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Being sued by Unifund


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Hello everyone. I am being sued by Unifund in Small Claims Court in Connecticut. I have not received an answer form from the court yet. I need your help this is my first time being sued. OC was Citibank alleged debt of $17,xxx but they are suing for $4500. There are 5 different Bill of sales, 1 Affidavit of Debt, and 2 account statements from Citibank. Any help is appreciated. Thank you.

 

1. Who is the named plaintiff in the suit? Unifund Corporation

2. What is the name of the law firm handling the suit? (should be listed at the top of the complaint.)  I rather not name

3. How much are you being sued for? $4,500 plus fee in Small Claims Court

4. Who is the original creditor? (if not the Plaintiff)  Citibank

5. How do you know you are being sued? (You were served, right?)  by mail

6. How were you served? (Mail, In person, Notice on door)    By mail

7. Was the service legal as required by your state?   Yes.

Process Service Requirements by State - Summons Complaint

8. What was your correspondence (if any) with the people suing you before you think you were being sued?   Letter of DV

9. What state and county do you live in?  Connecticut ....New Haven

10. When is the last time you paid on this account? (looking to establish if you are outside of the statute of limitations)  2015

11. What is the SOL on the debt? To find out:  6 years

Statute of Limitations on Debts

12. What is the status of your case? Suit served? Motions filed? You can find this by a) calling the court or B) looking it up online (many states have this information posted - when you find the online court site, search by case number or your name).  I am waiting for the court to send me an answer form to reply

13. Have you disputed the debt with the credit bureaus (both the original creditor and the collection agency?) no

14. Did you request debt validation before the suit was filed? Note: if you haven't sent a debt validation request, don't bother doing this now - it's too late.  Yes

15. How long do you have to respond to the suit? (This should be in your paperwork). If you don't respond to the lawsuit notice you will lose automatically. In 99% of the cases, they will require you to answer the summons, and each point they are claiming. We need to know what the "charges" are. Please post what they are claiming. Did you receive an interrogatory (questionnaire) regarding the lawsuit?    It will depend on the answer form I will get in the mail.

Here is an example of what the summons/complaint may look like: Sued by a Debt Collector - Learn How to Fight Debt Lawsuits

16. What evidence did they send with the summons? An affidavit? Statements from the OC? Contract? List anything else they attached as exhibits.     5 different Bill of Sales,  1 affidavit of Debt. 2 original statements from Citibank.

17. Read this article:

Sued by a Debt Collector - Learn How to Fight Debt Lawsuits

====================================================

If you are inquiring about a the best way to sue someone, you need to answer the following questions (as much as possible):

1. Who are you suing?

2. How old is the debt?

3. If the person harrassing you about the debt is a collection agency, Is the debt being reported on your credit report?

4. Have you disputed the debt with the credit bureaus (both the original creditor and the collection agency?) This means you wrote or called Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

5. Has the collection agency sent you a letter, called you on the phone? How did you learn about the collection?

6. What state are you in?

7. What kind of debt is this? (credit car, auto loan, student loan)

8. What kind of violations do you THINK the collection agency has committed? What section of the FDCPA do you think has been violated...

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This is the Affidavit of Debt...

                               Affidavit of Debt

State of: Ohio

County: Hamilton

Debtor Name:  My name

Accout:  xxxxxxxxxxxxx1234

Account Balance: $17,xxx

HER NAME, being sworn, says that the Affiant making this affidavit is the Authorized Representative of Unifund Corporation, which is doing business at 10625 Techwoods Circle, Cincinnati, OH 45242.

The Affiant is a custodian of the books and records of the above account from the time of purchase. This account was transferred from Citibank, NA, to one or more affiliates of Unifund Corporation, as set forth below, and that the balance represented is accurate to the best of Affiant's knowledge and belief.

The affiant is authorized to make the statements and representations herein. The Company's business records show that on account xxxxxx1234, My NAME owes $17,xxx, which was the balance due at the date of purchase. The charge off date is xx/xx/2015.

Chain of title: Citibank,NA to Pilot Receivables Management, LLC to Distressed Asset Portfolio III, LLC to Distressed Asset Portfolio IV, LLC to Unifund CCR, LLC to Unifund Corporation.

