SkyStillSunny

I have to pay the Arbitration filing? Only AAA allowed (Best Buy)

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On 10/22/2018 at 11:02 AM, SkyStillSunny said:

Ok @FLnative, will keep you updated. I am going to see if I can find out the status of the case first. 

I remember when I said I wanted to arbitrate, the judge told me I'd have 90 days to settle this with arbitration and that if I didn't then he was going to find for the plaintiff and grant them their judgement. Now that AAA won't arbitrate with PRA, I just wonder if they have any grounds to say, well you didn't settle this with arbitration so I'm giving the plaintiff their settlement. I just didn't get a good feeling from the judge, and seemed like he was annoyed that he had to grant me the opportunity to arbitrate. At any rate, I'll keep you updated. Thanks for the advice @fisthardcheese. We'll see what happens.

Thanks for the update! I recently posted in my own thread that AAA actually emailed me about the fees they're asking ][] to pay. Based on the letter that AAA sent you and another poster here, I was extremely worried I'd get the same. I'm really sorry to hear about this but I'm hoping the folks who've been around for a while and know the ropes much better than I do can help you find a solution that works for you. Honestly, I think a lot of this can come down to the judge you get sometimes. Seems like you got a hardass, unfortunately. Hope you can maybe file JAMS...

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2 hours ago, SkyStillSunny said:

I remember when I said I wanted to arbitrate, the judge told me I'd have 90 days to settle this with arbitration and that if I didn't then he was going to find for the plaintiff and grant them their judgement. Now that AAA won't arbitrate with PRA, I just wonder if they have any grounds to say, well you didn't settle this with arbitration so I'm giving the plaintiff their settlement.

Except that you DID arbitrate. PRA is the one who refused to.  If that scenario happens, you just need to make this fact very clear to the judge (with your evidence of filing).  If the judge lifts the stay and rules on the case, then he will be in the wrong and acting against well established case law and it will be ripe for an appeal.

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@FLnative I don't understand how AAA in Florida proceeded w/ arbitration w/ PRA, but in GA they have been blacklisted by AAA? Does it vary state by state?

Speak of the devil. I just got a court summons from the magistrate (in GA) for a "Notice of Trial/Reset" for this PRA case today!

@fisthardcheese The letter from AAA states the below, and the very last line concerns me now. Since AAA declined to arbitrate with PRA, I think PRA just sent me this notice so that it can now be disputed in court. Ughhhh. Any suggestions? Am I going to be forced to dispute this in court now?

Quote

Prior to the filing of this arbitration, the business failed to comply with the AAA's policies regarding consumer claims. Accordingly, we must decline to administer this claim and any other claims between Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC and its consumers. These policies can be found on our web site, www.adr.org, in the Consumer Due Process Protocol ("Protocol") and the Consumer Arbitration Rules ("Consumer Rules").

On a previously-filed consumer matter, this business did not timely submit its share of the filing fees and/or failed to waive a provision in its consumer contract that the AAA identified as a material and substantial deviation from the Protocol. The AAA sent correspondence informing the business that it may decline to administer consumer arbitrations involving this business and requested that the business remove the AAA from its consumer arbitration agreements so that there would be no confusion to the public.

In addition, Portfolio Recovery Associates, LLC has not registered its consumer clause on AAA's Consumer Clause Registry in accordance with R-12 of the Consumer Rules. Please note that the submission of the expedited review fee on any particular matter does not satisfy the separate obligation to register the consumer clause.

Accordingly, we have administratively closed our file and will refund any payment received by filing party. According to R-1(d) of the Consumer Rules, should the AAA decline to administer an arbitration either party may choose to submit its dispute to the appropriate court for resolution.

 

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14 hours ago, SkyStillSunny said:

@FLnative I don't understand how AAA in Florida proceeded w/ arbitration w/ PRA, but in GA they have been blacklisted by AAA? Does it vary state by state?

Speak of the devil. I just got a court summons from the magistrate (in GA) for a "Notice of Trial/Reset" for this PRA case today!

@fisthardcheese The letter from AAA states the below, and the very last line concerns me now. Since AAA declined to arbitrate with PRA, I think PRA just sent me this notice so that it can now be disputed in court. Ughhhh. Any suggestions? Am I going to be forced to dispute this in court now?

 

No.  Their contract still requires them to arbitrate.  If ordered by the court, they will now have to get themselves in good standing with AAA by paying whatever back-owed bills they have outstanding and pay the expedited consumer clause fee on top of the regular fees.

