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Settle everything?


Goody_Ouchless
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Hello, all:

 

I just found this board while researching a question and am very impressed with the thoughtful answers given in other threads. I have been active at DB for a while, and, while they have been incredibly helpful and supportive, there is a tendency to recommend "arbitration" as the solution to all problems, along with an intense aversion to "settling." 

 

I am hoping you all can provide some sober guidance to help me out of my current situation.

 

Background:

My wife and I live in Arizona. During the real estate meltdown we lost our home to foreclosure. During that time, being completely clueless, we stopped paying all credit cards. I guess we thought foreclosure was like bankruptcy, where either everything would just "go away", or we would never have credit again so what did it matter. During this time (late 2008 - early 2010) roughly a dozen credit cards were charged off.

 

Again, not understanding the law (AZ is 'community property'), we worked on fixing my credit, while leaving everything 'toxic' in my wife's name. 

 

With my improved credit and the passage of time, we were able to qualify for an FHA mortgage and become home owners again. We actually purchased a home using a 'hard money' lender and have since refinanced that property with FHA, before selling and buying a new home with another FHA mortgage. It was during the credit checks for the refinance in 2012 and our new mortgage in 2013 that the letters started pouring in from JDB's regarding the credit cards that went bad in the 2009 time-frame. Again, perhaps in ignorance, we figured they came out of the wood work to torpedo our loans, and would simply disappear again. (Another story for another thread is the effect changing FHA guidelines had on the ability of JDB's to wreck mortgage applications...)

 

In 2012 my wife was sued over one of the credit cards. Armed with my online "legal" advice I managed to fumble the thing into a Summary Judgement. Luckily I was directed to NACA where I found a lawyer who was able to turn that Summary Judgment (for over 10K) into a mutual walk-away.

 

After that victory my stress level evaporated, but the peace was short lived. My wife just got a letter from a law firm representing another JDB. I can only assume a lawsuit is close at hand.

 

Current Situation:

Reviewing our credit reports I find eight accounts split between Midland and Cavalry on my wife's report (total between 15K and 22K, depending on the validity of the "interest and fees") and one one my report for about 10K, give or take based on their numbers, last owned by Midland.

 

All of these were charged off between late 2008 and early 2010. Extensive research in Arizona's vague SOL makes it clear that anything after July, 2007 is ruled to have a six year SOL, so none of these are time-barred.

 

Question:

Does it make sense to have our attorney approach the JDB's in question and try to work out a total settlement? Or is it better to let the lawyer fight the next one in court and hope they get the message that none of these will result in Summary Judgement?

 

I wish I had the time and energy to handle these pro se, but the landscape has obviously changed. JDB's (at least in Arizona) no longer back down at the first sign of a fight. I still have this attitude that it is criminal to pay them anything without a fight, but maybe that is not grounded in reality.

 

Any advice or experiences greatly appreciated!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My personal opinion.......I would not settle with a JDB.

Yes you may get sued, but I find you can usually negotiate a lower settlement the further into litigation you get. They like easy defaults.

The sol starts when your account went into default, not when it was charged off. So say your last payment was November 2008, then it is time barred as of dec. 2014. So if 2008 is when you quit paying, you have less than a year before they are time barred. Doesn't mean they won't sue anyway, you would just have a nice counterclaim against them. I would lay low, if you want to learn how to defend yourself, start studying, or if you can afford it, hire a lawyer.

If JDB calls you, I would record the calls if your a 1 party state, or tell them you are if your a 2 party state. If they violate the fdcpa, then you would have a counter claim if they sue, or you could just sue them.

Each person has to decide what is best for them, but personally I would not pay them a dime willingly. The 10 k debt they probably paid less than 1 k for it, probably only 500.00 or less.

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...

 

Question:

Does it make sense to have our attorney approach the JDB's in question and try to work out a total settlement? Or is it better to let the lawyer fight the next one in court and hope they get the message that none of these will result in Summary Judgement?

 

I wish I had the time and energy to handle these pro se, but the landscape has obviously changed. JDB's (at least in Arizona) no longer back down at the first sign of a fight. I still have this attitude that it is criminal to pay them anything without a fight, but maybe that is not grounded in reality.

