debt.

Then, if they give you in writing that the debt is paid in full, I would pass it by another attorney to be sure it is saying what you THINK it is saying.

Also, remember if you make a payment, it resets the SOL on reporting to the CRAs. It will show on your credit report as having been settled. If you have other defaulted debt, what message will that send them?

Just giving you things to consider.

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I would bet that Thundebolt is a junk debt buyer. They paid maybe $150 for the right to hassle you, and probably have no proof that you owe them anything.

Personally, I would never pay a JDB anything unless ordered to by a court. It won't remove Chase's entry from your reports and you cannot trust anything Thunderbolt tells you.

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Personally, I would never pay a JDB anything unless ordered to by a court. It won't remove Chase's entry from your reports and you cannot trust anything Thunderbolt tells you.

+1

Also, if you want real leverage, file a response and tell them you will defend vigorously. They will rely on your ignorance of the law and the court system to bully you. Once you take that ability away from them, you have a lot more room to bargain. It costs a lot to litigate when you're represented by an attorney;) Of course, once you take it away from them, you may not want to bargain.

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Honestly, I wouldn't settle either. I would fight, or take some of the 13K you are planning to pay these bums and hire a lawyer to beat them into submission. The cost for the lawyer might be 3K, you should win, and you'll have 10K left over.

And don't forget if you settle, you'll get a 1099-c for cancelled debt for the remainder. That will add 14K of taxable income to your taxes next year. That might hurt.

Edited by gwheelock915
oops forgot one more thing.
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Honestly, I wouldn't settle either. I would fight, or take some of the 13K you are planning to pay these bums and hire a lawyer to beat them into submission. The cost for the lawyer might be 3K, you should win, and you'll have 10K left over.

And don't forget if you settle, you'll get a 1099-c for cancelled debt for the remainder. That will add 14K of taxable income to your taxes next year. That might hurt.

Yeah, that 1099 would suck. If you even want to negotiate with these asshats, you're going to need to go into it with an attitude that you're the one running the show. You're going to make them prove that they own the debt. You're going to make them prove that the debt exists. You're going to force them to fly a witness in if they want any of their evidence to be admissible. The only thing that they should be the master of is their own complaint.

You're in Cali, so you should start reading up on CCP454, AKA the BOP. I'm not saying that you should not negotiate or settle (I would not, I would be hell bent on pounding them into submission and leaving them with PTSD,) but you need to start off as though you are fighting to win to even get them to listen to you. The BOP in Cali is the first step after responding to pounding on them.

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Dont bother settling - they will 1099 for the rest, or possibly sell the remaining balance and another JDB will hassle you all over.

File an answer, deny everything and make them prove it...the further you go, the more likely that settlement amount will come down.

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Wow, I'm getting the idea you guys don't want me to settle! :D

So let me make sure I understand the reasoning:

1) Thunderbolt might be a JDB, so I should fight them in court to make them prove that they actually own my debt? (I read on here that I can't do a debt validation since I've already been served)

2) What happens if I lose in court? At that point can I settle for a lesser amount? I just don't want to be stuck paying back the full amount. I want to clear my credit report up so I can move on in life.

3) If I win in court, does the entry get removed from my credit report?

Thank you!!

Susan

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For reference, this is the settlement letter they sent me:

"In accordance with our telephone conversation, it is hereby agreed that the above-referenced matter will be settled in full for the sum of xxxxx. Payment of this amount must be mailed according to the below instructions so that our office receives it on or before xxxx.

Upon receipt and clearance of the payment, we will send you an acknowlegment informing you that this matter has been settled in full. If your payment is not received by the date indicated above, this office will be withdrawn and deemed null and void."

Thanks,

Susan

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As others have mentioned, if you do settle, you will get a 1099C next year for this years taxes and thats going to hurt. Who would you rather fight with or owe. the JDB or the IRS? With the IRS you won't have a fighting chance. Fight the JDB.

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Actually I see a more fundamental problem here.

You don't dispute the amount or validity of the amount you owe to Chase...

What does that have to do with Thunderbluster? How do you know you owe them anything. From what I can tell, it's because they say so and you believe them...at least ask for some proof they own the debt and they can settle.

The worse case scenario isn't a 1099 or someone chasing you down for half...the worst case scenario is you pay the money and still owe the full amount.

Have you investigated? Did Chase notify you of assignment? To this company?If need be, are they licensed in your state? Any BBB files or complaints?

About 4 years ago we had fallen behind on a cc with a major issuerer and we were being hounded. Got a small inheritance and were using it to catch up. Literally, the morning of the day I was going to mail a check to a BlanketyBlank Attorney at Law I found a newspaper story that they had been arrested. Seems they had hacked a major cc company computer and were collecting even though the cc company hadn't hired them, didn't know them, and of course, wasn't getting any of the money.