Didn't the Magsitrate judge already grant your MTC?  Did you get a copy of that motion signed by the judge as granted?  If so, did you include a copy of that order with your AAA filing?  If not, I would immediately send that MTC order signed by the judge to AAA in an email and ask them to reopen the case per the court's order (copy the PRA attorney as well)

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Yes @fisthardcheese, the magistrate judge did allow me to arbitrate, but he did not sign my MTC or give me anything after my hearing. He just ordered that I have a status update in 90 days. Is there any way I can go to the court and get that? Or am I SOL. Can I argue without a signed MTC by the judge?

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I would send an email to AAA and ask them if you obtained a court order to arbitrate your claims if they would accept and repoen your case.  I have asked them previously and they should respond with a yes.  I would print this email off and bring it to court with you.

Your new court date will seem odd - because this is magistrate court.  It is possible you will be dealing with a completely different attorney, but even if it is the same one, I would go in expecting that they have no idea about the arbitration issue or that you even asked for it last time.  I would expect the attorney to meet with you again before hand and try to settle as if it is the first time they are seeing you.  I am just telling you this so you are not thrown for a loop if this happens.  If they try to settle again before going into court, I would tell the attorney that I have complied with the order to arbitrate set at the previous court hearing but that their client has not complied with their part of arbitration and that I intend to ask the judge to sign your MTC and Order.

I would also bring a new copy (or 3) of your MTC along with a proposed order.  I would be prepared to explain everything from scratch to the judge as well.  I would remind him that he previously continued this case because you asked for arbitration according to the contract and that you have filed that arbitration case but that PRA has yet to respond or participate.  Wait to see how the attorney responds to this. (The attorney may not be aware of the AAA rejection).  IF the rejection letter is brought up, I would counter with the fact that the Plaintiff not paying their bills and following the rules of the arbitration firm should not prejudice yourself and it also does not absolve the Plaintiff of their contractual obligation, as affirmed by the Supreme Court of the USA, to arbitrate this very type of dispute.  I would then show the judge the email from AAA and explain that they WILL accept the case with an order from this court to arbitrate.  I would ask the judge to sign your proposed order granting your motion to arbitrate and to stay this case pending the outcome of that process.

(I like tossing in that fact that PRA does not pay it's bills to AAA because that is what their agents tell consumers on the phone that they call to harass and collect from. "Just pay your bills". That's just a personal enjoyment on my part when I can toss it back to them).

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I sent an email to AAA through the "contact us" form because I couldn't find a direct customer service email, and haven't gotten a response yet. Does anyone have their email information by chance?

Thank you so much @fisthardcheese, that's some great advice. I really hope I don't get the same judge since he seemed annoyed by me from the previous times I've been to court on this same case. If I do as you recommend, is there some evidence I can back up this statement with:

Quote

as affirmed by the Supreme Court of the USA

I have a feeling he's going to ask me questions on everything I present because the last time I presented the MTC arbitration (from your template), he said this to me when I asked a question "well obviously you know the answer to that since you were the one that drew up this MTC" and then didn't clarify. So I want to be sure I come prepared to back up everything I say. 😳

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1 hour ago, SkyStillSunny said:

I sent an email to AAA through the "contact us" form because I couldn't find a direct customer service email, and haven't gotten a response yet. Does anyone have their email information by chance?

I don't know about email, but I've called their 800 number a couple of times and talked to someone helpful: 800-778-7879

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You will probably get the same judge as most cases are assigned to one judge from beginning to end (otherwise, time will be wasted in court as a new judge gets up to speed on a case). The thing that will change is the attorney who is representing PRA. Most of the time, a computer is telling the company when a case requires an appearance and they get whatever lawyer is available at that day and time. The new lawyer will get your file but not have time to read it until at the courthouse so their attorney will have no clue what is going on.

Even if you have the same judge, you can show that you followed his order and that PRA, as a result of their actions, are not following the order or contract. The worse that happens is that the judge finds for the plaintiff which at that point, you immediately file for an appeal at a higher court. Odds are, that will be a trial de novo with a new judge.

Follow what @fisthardcheese has to say however and you will be fine.

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Did you not get an email response with the rejection letter?  That email should have come from a case manager.  That is where I would reply to and ask.

What questions did the Magistrate Judge ask that you could not answer?  Did you not read and make sure you understood the MTC that you submitted?  That is the first thing you should do before going to court.

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I filed my AAA through mail, not online, so I never got an email from a case manager. I did get this email back from them though:

Quote

Hello,

Thank you for your inquiry. Per the attached letter sent on August 27, 2018, yes this matter may be brought to the appropriate court for resolution.