 

Any advice or experiences greatly appreciated!

 

The JDB paid ~5% of face on the alleged debt.

 

The questions asked would be ones I would run by my attorney if I was happy with their cost/performance ratio. If I don't like their answers or feel they have limited experience or options to present to me I would consult another competent winning consumer attorney.

 

I have no idea how an attorney would approach settling with all of them at the same time. Since I would have to handle them on my own I would take them as they came. Send them a timely DV letter and likely defeat them if they chose to sue me. If I had money I would "settle" by spending it on something other than a JDB. :-)

 

The amount of time I am likely to spend on the phone with a JDB? Zero minutes, unless I am confident I will be controlling the conversation. I would always record collection calls wherever permissible.

 

Arbitration, when available, is just another tool. It can stop a JDB in their tracks if the specifics to the situation aligns in a suitable fashion. If for some reason the JDB participates through arbitration to the final hearing I would bet on an award against the consumer. If the amount of alleged debt is low, forum cost high (like JAMS) and with a JDB (assuming an arbitration clause is available) I would think that an attorney filing a pre-answer motion to compel arbitration/stay the proceedings in response to a lawsuit might terminate the interest in the JDB pursuing the alleged debt. Lacking PFD or similar in a settlement, the stopping of a JDB pursuit of debt would not necessarily clean up my credit.

 

In my experience: In Arbitration No One Can Hear You Scream TM

 

If the previous mutual walk-away mentioned in the first post did not resolve the 1099-C issue a tax liability may be out there. Possible 1099-C/cancellation of debt tax liability is always a consideration in my negotiations.

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Thank you for your responses.

 

A couple of clarifications are in order - I apologize if I was not clear:

 

It appears I gave the impression that we talk to these people on the phone. We do not. We do not even have our home phone plugged in, and never answer anything unrecognized on cell.

 

Having "lived and learned" concerning lawyers, I did my homework and have no doubt that our current representation is as good as it gets. His reputation and track record are undeniable, and I can't complain about what he accomplished for us. The downside is that he is not cheap - and he doesn't work like a "consignment store." And that leads to the crux of my initial question/issue:

 

Outside of my single five-figure debt, the eight critical line items on my wife's report, when taken individually, would either break-even or lose money if defended by my attorney. Recall, these nine items are split between two JDB's (Midland and Cavalry.) My inquiry was if, at the end of the day, it is more cost effective to have him approach Midland and Cavalry and attempt to "clear the books" with each one. 

 

I have read and studied approaches to handling these matters and I think it's important to be crystal clear about my particular circumstance:

1) I have no doubt the debts are valid. We were not the victim of ID theft, etc.

2) I have no reason to question the amounts, as charged off. Of course the "interest and fees", post-charge-off will be disputed, if claimed.

3) None of these are outside of SOL.

4) We may be "bad with money" and living "check to check", but are nowhere near eligible for Chapter 7. From my math, Chapter 13 would be worse than garnishment, so no form of bankruptcy is a viable option or threat.

5) Per credit report, these are all "1st generation" junk - Midland and Cavalry bought these from the OC's. This is important as the only viable defense I see is the "paper trail", which in these cases is all fresh and the transactions are between major players - not insolvent banks and fly-by-night debt peddlers

 

Basically - other than being pursued by an OC, it doesn't get much darker. I'd love to hear some approaches, starting with the assumption that I have no leverage: it's my debt, we all know it, there are no FDCPA violations, none of it is time barred, the standing/chain of custody is as solid as can be and I can offer no threat of bankruptcy. 

 

I hate to sound so negative, but I honestly can't recall reading about any positive outcomes in these matters unless they sue on a time barred debt, committed blatant FDCPA violations, or essentially went after the wrong person.

 

I'd like to add a comment about the "five cents on the dollar" these outfits pay for the debt. I understand it's true, and it's infuriating, but it strikes me as a distraction and irrelevant. I used that logic when house hunting and looking at "flips" - I know what the guy paid and how much his "Home Depot" re-model cost. While I wouldn't pay for it, these guys still got their money, eventually. Same analogy holds true with shows like "Pawn Stars" and "American Pickers" - they are not going to sell a $10,000 antique for $1100 bucks just because someone knows they acquired it for a grand. The fact is, if I go to the owner of my 10K debt and say "I know you only paid a thousand for it..." they will laugh and say "actually, it was 500 bucks - where's the 10 grand you owe us?"

