Graste

HELP!! Portfolio Recovery Agrees to Arbitration...

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Hello all,

  So I received a few letters from attorneys in December, indicating that I was being sued. I did a case search on my name in the system and found that Portfolio Revocery was suing me for a Lowe's account ($1,234). I was never served, but kept checking the court site every week to see if any new motions were being put in or additional information. One week, I saw that the processor said that I was served on December 19th and they filed notification on January 12th (so sketchy). This meant I had less than three days by the time I saw it to respond.

Anyway, I scoured this site, spoke generally to an attorney and filed my answer, and got a court date. I prepped myself for the hallway discussion and had my responses prepared and I also carried my MTC arbitration just in case all else failed. Well, all else FAILED. lol. In the hallway Tamara presented a stack of every statement ever sent and copy of a letter "from" Synchrony Bank stating that they sold my account to them (date, name address, and account number). I moved forward with my last resort and presented my MTC. This was the ONLY familiar hallway exchange, when she proceeded to tell me how expensive it was.

She wouldn't accept my motion in person, she just said ok, we can go back in. We reentered the court and went up to the judge. She informed her that I wanted to go through arbitration. I was given another court date and told that if I didn't file, I would be expected back in court on that date. wtf.

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It doesn't matter how much "evidence" they have.  File your MTC.  They will very likely dismiss.  I will ask @fisthardcheese ,a GA resident and arbitration specialist, to advise.  Tamara was right about arbitration being expensive--for them, not you.

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Ok thanks @debtzapper. I was just shocked that they presented the "account buy" letter and then she went all the way through to this point. 

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Also, she seemed very agitated with me as if "I'll show you!" Type attitude so I really feel as though she may move forward. Let's say, on the off chance they do proceed with arbitration, if I lose, does page 7, part 4 of the attached agreement mean I will have to reimburse them for all fees and related costs?

1015-Credit-App.(1).pdf

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Honestly, I would not be too worried about that at the moment, because many of these debt collectors will not enter into arbitration no matter what.  The cost is too great.  Let's say you owed a $1,000 debt.  If they have to spend a couple to a few thousand dollars because you owe $1K, and then even if they get a win, there is no guarantee that they can ever collect from you, would you consider that a safe bet?  It's too risky.  Their entire business model is to spend as little as possible while collecting as much as possible.  Spending a few thousand to HOPE to collect $1K is not a good trade IMO. 

Plus, the wording of the clause you indicated is not specific.  It says that they will always pay arbitration costs in an arbitration that you commenced, to the extent that you win.  It does not say that they will always, or that they will ever, bill you for anything in any case.  It leaves the door open to them to choose what they want to do, but the thing is, since many of these debt collectors avoid arbitration like the plague, it's not as likely that they would even go through with arb when you file it.

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Ok. I will file ASAP.  The last lingering question is that the agreement said they would pay the fees, but I'm assuming that doesn't include the $250 JAMS charges because how else would I initiate the process?

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They said they agree to pay all fees....that means all in my thinking.  Someone who's got mo0re arbitration knowledge than I do will come along and correct me if I'm wrong on this, but either way, you should file.  If you have the option, notify JAMS that according to contract, they will be paying all fees.  If this is not an option anywhere, I would pay them myself just so you can get the filing done.  Then, you can go back and demand that the debt collector reimburse you for it, since the contract clearly says that they will pay ALL fees. 

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I've notice these lawyers getting ever more crazy and, as you said, agitated, with arbitration. With the glut of lawyers and the low wages that we know debt collection firms pay, Tamara may have realized that if she doesn't get a conviction, she'll be living in her car. 

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Yes, the attorney was mad because you prevented her from getting the default or consent judgement with no work on her part, which is what she expects to happen.  If those attorneys intend to put ANY work into a case, it is merely to intimidate a consumer with that stack of papers, at least half of which are not admissible in Magistrate court anyway if one knows the rules.  But you did a great job by reading here and preparing yourself, having your MTC and not backing down when she lied about how "expensive" it is, implying you will be on the hook for even a single dollar of that (you're not).

The Synchrony agreement states they will pay for all arb fees, so when I file my arbitration with JAMS I just send a cover letter stating that this is what the agreement says and that I am requesting that PRA forward my consumer portion of the filing fee directly to JAMS.  Make sure you read the JAMS Demand form carefully for instructions on how to file.  You need to send JAMS 2 copies of each , the Demand Form and Card Agreement.  Send it CMRRR and keep a copy of what you send too in case you need to show up to court before you get a response from JAMS.