And the most irritating thing was the cc company knew. They had actually initiated the investigation when customers complained they'd paid, but did not make any effort to inform us about it.

Trust if you must, but verify everything.

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Okay I'm late to this party, but allow me to throw in my hell no don't give these clowns a dime opinion. Why? Because you have no idea who they are. You seem like an intelligent person.

Are you really going to pay somebody 13K and you have never heard of them, don't know they really own the debt and just because they sued you? If that is the case, PM your real name and address. I'll sue you for everything you own and just sue under the name of Coltfan Acquisitions and Recovery LLC. (Sounds legit right?)

What happens if you pay them 13K and then six months later Chase or somebody else comes calling. You pull out your worthless letter and say I paid 13K already. You think that will fly when Chase says sorry you got scammed, pay us the 27K and take up the 13K with Thunderbird or whatever the heck thunder they are calling themselves these days.

Answer the lawsuit with a denial of everything. Then start the discovery process. You're in CA that has the powerful BOP you can use on them. Also I could drive a Mack truck through that settlement agreement, if you even want to call it that. There are so many bad things that can happen, you probably think we are just using the "sky is falling" arguments, but we are not !!

Also they won't do a pay for delete??? Well sssccrrreeewww them. He are the terms, oh you don't like terms? Well how about these terms, see you in court and get ready to prove every single element of your case, you want a fight? well good, you just got yourself one and I don't freaking lose !!!

Yes it's too late for debt validation. However, you can now demand a hundred times more now than with simple debt validation. Actually DV is pretty much nothing. You have a lot of leverage that you don't even realize.

Finally, you say this is 27K and Chase sold this off. Chase is not exactly some fly by the night operation. Don't you think Chase, who can usually prove their case since they are the original creditor, thought this over a time or two before they sold off a 27K debt for probably $800.00. Why did Chase not come after you?

Also, you offered 50% on a debt and you've already been sued, so they have attorney fees and court costs already incurred, and they accepted it immediatley and did not even counter your offer. Does that not raise some questions to the merits of their case and their likely hood in winning if pressed to trial. Do you usually loan people money and then say sure I'll be happy to take 50%.

These clowns can easily be beat or worse case, a lot better settlement than what you're talking about. Also, we have not even discussed the arbitration route. They allegedly (get used to that word) paid around 800 for this debt. How about a nice 5K retainer to just start arbitration. You've got options. Yes one option is paying them. However, that needs to be at the very bottom of your list and only after they have proven they are legally the owners of the debt, and I don't mean them sending you a letter on their own letterhead saying so.

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I hope we don't come off as too harsh. If I did, I certainly apologize.

I, like a good number of us, have been really jerked around.

I would also suggest that many, if not most, of the people that visit this board are broke. We do what we can with what we have.

You appear to at least have the option of consulting with a good attorney. For a lot of us, even a $50 consultation fee is beyond reach, but if you have enough money to hand strangers 13K, I would suggest that if you feel it's too much, at least consult a good attorney.

I know it's stressful and I know what it's like to just want it all to go away, but once the game is on, it's on, and you even have to make sure it goes away properly.

Good luck. We're pulling for you.

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3) If I win in court, does the entry get removed from my credit report?

First, it's not "if" it's "when"

To answer your question it's not something automatically done, like by a court order. However, once you dispute there is not a lot of incentive for them to verify and keep in on your report. Why? you already have proven you will slaughter them in court and the next time they see you, your name might have Plaintiff after it as opposed to Defendant.

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Hey all,

I just want to get this resolved so I don't ever have to think about it again.

I can totally relate.

I completely know where you are coming from.

Who wants all the stress of dealing with fighting and confrontation.

With that said, I just want to offer my humble opinion...

Take the advice of consulting an attorney.

Actually, you have some money, consult with more than one. (And I say that knowing that you may be disabled and that $13,000 is your only money to live on.)

Try to find out who the best ones are in your area and get with them.

I think I read somewhere to do a search on cases and see who wins the most in your circuit. Call them.

I am scared and tired and don't want to fight either. But try to at least talk with a local attorney (2 if possible) and get advice/info from people that know your particular local laws/court rules/common procedures.

I say talk to more than one because I talked to one and got really really bad advice. He was not a fighter, and actually seemed like he was more on the side of plaintiff. He even told me at one point that he wouldn't do something because what I was asking was so ridiculous that it would harm his reputation to even ask/offer opposing counsel for what I wanted.

Maybe my request was too much, but after reading this stuff online, maybe it wasn't. I left feeling like he cared more about his own reputation than he cared about mine. I didn't want to harm his reputation, but I also don't want mine harmed either by court fighting and judgments.

So talk to a couple of attorneys. Ones that know how your courthouse work.

