HorseTears

I've decided to SETTLE, but need your help - Asset Acceptance vs. Me (California)

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A couple of months ago I was served. I was being sued by Asset Acceptance for a CitiCard debt they purchased. At this stage, I need to prioritize some items in my life and dedicating the time and resources to fight a claim under $3k simply isn’t in my best interest. I’ve outlined the case below, my steps and the plaintiffs actions thus far and the reasons I am choosing to settle. If you already know my case history from the prior thread, feel free to scroll down to the last sections entitled THIS IS WHY I WANT TO SETTLE and HERE'S WHAT I NEED TO KNOW. I need some advice on how to approach settling. Thanks!

BACKGROUND:

  • WHO IS SUING YOU?: Asset Acceptance
  • FOR HOW MUCH: $2,437.32, together with interest theron at the rate of 10% annum from December 20, 2008
  • ORIGINAL CREDITOR? Citi
  • HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU ARE BEING SUED? Summons – Civil Case Limited (Less than 25k)
  • HOW WERE YOU SERVED? Summons served at residence
  • WHAT WAS YOUR CORRESPONDENCE (IF ANY) WITH THE PEOPLE SUING YOU BEFORE YOU THINK YOU WERE SUED? None
  • WHERE DO YOU LIVE? Ventura County, CA. Note: I was sued in San Diego County, CA because that was where I resided at the time of the debt.
  • WHEN IS THE LAST TIME YOU PAID ON THIS ACCOUNT: December, 2008
  • WHAT IS THE STATUS OF YOUR CASE: Pending
  • CASE AGE: 110 Days
  • HAVE YOU DISPUTED THE DEBT WITH CREDIT BUREAUS? No
  • DID YOU REQUEST DEBT VALIDATION BEFORE THE SUIT WAS FILED? No

IN MAY, THE PLAINTIFF’S ATTORNEY SERVED ME WITH THE FOLLOWING:

  • Summons and Claim for Limited Civil Case (Less than 25k)

WITHIN THE 30 DAY PERIOD I RESPONDED WITH THE FOLLOWING (FILED W/ COURT WHERE APPROPRIATE):

  • PLD-C-010: Answer- Contract
  • MC-040: Notice of Change of Address (to ensure they were using my current Ventura address)
  • DISC-015: Request for Statement of Witnesses and Evidence
  • Demand for Bill of Particulars
  • POS-040: Proof of Service – Civil

THEN, THE PLAINTIFF ATTORNEY RESPONDED WITH THE FOLLOWING:

A response to my DISC-015 and Deman for Bill of Particulars with the evidence of their claims. This included:

  • Copies of Citi Card billing statements showing the same amount on the claim and showing my last payment received.
  • Copy of my original cardholder agreement with my signature

THEN, THE COURT SENT ME THE FOLLOWING:

Notice of Hearing (Civil Case Management Conference)

Notice states that

“all counsel of record or parties in pro per shall appear the CMC, be familiar with the case and be fully prepared to participate effectively in the hearing, including discussions of ADR options.”

The CMC is scheduled for less than two weeks from now.

AFTER THAT, THE PLAINTIFF ATTORNEY ALSO SENT ME THE FOLLOWING (ALL FILED WITH THE COURT AS WELL):

  • Their Case Management Statement

THEN, EARLIER THIS MONTH THE PLAINTIFF ATTORNEY SENT THE FOLLOWING (FILED WITH THE COURT AS WELL):

Form Interrogatories – Limited Civil Case (Economic Litigation) which contained the following:

“Special Interrogatory No 1: If you contend that you do not owe the full amount claimed in plaintiff’s complaint, state how much you acknowledge owing.

Special Interrogatory No 2: If your response to any of the requests for admissions served concurrently herewith was anything but an unqualified affirmation, please state in detail the factual basis for each of said responses.”