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1) I have no doubt the debts are valid. We were not the victim of ID theft, etc.

.................not the issue.  You HAD a valid debt with the OC...not so with the JDB.

 

2) I have no reason to question the amounts, as charged off. Of course the "interest and fees", post-charge-off will be disputed, if claimed.

................again, not the issue.

3) None of these are outside of SOL.

................again, not the issue

4) We may be "bad with money" and living "check to check", but are nowhere near eligible for Chapter 7. From my math, Chapter 13 would be worse than garnishment, so no form of bankruptcy is a viable option or threat.

................not quite true.  A BK 13 thru the courts makes your creditors play nice.

5) Per credit report, these are all "1st generation" junk - Midland and Cavalry bought these from the OC's. This is important as the only viable defense I see is the "paper trail", which in these cases is all fresh and the transactions are between major players - not insolvent banks and fly-by-night debt peddlers

..................all they bought from the OC, for pennies on the dollar, is your name, account, and amount on a list.  They have no actual proof in their possession that you ever owed anyone money...let alone them.

 

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...

Having "lived and learned" concerning lawyers, I did my homework and have no doubt that our current representation is as good as it gets. His reputation and track record are undeniable, and I can't complain about what he accomplished for us. The downside is that he is not cheap - and he doesn't work like a "consignment store."

...

Basically - other than being pursued by an OC, it doesn't get much darker. I'd love to hear some approaches, starting with the assumption that I have no leverage: it's my debt, we all know it, there are no FDCPA violations, none of it is time barred, the standing/chain of custody is as solid as can be and I can offer no threat of bankruptcy. 

 

I hate to sound so negative, but I honestly can't recall reading about any positive outcomes in these matters unless they sue on a time barred debt, committed blatant FDCPA violations, or essentially went after the wrong person.

...

The fact is, if I go to the owner of my 10K debt and say "I know you only paid a thousand for it..." they will laugh and say "actually, it was 500 bucks - where's the 10 grand you owe us?"

The thinking of the OP is clear now.

 

The major ways of dealing with collectors (other than head-in-the-sand ignoring the issue) are do it yourself, acquire professional representation, or a combination AFAIK.

 

The OP's commentary on the "laugh at you" language is similar to the language I heard from OCs DC attorneys that sued me on an alleged debt inside the SOL prior to their losing to me.

 

I would not worry too much about defeating a JDB or OC until I fixed my thinking. I did not defeat OCs with the thinking posted here (which is probably not too far off from my thinking when I was served my first summons). Getting my head straight caused opposing to lose.

 

The real "owner" of a debt should have no trouble being able to prove up, by admissible evidence, each and everyone of the case law required elements of their cause of action in a court of law. My experience, and plenty of posts on this board indicate that they have trouble, often a lot of trouble, when properly challenged in court. If they cannot prove up all their required elements I would assume it is completely appropriate for the engaged defendant with a clear head to prevail.

 

I would think it safe to assume that it is a lot of hard and intelligent work for a pro se to defeat a JDB or OC. I would assume it is nearly impossible to do so while thinking as the OP has indicated in their post. YMMV, but that is not the way to bet. Critics are everywhere, even on this board. I would chose to not be my own critic.

 

In my prior post I offered up an untested hybrid theory for the OP (or others similarly situated) that clearly would require them to do their own due diligence, a theory that *might* reduce the work by the defendant while attempting to reduce attorney costs. YMMV

 

Whether I hire a professional, do it myself, or a combination of both, it is my case to win or lose if my name is on the caption. This is psychological war as I posted here: http://www.creditinfocenter.com/community/topic/322846-paying-my-debt/page-2#entry1282613

 

My settlement negotiations have always benefited from my bringing leverage to the table. The leverage I might bring when I have no apparent leverage (counter-claims, etc) might involve my uncollectibility and willingness to litigate until opposing quits or I win by showing they cannot prove their elements (or perhaps arbitration costs or whatever I can come up with). My willingness to litigate brings costs and risks to the opposing which at some point before or during litigation may cause them to agree to a settlement I find favorable. Then again, guarantees come with appliances, not litigation AFAIK.

