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Portfolio recover associates bought my credit card debt..Help


Bamaga
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 Hello any advice on my best strategy would be a great help,any input.I have nowhere else to go.

  I ran into problems paying  credit cards  1/2 ago.Never had any issues before but it happened.I had to pay power bills and feed family etc.One month became two months became 6 montsh and I never would be able to catch up.It was very sad to me and never thought I would be in this kind of situation but it happened.

   My debt was sold to Portfolio Recovery Associates.About 25K over 2 cards.

I google information or watch youtube videos about junk debt buyers and they make it sound so easy to beat them.Is that a "fantasy".All I hear is that its hard for Junk Debt Buyers to prove they own the debt.Is it really that hard?Would they not show up at court with proof of paperwork they paid CITICARD x amount of Dollars for my debt?Can I really just say "I never signed a agreement with tthe JDB"?

I do not know if I should even respond to the letters or if it will speed up the inevitable.I can not say the Citicard debt was not mine that they bought.I cant afford to pay so I dont know what there is to say..If they want 25K I doubt they would accept $25 a month.

I am a simple man...if you want to talk music or sports I am your guy but I am a million miles from my comfort zone.I have a feeling this is going to be a hard year :(

If anybody has any advice or words of wisdom,I promise you I will appreciate and take to heart every single word.Thanks

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Welcome, and I'm sorry about your situation. We've all been there it's horrible.

 

First off, everything you found online about debt buyers is wrong. (Notice I refer to them as 'debt buyers' without the word 'junk.' There is nothing 'junky' about these debts - they are real, legal and worth face value. By far the two biggest mistakes you can make are (1) assume that debt buying is somehow illegal; (2) think that what they paid for your debt ('pennies on the dollar') has any effect on how they collect and what they will settle for.)

10 years ago debt buyers received little to no documentation when they bought debts, and laws were such that, if pressed, they had to provide live witnesses to authenticate what records they did have. Consumer lawyers routinely won these cases by forcing them to produce witnesses that either didn't exist, or made the whole thing too expensive to pursue. Same with documentation - first time I was sued, the evidence contained bills-of-sale dated before the account was ever charged off - obviously not even from my account.

Things have radically changed. The growth of cheap computer storage and imaging means that these lawsuits now come with a pile of credit card statements. We have seen countless cases where a judge looks at the pile of statements and says "Is this your name? Is this your address? Judgement for plaintiff." Same with case law governing business records - where they used to require a live witness, now the documents serve as their own witness - they are "self authenticating." These changes make it impossible to win in most courts.

First thing is to find credit card agreements from when these accounts were active and look for Arbitration Clause. You can read about Arbitration in other threads, but it is virtually 100% effective against debt buyers. Some cards removed this option, so you need to check.

@Clydesmom and @fisthardcheese are two members very knowledgeable with Georgia courts and will be of enormous help if you get sued.

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Thank you Goody_ouchless for trying to help me.Good to have a friend.

I am ignorant on the arbitration subject but wanted to tank you before i go off and read about it.Looking on some citi card statements on the back i see nothing about them.I opened these acoounts 15 years ago and 20+ years ago so they were active a long time.I would not have any original paperwork from them.

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15 hours ago, Goody_Ouchless said:

Welcome, and I'm sorry about your situation. We've all been there it's horrible.

 

First off, everything you found online about debt buyers is wrong. (Notice I refer to them as 'debt buyers' without the word 'junk.' There is nothing 'junky' about these debts - they are real, legal and worth face value. By far the two biggest mistakes you can make are (1) assume that debt buying is somehow illegal; (2) think that what they paid for your debt ('pennies on the dollar') has any effect on how they collect and what they will settle for.)

10 years ago debt buyers received little to no documentation when they bought debts, and laws were such that, if pressed, they had to provide live witnesses to authenticate what records they did have. Consumer lawyers routinely won these cases by forcing them to produce witnesses that either didn't exist, or made the whole thing too expensive to pursue. Same with documentation - first time I was sued, the evidence contained bills-of-sale dated before the account was ever charged off - obviously not even from my account.

Things have radically changed. The growth of cheap computer storage and imaging means that these lawsuits now come with a pile of credit card statements. We have seen countless cases where a judge looks at the pile of statements and says "Is this your name? Is this your address? Judgement for plaintiff." Same with case law governing business records - where they used to require a live witness, now the documents serve as their own witness - they are "self authenticating." These changes make it impossible to win in most courts.

First thing is to find credit card agreements from when these accounts were active and look for Arbitration Clause. You can read about Arbitration in other threads, but it is virtually 100% effective against debt buyers. Some cards removed this option, so you need to check.

@Clydesmom and @fisthardcheese are two members very knowledgeable with Georgia courts and will be of enormous help if you get sued.

I have had the two Citi cards 15 years and i think 20 years and I cant find any credit card agreements.If they sent them to me in the mail I can probably tell you that my "stupid" self opened up and saw that it was not a statement and just a bunch of mumbo jumbo wording that has nothing to do with me and I threw away like junk mail.At time I never had problem paying bills and never anticipated needing to save that as it did not apply to me.