Requests for Admissions which stated:

“You are requested to admit within 30 days after service, or within 5 days after service in an unlawful detainer action, of this Requests for Admission that:

Each of the following facts is true:

  1. That you had a credit card account with CITIBANK Account number xxxxxxxx.
  2. That you received the disclosure statement of the terms and conditions of your ACCOUNT.
  3. That you made various purchases with your ACCOUNT after receiving the disclosure statement.
  4. That you did not report the credit card issued to your on your ACCOUNT lost or stolen.
  5. That you received monthly statements showing the credits and debits to your ACCOUNT.
  6. That you did not dispute the statements showing the credits and debits to your ACCOUNT.
  7. That there is an outstanding unpaid balance on your ACCOUNT.
  8. That a payment was made to the ACCOUNT within the four years prior to the filing of the complaint.
  9. That the unpaid principal balance on your ACCOUNT is $2,437.32

THIS IS WHAT I HAVE SUBMITTED BACK TO THE PLAINTIFF ATTORNEY AND COURT:

Nothing since my original response

THIS IS WHY I WANT TO SETTLE:

Evidence:

They have copies of statements showing the principal balance, they have original card agreement with my signature.

Statute of Limitations:

They have proof that the last activity on the account was in December of 2008. This is accurate.

Location:

I am being in sued in San Diego as that is where I resided when I had the Citi account. I live in Ventura and traveling two and from the court requires me to miss work. This is not an option for me.

Job:

4 weeks ago I got a promotion at work and took on a boatload of new responsibilities. I’m managing a huge 6-month project for my company. This is a 24/7 kind of job with huge immediate and potential benefits.

  • Immediate benefit – I received a raise and in the last few weeks have been able to save up enough to settle my case.
  • Potential benefit – My boss is retiring at the end of the year. If I do well on this project, which I have every confidence I will, his boss has told me he intends to promote me again into my boss’ current position. Effectively giving me as much as a 20% raise.

I simply cannot commit any additional time to arguing this case. And for well under $3k it is not worth hiring an attorney. By settling the case, I can concentrate on my work and in 6 months time I could end up making 20% more than I do now.

20% annual salary increase vs. $1-2k settlement:

I’m looking at settling as an investment in my future. By settling the matter, I get this case resolved, can concentrate on my work and be set up for a 20% salary increase in 6 months.

HERE’S WHAT I NEED TO KNOW:

  1. What are my next steps?
  2. Should my first step be a phone call or letter to the plaintiff attorney?
  3. What is the exact language I should include?
  4. Are there any settlement letter templates you'd recommend?
  5. What should be my demands?
  6. What, if anything, do I need to file with the court now?
  7. What, if anything, do I need to file with the court after settling?
  8. Knowing everything you see above, how much do you think my initial offer should be? I can afford to go as high as $2,000 but obviously I want to minimize the impact. I don’t want to start so low that they don’t take me seriously, but I don’t want to overdeliver to a JDB that probably paid pennies on the dollar for this debt.

I think my demands should include the following:

  • A request that the case is dismissed with prejudice.
  • The matter/account is considered fully settled by the plaintiff
  • The plaintiff informs credit reporting agencies of the account being settled in full
  • That the plaintiff agrees not to sue for this case again or to attempt to try to sell this alleged debt to a 3rd party or back to the original debtor.

I need to move fast to get this done. Would appreciate your feedback. And, while I appreciate the libertarian spirit running through this board, I’m not really interested in hearing why I should not settle. I understand that if I did fight this there is a chance I could win, but for the reasons I’ve listed above, I do not have the time or resources to dedicate to this.

Thank you so much!!

Edited by HorseTears
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You want that to be a Dismissal WITH PREJUDICE.

Without prejudice means they can bring the action against you again.

And your back is not against the wall at this point in time so please don't rush. You have decided you want to settle and that is your choice. But plan your offer carefully. It is two weeks until a case management conference, ie a pre-trial, not a trial. The whole point of that is to work something out.

Courts move slow. Use that time to get the settlement you want.

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elite - thanks for the correction. I made the change above. I work in marketing, not the law. ;)

As for timing - yes, the CMC isn't for another 10 days, but

  • a - I can't attend that so want to get this resolved before then.
  • b - My boss just let me know I may be going to the UK next week for a few days, so with travel and time differences I need to get this resolved

Thanks!