If a court order is obtained granting a motion to compel arbitration and the filing requirements are met the AAA may reopen this matter.

Thank you,

Consumer Filing Team

The question I asked the judge was about how I was supposed to send a status update to the court about my filing for arbitration, which he never did answer. So after I filed AAA, I sent the magistrate a copy of my filing, my MTC (which he never signed), and my case info all to the magistrate via CMRR.

Thanks for all the valuable info! I go back to court in a few weeks and I'll present my MTC again and I guess I should request to get the judge to sign it? Is his signature granting the order? Because I thought since he approved my arbitration request that it automatically was granted, but never got anything on paper from the judge.

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On 10/31/2018 at 1:47 PM, SkyStillSunny said:

Because I thought since he approved my arbitration request that it automatically was granted, but never got anything on paper from the judge

This is why I would make sure to include a proposed order page with my MTC that the judge can just sign right then.  Essentially you do all the work for the judge so all he has to do is sign it and hand it to the clerk.  Without a copy of the signed order, even though he continued the case to allow arbitration last time, you have nothing to show AAA that they should re-open the case.  They aren't going to do is just because you say the judge says it's cool.  You need it in writing.

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Thank you @fisthardcheese I'm kicking myself now for not having that proposed order prepared the first time.

So this case is for a best buy card for around $900. Do you think it would just be better for me to go into mediation and offer to pay 10% or 15% of the balance and just settle this? My concern is that I get into trial, the judge denies my motion, and now PRA has a judgement for the full amount. I still feel like they have an argument w/ AAA's response about that one line in their letter that states "According to R-1(d) of the Consumer Rules, should the AAA decline to administer an arbitration either party may choose to submit its dispute to the appropriate court for resolution." And I'm wondering if I should just try to go in there and settle if they are willing to take $100, instead of risking paying the full amount?

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1 hour ago, SkyStillSunny said:

Thank you @fisthardcheese I'm kicking myself now for not having that proposed order prepared the first time.

So this case is for a best buy card for around $900. Do you think it would just be better for me to go into mediation and offer to pay 10% or 15% of the balance and just settle this? My concern is that I get into trial, the judge denies my motion, and now PRA has a judgement for the full amount. I still feel like they have an argument w/ AAA's response about that one line in their letter that states "According to R-1(d) of the Consumer Rules, should the AAA decline to administer an arbitration either party may choose to submit its dispute to the appropriate court for resolution." And I'm wondering if I should just try to go in there and settle if they are willing to take $100, instead of risking paying the full amount?

I can't make a decision for you whether to pay a settlement or finish up with the arbitration strategy. Only you can decide that.

The AAA letter is standard and we have seen it dozens of times on this board.  They have already submitted it to "the appropriate court for resolution" and you are well within your right to ask for arbitration which is very well established law backed up twice by the Supreme Court.  As I said earlier, and as confirmed by AAA to you, a court order will cause them to reopen the case.  That would mean it was "submitted to the appropriate court" and that court found that the case must be arbitrated.

You can try to settle if you wish.  I am not sure they would accept an amount that low to settle at this point because you have no leverage yet.

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You are probably right. I'll update here after my court date, and let everyone know what happens. This board and the information / real life experiences are unbelievably helpful. Many thanks to all those that contribute so much!

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UPDATE:

I had the same attorney and judge! The attorney for PRA told the judge that they did receive my CMRR that I opened a case with AAA, and said that due to ongoing litigation with them they were unable to arbitrate with that firm. Then the attorney indicated that since I did not do anything afterwards, like try to file through another arbitration firm like JAMS then he'd like to move the court to make a judgement against me for the full amount of the debt (~$900). 

When it was my turn, I told the judge that the agreement indicated that I can only use AAA, and I tried to explain why PRA was rejected from them, but he stopped me and said he didn't care or need to know about that, so I just went on to say that I have an email from AAA indicating they would re-open the case if the court would sign my order (which I got from @fisthardcheese thank you).

He looked through my paperwork, and told the attorney that he had 2 options, either he could sign the order or we could open a case through JAMS. The attorney said JAMS, and then the judge asked if I agreed, so I said yes.

So now I have to open a case through JAMS, and send a status back to the court. If not, we are back in court in a few months.

This has been my 4th time to court regarding this case, and I just can't believe they are so aggressively pursuing it still. I guess I'll be opening through JAMS now, and hopefully get this over with!

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@SkyStillSunny I thought the agreement said AAA was the only option? I'm wondering how you'll be able to pursue through JAMS. 

