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Final decision after being served.


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Now that I'm calmed down here's the situation.


Served a legal notification from Suttell, Hammer & White whom has been 'assigned' to collect a debt for a CitiBank credit card.  It says I need to file an 'answer' or 'motion' with the court.  The filing fee for that action is $252.  I can ask for a waiver of fee, but that is in doubt and that may cost me an addition fee, don't know.  The consequences of not answering that notification 'could' result in the court awarding a judgement against me for the total amount.  The balance + fees is $3,XXX.XX.  I will probably lose anyway if I proceed to fight the possible subsequent suit.  I have followed the suggestions from this forum including a CMRRR DV and then a CMRRR C&D timely.  

I'm over 70 years old with absolutely no assets other than an older vehicle that is currently in need of a radiator and undriveable.  I have a few tools, not many less than $1,000 in value.  A laptop I bought 2 years ago, worth maybe $300.  A TV that was purchased in 2007, could use an updated one.  I also have the clothes on my back and more hanging in my closet, sweats mostly.  I would be well under the amounts allowed under homesteaded rules in my state.  I pay rent in a senior park.  Other than that, nothing, nada.  My income is from Social Security so protected from garnishment.

I have various health issues and under an oncologist's care for cancer, also under care through a primary care doctor for Type II diabetes, on pills & insulin.  I spent 4 days in the hospital a few months back with a glucose count of over 800.  They're now concerned about a blip on my EKG. I have stenosis of the spinal column with legs numb from the knees down.  Childhood polio and have been dianosed with PPS.  My current medications run to over $550 monthly with a Medicare supplemental plan helping and enter the 'doughnut hole' in early July.

I had a knee jerk reaction to the serving and immediately emailed a bankrupcty lawyer I had consulted a few years back.  Still haven't heard from her.  After research I find that I couldn't qualify for a Chap 7 (because I have $300 left over after monthly expenses for food) so I would have to file Chap 13.  Lawyer fees start at $750 and the court trustee will receive 25% of the first $5,000 paid & 20% of the following $5,100 I would need to include all debt ($10,000+)in the filing.  That amounts to just over $2200.  Albeit it's only 14% interest or fees tacked on but there is the possibility that I could also pay interest on the 4 accounts in question.  Not sure since they are unsecured & the court approaches them differently.

My decision is to ignore the servings and wait.  I have no fear that my estate will be attached because it will be less than the filing fee after my ashes hit the ground.  I have no worry what happens to my CR since I have no immediate plans to buy anything on credit even if I could get it.

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Have you considered sending a letter to the plaintiff, explaining your 'judgment-proof' status?  There's a chance that they might drop the suit entirely.  Way I see it, if they have to spend the money to go to court on this, and there's little or no chance of them getting anything money-wise from the process, Then it makes no sense to continue on their part.  You noted sending certified letters, however I think that those have done you no good.  Once you are served, a DV letter serves no purpose.  I would imagine that you should qualify for a waiver of fees, given your situation.  I would consider filing for a waiver of fee and, if you get it, file an answer denying their claims.  Then, send their attorney a letter explaining your status, on SS for income, and such.  They are perhaps likely to drop the whole matter when they get to that point.  


Wheels up, 



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Read about arbitration.  This can make them go away but you would have to file a Motion to Compel Arbitration with the court.  Arbitration would cost Citi at least $5k to chase down your $3k, so even if they were to win, they would lose money. This usually causes them to drop the claims and agree to walk away.


Given your Soc. Security status I would believe you should qualify for a court fee waiver.  I would look into it.  If you aren't the perfect candidate for such a waiver, I don't know who would be.

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I guess I should have mentioned that I live in OR, OR has mandatory arbitration & according to our resident expert (hueypilot) it's almost 99% sure you will lose.  Besides I do have an apointment with the BK lawyer on the 3rd and will discuss first what to expect if I choose to go the way I orginally posted, next see if they can negotiate a settlement for less, next see if they think I can file 7 or 13 with fee waiver.  They suggested back in 2012 that I was a good candidate for a 7 but that has all changed in my estimation because of my working on the debts, i.e. getting the AG/FTC involved in one, getting issued a 1099C (g) from another and settling for less with a third.   I'm hoping to move forward but won't be bullied into a corner.