 

Are there risks to me in litigating? Of course. I always want to know what I am doing when engaging in litigation.

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Credator - I think we understand each other.

 

I found this board through "Harry's" thread about his pro se battle with Cavalry. The letter that prompted my search is from a lawyer representing the same DB, for a debt from the same OC - a debt that defaulted the same month and year as "Harry's" - in the same jurisdiction. It has been like a looking glass into the future. Frankly, I would write a check today to avoid what he has going through. If he loses, add a judgment and garnishment for the full amount plus legal fees to the stress and time-lost. I sound like a JDB... well, not exactly - a lawyer in my last case accused us of destroying the fabric of Western Civilization by "not paying our debts."

 

I neglected my "day job" in order to read that thread. I would not have a job if I put the same amount of work into a single case - I almost lost it last year during my prior suit. Recall, I face a potential of nine such suits in the next 18 months, before SOL.

 

The facts are, as we both recognize, that I am not in any position to fight these pro se, and, taken piecemeal, winning them all with a lawyer would cost me around 90 cents on the dollar allegedly owed.

 

I don't see an option other than some type of settlement. At least in that arena I can see some "leverage:"

 

1) Due to some withholding issues, the IRS is first in line.

2) With nine accounts, the DC's will be facing the same "economy-of-scale" issues as me, in terms of cost-effective litigation.

3) I've been sued once and won - every suit will be fought - there will be no 'default judgment' 

4) Most of these are in my wife's name and she makes a poverty-level wage - even with 'community property', they will have to work harder to collect from me.

5) Several of these accounts are for less than $1000 - seems risky to risk losing legal fees for that kind of potential payoff.

 

I wouldn't be here if I wasn't torn and conflicted - it kills me to even consider paying them a dime. I don't see a choice - I can't see risking my career for what, worst case, will be like a two year car payment for a vehicle that doesn't exist.

 

I hope I am missing another option.

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Maybe I misread BK 13, but when I last did the math (about six months ago) the conditions were draconian. Basically full garnishment at 25% left us with substantially more disposable income than any BK 13 plan I looked at.

 

It was so bad (three years living at subsistence level) that it made more sense to switch jobs, take a pay cut for six months, let them take our junk, and give them nothing under BK 7.

 

I still don't understand the aversion to "settlement", unless it is somehow perceived as "letting them win." I have heard no one dispute that these places will take less than 50 cents on the dollar with a serious offer, yet BK 13 would have me paying them 100% of what they currently seek. 

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Okay @Goody_Ouchless ...here's the thing.  Once a JDB learns that you are willing to roll over and cough up money, they're willingness to settle for less than the full amount THEY say you owe goes away.

 

So...unless you put all 8 of them together in a pile and deal with them all at once, you'll wind up paying what they want...not what you can afford.  Plus...even if you do get them to settle for 50% (highly unlikely)...they'll probably sell the other 50% to another JDB.  (Yes, I know...you can negotiate so they won't sell...but again, they know a sucker when they see one).

 

Then, of course, there's the 1099c's that will be going your way.  The IRS will want thier cut. 

 

I AM NOT adverse to settling with the OC.  You will still get a 1099c, but you can be fairly certain an OC will keep their word.  The whole JDB business model is built on half truths and threats.

 

If you don't have the time to stand up to them in court...do a BK13...you only have to go to court once.

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...

Frankly, I would write a check today to avoid what he has going through.

...

I don't see an option other than some type of settlement. At least in that arena I can see some "leverage:"

 

1) Due to some withholding issues, the IRS is first in line.

2) With nine accounts, the DC's will be facing the same "economy-of-scale" issues as me, in terms of cost-effective litigation.

3) I've been sued once and won - every suit will be fought - there will be no 'default judgment' 

4) Most of these are in my wife's name and she makes a poverty-level wage - even with 'community property', they will have to work harder to collect from me.

5) Several of these accounts are for less than $1000 - seems risky to risk losing legal fees for that kind of potential payoff.

...

The willingness of a consumer to write a check to avoid pain is what JDB's live for IMO.