It has become more common for the Magistrate judges to set a new hearing date rather than dismiss cases.  Don't let that rattle you.    Also, PRA is not going to participate too far into JAMS.  They just don't do that.  My guess is that once you file and JAMS sends the commencement letter, you will find a dismissal from PRA on the court case soon after.  JAMS can move slow, so just prepare to show up at your next court date with the proof you filed and let the judge know you are still waiting on JAMS to set a hearing date, etc.  Rinse and repeat until PRA quits.

I like people who do their homework ahead of time and stick to their guns in the face of these professional bullies like the PRA attorney.  You continue to do that and you won't have to worry about this issue for too much longer.  :)%

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16 hours ago, Graste said:

Also, she seemed very agitated with me as if "I'll show you!" Type attitude so I really feel as though she may move forward. Let's say, on the off chance they do proceed with arbitration, if I lose, does page 7, part 4 of the attached agreement mean I will have to reimburse them for all fees and related costs?

1015-Credit-App.(1).pdf

It doesn't matter what the agreement says, once JAMS accepts a case, their rules apply.  The JAMS Minimum Consumer standard rules #7 states:

" With respect to the cost of the arbitration, when a consumer initiates arbitration against the company, the only fee required to be paid by the consumer is $250, which is approximately equivalent to current Court filing fees. All other costs must be borne by the company, including any remaining JAMS Case Management Fee and all professional fees for the arbitrator's services. When the company is the claiming party initiating an arbitration against the consumer, the company will be required to pay all costs associated with the arbitration. "

So, the maximum you could ever be out of pocket with JAMS is the $250.  But even then, when the agreement says the bank agrees to pay all fees, JAMS won't bill the consumer for the $250.

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Thank you all so much for the humor, feedback and encouragement. @fisthardcheese I appreciate you. I will do all that you've recommended and will update (if that's ok) once I hear from any party involved. 

I really need this win. 🙌🏾

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15 hours ago, Graste said:

Thank you all so much for the humor, feedback and encouragement. @fisthardcheese I appreciate you. I will do all that you've recommended and will update (if that's ok) once I hear from any party involved. 

I really need this win. 🙌🏾

Please do update.  We all like to know the outcome of those we try to help.  Not only does it help others who may find this thread looking for help, but it helps us if we see things are no longer working they way they used to, or if someone runs into issues we haven't seen before, to know how better to help others who come along in the future.  But most of all, we enjoy celebrating the wins with you!

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9 minutes ago, fisthardcheese said:

Please do update.  We all like to know the outcome of those we try to help.  Not only does it help others who may find this thread looking for help, but it helps us if we see things are no longer working they way they used to, or if someone runs into issues we haven't seen before, to know how better to help others who come along in the future.  But most of all, we enjoy celebrating the wins with you!

Well said.  We like to know the outcomes,  whether good or bad, to help others.

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On 3/3/2017 at 5:08 PM, fisthardcheese said:

Yes, the attorney was mad because you prevented her from getting the default or consent judgement with no work on her part, which is what she expects to happen.  If those attorneys intend to put ANY work into a case, it is merely to intimidate a consumer with that stack of papers...

Exactly what I have been saying for years.  They consider it a burden to merely have to get their feet down off of their desk (or miss a session of golf) to show up in court so when they can't accomplish anything when they get there it is like the end of the world to them.    Said stack of papers  includes the bogus affidavits, bill of sale and barely readable microfiche copies of old statements from the OC.

Always go out of your way to be a thorn in their side making them work so they will go on tilt every time they come across your name on a paper.  

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Hello all,

My intention was to e-file this Demand for Arbitration with AAA today, but all weekend I have been having difficulty with the dispute description. It seems, to me at least, that any which way I write this, PRA can simply send whatever paperwork she produced to me and the whole thing be voided. Is that possible? Here is my latest description:

Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC (PRA) has brought claim against -----, alleging that they have acquired all right and titles to a Synchrony Bank/Lowe's account. PRA has stated in their statement of claim that "despite numerous and repeated requests for repayment on the account, the account still remains delinquent." There are varying figures listed in the document and processes are also of concern. As the card agreement recommends, I am electing to resolve this dispute through arbitration. The agreement also provides an option for PRA to pay for all arbitration related costs and I would like to accept that offer.

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I thought you were going to file with JAMS.    Arbitration has nothing to do with PRA sending in "the paperwork and voiding everything."   Arbitration is VERY expensive for JDBs, around $400-500 per hour, and they don't want to spend that kind of money going after a $1,200 debt.

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I was, however, I read in one of the posts that AAA has a simpler process in terms of requirements and sending in paperwork (which I did find to be true). Because the cc agreement said both were options, I went with AAA. Should I not?

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Isn't this a Synchrony Bank card you are sued over?  They only have JAMS as an option.

