Ralex003

Being Sued By Amex. I'm terrified.

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Hi everyone. Long story short, I am completely lost. I have no idea what to do and can't afford to pay Amex anymore. I was young and got into a lot of trouble financially and ended up using their card a lot more than i should have. I have tried to pay it off over time but the interest makes it impossible to pay off any portion of the actual debt . I was advised to not pay them anything anymore and hope that they move the debt to a collection agency where I could dispute it. That never happened. I received word that Amex filed a summons against me. The summons went unserved because I moved to a different state but I am terrified that they are suing me and have absolutely no idea what to do. I verified this online in the Broward County clerk of courts. I currently have a waitressing job but I’m not making enough money to even pay my bills let alone pay Amex. I’m losing sleep and have lost weight as a result of the stress. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Unfortunately there is no joy with Amex. They have the records they need to win in court, and the Arbitration Strategy that you may read about here does not work against them. They may have some kind of hardship program if you really can't pay. At least with waitressing (assuming you can change restaurants in a hurry) you can stay one step ahead of them when they get a judgement so they won't be able to easily garnish wages.

I know it's the worst possible news, in this situation, but seeing what kind of deal they will make, considering your financial situation, is really the best thing you can do.

 

 

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In the end, this won't end well, but there are some things you can do in the meantime.

There may be some free legal advice in your area, or you may look up some of this online.

If they sued you in a state where you no longer live, sometimes you can get the case thrown out of court based on improper venue.  You need to check the laws in the state where you were sued, and see what you can do about it.

If they get a default judgment against you based on you not replying, that judgment can be domesticated, meaning they can collect where you now live, instead of where they sued.  So you don't want them to get a judgment.  Start by contacting the law firm that is handling the case, if you can get that information.  Maybe you can get them to agree to dismiss the case without prejudice so it can be refiled in your new state.  

Of course, at that point if the suit is thrown out in your old state, they will just sue you again in your new state, but that MIGHT buy you some time to negotiate.

If the negotiations don't work out, there are other strategies that SOMETIMES work to buy some time for more negotiations.  For example, you could force them into arbitration.  You would lose, but that would be more expensive for them, and SOMETIMES they are willing to settle for less to avoid the costs of arbitration.  However, they will pursue you to the ends of the earth to get their money back, unless you settle.  

If you get a judgment against you, they can collect post-judgment interest until it is paid off, which can be a lot of money over the years.  

 

There are other strategies.  If the debt is large enough, you might consider bankruptcy.  With a low income, you should be eligible for Ch. 7.  That does have it's price -- you cannot declare bankruptcy again for a few more years afterwards, so you have to be really careful with your finances.  

 

This is NOT the end of the world.  If everything falls apart and you have to declare bankruptcy, you will get a fresh start.  Just try to learn from your previous mistakes.  

 

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If you have a good chunk of combined debt ($10k+), I'd be talking to a 3 or 4 bankruptcy lawyers to see what options you have. There's certainly no point in losing sleep over this or letting it affect your health. It's just business, and you can be 100% certain AMEX won't lose a wink of sleep if you file bankruptcy. 

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I agree that this is not worth the stress.  Bankruptcy may sound awful, but I can tell you it is far, FAR, easier and better than spending 10 years trying to repay something that you can barely make a dent in monthly and have all these threats and collections harassment hanging over you all the time.  If this is a debt that you realistically will not be able to repay in several years - and especially if you have other similar debts as well, then I would suggest having a free consultation with a couple bankruptcy attorneys and seeing if that would be an option for you.  After a BK, you will be debt free (aside from potential student loans) and can get a fresh start free of any stress.

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On 4/10/2018 at 1:46 PM, Harry Seaward said:

If you have a good chunk of combined debt ($10k+), I'd be talking to a 3 or 4 bankruptcy lawyers to see what options you have. There's certainly no point in losing sleep over this or letting it affect your health. It's just business, and you can be 100% certain AMEX won't lose a wink of sleep if you file bankruptcy. 

I agree with Harry Seaward and Fist Hard Cheese's recommendation.  Sit down with at least 2-3 bankruptcy lawyers to discuss your options.

The alternative to bankruptcy is a continuation of the stress and related problems you've been experiencing.  Nobody needs this hanging over their head.  It's best to get a fresh start and move forward. 

Whatever you decided to do, just be sure to learn from this experience so you won't make the same missteps that led to the situation you're in.

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On 4/10/2018 at 9:07 AM, Ralex003 said:

I received word that Amex filed a summons against me.

How did you receive this word?

 

On 4/10/2018 at 9:07 AM, Ralex003 said:

The summons went unserved because I moved to a different state ...

Went unserved where?  In your former state of residence or your current one?  What is the status of the case now?  Did they file for alternative service?

 

On 4/10/2018 at 9:07 AM, Ralex003 said:

I verified this online in the Broward County clerk of courts.

What did you verify? Is there a Broward County in TN, or is that county in your former state of residence?

Is there currently a suit filed in your current state of residence?  If the suit you're referring to is in your former state of residence, when did you move?

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