    If I write portfolio recovery associates asking to validate debt would they have to provide credit card agreement where i might see arbitration clause or do they not want me to know that?

    So i have given up the simple dream of hoping they can not prove that they own the debt BUT if i went for arbitration they may not purse?that may be my only hope but would the high amount owed of 25k make them more likely to continue?

Again words cant express how much I appreciate the input.My wife and I read other threads to learn more but it all jumbles up and runs together.

  

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19 hours ago, Bamaga said:

All I hear is that its hard for Junk Debt Buyers to prove they own the debt.Is it really that hard?

It used to be but not anymore as Goody said.

19 hours ago, Bamaga said:

Can I really just say "I never signed a agreement with tthe JDB"?

You can but it won't work.  Under basic contract law when PRA buys an account they step into the place of the original creditor they bought it from with all the rights and responsibilities of the OC including collection.  That you signed with CITI is enough.

15 hours ago, Bamaga said:

I am ignorant on the arbitration subject but wanted to tank you before i go off and read about it.Looking on some citi card statements on the back i see nothing about them.I opened these acoounts 15 years ago and 20+ years ago so they were active a long time.I would not have any original paperwork from them.

The arbitration clause is in the card agreement not on the statements.  You do not need the card agreement from when you opened the account.  In that large amount of time it has been updated numerous times.  You need the one that was in effect at the time/year you defaulted.  You can get a copy from the CFPB.

2 hours ago, Bamaga said:

So i have given up the simple dream of hoping they can not prove that they own the debt BUT if i went for arbitration they may not purse?that may be my only hope but would the high amount owed of 25k make them more likely to continue?

You have nothing to lose by trying to get it into arbitration.  In general PRA does not arbitrate but you are correct in being prepared that for that amount they just might.  Another problem is it being 2 separate cards.  If each debt individually is less than the $15k limit for GA Magistrate Court AND PRA files separately then CITI has a carve out preventing arbitration for small claims cases.  That could be another problem.  

Have you been sued yet?

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8 minutes ago, Clydesmom said:

It used to be but not anymore as Goody said.

You can but it won't work.  Under basic contract law when PRA buys an account they step into the place of the original creditor they bought it from with all the rights and responsibilities of the OC including collection.  That you signed with CITI is enough.

The arbitration clause is in the card agreement not on the statements.  You do not need the card agreement from when you opened the account.  In that large amount of time it has been updated numerous times.  You need the one that was in effect at the time/year you defaulted.  You can get a copy from the CFPB.

You have nothing to lose by trying to get it into arbitration.  In general PRA does not arbitrate but you are correct in being prepared that for that amount they just might.  Another problem is it being 2 separate cards.  If each debt individually is less than the $15k limit for GA Magistrate Court AND PRA files separately then CITI has a carve out preventing arbitration for small claims cases.  That could be another problem.  

Have you been sued yet?

 

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Thank you Clydes mom.

I have not been sued yet.Just a few weeks ago I got letter from citi saying they sold debt to Portfolio recovery associates.I started getting polite mail from them every few days.So it just started.I dont know how long this will go on or if responding or not responding will speed things up.The further on down the road the better

On the amounts..I am not sure if it is relevant or not but they did not combine the account amounts.I have one for under 10k and the other just over 15K.They send mail for each separate.

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First thing is first, if you just got the first collection letter from PRA I would send a letter within 30 days stating that "I dispute this alleged debt. Please verify".  Do that for each alleged debt they are trying to collect.

I would not call or write them anything else other than this.  NOTHING.

I would read up on arbitration (link in my signature).  I would want to file an arbitration case against them before they could sue me due to a small claims exception in the Citi Card agreements.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/27/2018 at 11:33 AM, Clydesmom said:

It used to be but not anymore as Goody said.

You can but it won't work.  Under basic contract law when PRA buys an account they step into the place of the original creditor they bought it from with all the rights and responsibilities of the OC including collection.  That you signed with CITI is enough.

The arbitration clause is in the card agreement not on the statements.  You do not need the card agreement from when you opened the account.  In that large amount of time it has been updated numerous times.  You need the one that was in effect at the time/year you defaulted.  You can get a copy from the CFPB.

Hello i feel a little helpless and worthless as I can not even locate my credit card user agreements to see what they say about arbitration,It would need to be 2015.I am a dumbass and probably threw in garbage not knowing I was going to crash as it was junk mail that did not pertain to me :( I visited the CFPB page but did not see the exact card and the citi cards that I did see do not have a drop down box or anything to check the user agreement for different years (unless we are missing something)

On 1/27/2018 at 11:33 AM, Clydesmom said:

You have nothing to lose by trying to get it into arbitration.  In general PRA does not arbitrate but you are correct in being prepared that for that amount they just might.  Another problem is it being 2 separate cards.  If each debt individually is less than the $15k limit for GA Magistrate Court AND PRA files separately then CITI has a carve out preventing arbitration for small claims cases.  That could be another problem.  