The Affiant states that to the best of the affiant's knowledge and belief, there are no un-credited payments, counterclaims or offsets against the said debt.

Date ____

Unifund Corporation

By ___HER NAME

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I was trying to figure out why they are only suing for $4,500 on a >$17,000 debt.  Looks like you just uncovered Unifund's latest strategy to dodge arbitration:

From the Connecticut Small Claims FAQ:

"The "Small Claims Court" is a part of Connecticut’s court system where a person can sue for money damages only up to
$5,000.00."

What a coincidence.....

And from the Citi card agreement:

"Individual Claims filed in a small claims court are not subject to arbitration, as long as the matter stays in small claims court."

They are willing to take a $12,000 "loss" in order to keep you from getting an order to arbitrate.

You might be able to poke enough holes in that affidavit and chain of custody to survive summary judgment but as soon as you tip your hand with an opposition to SJ, they will correct any defects and take their second crack at you at trial.  Connecticut follows a very liberal interpretation of the Adoptive Business Records Doctrine (Crest Plumbing & Heating Co. v. DiLoreto, 12 Conn. App. 468 - Conn: Appellate Court 1987) so unless Unifund completely biffs it, your chances of winning a trial are next to nothing.

So....can you try to settle?

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2 hours ago, Goody_Ouchless said:

Could they keep suing in $5K chunks?

 

Possibly, but most RCP have 'joinder' rules that parties can use to combine multiple actions into a singe cause of action.  No reason a court wouldn't go along with this in a case like OP's since it benefits the court to have one lawsuit going instead of 5.

@walkabout  Since they're only suing for $4,500, they might accept $2,000-$2,500 in settlement.  The problem is you don't really have any leverage other than letting them off the hook from spending their time in court.  They have already paid their court fees and they have fixed fee agreements with their lawyers, so even if you tied it up in court for the next 2 years, they likely won't spend more than $1,500 in total legal costs. Depending on your debt-to-income ratio, bankruptcy might be an option if you lose the case and end up with a judgment against you.

Did you receive any communications from Unifund or their lawyers prior to being sued?  If so, did you respond?

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I just had another thought. You can try to have your case moved to the higher court on the grounds that your rights from the agreement are limited by having the case heard in the small claims court. You would probably be responsible for the filing fee but well worth it if it opens the door to arbitration. 

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@Harry Seaward Thank you for your input.  Yes, bankruptcy is a good option if things don't work out for me. I didn't receive any communication from Unifund at all. Just a collection letter from their attorney and I requested a DV letter and they sent it (just two account statements)  Then,  BAM!!...the lawsuit.

Can I try to to poke holes at their Bill of Sales? At least, there is something I can do. There has to be flaws somewhere.  I rather fight than simply accept a judgement so easily. 

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https://www.jud.ct.gov/Publications/PracticeBook/PB.pdf

Look at section 24.21 (page 295 or so). It details how to get your case moved to superior court. If you you have not filed an answer yet and you meet just one of the conditions from (a)(2), subsection (b) says the court must grant the motion.

Seriously. I would do this so you can then assert your right to arbitration. They want to play games to get out of arbitration. We can beat them at their own game. 

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@Harry Seaward Yes, I saw that today also. And if decided to stay in Small claims as mentioned in  Sec.24-20A Request for Document; Depositions. "A party may request from the opposing party documents, or copies thereof, that are necessary or desirable for the full presentation of the case."  

Maybe I can use it to make them prove that they have standing to sue?

 

@Goody_Ouchless Yes, they have sent me 5 different Bill of Sales from five different owners(seems like they are all affiliated) as mentioned in the above post of the Affidavit of Debt.

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2 hours ago, texasrocker said:

JDBs' bills of sale never show an amount and are as worthless as the paper they are printed on without the forward flow agreement.

It must be a hoot watching you return something to a store. Since receipts are worthless, do you also get a batch analysis and ISO Certification status from manufacturer when you accidentally buy incorrect light bulbs and try to exchange them?

