Accounts attached - Owe less than 1500, Qualify for MediCal and Calfresh

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I am on Medi-Cal and should be receiving foodstamps within the next week. My income is very small right now, less than my 1000 outlay.


What must I do to recover my account(s)? Any extra income that MAY come to me (Paypal) is dependent on my authorized checking account. I'm very concerned these established accounts will be permanently "contaminated," and don't know if it's advisable to contact Paypal to see if I can open a secured credit card.


I haven't received notice from BofA and have no idea how Mandarich plans to satisfy the debt and/or "un" attach my accounts. It's conceivable I could manage to pay $50 per month, as they hint in their letter, but have read it's best not to offer to pay to avoid a debt collection that might remain unresolved.


Should I file a hardship claim with my bank?


Does Mandarich have the authority/ability/motivation to unfreeze my accounts to enable me to earn and pay?


So far, I think only the legal fee has been charged by BofA (probably will end up being $100 for each account, both of which are empty) but no principal has been collected, since it's not there to collect.




BTW, I'm not positive, but I believe this debt is out of the statute of limitations (closed in 2007) but of course the suit was filed, so I guess the court deemed it ok to sue. How would I document limitation? when it went into collections? Dunno 


Thanks so much for this forum - I'm putting out fires and pulling small amounts of money from anywhere I can to pay my rent, etc. So I'll be in and out, but again, thanks!


Edit: I checked my Credit Karma report - the account was closed in 2007. My limit was 1100 and the highest balance is stated at 3400, which it never was while BofA held the account. With fines or late fees it went up to approximately 1600.


I assume the high number *somehow* reflects the full value the collection agency has assumed.


Does anyone know about the statute of limitations that might help me respond to the collector? I realize I still owe the money, but if it would help me get my bank accounts released I would be able to function.

Edited by scoutshouse

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Can you get a Paypal debit card, so you can make purchases and get money out without using a bank account?


They must have sued you, and got a judgment, to be able to attach bank accounts.  If it's Mandarich, the  plaintiff is probably the JDB CACH.


Were you served properly with the lawsuit?  If so, did you answer the lawsuit?  If you were served and did not answer, you will have a hard time now objecting because of the SOL.


You need to go to the court house and get all the documentation regarding the lawsuit.  What you want to do is vacate the judgment, but you will need a good reason for this.


I hope others more familiar with Calif law will chime in here.

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It looks like there is nothing I can do about a hardship.


I'm waiting for BofA to send me their notice.


What about the fact that the debt is 8 years old and Mandarich had no legal right to sue after 4 years in California? I know the Court isn't likely to acknowledge a mistake - I don't think it works that way:)


But a lawyer might be able convince them we could have it vacated, or make an offer in compromise. If I can find a lawyer, probably an advocate. It's a vast amount of money to me today, but a ridiculous amount to take to a lawyer. We do have a good advocate at a local charity, but she's not taking any new clients til May. I'll call her and ask if she can refer me.


Again, I realize I owe the debt, but if I can push back in any way, I may still be able to work out a partial/lump payment. It would be extremely difficult to locate 1/2 of what they now say I owe. $2100 but it's worth a try. Most of the common wisdom out there is to negotiate as little as possible with a collection company, and make a clean break.


I will try to look into the court ruling, nobk4me. I'm commuting very far everyday for very little money and don't have a lot of free time.


The PayPal card is an idea. If I am able to put together something to sell, I can transfer from there. As long as I keep enough funds in Paypal, eBay will be paid my fees from there, and may never know my bank account is frozen - I pray. That's my biggest fear, as this is my one source of extra revenue. I think I had one crossed payment between paypal, ebay and my bank where I ended up overdrafted... ebay wouldn't let me use that account. period.


Thanks, CCRP and nobk4me. I had my first chest pains this week. sheesh.

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Good idea to look through your court file for any oddities and see if your atty contact will look that over as well. Consider filing a complaint with your state atty generals office.


Do these apply in your case- (LATE EDIT. CREDIT CARD LAWSUITS AREN'T SMALL CLAIMS COURT IN Ca. but fighting the judgement should be the same, just different paperwork/forms)

Deadline to ask the court to vacate the default judgment

  • You must file a motion (petition) NO LATER THAN 30 DAYS from the date the court clerk mailed you the Notice of Entry of Judgment (Form SC-130 or Form SC-200).
  • If you were NOT PROPERLY SERVED with the Plaintiff's Claim (Form SC-100), you have 180 DAYS from the date you DISCOVERED there was a judgment against you to file a motion to vacate.
  • If the judge does not vacate (cancel) the judgment, you can appeal the judge's decision to deny your Notice of Motion to Vacate Judgment and Declaration (Form SC-135).