And yes, do the "denial" and request that they provide proof, or whatever it is in your state - doing it at least protects you and causes them to work. In my state I just had to show up and then the day of trial was set. The time just dragged on until the "trial" date came. But meanwhile, doing the denial gave me a little breathing room, as they now had to come up with proof.

I know you want this to just be all over. But try to be calm.

Try to focus your energy not on worry, but on coming up with a list of options.

Your assignment is to try to find the debt attorneys in your area that wins the most cases. Try to focus your energy on that.

One baby step at a time. That's the first step.

(Maybe somebody more experienced should tell you the first step. I think talking to someone in person/attorney. Either that or finding out the proper way to "deny" in court. But if you consult w/ attorney, he can probably tell you that. Or you can go to the courthouse (or call) and ask them what you do to deny the suit)

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I can totally relate.

I completely know where you are coming from.

Who wants all the stress of dealing with fighting and confrontation.

With that said, I just want to offer my humble opinion...

Take the advice of consulting an attorney.

Actually, you have some money, consult with more than one. (And I say that knowing that you may be disabled and that $13,000 is your only money to live on.)

Try to find out who the best ones are in your area and get with them.

I think I read somewhere to do a search on cases and see who wins the most in your circuit. Call them.

I am scared and tired and don't want to fight either. But try to at least talk with a local attorney (2 if possible) and get advice/info from people that know your particular local laws/court rules/common procedures.

I say talk to more than one because I talked to one and got really really bad advice. He was not a fighter, and actually seemed like he was more on the side of plaintiff. He even told me at one point that he wouldn't do something because what I was asking was so ridiculous that it would harm his reputation to even ask/offer opposing counsel for what I wanted.

Maybe my request was too much, but after reading this stuff online, maybe it wasn't. I left feeling like he cared more about his own reputation than he cared about mine. I didn't want to harm his reputation, but I also don't want mine harmed either by court fighting and judgments.

So talk to a couple of attorneys. Ones that know how your courthouse work.

And yes, do the "denial" and request that they provide proof, or whatever it is in your state - doing it at least protects you and causes them to work. In my state I just had to show up and then the day of trial was set. The time just dragged on until the "trial" date came. But meanwhile, doing the denial gave me a little breathing room, as they now had to come up with proof.

I know you want this to just be all over. But try to be calm.

Try to focus your energy not on worry, but on coming up with a list of options.

Your assignment is to try to find the debt attorneys in your area that wins the most cases. Try to focus your energy on that.

One baby step at a time. That's the first step.

(Maybe somebody more experienced should tell you the first step. I think talking to someone in person/attorney. Either that or finding out the proper way to "deny" in court. But if you consult w/ attorney, he can probably tell you that. Or you can go to the courthouse (or call) and ask them what you do to deny the suit)

On a serious note, this is not bad advice at all. However, most attorney's that are going to handle a credit card case like this are just going to try to get you a deal, like you've already done on your own.

And the part about it seeming like they are working as a Plaintiff? That is because while they are officially on your side, they care more about their reputation in dealing with other and possibly larger cases.

They won't exactly throw you under the bus, but they will refuse to do some things and generally speaking won't even be remotely aggressive.

They will just tell you after a few months they have the other side talked down to whatever percent and their advice is you settle.

However, you can use that against them. In my case the attorney for an out state agency that was never in court, just let me steam roll them on a lot of stuff.

They put up no fight or the most minimal ever. Why? Well atty fees, yes, but they knew they had a loser of a case. They knew I was going to beat most of their arguments so they did not even make a lot of arguments. They did not want to lose in front of the judge or in front of the other attorney's in the courtroom waiting on their case.

They had to be in front of that judge every day. It was easier for them to shrug their shoulders and say that is all our client gave us, or that is what our client said. I watched them just throw their client under the bus and blame their client for their lack of determination to fight.

So what did I do? I keep at it, the crazier the argument the more they did not want to dignify the argument with legal arguments. I watched malpractice right in front of my eyes.

Look at it this way. The attorney will have to be in those courts and deal with other attorney's thousands of times in the future. They want to be right more times than not. It's averages for them. I've heard it, where they will say, okay I'll do that, but on the next one you owe me. Wow, poor "next one" You only have to be right for one case (generally speaking).

It's like the underdog football team playing the superior team (not saying the other side is superior in this case). They can throw everything at the favored team. They can play with reckless abandon, just like we can when facing these junk debt buyers. If we lose (which we won't), big deal, we were supposed to lose.

Am I describing all civil attorney's that would take a case like this? A HUGE NO !! Am I describing most? YES, in my personal experience and in my personal opinion.