 

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@Goody_Ouchless no amount was on any of the bill of sale, they added Exhibit 1 on the second stating my name and the last 4 number on the credit card.  However, the $17,xxx is from the Citibank statement that they have (supposedly the last statement from
Citibank). So they go by that number from the statement.  $4,500 was never mention in the Affidavit. I guess they sue for $4,500 so they don't have to deal with the court fees and hoping to get an easy default against me as long as they can so to the magistrate that my address and name on the statement...or made payments toward the alleged account.

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I found this while looking up "pilot receivables." 

http://debtbuyeragreements.com/archives/tag/pilot-receivables-management-llc

Similar chain of custody, which appears to have been successfully attacked. If this is the case, then argument could be made at trial that, at the bare minimum, affidavits are required for each link in chain.

So that explains five bills-of-sale. It still doesn't explain amount discrepancy. I don't buy that this was done to remove the case to a lower court. With a 97% default rate, it's financial malfeasance to not at least try to sue for higher number and then adjust, if defendant points out deficient documentation or moves for arbitration. If this came to trial, along with the lack of affidavits, I would argue that the difference between affidavit and amount being sought is further evidence that plaintiff is grasping at straws.

Even worst case and you lose, you are settling this for 25% which is way better than they would offer.

 

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1. From Citibank to Pilot

                                       Bill of Sale and Assignment

This Bill of Sale and Assignment date April 23, 2017, is by Citibank, NA, a national banking association organized under the lasws of the United States, located at 701 East 60th .... Sioux Falls, SD 57117( the "Bank") to Pilot Receivables Management, LLC, organized under the laws of the Ohio, with its headquarters/principal place of business at 10625 Techwoods Circle, Cincinnati, OH 45242 ("Buyer").

For value recieved and subject to the terms and conditions of the Purchase and Sale Agreement dated April 23, 2017, between Buyer and the Bank (the "Agreement"), the Bank does hereby transfer, sell, assign, convey, grant, bargain, set over and deliver to Buyer, and to Buyer's successors and assigns, the Accounts described in Exhibit 1 and the final electronic file.

Citibank, N,A.

Sign    Sean M. Cooney, SVP

 

 Second Page.....                                         

                                                            Exhibit I           ( noted it is Exhibit I and not Exhibit 1 mentioned in the bill of sale)

Extracte from Exhibit I, provided by Citibank, NA in connection with its sale of accounts to Pilot Rceivables management, LLC on 4/23/17.

     Account name:   My Name

     Last 4 digits of account number:  xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx1234

 

 

2. From Pilot to Distressed Asset Portfolio III, LLC

 

                                                           Bill of Sale

This bill of sale is effective as of 4/23/2017 between Pilot Receivables Management, LLC, an Ohio limited liability company(Assignor), and Distressed Asset Portfolio III, and Ohio limited liability company (Assignee).

  Assignor, for value received transfers, sells, conveys, grantes and delivers to Assignee free, clear and unencumbered title to the Acounts described an Attachment A and all of Assignor's right thereto effective as of 4/23/2017. The sale is without recourse to Assignor.

[PILOT RECEIVABLES MANAGEMENT,LLC]

Sign.......Morgan Smith

Title: Vice President

 

Second Page...........

                                                                   Attachment A

Account name: My Name

Last digits of account number: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx1234

 

 

3.Bill of Sale between between Distressed Asset Portfolio III, LLC to Distressed Asset Portfolio IV, LLC

 

                                         ASSIGNMENT AND BILL OF SALE

Distressed Asset Portfolio III, LLC (Seller), for value received and in accordance with the terms of the Receivables Purchase Agreement by and beween Distressed Asset Portfolio III, LLC, on behalf of itself and its affiliates, including Seller, and Distressed Asset Portfolio IV, LLC (Purchaser), dated as of June 30, 2017 (the Agreement) which is incorporated herein by reference, does hereby sell, assign, and transfer to Purchaser all of its good and marketable title, free and clear of all liens, claims and encumbrances in and to the Receivables listed in the Closing Statement Attached as Exhibit A to the Agreement, without recourse and without representation or warrnty of cellectability, or otherwise, except to the extent stated in the Agreement.

Effective the 30th day of June,2017

DISTRESSED ASSET PORTFOLIO III, LLC

Sign: Morgan Smith, Vice President                ******* SAME Person as that signed the Bill of Sale #2*****

 

On the second page The Exhibit A has my name and Last 4 account #

 

                                       

 

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