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Being sued by Portfolio Recovery - California


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Hello, this is a first for me so I am doing all the research I can. I am being sued in Orange County, CA by Portfolio Recovery for an old HSBC card. The original debt is around 5 years old and I lived in Oklahoma when I got the card. I moved to California 3 years ago and I defaulted on the card around 4 years ago but I don't know the exact date. I lost my job in Oct 09 so it was right around that time. I have not been served yet so I will answer these questions with the information that I have so far. Thanks,


1. Who is the named plaintiff in the suit?

Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC

2. What is the name of the law firm handling the suit? (should be listed at the top of the complaint.)

Hunt & Henriques

3. How much are you being sued for?


4. Who is the original creditor? (if not the Plaintiff)

HSBC Bank Nevada

5. How do you know you are being sued? (You were served, right?)

I received some attorney letters so I searched and found the filing

6. How were you served? (Mail, In person, Notice on door)

Not served yet

7. Was the service legal as required by your state? 

Process Service Requirements by State - Summons Complaint

8. What was your correspondence (if any) with the people suing you before you think you were being sued?

Never had correspondence with PRA

9. What state and county do you live in?

Orange County, California

10. When is the last time you paid on this account? (looking to establish if you are outside of the statute of limitations)

roughly 4 years in Oklahoma. live in California for past 3 years

11. What is the SOL on the debt? To find out: 

5 years in Oklahoma, 4 years in California

Statute of Limitations on Debts

12. What is the status of your case? Suit served? Motions filed? You can find this by a) calling the court or looking it up online (many states have this information posted - when you find the online court site, search by case number or your name).

Case filed

13. Have you disputed the debt with the credit bureaus (both the original creditor and the collection agency?)


14. Did you request debt validation before the suit was filed? Note: if you haven't sent a debt validation request, don't bother doing this now - it's too late.


15. How long do you have to respond to the suit? (This should be in your paperwork). If you don't respond to the lawsuit notice you will lose automatically. In 99% of the cases, they will require you to answer the summons, and each point they are claiming. We need to know what the "charges" are. Please post what they are claiming. Did you receive an interrogatory (questionnaire) regarding the lawsuit? 

30 days from service, but I have not been served

Here is an example of what the summons/complaint may look like: Sued by a Debt Collector - Learn How to Fight Debt Lawsuits

16. What evidence did they send with the summons? An affidavit? Statements from the OC? Contract? List anything else they attached as exhibits. 


Not served yet

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First thing's first.  You will need to be served before you can do anything.  You must file an answer to the summons or else they will win a default judgment against you.  When you get served, your answer will depend upon exactly what they put in their complaint.  It would be helpful if you post up their complaint when you get it, so that everyone here can help you with the best possible answers.  Portfolio is a joke, and most of the time from what I have seen, they don't have documentation to prove their claim. 


When you get served, be sure to get back to us.  There are some awesome people here who will be happy to help.

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Hunt & Henriques will not go to court. Someone else can chime in on your SOL issue.

I beat them back with the help of various forum members. They dismissed w/o prej 4 months in after missing discovery deadlines and displaying a total disregard for the discovery process by filing 11 ROGS when I only propounded 10. Hit them hard and hit them right out of the gate. They are totally disorganized. Haven't seen one Cali case where they actually went to court. Relax. They want the easy defaults.

Here is what I did after I got sewer served-something I ignored. Don't put it past them.

1. Filed and served my answer along with a demand for a BOP (You don't need to file the BOP with the court just serve it.) on the same day.

2. They asked for more time on the BOP which I gave them but they eventually only sent a partial BOP. I actually gave them two extensions. I ended up filing a motion for further BOP. I made sure I scheduled the hearing for the day before our hearing to set a trial date just to give them a headache and increase the chances they might drop the ball and fail to appear. As John Grishman pointed out repeatedly in his latest novel, Sycamore Row, courts are about winning not justice.

3. Three weeks after I served my answer/BOP, I served them with three different set of discovery requests (27 in all) which they botched as stated above. Their para-legal did a terrible cut-and-paste job too. Again showing a total disregard for the discovery process.

4. They folded a week before the motion to compel a further BOP and the trial setting conference after I notified them their discovery responses sucked and I would be filing a motion to compel further answers to ROGS and PODs as well as another motion requesting the court for matters deemed admitted or for further answers to my Request for Admissions if nothing else.

Also, two months in the courts scheduled a voluntary mediation conference. I showed and they sent a rent-a-lawyer who turned out to be a nice guy. I told both the lawyer and the negotiator that I owed somebody something, no question about that, but until they could prove to me that I owed the JDB I was dealing with what they said I owed them, I would rather, for my own well-being, adjudicate.