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While I think you need to be committed for settling with a$$ Acceptance, it does pretty much appear your mind is made up. So I'll just answer your question and let you figure out later that you probably just flushed money down the toilet.

This is way too simple, which is good because you seem to want to get this done a.s.a.p.

You pretty much nailed it as far as the settlement.

You can call them (I'd record), work out the agreement, and then get it in writing. It's just like buying a car. There is nothing to it.

They will, by law, inform the credit agencies that you settled (I don't think you care but this won't help your score, it's still going to be sitting there for others to see that you defaulted and settled for less).

The case will be dismissed with prejudice. That is normal and just the way it works so no problems there. So you're two for two with really not a lot of work on your end because that is how it works.

Really, and you stated it, you just need to hammer how that the account is settled in full for XXX amount and that is for all claims and demands known or unknown as it relates to case number XXX and the alleged debt of XXXXX.

Then you nailed it again. The amount is settlement in full and no portion may be transferred or sold to another party and the payment zeros out the account and is payment in full (you get the idea of the language).

The dismissal with prejudice takes care of the they won't sue you again for it.

So you really answered your own question. You've got what needs to be in the agreement. Just get it in writing and don't let them tell you they can't put this or that in writing. That is B.S.

You're dealing with the worst of the worst. If you leave them any wiggle room in that release, rest assured you will not have heard the last of this. a$$ Acceptance is just a law breaking FTC fine paying machine that looks like they have no intention of changing that business model.

Good luck. And now I must go vomit as I've just discussed details of a consumer settling with a$$ Acceptance.

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Ha! Coltfan, you're awesome. Thank you for taking the time to write me a thoughtful response despite the fact that my decision is making you gag.

Has anyone on here settled (during pre-trial, that is)? And if so, any tips? Should I start low and offer 30%? Should I ask them to offer the first figure? (Probably not, I know). But any tips on the negotiation would be appreciated. Just wondering what would be realistic in a case like mine.

And, if anyone has info on the official legal document(s) I should be using, please let me know.

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I would try to settle with their attorney, not a collections rep...The CR will play games. I will recommend this, play hardball with the attorney while settling. The attorney will try to jerk you around as well to get as much out of you as they can.

Start real low, like $500. See what the attorney comes back at. As you negotiate never offer anywhere near where you want to end up at. IF the attorney continues to offer amounts that are higher, go lower. Never let them think that you are giving in.

Then wait until the attorney gets to an amount to where you feel comfortable..when he/she does, then start to go towards the amount that you want to see. Do not worry if things do not go well the first time. Wait a week and call back..if things do not get resolved, wait another week or two and try again.

Just never give in and get it in writing before you cut a check and do not give them any bank account information!!

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1st step, a$$ Acceptance, on average, pays 4.2 cents on the dollar (per their own website!?).

But yes, start at around 8-9% of amount owed, and they're still doubling their money.

But to the OP, just because they have billing statements and a signed application, that doesn't mean anything.

One of Coltfans favorite things to do is to admit the validity of the debt, but then say, I just don't owe it to you (prove it). There is a lot more complexity to these instruments than most people know.

So if you've decided to pay them, ok, but please start low. Make them think, if even for a moment, that you're at they're level (really low).

Which reminds me, it been 2 1/2 months since I dv'd them. It's almost like they disappeared from the face of the earth. Well, unless the WebReconned me.

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Since they have already sued you and have money tied up in the court system, they might take a run at you with summary judgement when you start to try and settle really low.

Once you jump out there and offer to settle, while settling lawsuits happen all the time, a$$ Acceptance is going to feel like they have leverage (in your case they do, because you actually want to settle).

When you first posted talking about settling I did not think you were referring to trying and get a low settlement in full. I thought since you were saying you wanted to be done with it that you were going to settle around 80% or so just to make it go away.

I agree 100% with everybody else that you don't want to settle with them but for a very, very low percent. However, they might smell blood and before they settle that cheap take a run at you with a summary judgement motion, in an effort to get 100% plus their attorney fees.