 

To be honest I don't see much leverage in the 5 items listed. From what has been posted #3 would seem unlikely to be a big concern to a JDB plaintiff that probably anticipates they will need to file an MSJ in 10-15% of their cases. With the posts indicating a inability/reluctance to pay a competent attorney or to spend the time to DIY it is unclear how a plaintiff's MSJ would be properly defended, should a suit be filed.

 

...

I still don't understand the aversion to "settlement", unless it is somehow perceived as "letting them win."

...

I doubt it will be satisfactory but...

A JDB is happy to harass a consumer by causing their phone to continually ring, dunning the consumer's credit report, and threatening to sue;

A JDB rarely possesses the admissible evidence required to prove up their claims in court. They know this before they file suit;

A JDB gambled by purchasing, for 5 cents on the dollar, an entry in a spreadsheet that indicates a default on an alleged debt; and

A JDB is happy to sue a consumer that has no assets or income.

 

That is my experience with OCs (other than that 5 cents on the dollar part).

 

I understand that I am dealing with a collection machine. Others may wish to believe they are dealing with reasonable and rational humans. I believe they do so at their own peril.

 

When I am unable or afraid to fight a potential JDB lawsuit (or file a Ch 7 BK), they have already won. Whether I "let them win" or not doesn't really matter all that much. It is what it is. It is really only a matter of determining how much they have won as I settle on their terms. JDB DC attorneys file lawsuits for a living. It is kind of like breathing to them. The amount of the suit merely guides them as to the appropriate court to file in.

 

I am not aware of anyone that has done what I would consider a favorable settlement with a bunch of JDBs (eight or some other number) outside of a BK. Perhaps someone else is familiar with such a settlement and will post some insights.

 

IMHO JDBs, like sharks, want 100% of the prey for themselves. When they sense the prey might be a bit more pliable then originally thought or they sense another shark is getting some extra meat I would expect the negotiations to get a bit more "toothy".

 

I believe the most common options with potential for success have been posted in this thread. I am not sure that they have been found palatable to the OP. Perhaps there are other options and someone will post them. My guess is that they will not be all that satisfactory either.

 

I would not worry too much about what others are doing, wanting, or how they define winning. How I bring a resolution to a collector alleging I owe them a debt is my choice and I am responsible for the results of my actions or inaction.

 

I believe that what is posted on this board is mostly based on what the poster has experienced. If there appears to be a lack of posters having an interest in settling with a JDB it is probably based in part what the posters have experienced.

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I don't want to beat a dead horse, but I think the specifics are still getting lost:

I am talking about nine accounts owned by two JDBs - four by Cavalry and five by Midland.

 

My proposal was to have my attorney - someone who beats these people for a living - approach Midland to negotiate a settlement for the five accounts they own. He would also approach Cavalry to negotiate a settlement for the four accounts they own. It's that simple.

 

I have drawers full of letters from collectors offering at least "50% off", so that is clearly not an unreasonable starting point.

 

The rest of it boils down to individual circumstances. If my income could pass a BK7 means test this would be a moot point. Also, I'd love the challenge of fighting them all pro se, but my career simply doesn't leave enough hours in the day.

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My proposal was to have my attorney - someone who beats these people for a living - approach Midland to negotiate a settlement for the five accounts they own. He would also approach Cavalry to negotiate a settlement for the four accounts they own. It's that simple.

 

Do it.

 

(realize that these JDBs are really pretty disorganized.  its possible that not accounts are being handled by the same office and almost certainly not by the same person.  Your lawyer has some work to do.)

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...

My proposal was to have my attorney - someone who beats these people for a living - approach Midland to negotiate a settlement for the five accounts they own. He would also approach Cavalry to negotiate a settlement for the four accounts they own. It's that simple.

...

Please don't forget to report back on the results as it will likely assist others contemplating a similar approach.

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I will keep the board posted as we proceed. I thank you for the opinions and lively debate!

 

On a coincidental note, I found a letter from Midland in the mail today. It is for one of the nine accounts I mentioned - this one is for less than $1000. This one makes no threats and offers several "payment options" - starting at 60 cents on the dollar. The only benefit they argue is that it will settle the debt and clear the trade line from credit report.