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go look at your credit report, and see if it lists HSBC, and the date it was defaulted on.  If It was OCT. 09, then NOV, 2013 would be the end of your SOL.  If you can look at a bank statement, and get a date, all the better.  If they filed after NOV, 2013 then to bad for them.  If they filied in NOV. or before, they may have just made the SOL.  It is important to know so you can claim the SOL as an affirmative defence when you are served, as well as file a counter claim for suing on a time barred debt.  That will give you much needed leverage.

What date does it say the suit was filed? And have they filed anything that says they served you?  You can find this info online in california.

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I checked my credit report and it says last payment was made on 04/2011. I don't remember making a payment that recently but it looks as thought the SOL does not help me. I have purchased 2 of the documents that were available on the Orange County court website, the complaint and the summons.


The date on the summons is 11/21/13 but none of the boxes are checked in the proof of summons area so I am assuming that means that I have not been served and someone will be serving me with this summons. I do get letters from attorneys that say, "don't wait, I only have 30 days to respond" but that is from the date that I am served, which I have not been, right?


Here is a little more info on the complaint:

filed 11/21/13


Cause of action:It is 1 page and has X marks by CC-1, CC-2 and CC-4.

CC-1, says I became indebted to plaintiff within last 4 years on open book account and because an account was stated in writing by and between the plaintiff and defendant in which is was agreed that the defendant was indebted to planitiff

Withing the last 4 years for money had and recieved by defendant for the use and benefit of plaintiff

CC-2, $3011 is due and unpaid.

CC-4 - plaintiff purchased the account from the original creditor. Plaintiff is the current owner of the account.



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sometimes the OC adds a credit for over interest charges when closing out the account.  Does it tell you the month/year it was sold?

If you think it was 2009 for your last payment, you could check your bank records.  they usually only go back a couple of years online, so you may have to go to the bank to request them, but I would get like the last 6 months of 2009 and see if you can find the last payment.


Just keep checking the website until it says you were served, or if you wanted to you could just go ahead and answer it, but I would find out my last payment for sure first.  If you want you could send a Bill of Particulars NOW, you don't have to wait until you file an answer to do that, or you could send it after you file the answer.  Account stated is improper for a BOP, and they will tell you that, but it is not improper for an open book account, so when they object, we have a letter you can send.

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I think I need to ask the question, roughly how much would I spend if I hire an attorney to defend this? I know it may not be worth it when the amount of the suit is $3000. I want to do this myself and I think that I can but I have to consider all options since I have very little time. I have 2 kids in HS, one in college and a job that requires me to travel. If I don't give this the attention that it deserves I could also throw money down the drain. The filing fee for just the answer is $180 and then it could snowball from there. I know that the attorney would cost more but my worry is that I would submit the forms myself and not having much time to dedicate to focus on it I will miss something and then I am burning money. I don't have much extra money but I definitely don't have money to burn. It has taken me 3 years since losing my job to get above water and we are treading water now. This one CC that was unwilling to work with me at the time I quit paying could have a domino affect on everything else.

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Hiring an attorney could cost you more than 1k.  I think you will find that unless it is cut and dry the debt isn't yours, or they have some big ole violation, you would have a hard time finding an attorney to take it, most would say they will do it, but advise you to settle.

My opinion is you can do this yourself.  There are different ways of going about it.  2 very different ways of fighting it you can find in ASTMedic's thread, and Homelessinca's thread.  Both won their cases, but their tactics were different.

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I checked my credit report and it says last payment was made on 04/2011. I don't remember making a payment that recently but it looks as thought the SOL does not help me.


Check your bank records for that payment.   If you don't have a copy of the bank statement that would reflect that payment, get a copy from your bank.  Credit reports are not always 100% accurate. 

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  • 1 month later...

I finally recieved a summons on 1/15 and around the same time I recieved a settlement offer from H&H Law Firm for roughly half of the amount. I am going to discuss this settlement at 5:00pm today. I don't quite have enough to pay the settlement but I have until Feb 1 and I thought about asking if they will take a little less. I am considering this option because I could spend good money in court fees and lost time at work and still potentially lose. I understand that I may have a good chance but I think I have to consider this option as well. I have some questions that come to mind if I do pay the settlement offer.


1. Do I still need to answer the summons with the court and pay the associated fees? If I have to do this anyway, that will be money that I will not have available to put toward a settlement.

2. Can PRS and H&H just continue with the lawsuit and get a default judgement for the remaining balance even if I pay the settlement?


Is there anything else I should be concerned with if I decide to settle?




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