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First time poster for arbitration


Guest CC1489
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I am a long time lurker, I have followed the advice here faithfully concerning my debts.  Starting with 6 unsecured I have successfully settled 2 for less, & received 2 1099C's during the last 3 years.  I claimed the full amount minus interest on both the corresponding years of the 1099C issue, never claiming insolvency.  I think I have missed the bullet on 1 other account because of creative accounting mistakes & 3 mergers or buyouts of the OC, only time will tell.

For those above mentioned accounts I thank the members for all the helpful information.  That brings me to today's notification from a 'free' credit reporting web site.  I had been dealing with my only remaining insolvent account, (a major bank's issued retail credit card).  The ending balance at the time of my economic crises was $2,900, it was turned over to a debt collection law firm early in 2015.  I DV'd (CMRRR) them on first notification in a timely manner.  I then sent a CD (CMRRR)  after they validated the debt.  Late 2015 I was notified of a filing with my county circuit court with a 30 day window to answer the summons.  

I called the CA law firm after a consultation with a BK lawyer, offering to settle for 50% of the original balance but was countered with 70% of the full amount, which I turned down.  I meet all the requirements for 'collection proof' I have filed a form with my bank concerning my SS, I also meet all the requirements for homesteading my auto & home.  Health problems abound and added to my poor control of my pre-retirement income resulted in my decision to default.  90 days has elapsed since my phone conversation with the CA law firm.  Spending all my remaining disposable income on health care needs, hospital bills, Doctor/Oncologist/Cardiologist/Ophthalmologist bills, expensive medication & medical accessories.  I have a very limited amount to pay for my utilities & living expenses.

I pretty much depleted my savings & resources in 2010 staging my home for sale (resulting a very small settlement check), downsizing my transportation & clearing up all other 'secured' debts & unpaid taxes.  I was able to keep up the other payments until my health failed.

I live in Oregon (SOL 6 years, age of the final payment on this account - 4 years) & understand that I will have 'mandatory arbitration'.  I understand that my circuit court will notify me of the arbitration (that I will surely lose) & my 3 arbitrator choices that will result in an unfavorable decision for me.  I will then 'reject' he/she's decision & it will move to court & probably result in a judgment.  I do plan to attend to see how this plays out if my health allows it.  I also understand that I could/will be subjected to 'discovery' calls in the future, that once again because of my uncluttered & hopefully healthy condition lifestyle allows it.

The result of my 'free' consultation with the law firm was a determination that I was indeed 'collection proof' & a BK would be an unneeded expense.  They did offer to deal with the CA law firm but I chose to go it myself & save the fee.  The reason I'm posting this, I know one of the members here is an acknowledged 'expert' on debt collections in Oregon, I believe his user name is 'hueypilot', I haven't seen recent posts of his but would like to get his input or someone who is familiar with the process here.  Anyone is welcome to respond though.

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You can private message a user and there are a fair amount of Oregon arbitration threads to search through including current ones. Note, you can look in your cardmember agreement for private contractual arbitration which is different than the court ran one. Find your agreement here, looking for one while the account was active. An older one is fine if there's a survivability clause in it. http://www.consumerfinance.gov/credit-cards/agreements/

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Thanks, I found the agreement & after reviewing it I come to the following conclusion:  I have three choices for arbitration, #1 either American Arbitration Association (Website: www.adr.org) or #2 JAMS (Website: www.jamsadr.com) or #3 Oregon's mandatory arbitration (under $10,000).  If I choose either #1 or #2 I will have to pay the fees upfront.  If I choose #3 I will be responsible for either half the fees & if I lose, which is a given then I will be billed for the other half.  Either choice I make will result in another debt for me.  I realize at my age, health conditions, protected income (SS) & needs that I probably will not outlive the judgment.  I'm unemployable, no assets, no estate & only income is protected - I'm a turnip.  I will petition the court for a waiver of my portion of the fees.  Disagree with the decision of the mandatory arbitrator & wait for my day in court.

I appreciate the response, unless things change drastically (such as a windfall, or death of an unknown rich relative) I will sit tight, attend the mandatory meeting -> then the court appearance &/or any follow up discoveries.  Thanks again.

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Who is the Plaintiff? If it's Midland, go for AAA, otherwise go for JAMS, skip choice 3. Not sure about AAA, but JAMS consumer rules limit a consumer to $250 and if you call them and explain your financial hardship they may make adjustments. Also, look at the cardmember agreement to see what they'll pay for you. Some agreements are even better than JAMS where the Plaintiff only requires you to pay $50 for example and pays all other fees if you ask. The Plaintiff is stuck with a large bill to begin with (over $1,000) to get started so will pass and anything they do past that if they bit results in ever greater fees they have to pay before anything happens.

There are some very experienced posters here who know all the ins and outs of JAMS and AAA, so hopefully they'll post as well.

 

I appreciate the response, unless things change drastically (such as a windfall, or death of an unknown rich relative) I will sit tight, attend the mandatory meeting -> then the court appearance &/or any follow up discoveries.

You've got to be careful. Participating in litigation can waive your rights to arbitration. Oregon law will put a stay on litigation including discovery when you request arbitration.

 

Late 2015 I was notified of a filing with my county circuit court with a 30 day window to answer the summons.  

What did you do since it's been over 30 days? Get in your Motion to Dismiss or in the alternative stay proceedings and Compel Private Contractual Arbitration.