 

This goes back to my "leverage" list. Eight of the nine accounts are in my wife's name, Her credit is trashed and it affects us not at all - we just buy everything in my name. The point being, by their own admission, for debts that aren't worth suing over "credit damage" is their only point of leverage.

 

I also noticed that, at least in the case of Midland, they seem to have a highly automated system in place - it appears possible to settle (on their terms) without ever talking to a human. I wonder if the embrace of technology has cut their costs to the point where it's possible to offer better terms up front. I'm not crying about the obnoxious human debt collectors that this has kicked to the unemployment line...

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@Goody_Ouchless  could be they know something you don't.  See the link at the top of the page?...the SOL on "open-ended accounts" (i.e. credit cards?) in AZ is 3 years.

Might be the AZ SOL content needs to be updated. The AZ legislature changed the statute for CC SOL to 6 years in 2011.

 

A.R.S. 12-548. Contract in writing for debt; six year limitation; choice of law

  A. An action for debt shall be commenced and prosecuted within six years after the cause of action accrues, and not afterward, if the indebtedness is evidenced by or founded on either of the following:

1. A contract in writing that is executed in this state.

2. A credit card as defined in section 13-2101, paragraph 3, subdivision (a).

B. If there is a conflict between another jurisdiction and this state relating to the statute of limitations for a debt action as described in subsection A of this section, this section applies.

 

Some scribbling on the subject found here: http://thebizguy.com/arizona-statute-of-limitations-on-credit-card-debt/

 

Harry Seaward has posted quite a bit on the issue in this forum.

 

It is not something I would consider useful as leverage in a negotiation to settle credit card debts. If an attorney wants to run with it in their negotiations more power to them.

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Retroactive?

I do not believe that issue is clear and settled law in AZ. A judge will likely have to sort that out during a lawsuit. Some would claim that the AZ legislature, with their 2011 statutory language, merely "clarified" the 6 year SOL for the courts that gravitated toward a 3 year SOL IDK.

 

During settlement negotiations anything with nuances that I have to explain with no clear case law backing me is probably not going to be persuasive. I know it would not be persuasive to me if I was on the receiving end of such.YMMV

 

If I was involved in a CC card collection suit and a 3 year SOL had run prior to June 2011 (or whatever the exact date of the law taking effect) I might consider using a 3 year AZ SOL defense after I found, read, and reread Harry's posts and investigated the cases that they mention. If I did use a 3 year SOL I would not rely on that as my sole defense.

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I have also pulled my hair out over the AZ SOL. My attorney said the way the courts handle it is that anything more than three years prior to July 2010 uses three years, anything else is six. Basically there are conflicting clauses but the one that has prevailed is the one that says "anything still within SOL at the time of a law change adopts the new SOL..."

 

So even if you were at 2 years, 11 months in July 2010, you were considered still within statute, so the new one applies.

 

There is/was a debt collections lawyer out of Tucson named Reed who is active as a lobbyist - that is why Arizona is like a third-world country when it comes to consumer rights in these matters. He pushed through another statute that basically says a computer print out of the final account balance, if uncontested, is to be considered enough to get a summary judgement. This is why I come across as skeptical of pro se defenses - the deck is totally stacked against the debtor in AZ.

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I have also pulled my hair out over the AZ SOL. My attorney said the way the courts handle it is that anything more than three years prior to July 2010 uses three years, anything else is six. Basically there are conflicting clauses but the one that has prevailed is the one that says "anything still within SOL at the time of a law change adopts the new SOL..."

 

So even if you were at 2 years, 11 months in July 2010, you were considered still within statute, so the new one applies.

 

There is/was a debt collections lawyer out of Tucson named Reed who is active as a lobbyist - that is why Arizona is like a third-world country when it comes to consumer rights in these matters. He pushed through another statute that basically says a computer print out of the final account balance, if uncontested, is to be considered enough to get a summary judgement. This is why I come across as skeptical of pro se defenses - the deck is totally stacked against the debtor in AZ.

The "uncontested" AZ statute:

44-7804. Establishment of amount owed on a credit card account

In an uncontested court action in this state a creditor may establish the amount of the debt that is owed on a credit card account through a copy of the issuer's final billing statement or by the electronic record pursuant to section 44-7007 that is maintained by the issuer and that represents the amount owed. In contested actions the court shall weigh the evidence of the parties as required by law.