Have you been sued yet?

 

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Which card did you have?

https://www.citicards.com/cards/acq/cma.do?screenId=13461

Time is of the essence if you want to do this the easy way.  I would find your card agreement (the arb clause is the same in all of them, anyway), and file a case with AAA.  I would want to do this before they had the chance to sue me.  I would send in the $200 filing fee with my AAA Demand For arbitration form.

https://www.adr.org/sites/default/files/Demand for Arbitration Consumer Arbitration Rules.pdf

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4 hours ago, fisthardcheese said:

Which card did you have?

https://www.citicards.com/cards/acq/cma.do?screenId=13461

Time is of the essence if you want to do this the easy way.  I would find your card agreement (the arb clause is the same in all of them, anyway), and file a case with AAA.  I would want to do this before they had the chance to sue me.  I would send in the $200 filing fee with my AAA Demand For arbitration form.

https://www.adr.org/sites/default/files/Demand for Arbitration Consumer Arbitration Rules.pdf

Thanks for you help.Its actually 2 citi accounts one under 10K and one over 15K. I found the smaller agreement but the big one I can not find.It is a "Paypass Dividend World Master card"I dont see that on chart.Is it 100% vital to have the exact one when submitting for arbitration?

I have read the arbitration strategy and it makes sense.I dont know if my total being over 25K if that would make them come after me no matter how many road blocks are in the way

Would I need to send $200 twice and submit to separate forms since it two different accounts from PRA?They have sent me two different letters for each one.

I am sending them the debt  validation request although I know they bought it from citi since i have letter so not sure if that helps me or not?I hear others say that it just tells them that they found the correct guy.

Lastly if they go thru all the hoops (since the combined figure is large) to meet me in arbitration.I have no money so I cant meet any high settlement amount.I am sad to say.I have no money,no savings,no home in my name,I drive a 20 year old car.I work for myself at a stay at home ebay store business.I make just enough to slowly pay the families bills on time (on time to me means just under one month behind)In arbitration does the bad financial situation I am in come into play at all.I  would really have nothing to say in arbitration except that I am broke and fight to pay the power bill before they shut it off every month.Beyond $100 a month there is nothing else I could possibly squeeze at all.I once heard somebody suggest I was judgement proof as I own absolutely nothing (kinda sad).My income comes in a paypal account and not sure how a paypal would come into  play instead of a regular checking account (which I have but could function without)

Anyway every ones time is valuable and I surely value and appreciate every bit of advice I can get.I am pretty down and lost :( 

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The chance that PRA follows through with a complete arbitration is little to none. Even with your current amounts.

Yes, you would have to pay the $200 to AAA twice, once for each case.  I know that is a tough hurdle, but $400 is better than $25k, right?  I searched and also don't see any agreement for the Dividend World MasterCard.  This means #1, that Citi is not compliant with the federal TILA law by providing all card agreements to the CFPB, and that #2 I would use the generic Citi agreement that Citi provided to AAA that is meant to encompass all Citi card agreements.

AAA requires companies that list AAA in their contracts with consumers to register their contracts in the AAA clause database.  Each clause is subject to a registration fee to AAA.  Because Citi has dozens of different card agreements, they have come up with one single generic version of their card agreement that they have registered with AAA to avoid paying that registration fee dozens of times over.  I would use this generic arb clause.  They registered it with AAA as a valid arbitration clause for any Citi account, therefore, they will have a hard time convincing AAA that the agreement you are using (the one they registered with AAA) is not the correct arb clause.  The good thing with AAA is that only the arbitration clause section of the card agreement is required to be presented in your filing, not the entire card agreement.  Because of this, I often just use the arb clause that the company themselves have registered on the AAA website.

https://www.adr.org/clauseregistry  Go to this link and click on "view the clause registry" on the bottom left.  Then search for Citi and you will find the agreement.  I would print that and send it with my filing.

https://www.adr.org/ConsumerForms

The above link has the Demand for Consumer Arbitration form.  Instructions for filing are on the form.

If I  had to guess, I would say that after you file, PRA will essentially ignore the arbitration completely.  I would not be surprised if AAA eventually closes your case due to PRA not responding, or refusing to pay the AAA fees.  I would also not be surprised if after this, PRA still filed a lawsuit against you.  However, because you first filed the arbitration case, I would consider filing a lawsuit a violation of the FDCPA.  It also will void out anything about "small claims cases do not apply to arbitration" in the card agreement. You should be able to use the fact that you filed in AAA first as leverage to get the court to force PRA into arbitration (which they will not want to do) and allow you to make everything go away for no money.  That would be my goal, anyway.  We will just have to see how it all plays out once you file.  There is also a possible scenario where you can even get your $400 back from PRA in order to settle and drop the arbitration cases against them.

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