Just something to consider when you go in there and stat low balling them.

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Move over, Coltfan - I need to vomit, too!

I'm sorry, Horsetears, that you believe you must settle. Everyone has different circumstances and issues in their life that must be dealt with. And you have the right, obviously, to make whatever decision you believe you need to make.

But I'm with gwhellock915 - AA can be beaten, no matter what they have or don't have. But, it does take time. So if time is not an option, then settlement is a viable option, but still a time-consuming one if you want to save as much money as you can.

Remember, if you have other defaulted debt, once you settle with one, you will need to start looking over your shoulder constantly. The other wolves in the pack are sure to be lurking in the shadows, waiting to pounce on you themselves when they see you are in a "settling mood."

You've been given excellent settling advice here. Good luck!

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+1 With the 2 posts above... if you you settle, it'll be like swimming with a gunshot wound in the shark tank at Sea World...

lots of times the same law firms handle multiple JDBs, or any other JOBs will now take a run at you- and that raise you worked so hard to get will be going to them...

Edited by 1stStep
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While you are settling, you might as well shoot for the TL delete. Worst they can do is say no after asking for it ten times. They want your money.

If they get tricky with you, the worst you will have to do is hose them prior to trial.

With my case, I never said a word to the opposing counsel. At our meeting, the judge did all the talking and it was never a group discussion. She thought it odd that it takes a JDB 60 days to obtain documents when we live in a world of scans, e-mails, Fedex overnight, etc.

I won without ever having to say a word in a court room and converse with the other side outside of it. Now I might finally return their call.

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Is the law firm suing you also in Walnut Creek, CA? Because their requests for discovery to you are EXACTLY the same questions they asked me - same LLC Plaintiff, same original creditor, except I owed about 10k more than you.

I just wanted to say if you don't answer those Interrogatories & Admissions they sent you "earlier this month" within 30 days, then you have just admitted to all of the Admissions & I don't they are going to settle with you - they are going to nail you with a summary judgement & their attorney costs - which of course is more than what you owed originally & clearly more than you want to settle for. Since you may have to go out of town, you really need to be asking for an extension from the law firm for your responses to their discovery AND you need to inform the court that the date they chose for Case Management needs to be changed because you'll be out of the country or whatever. You can talk with them about a settlement after those things get done right?

I'm just saying, you've decided what you'd like to do, but the days are being counted by the court and your law firm on the stuff you haven't done because you are thinking about a settlement. What if you don't reach a settlement before your discovery is due? Someone can chime in on this, but I think those things are still "due" because the lawsuit is ongoing.

If you want, take a look at my thread and if you need help with answers to your rogs & admissions, I'd be willing to share . The title of my thread is CA, Asset Acceptance, Open Acct & Acct Stated, ?'s about Discovery...

Good luck!

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Not to pile on, but as you know we do not like to settle with JDBs unless it's to determine how big a check they will write us. However, that's not for everybody. Figure they paid less than 100 for your account. As the others said, they will sense weakness when you offer to settle. Okay, you want to settle. Make an offer of 500 and see what they say. Lay out all the stipulations you want. Before you do this, I strongly suggest that Nascar gets in on this, there is a specific name for the agreement in California which I forget but he knows, these agreements must go through an attorney or they are not valid.

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Is the law firm suing you also in Walnut Creek, CA? Because their requests for discovery to you are EXACTLY the same questions they asked me - same LLC Plaintiff, same original creditor, except I owed about 10k more than you.

Yes, sounds like it's probably the same firm. I sent you a PM regarding this. Cheers.

Not to pile on, but as you know we do not like to settle with JDBs unless it's to determine how big a check they will write us. However, that's not for everybody. Figure they paid less than 100 for your account. As the others said, they will sense weakness when you offer to settle. Okay, you want to settle. Make an offer of 500 and see what they say. Lay out all the stipulations you want. Before you do this, I strongly suggest that Nascar gets in on this, there is a specific name for the agreement in California which I forget but he knows, these agreements must go through an attorney or they are not valid.

Thanks! I'll look for Nascar's post.