 

The draft of the "uncontested" statute, prior to the final enacted one, was much less desirable than the final version IMO.

 

If I don't contest a lawsuit (other than collections) I am skeptical that my lack of engagement, when I have been properly served, is going to end in a positive manner for me. YMMV

 

I have no idea what a collection case "pro se defense" looks like. I have seen collection defenses that prevail and collection defenses that fail.

 

Here are some AZ cases with self-represented parties in collection cases getting a little R&R (reverse and remand) from the AZ Court of Appeals.

ACARTA, LLC v. Baker, No. 1 CA-CV 12-0344 (Ariz. Ct. App. May 2, 2013).

 

 

 
 
The trial judge took care of the bank on this one so the Defendants/Appellees didn't need any R&R:
"¶3 Davis was properly served, but failed to appear or defend."
"Citibank's principal argument is that the court erred by awarding zero dollars in damages. For the following reasons, we affirm."
Looks like attorney Richard Groves successfully handled this one at the appellate level:
 

I suppose bar members are permitted to use successful defenses also.

 

As to the (pro se or bar member) collection case defenses that have failed, I try to read them and learn how to avoid fatal missteps.

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I'd be interested to know what happened to Howell after appeals tossed it back. Seems that Midland/MCM could easily correct the issue with another witness resulting in eventual defeat for the same amount that was appealed, plus additional interest and legal fees.

 

 

I think the game has changed. When there were just a handful of people fighting back, the collections industry was at a loss. With a whole generation of internet-spawned wannabe-lawyers the industry had to up its game or die. I hope I'm wrong but I think we are going to see way more stories of people defending themselves and getting ground into dust.

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I'd be interested to know what happened to Howell after appeals tossed it back. Seems that Midland/MCM could easily correct the issue with another witness resulting in eventual defeat for the same amount that was appealed, plus additional interest and legal fees.

 

 

I think the game has changed. When there were just a handful of people fighting back, the collections industry was at a loss. With a whole generation of internet-spawned wannabe-lawyers the industry had to up its game or die. I hope I'm wrong but I think we are going to see way more stories of people defending themselves and getting ground into dust.

I would expect a positive outcome for Howell. She has caused a Superior Court court judge decision to be reversed and Midland to pay her appeal costs. Not trivial IMHO.

 

Her case is ongoing and can be tracked here: http://www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/docket/CivilCourtCases/caseSearch.asp Put CV2012-001355 in the Case Number field.

 

It is highly improbable that Ms. Howell won at the AZ CoA level based on luck.

It is highly unlikely that Ms. Howell won without having her thinking straight.

 

I have no idea how the Internet has made it easier for collectors to successfully litigate against alleged debtors. It appears to be the opposite from my experience. The existence of this forum would tend to refute such a claim.

 

For those that do believe it is going to get easier, cheaper, and more profitable for JDB's to win lawsuits going foward, they should consider opening up an "easy money" JDB shop to take advantage of all the upcoming, "internet-spawned wannabe-lawyers". I am betting on the "spawn". ;-)

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So she's been at this for two years... I've aged two years since we got our letter Tuesday. For less than 2K a lawyer could have made her case go away. On the flip side the creditor probably offered her a payment plan for about six grand. What will it be if she loses - close to 20K once interest and fees are added? Maybe she's a rich widow and this is her hobby.

 

The evidence for an "internet effect" seems undeniable. When I first started researching this stuff I was totally inspired by success stories - it appeared that any semblance of resistance would lead the collector to fold. I get a much darker vibe today - many more tales of collectors that won't quit in the face of tenacious defense, denials of arbitration, lower standards of evidence, etc.

 

Collectors also study these forums - yesterdays "rent-a-lawyer" now comes to the case prepared.

 

Back to Howell, I found the appellate ruling bone chilling. Unless I am way off base, they affirmed that a lackey clerk from a JDB can serve as a witness to the veracity of OC documentation. After SOL, the top trick in the DIY defense kit was and is documentation. I'd be surprised if Midland doesn't have a 'clerk' in every state in the union just sitting in court all day.

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