I can't believe PRA is still going around and around with you over this amount, either. Thanks for keeping us updated. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that things work out in your favor! (I'm also waiting to see what [] is going to do in my case; currently, I'm waiting on a response to my settlement offer to drop their case/I drop my arb case because I know they're not going to pay the AAA fees.)

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@fisthardcheese Maybe a dumb question, but will JAMS agree to arbitrate where the contract's arb clause states AAA and no other forum? The agreement the OP posted states:

"Arbitration shall be conducted by the American Arbitration Association ("AAA") according to this arbitration provision and the applicable AAA arbitration rules in effect when the claim is filed ("AAA Rules"), except where those rules conflict with this arbitration provision."  Or, can OP argue to JAMS that PRA's (as assignor) failure to comply with AAA's rules as the exception that conflicts with the arb provision? The judge seemed to think so? 

Unless I misunderstood, it appears that OP still has no court order signed to compel arb in JAMS or AAA.

 

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On 11/15/2018 at 12:34 PM, Brotherskeeper said:

@fisthardcheese Maybe a dumb question, but will JAMS agree to arbitrate where the contract's arb clause states AAA and no other forum? The agreement the OP posted states:

"Arbitration shall be conducted by the American Arbitration Association ("AAA") according to this arbitration provision and the applicable AAA arbitration rules in effect when the claim is filed ("AAA Rules"), except where those rules conflict with this arbitration provision."  Or, can OP argue to JAMS that PRA's (as assignor) failure to comply with AAA's rules as the exception that conflicts with the arb provision? The judge seemed to think so? 

Unless I misunderstood, it appears that OP still has no court order signed to compel arb in JAMS or AAA.

 

JAMS should accept the case eventually because they take consumer cases either with a contract or with the agreement of both parties (last time I checked), so since PRA has agreed, JAMS should accept.  But since OP has nothing in writing from PRA or the court, they will have to just open the JAMS case and send a cover letter explaining that PRA has agreed to this consumer case in place of AAA due to legal issues between AAA and PRA.  JAMS will probably email the attorney to confirm before commencing. 

But the good news here is that OP did a great job in court refuting more bogus claims and got the judge to understand that his ONLY option was to sign the MTC as written or agree to JAMS.  That was very well done.  Also, PRA has just played their last card in court.  If they do nothing with JAMS, OP should have a very good argument that PRA is stalling, attempting to cause them extra time and expense and has no intent on following the court's order to arbitrate and ask for a dismissal.  But, I think once the JAMS case is filed, PRA will drop this.  They are just using their newest tactic of making the Defendant jump through as many hoops as possible and show up to court time and time again in hopes of catching just one little mistake.  Now they've used that up and it didn't work, so they really don't have another play at hand.

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9 hours ago, fisthardcheese said:

But the good news here is that OP did a great job in court refuting more bogus claims and got the judge to understand that his ONLY option was to sign the MTC as written or agree to JAMS.  That was very well done. 

@SkyStillSunny Hey, Fist's talking about you! :)%

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😁 I am so indebted to this board and all the excellent advice I've received, because everything has been working almost exactly as everyone has said. I've made some mistakes here and there, but am feeling so much more informed than before. THANK YOU!!

Once again, I'll see this through and see what happens and update (hopefully for a last time). Maybe this will help anyone else going through the same process as me!

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I filed my JAMS via paper mail today, but I did not send in my $250 filing fee. I'm assuming they'll ask for this before proceeding so I will send it once requested.

So if PRA decides to drop this case, do I get my check refunded for $250 or does JAMS keep it whether PRA proceeds or not?

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Hi @fisthardcheese or anyone else that has received a response from JAMS -- I got the following back from them today regarding my arbitration.

Quote

Upon review of the parties' pre-dispute arbitration agreement JAMS has determined that JAMS' Policy on Consumer Arbitrations Pursuant to Pre-Dispute Clauses Minimum Standards of Procedural Fairness applies.

Please carefully review the enclosed Minimum Standards as JAMS requires that the parties comply with them.

The Minimum Standards will be applicable notwithstanding any contrary provisions set forth in the parties' pre-dispute arbitration agreement. The parties' agreement to proceed constitutes your agreement to the foregoing.

Any further issue about whether this is a consumer matter should be directed to the arbitrator once he or she is appointed.

Do I need to send back a response that I agree to proceed? They did not assign a case number. I have not yet paid the $250 yet. If I do send back a response to agree, do I need to send in the $250 at that point?

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JAMS send me an invoice for the $250, so I guess I'll have to pay that? I have to go back to court in a few weeks, so I'll have to show that I've done my part of the arbitration, right?

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