When filing an arbitration claim, I NEVER mention the Banks claim against me.  That would be the equivalent of me filing a lawsuit against myself for not paying my credit card for a while.  In arbitration, it is up to PRA to file a counter claim for the debt within the time limit to respond.  If they don't, then they lose out of having their claims heard in arbitration.  I never do their work for them.  Make them do it.

My Demand for Arbitration against PRA would say something like "Violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and violations of the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act by communicating false and misleading representations in connection with the collection of an alleged debt".   That is all that is required.  And I would seek at least the statutory $1k in damages for my claims.

It does require some printing, as you will need 4 copies of everything.  Send 2 copies to JAMS, per their rules, send a copy to the PRA attorney and keep a copy for yourself as proof of what you sent.  Send at least the JAMS copies CMRRR as proof to the court, should you need it.

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5 hours ago, fisthardcheese said:

Isn't this a Synchrony Bank card you are sued over?  They only have JAMS as an option.

When filing an arbitration claim, I NEVER mention the Banks claim against me.  That would be the equivalent of me filing a lawsuit against myself for not paying my credit card for a while.  In arbitration, it is up to PRA to file a counter claim for the debt within the time limit to respond.  If they don't, then they lose out of having their claims heard in arbitration.  I never do their work for them.  Make them do it.

My Demand for Arbitration against PRA would say something like "Violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and violations of the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act by communicating false and misleading representations in connection with the collection of an alleged debt".   That is all that is required.  And I would seek at least the statutory $1k in damages for my claims.

It does require some printing, as you will need 4 copies of everything.  Send 2 copies to JAMS, per their rules, send a copy to the PRA attorney and keep a copy for yourself as proof of what you sent.  Send at least the JAMS copies CMRRR as proof to the court, should you need it.

I didn't even realize what you said about filing a claim against myself, but it makes sense!! Thank you for sharing your verbiage. Just to be certain, I will go with JAMS, but please see the attached document, which is where I saw both as an option. 

image.jpeg

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3 minutes ago, Harry Seaward said:

@Graste The title of this topic says Portfolio has agreed to arbitration.  Have they actually agreed to it yet?

Verbally, she did in the hallway... When we got back into the courtroom the lawyer said to the judge, "the defendant would like to proceed through arbitration. As long as she knows it's expensive and she will have to pay fees." She mumbled the last part and shrugged, which makes sense after reading the responses to this thread. Once I actually file, hopefully it proves she was all talk. 

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1 hour ago, Graste said:

I didn't even realize what you said about filing a claim against myself, but it makes sense!! Thank you for sharing your verbiage. Just to be certain, I will go with JAMS, but please see the attached document, which is where I saw both as an option. 

image.jpeg

My apologies, the Syncrony agreements I have only state JAMS.  Since yours does have both, you are free to use AAA.

I do like AAA's easy filing by email.  It also saves money on CMRRR.   In that case, you can fill out the AAA form with the same type of claims I suggested above.  You can send everything in a PDF to AAA to file, but I would still mail copies of everything to the PRA attorney.

50 minutes ago, Harry Seaward said:

@Graste The title of this topic says Portfolio has agreed to arbitration.  Have they actually agreed to it yet?

The judge ordered arbitration and set a hearing date for a progress update.

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Hey all... I'm back with an update 🙈  When we last "spoke" I sent all of my paperwork into AAA and was awaiting the next court date or AAA response. Well the case was under review for quite some time so the court date came up. I met with a really nice lawyer representing PRA. We went in the hallway again and I updated her as to what was happening. She said ok and we went back into the court room to get the case taken off the calendar. It didn't. The judge put it back on for next month because AAA hadn't responded. 

Well they responded today and I am at a loss. Long story short, they can't take the case because of PRAs previous actions (OMG!). I'm not sure if I should proceed with JAMs. What if the same thing happens?? Please see the attached. 

image.jpeg

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I would start the ball rolling with JAMS.  When you get to court for the next hearing, you can show the judge that you are doing everything you possibly can in good faith.  If JAMS refuses the claim, then you can go back to court to argue that the case should be dismissed on the grounds that Plaintiff's prior actions and reputation have effectively breached the contract, rendering it null and void.  With no contract, they have no lawsuit against you.

The problem with this argument is the severability clause at the very top that says if any part of the agreement is found to be unenforceable, all other parts still apply.  I would counter that the arbitration provision provides an "essential purpose" of the agreement, and striking it significantly cripples your rights under the adhesion contract THEY drafted.  Further, if the court does not dismiss the lawsuit, Plaintiff will be rewarded for their dereliction of their duty to the arbitrators they are contracted with to resolve such disputes.

But that's only if JAMS also rejects the claim.  See what happens with them first.

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