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If it's not to late, go with arbitration for this amount, that should get rid of the. I sure hope you have a change of heart. If not, your headed for a lot of heartache down the road with this bunch. Their is help here to fight if you will take it and listen.

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I'm curious, because I received a letter from asset Acc. for one of my Citi accounts informing me that due to failure to make satisfactory arrangements for the resolution of this account, this matter will be reviewed for placement with an attorney. I would like to settle $11K for $2,500.

Any advice? Thanks!

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But if they sue me I will need to go to Court and I don't have time for that. I don't take lunch breaks because I am that busy. What are my chances I can win? The Judge will ask if I recognize the Citi debt, and I will have to say yes. What possibly can help me win without getting an attorney? I think it is less expensive to just settle before even goes to Court. Isn't it? Any reco for an attorney that would represent me in the similr range I would like to settle for?

We don't like to see people settle up front with a JDB. Study while you wait for them to sue you, then we'll see what they have as evidence. Usually it isn't much.
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But if they sue me I will need to go to Court and I don't have time for that.

Hey, if you can't make time to fight an 11K claim then you just have to do whatever you need to do I guess. Personally I'd find time.

I don't take lunch breaks because I am that busy.

I bet you are one hunger person when you get home from work. I'd hate to see you coming to my pizza buffet after work.

What are my chances I can win?

Well zero if you don't have time and can't/won't go to court. About a 99.99% chance if you devote lots of time and work in learning the system and how to win. This is a junk debt buyer, one of the worst of the worst. If you decide to put up a legit and aggressive fight, you have to try pretty dang hard to lose to them.

The Judge will ask if I recognize the Citi debt, and I will have to say yes.

Probably won't happen. The judge is not going to question you (or they shouldn't). However, let's assume the judge does. You recognize the Citibank debt? Fair enough, do you recognize Asset Acceptance, and if so, other than them telling you they do, exactly how do you know they own the debt (pretty much discussed in detail in this thread).

What possibly can help me win without getting an attorney?

Attacking their standing.

I think it is less expensive to just settle before even goes to Court.

Can't tell somebody else what they should do. If that is what you think when you take all factors into account (time, stress, money, etc...) then so be it. It's worth it to some people to just pay to make it go away. It happens all the time. However, I can't think of anybody on this board that will share that same strategy. That does not make it wrong, just not the board to be on if you are looking for encouragement in settling with a$$ Acceptance. Asset pretty much just gets their a$$ kicked anytime they go up against somebody from this board. Shoot, even one of our members wrote a book after she beat them. I've got the book and it really lays out how to beat them in pretty easy to understand format. It also has tons of examples. You might look at Ladyhunter's profile on this board, I'm sure she has a link to the book somewhere, it's on Amazon.

Isn't it?

See above.

Any reco for an attorney that would represent me in the similr range I would like to settle for?

$2500.00 to represent you on a junk debt allegedly owned by Asset Acceptance????? :shock: Yeah you are going to have zero problems finding an attorney.

I mean if you have to throw $2500.00 away, at least get the attorney so Asset does not get your money. The attorney is going to send them a letter that they represent you for any collection matters, including a lawsuit, and to direct all communications to them. That will be the last you ever hear from Asset after that letter from your attorney.

This is junk debt they can't prove in court if they are challenged and made to comply with the rules of evidence. Their scum, but they are even smart enough to know that. Even they, as garbage as they are won't go throwing good money at bad on a debt they probably paid two to three cents on the dollar for.

11K is a lot in junk debt buyer land. I'll be honest, if you don't settle, get an attorney or start disputing and showing them you will fight pro se and know enough without an attorney to still beat them, I can't imagine they won't sue you for 11k.

However, as much as that sounds like a huge amount, which it is, Asset probably only has about $250 - $400 invested in this debt of yours.

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My thoughts, if you try and settle this instead of fighting it, it's going to come back and haunt you big time. Everything from the balance being sold off to another JDB for more grief, a very good chance of a 1099-C being issued and much more.