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Wow, I'm getting the idea you guys don't want me to settle! :D

So let me make sure I understand the reasoning:

1) Thunderbolt might be a JDB, so I should fight them in court to make them prove that they actually own my debt? (I read on here that I can't do a debt validation since I've already been served)

2) What happens if I lose in court? At that point can I settle for a lesser amount? I just don't want to be stuck paying back the full amount. I want to clear my credit report up so I can move on in life.

3) If I win in court, does the entry get removed from my credit report?

Thank you!!

Susan

Susan, check Chase's entry on your credit report. If they've sold the debt, their entry will state "sold" or "transferred". If that's the case, you're being sued by a JDB, not by Chase.

What evidence did they include with the Complaint?

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Wow, I'm getting the idea you guys don't want me to settle! :D

So let me make sure I understand the reasoning:

1) Thunderbolt might be a JDB, so I should fight them in court to make them prove that they actually own my debt? (I read on here that I can't do a debt validation since I've already been served)

2) What happens if I lose in court? At that point can I settle for a lesser amount? I just don't want to be stuck paying back the full amount. I want to clear my credit report up so I can move on in life.

3) If I win in court, does the entry get removed from my credit report?

Thank you!!

Susan

Hi Susan--welcome to creditinfocenter.com...!

Ultimately, it's not up to anyone here to decide what choices you make.

But most of us speak from experience with these companies. No one here wants to see you taken advantage of by the scum that is a junk debt buyer.

Did you know that:

1. Most jdb's do not have the documentation required to beat you in court if you challenge them.

2. Most jdb's purchase your account for pennies on the dollar. This is why some respondents in this thread have stated that your offer to settle w/them was too high. Plus that, if they get a dime from you--most of us are of the opinion that one should make them work for it .

(For more on jdb's and what they pay for the right to sue you, see the link below: Junk Debt Buyers JDB Collection Agency Credit Cards)

3.There are consumer advocate attorney's out there that can handle this for you...some who take this issue as seriously as we (the consumers on this board) do. They hate the jdb's and what they do. If you find a good one, he/she will vigrorously work to ensure you don't pay them a dime. Unfortunately, there are so many cases like this right now, that many consumer attorneys are crazy busy w/work (and hard to get to take on new cases).

(Note--if you are in southern California and need the name of a couple of attorneys, let me know...though I can't guarantee they are accepting cases right now or not. One I know will accept a case for $750.00...and he does not believe in settling w/jdb's, at all. That's less money than you are planning on paying the collection agent/jdb. ;))

3. Most of us were scared when we rec'd our summons, too.

I know me and my spouse were, and he was prepared to file for bankruptcy to avoid paying the company that was suing him. I asked him to give me a bit of time to do some research, of our options. After my research (and finding this forum)...I was able to share w/him how frequently these companies don't have what they need to win and what choices he had.

We sincerely wanted to hire an attorney, and sought one for a few months even after filing our answer to the complaint. For one reason or the other, none worked out for us at that time.

We decided to handle it ourselves--figuring no one would care as much about the outcome as we did...we learned a great deal--and won our case! But like so many others here, did not know what we were capable of, until we rolled up our sleeves and did what we had to do. We did it, and you can, too...! But you have to want to do it, and have the time (and energy) to learn what you need to to handle your case. Only you can decide if this is something you want to undertake.

:)++

Edited by tigger
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p.s. Regarding a consumer attorney I spoke with, and would recommend to others in socal--he DOES NOT believe in settling with these companies. He said he does not, and would not, especially if that was not what his client was interested in.

Honestly, the ONLY reason we did not hire him was at the time we did not have the amount of his retainer. :(

In addition, we were also mere weeks before our half-way point in the case. My spouse said he saw no reason to pay someone at that point to defend him, when we'd already done so much on our own (and were almost done)....so we did not.

There are attorneys out there like this. They may be few and far between, but they exist. Many here represent themselves because they spoke to the other types of attorneys--the ones that tell you to settle, to file bankruptcy or worse, that if you fight or challenge the opposition, that you will lose. :shock:

If you talk to anyone like that....run. ;) It's simply not true.

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p.s. Regarding a consumer attorney I spoke with, and would recommend to others in socal--he DOES NOT believe in settling with these companies. He said he does not, and would not, especially if that was not what his client was interested in.

Honestly, the ONLY reason we did not hire him was at the time we did not have the amount of his retainer. :(

In addition, we were also mere weeks before our half-way point in the case. My spouse said he saw no reason to pay someone at that point to defend him, when we'd already done so much on our own (and were almost done)....so we did not.

There are attorneys out there like this. They may be few and far between, but they exist. Many here represent themselves because they spoke to the other types of attorneys--the ones that tell you to settle, to file bankruptcy or worse, that if you fight or challenge the opposition, that you will lose. :shock:

If you talk to anyone like that....run. ;) It's simply not true.

Yeah, most attorneys actually do not understand these kinds of cases.

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