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Being sued by Synchrony bank for settled account-can I serve them Interrogatories?

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In April 2015 I received a debt settlement letter from Synchrony bank to pay off my account for 1/3rd of the balance. I was in a bad spot financially so I jumped on the offer.  The offer letter said I had to contact them by a certain date which I did.  I spoke to a rep who gave me instructions to send a check along with a copy of the settlement letter via CMRRR which was done.  Synchrony received my check but never processed it because they signed for it 2 days PAST the date to contact them on the settlement letter.  They claim since they received it past the settlement date on the letter it was not accepted.  My case is that I DID contact them PRIOR to the date and arrangements were made and followed through to pay the debt, Synchrony is saying that since they received my check past the date on the settlement letter to contact them they did not process the payment.   Subsequently they sent me to collections and now a civil lawsuit.

I have the signed green card, copy of the settlement letter sent to me and a copy of the letter I sent to them along with my check.  The lawyer's office for Synchrony has sent me INTERROGATORIES to answer which I have no problem with because its all information I've provided to them previously but my question for the forum is:

Can I serve the Plaintiff (lawyer's for Synchrony bank) interrogatories of my own?  They are telling me "Synchrony refused your payoff because it arrived 2 days late" and I would like to know if I have the right to know who at Synchrony has the authority to say that + I would like to bring in the recorded conversations done by the attorney's office if it comes down to it in court. 

I think a judge would find all of this to be a waste of time but I will not pay Synchrony 4 times the amount I believed I settled for.

 

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You can and SHOULD serve your own interrogatories.

 

FYI:  that payment and settlement was deemed accepted under the "mailbox" rule in contract law.  The date they signed for it is NOT relevant. The date you MAILED it IS proof that the settlement was valid.  Their failure to cash the check is their problem not yours.  My guess is their lawyer is hoping you don't know about the mailbox rule.

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Your defense is called Accord & Satisfaction.

 

You mailed and have proof of delivery prior to an expiration date... smells like a potential counterclaim to me.

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You may have a case against them for violations of NJ law.  I would contact NJ consumer lawyer Philip Stern.

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 A few things:

First thing I would do up is an Affidavit of Mailing. This is simply an Affidavit where you state what was in the envelope that you mailed out. This should be done because post office paper work only shows that you mailed them something, not what was in the envelope. It has to be notarized because you are doing this under penalty of perjury. Look online if NJ has any specific forms. If not, the generic ones will work. Court clerks are notaries so you can usually sign it in their presence.

Next, get a letter from you bank saying the check had not been cashed. Put that with the affidavit and the post office paperwork (and their agreement) and make copies.

If you did not put any affirmative defenses in your answer, now is the time to amend it to include the affirmative defense of Accord and Satisfaction. The clerk can tell you how to amend your answer (but not what to put in it). I would attach the paperwork at that time as defense exhibits. If you already answered and put in accord and satisfaction as an affirmative defense, then simply send your paperwork when you answer their discovery (or if you already answered, then immediately send it in as additional discovery).

In your request for discovery, the first thing I would ask for is a copy of what they received from you since their argument is that they received it 2 days too late. You want a copy of the envelope and its contents. You can also ask for who from the bank will be providing testimony on their behalf, and admit and deny requests where you force them to admit they received your payment and make them state the postmark date as well as what the settlement date was. It they try to be evasive, that is fine. There will be case management hearings where you can bring that up to the judge assuming that you were forthright.

Once you have done all that, research the mailbox rule and how it relates to your case so that if this really does go to trial, you can argue it in front of the judge. It is a solid defense but it needs to be brought up in order for the judge to consider it. Hopefully, the bank's attorney realizes that you know about the mailbox rule and will drop the case before it goes to trial but prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

Finally, once this is all done, research NJ consumer laws to see if the bank did not follow any of them. If you send in a payment and the creditor does not credit it to your account, that might be enough to extinguish the debt. The attorney mentioned above might be able to help you and to see if you might have a case against the bank.

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"Therefore, N.J. R. 4:9-1 would permit an amendment to the answer if it was made within 90 days of service, and the matter had not been placed on the trial calendar."

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