You're better off to fight it or, file BK7 if you really want to get rid of them. If you have no money now, you're sure not going to have any after trying to settle. They smell blood now that you've given in and they won't give an inch till you fight. Just my thoughts...

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Thanks a lot! I appreciate your sense of humor, Coltfan1972 :) By the time I get home in the evening, your pizza buffet is long closed :). I will try to locate Ladyhunter's link how to beat Asset Acc. As I am concerned that they might try to sue me in the very near future, at least I want to look into finding a lawyer in California that could send that letter as you are saying. Any recommendations on lawyers that were able to beat a$$ Acc? Any idea how much the charge? Thank you, really appreciate it.

Hey, if you can't make time to fight an 11K claim then you just have to do whatever you need to do I guess. Personally I'd find time.

I bet you are one hunger person when you get home from work. I'd hate to see you coming to my pizza buffet after work.

Well zero if you don't have time and can't/won't go to court. About a 99.99% chance if you devote lots of time and work in learning the system and how to win. This is a junk debt buyer, one of the worst of the worst. If you decide to put up a legit and aggressive fight, you have to try pretty dang hard to lose to them.

Probably won't happen. The judge is not going to question you (or they shouldn't). However, let's assume the judge does. You recognize the Citibank debt? Fair enough, do you recognize Asset Acceptance, and if so, other than them telling you they do, exactly how do you know they own the debt (pretty much discussed in detail in this thread).

Attacking their standing.

Can't tell somebody else what they should do. If that is what you think when you take all factors into account (time, stress, money, etc...) then so be it. It's worth it to some people to just pay to make it go away. It happens all the time. However, I can't think of anybody on this board that will share that same strategy. That does not make it wrong, just not the board to be on if you are looking for encouragement in settling with a$$ Acceptance. Asset pretty much just gets their a$$ kicked anytime they go up against somebody from this board. Shoot, even one of our members wrote a book after she beat them. I've got the book and it really lays out how to beat them in pretty easy to understand format. It also has tons of examples. You might look at Ladyhunter's profile on this board, I'm sure she has a link to the book somewhere, it's on Amazon.

See above.

$2500.00 to represent you on a junk debt allegedly owned by Asset Acceptance????? :shock: Yeah you are going to have zero problems finding an attorney.

I mean if you have to throw $2500.00 away, at least get the attorney so Asset does not get your money. The attorney is going to send them a letter that they represent you for any collection matters, including a lawsuit, and to direct all communications to them. That will be the last you ever hear from Asset after that letter from your attorney.

This is junk debt they can't prove in court if they are challenged and made to comply with the rules of evidence. Their scum, but they are even smart enough to know that. Even they, as garbage as they are won't go throwing good money at bad on a debt they probably paid two to three cents on the dollar for.

11K is a lot in junk debt buyer land. I'll be honest, if you don't settle, get an attorney or start disputing and showing them you will fight pro se and know enough without an attorney to still beat them, I can't imagine they won't sue you for 11k.

However, as much as that sounds like a huge amount, which it is, Asset probably only has about $250 - $400 invested in this debt of yours.

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I wasn't trying to get advice to settle or not, I was trying to get an idea if $2500 would be enough to settle with them. Thanks for your feedback, BrunoTheJDKiller

Your call, but you can see from the responses you are getting that this board is not here to advise people to settle. They don't need us for that. It's like asking the enemy general for permission to surrender, and you get George Patton giving you the answer.
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Even if I request a letter that states that the payment they would get would be considered as payment in full? Can't file BK. Apparently I am making enough money to pay my debts, which of course is not true, becuse if I did, I wouldn't be in debt... So even if Asset Acc paid several hundred $$ for my debt, they will not accept my 21% settlement? That's what you are telling me? Thank you, TomnTex!

My thoughts, if you try and settle this instead of fighting it, it's going to come back and haunt you big time. Everything from the balance being sold off to another JDB for more grief, a very good chance of a 1099-C being issued and much more.

You're better off to fight it or, file BK7 if you really want to get rid of them. If you have no money now, you're sure not going to have any after trying to settle. They smell blood now that you've given in and they won't give an inch till you fight. Just my thoughts...

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