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  • 1 month later...

Had a free sit down consultation with a law firm in Dec.  Had all my financials and charts.  Suggestion, I call the CA law firm and offer a settlement, (that was my favored option).  Called offered 50% which of course they refused, they countered at 70% which I refused.  My parting words were, 'I guess then you will need to pursue this in court.' - they said 'You bet we will!'.  Called my law firm to give them an update.  They said I'm 'uncollectible' and can't see any logical reason to go forward, it will only cost the CA/OC, they're chasing rainbows.  The account doesn't show on any of the 3 CRA's free reports and never has.  

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  • 4 weeks later...

Current situation:  I started this journey in Nov 2012, I have charted & budgeted from then on.  At that time I figured from the balances that I was $54K in debt both secured & unsecured.  No mortgage, included a portion of the $11K in health related obligations.  My decision to default was arrived at after I had called all my creditor's trying to setup a payoff with lowered balances & interest rates.  Some were willing, others slam dunked me with a definite 'NO'.  I separated the unsecured from the secured, I didn't want to lose anything via repossession.  Only one of the unsecured worked with me, I have finally paid them off.  That account had the highest balance but a lower int. it was where I had charged most of my medical so felt I should try my best to honor that.  I was just a few steps away from a full bath BK.  I found this site & pestered the experts with inane questions.  

I had reluctantly started with 7 accounts that I let fall into default.  

#1 a former wireless provider - who falsely claimed I owed an early termination fee along with int & late fees that had built up to $480.  I finally had to file claims with both my state's AG and the FCC.  The result was a letter claiming no fault but would no longer pursue the debt & not list it on my CR.  

#2 a major CC issuer, at the time they were being fined for robo-signing mortgages & judgments.  I received a letter stating that they were not pursuing the $1.8K debt & issued a 1099C code 'G' that was claimed correctly w/o insolvency on that years tax return.  No CA involvement, but is listed on my CR as closed still showing the $1.8K balance.  Probably show that until late 2020 unless I decide to dispute it.

#3 was a major retail/VISA CC still owned by the OC that had a $5.8K balance, I called & settled for 50% of the final total balance for just under $3K.  Completed & noted on my CR since Apr '15.

#4 was a major retail account that was subsequently sold/transferred to GECC & then again later to Webbank, who sold it to a CA.  I was called & I insisted they send a formal request which I DV'd timely.  I did receive notification that they were working on it.  This last Saturday I received a letter that they were no longer attempting to collect & would not list it on my CRs & remove any listing I may have had.  It had been almost 90 days since I had DV'd with not other response.

#5 is the Citibank/retail account ($3.8K) that the CA law firm has claimed will go to court.  I had until the 20th of Dec '15 to respond, I did call to offered a 50% settlement but they wanted 70%+ I refused, still pending but I'm watching the court dockets for any information.  

#6 is a major gas card now owned by a CA who has filed 'in collection' on my CR's but haven't had any response from since early 2013.  I did DV & CD them timely.

#7 began as a gas CC then upgraded to a CitiBank/MC.  The issuer got out of the CC business & canceled all their accounts in 2010.  I was paying but stopped in Nov '12.  Whomever was getting the payments sold the account to a CA who then sold it down the line to another CA.  I had to do a search finally getting the current CA ownership information whom I have had no contact, phone/letter or otherwise.  Not/never listed on my CR.  Balance was $1.4K.

My state's SOL is 6 years.  Through all this I learned the value of a DV & CD, along with trying to work out a settlement with the willing.  My FAKO scores are 640/653/670.  My CR's show no hard inquiries since Feb 2013, no CCs, payment accounts, no auto loans.  Currently 'collection proof', with no future change anticipated.

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