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"Were you served properly with the lawsuit?  If so, did you answer the lawsuit?  If you were served and did not answer, you will have a hard time now objecting because of the SOL."


But once they've done it and won a judgement it's not misconduct anymore?


CCRP: Can you answer specifically, what's your opinion on pressuring them to relent or compromise by reason of the statute of limitations? The debt is more than three years outside SOL.


...if the debt collector knew or should have known that the suit was “time-barred” – that is outside the statute of limitations – then the act of filing the suit is a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the federal law that governs collectors.  This can entitle you to money damages.


Collecting damages is not my goal, but it seems clear Mandarich knew exactly how old that debt was. I'm surprised they've taken that risk and spent that much effort to collect such a small debt (relatively). It would be interesting to research whether they routinely violate SOL.


Are you saying I should have received Form SC-100? I was served at my home. It may not have been that exact form.


What complaint  would I be lodging to the State Attorney General?


Just wondering how creditors justify these final amounts? Do they have to provide the Court (or anyone) with documentation on how the fees were accrued? Of course, as a business they have expenses to pay to serve and go to court, but I would imagine the debt has passed through several hands at this point and the actual numbers are arbitrary.


Spinning my wheels - and I should be sleeping. Thanks for your time, guys.

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@scoutshouse I'm not in California and not an attorney. I'd suggest checking with the Atty you mentioned previously or research free/low cost legal aid in your area if you qualify. The state Atty General complaint shouldn't be your sole hope. It may take some time for them to look into the matter but it's a good idea so they can track how many people are getting sued for time barred debts and hopefully take action. The complaint with them with as much detail as you have (get that court file and make copies) would be you were sued and have a judgment for a time barred debt.


Note that link in the above post with the SC forms stands for small claims.

There's a lot of info here to check out. It mentions credit card debt is usually limited civil. They can't sue in small claims in California.


Here's a good rundown on vacating the judgment.

What if I have a frozen bank account or wage garnishment? Once the default judgment is vacated, the plaintiff must release your bank account and cancel the wage garnishment. This is included in the court's order vacating the judgment.

If the judgment is vacated, does that mean the case is over? Probably not. In most cases, even though the judgment is vacated, you still have to defend the case. That means you have to file an Answer and attend at least one additional court date.


In California, the statute of limitations on a credit card debt is four years (California Code of Civil Procedure § 337), and the statute of limitations on an auto loan or store card (like a Sears or Macy's card) is four years (California Commercial Code § 2725).



Good luck, let us know how this goes.

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Thanks so much...


I think the best course of action would be to file an exemption to show my income is way under my living expenses, rendering me judgement proof. 


I will still have to pay - and it looks like the interest is very steep: on 2100 I calculated 10% simple interest at over 100 per month! yikes


BUT it could give me back my bank account, without which I can't reliably generate extra income by selling online, income that may help me pay this off much faster than making payments. I assume I'll end up paying much more than the original debt, and even more than they're asking today, but I can also limit or control my engagement with the collector (nothing personal).


I need that account to be able to pay for online training, buy books and miscellaneous to return to the job market.


I can also pursue the SOL line of defense/offense(?) and see where that goes.


For anyone in the same circumstances, here's what I found that helped to clarify my situation and how I might work it out:


and downloaded their step by step, including forms:


Much of the advice out there details wage garnishment and exemptions I can't claim. This clearly addresses my situation: lack of resources to manage or meet the judgment of a bank levy.


(Ironically, foodstamps will probably make me slightly less judgment proof!)


I'm feeling a little better, hoping I'll be able to work out the above plan of action. Again, thanks for your help!

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Good luck, just know you can always settle in the future when you have a lump sum saved up to pay at a discount.

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More thoughts:  contact a consumer attorney, who knows the FDCPA and Calif's Rosenthal Act.  Try, and PM calawyer on this site.


If the plaintiff sued you after the SOL expired, that may be a violation of both acts.  The consumer attorney may be able to collect enough money from them to offset the judgment, or make a deal with them to vacate the judgment in exchange for you not collecting statutory damages.


That is, IF they sued you after the 4-year CA SOL expired.  It's possible they sued you earlier, but did not try to collect until now???  I don't know the facts of the case, and you need to get the entire case file from the court house.


Generally, a SOL defense needs to be asserted by the defendant in answering the lawsuit.  You can't rely on the court to defend your interests on this. 


Reversing this is not necessarily impossible, but  you will probably need an attorney's help.

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