 

If you have no assets, are collection proof, you can consider contacting the Plaintiff as well. Some of these like Midland will supposedly cease activity.

https://www.midlandcreditonline.com/who-is-mcm/our-pledge/#article3

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The account is still owned by Citibank, the filing I'm sure was done by the CA law firm that had contacted me & I dealt with for the last 8 months.  I had originally called Citi for relief when my problems started 4 years ago.  I asked for a reasonable interest rate or a reduction of principal to a manageable level.  Completely blown off, as I said before discounting the fact that I'm 'collection proof' was I had called the CA for a settlement & in my estimation it turned nasty.  At this point I'm going to let this play out.  I'm sure I qualify for a waiver of fees for Oregon's 'mandatory' arbitration.  I have no intention of paying anything on this debt - EVER!  

I want to see how far Citi is willing to push it.  There will be no windfall coming from me upon my death, I have crippling health care debt with more on the horizon if I survive.  I've cleared up all the others either with settle for less or lack of interest.  I have paid off the only unsecured debtor who worked with me, even after they canceled my account.  I figure that based upon the original final debt of $2,900 forgiven with a 1099C I will save $400 in state/fed taxes.

I thank you for your responses but I think I will continue along my chosen path.

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You might want to file a complaint with the CFPB just so they have it on file how Citi is unwilling to work with financial hardships, etc. and is pursuing someone with only Social Security as income. CFPB will then contact Citi and you'll have more of a chance of favorable results than trying to work this out on your own with them. It also gives them an idea of how Citi treats customers. Enough problems and things happen: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/newsroom/cfpb-orders-citibank-to-pay-700-million-in-consumer-relief-for-illegal-credit-card-practices/

http://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaintdatabase/

 

 

 

 

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This Citibank account that was filed for judgement falls in the time frame that this article flags.  I had received one JDB assignee communication back in 2013.  I DV'd & C&D'd (both CMRRR) them, the next I heard from anyone was in early 2015 from the CA law firm assignee.  I wondered how the questionable balance that began at $2,700 in 2013 grew to $3,700 18 months later.  Is there a defence I can use to challenge the total debt, asking for documentation?

http://consumerist.com/2016/02/23/citibank-caught-screwing-up-credit-card-debt-collections-must-refund-5m/

This account had never been listed on any of my CR's to date.

@ccrp626 I went to the CFPB link you suggested, I couldn't find a heading I could use, I'm not sure how I could formulate a complaint based on the information I was using. 

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1 hour ago, CC1489 said:

I couldn't find a heading I could use, I'm not sure how I could formulate a complaint based on the information I was using. 

http://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/

I'd use the link for Credit Card where you can write what has happened. Select Forbearance/workout plans. Indicate you did previously contact the company directly.

http://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/#credit-card

 

I wondered how the questionable balance that began at $2,700 in 2013 grew to $3,700 18 months later.  Is there a defence I can use to challenge the total debt, asking for documentation?

Just a guess, but 29% default interest? They should have statements to show how they arrive at this.

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You don't have to answer this and give any personal info, but just to keep in mind, I would say if you believe there is an eventual end in sight to the medical bills (not necessarily paying them, but an end to incurring more), then you may just want to ignore it all since you are "collection proof" currently and once the medical bills stop piling up, you could BK to wipe out everything from medical to Citi.  At that point, I may consider it a good option.  It may even allow you to relax on some of the current non essential medical bills to give you a slight breathing room on living expenses.  Again, this is dependent on your medical needs and length, so I'm only tossing out the option to consider and you don't have to comment on it.

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Update to the CFPB complaint, I received notice today that they have reviewed the complaint & have forwarded it to the OC & should receive an update or a resolution the OC is offering within 15 days.  I have also contacted a highly respected (10.0 rating at AVVO), Consumer (collections) lawyer in my city, we will have a free consultation after I receive the answer from the OC or CFPB.    

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  • 5 years later...

Hello CC1489,

I've been off this board for a number of years thanks to the help of any number of good people.

In Oregon there is a lot more civil cases than ever and the mandatory Court Adjoined Arbitration is one of the steps in the process. It's hard to get around but doable. I highly recommend following the arbitration advice of FisthardCheeze. Good advise, good forms and good logic.  I have a few tips, a lot of caselaw and some experience barging your way through mandatory arbitration if you have to go that way.  Keep in mind it's a money game for the JDB and the attorneys suing you. With nothing to gain they will be pretty eager to drop the case or settle. When all the dust settles you always have BK as an option and with a little help you can do it yourself for filing fees etc. That's not cool so lets wait and see. 

Here is some reading material for no fee filings Oregon:

(3) Deferral/Waiver of Fees. Indigent parties may apply for a deferral or waiver of
the arbitration fee under ORS 36.420. Applications are available online at
https://www.courts.oregon.gov/forms/Documents/EntirePacket10.pdf and at the
court’s civil filing counter. Applications must be submitted to the court within ten
days of the party receiving notice that the case was assigned to arbitration. A
party who receives a deferral or waiver of the arbitration fee must provide a
copy of the court’s order to the arbitrator.

If the court grants a deferral or waiver of the arbitration fee, the court will pay
the arbitrator the amount of fees that were deferred or waived after (1) the final
arbitration award is filed, and (2) the arbitrator files a request for payment
stating the total hours of time spent, the total arbitration fee, and the indigent
party’s share of the total fee. 


Washington County Court Rules Document
https://www.courts.oregon.gov/rules/Documents/Washington_SLR_2020.pdf

On the Citi thing I doubt they will try to sue. If they do I truly believe when the JDB attorney sees this above filing and your answer to summons/complaint with additional motion to compel private arbitration they will be pretty anxious to opt out. I wouldn't settle unless the Original Creditor offers you a smoking good deal like 10% or less of total. That's usually more than what a JDB would pay. Even then if you are debt uncollectable the JDB may pass on your case. Even Court Mandatory Arbitration will cost them fees and when you lose and file for trial de novel they will dismiss without prejudice and you can give them your cost bill including the waiver costs. Your in a pretty good position. Don't let them rattle you. 

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