pulpfiction0

Amex: Best opportunity to settle?

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I realize this may be difficult to predict (anyone out there who has actually settled w/ Amex after taking them to arb?), but now that I'm about to begin the arb process with Amex, looking to pinpoint the best strategy for settlement:

-Account still with Zwicker (Amex has already counterclaimed via them).

-JAMS demand filed; consumer share paid.  AMEX just paid their $2500 share (including counterclaim fee).

-FDCPA claim filed in JAMS vs. Zwicker, which they are (of course) seeking to dismiss.

That's it, thus far.  We haven't even reached the point of selecting an arbitrator yet.  Therefore, as Amex's expenditure has been relatively minimal, I'm wondering whether it would be best to propose a settlement now, or wait until they are much deeper into this.  I know the popular wisdom here seems to be that Amex does not care at all in regards to spending many times the amount of the debt its seeking to collect, but it would seem that spending $100k on a full-blown arb w/ appeal to collect on 10% of that amount is just stupidity, even for a company of Amex's size.  

Can anyone out there share their experience in settling these? I do not have enough saved for a lump-sum settlement at this point.  Ideally seeking to settle for 50-60%, spread out over a 20-30 month span (debt is in the 10k range).  Again, I fully realize that Amex is a difficult beast to predict, but would it be beneficial in any way to 'play nice' and attempt to settle now?  Not that it's likely to be relevant, but I have about a dozen charge offs totaling 65k or so.  Yes, I realize I should be thinking BK, but as my income is too high for a CH7, and my CH13 payment would be insane, I'm taking the strategy of arb/settling with my dangerous creditors (Amex, Discover, Citi, and a credit union..total=35k) and am not concerned with the others.  

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Not really helpful to keep starting new threads asking the same questions we have already answered for you. BUT here we go again. 

8 minutes ago, pulpfiction0 said:

I'm wondering whether it would be best to propose a settlement now, or wait until they are much deeper into this.

There are few opportunities to settle with AMEX and they play their cards close to their chest.  We have seen cases where they flat out refused to settle.

9 minutes ago, pulpfiction0 said:

I know the popular wisdom here seems to be that Amex does not care at all in regards to spending many times the amount of the debt its seeking to collect, but it would seem that spending $100k on a full-blown arb w/ appeal to collect on 10% of that amount is just stupidity, even for a company of Amex's size.

Problem with your theory is it isn't popular wisdom it is straight up fact based on past results.  Your theory won't hold up because AMEX knows the SOL in CT is 20 years on the judgment they will get after confirming their arbitration award.  They also know that at some point in the next 20 years you will want or NEED new credit and have to deal with them.  They can put a lien on your house preventing sale until they get paid.  Not to mention post judgment interest.

12 minutes ago, pulpfiction0 said:

Ideally seeking to settle for 50-60%, spread out over a 20-30 month span (debt is in the 10k range).

I put the odds on that happening at zero.  Settling now for a fraction of the debt is based on having a lump sum payment.  If they agree to payments they will want a consent judgment so they do not have to sue you if you default again and a higher amount if not the full amount.  

You are looking for a result that just is not likely to happen.  

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13 minutes ago, Clydesmom said:

Not really helpful to keep starting new threads asking the same questions we have already answered for you. BUT here we go again. 

There are few opportunities to settle with AMEX and they play their cards close to their chest.  We have seen cases where they flat out refused to settle.

Problem with your theory is it isn't popular wisdom it is straight up fact based on past results.  Your theory won't hold up because AMEX knows the SOL in CT is 20 years on the judgment they will get after confirming their arbitration award.  They also know that at some point in the next 20 years you will want or NEED new credit and have to deal with them.  They can put a lien on your house preventing sale until they get paid.  Not to mention post judgment interest.

I put the odds on that happening at zero.  Settling now for a fraction of the debt is based on having a lump sum payment.  If they agree to payments they will want a consent judgment so they do not have to sue you if you default again and a higher amount if not the full amount.  

You are looking for a result that just is not likely to happen.  

When, exactly, are those opportunities?  Especially given that 'the other' board has shut down, its quite critical that those in same position as myself with Amex, Discover, etc are able to learn from the wisdom of those who have ventured into the great unknown here.  I realize many can't get into specifics due to NDA's but having an idea of the timeline is especially helpful here.  I'm happy to stick to one single thread from this point forward..perhaps there should be an Amex Arbitration thread 'stickied' to the top.

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Part of the problem is the other board way over estimated the costs of arbitration. We just had someone here go through appeal with Amex and it didn't take that long. Logic would seem to dictate that best time to settle would be prior to them paying arb fee - that is when the math is in your favor. But, that being said, if they are willing to pursue arb in every case, then they are unlikely to be cave pre-arb. Like Discover - it's about having a zero-tolerance policy.

We've had people discuss settlement terms with Amex and it's always the same - full amount unless you can prove genuine hardship.

 

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7 hours ago, pulpfiction0 said:

its quite critical that those in same position as myself with Amex, Discover, etc are able to learn from the wisdom of those who have ventured into the great unknown here.

A huge, and possibly the only, reason AMEX and Discover run such a tight arbitration ship is because people blabbed a "how to" on internet message boards like this one. 

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Settling opportunities are the best, no matter who the opponent is, at these key moments:

1. Before ANY fees are paid at the initial filing

2. After the filing fees are paid, the arbitrator is selected and the first phone conference is held

3. After the conclusion of discovery and just prior to the hearing

4. After thee contractual appeal is filed and accepted

5. After the initial appeal filing fees are paid.

It is never a bad idea to send settlement offers, especially with an OC and ESPECIALLY with an OC like Amex or Discover. I would send my settlement offers frequently (and include expiration dates), even if they are completely ignored.  Once my offer expires, I would wait until the next action in the case occurs (even if that is just a couple emails back and forth) and send my offer again with a new expiration date.

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1 hour ago, Goody_Ouchless said:

Have we ever seen it work with Discover and Amex? I can't recall seeing anything less than full amount from them.

 

With Discover it has.  I can't recall how many times, but they have settled for less deep into arbitration before.  I have seen Amex settle after JAMS accepted the appeal, but I don't recall if it was less than the full amount, though I would have to assume it was otherwise why else would you drop the appeal at that point?

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4 hours ago, fisthardcheese said:
8 minutes ago, fisthardcheese said:

With Discover it has.  I can't recall how many times, but they have settled for less deep into arbitration before.  I have seen Amex settle after JAMS accepted the appeal, but I don't recall if it was less than the full amount, though I would have to assume it was otherwise why else would you drop the appeal at that point?

Settling opportunities are the best, no matter who the opponent is, at these key moments:

1. Before ANY fees are paid at the initial filing

2. After the filing fees are paid, the arbitrator is selected and the first phone conference is held

3. After the conclusion of discovery and just prior to the hearing

4. After thee contractual appeal is filed and accepted

5. After the initial appeal filing fees are paid.

It is never a bad idea to send settlement offers, especially with an OC and ESPECIALLY with an OC like Amex or Discover. I would send my settlement offers frequently (and include expiration dates), even if they are completely ignored.  Once my offer expires, I would wait until the next action in the case occurs (even if that is just a couple emails back and forth) and send my offer again with a new expiration date.

I wonder if Amex's shareholders are aware they are spending $100k to pursue $10k debts.  Sounds like a breach of their fiduciary duties to me.  Also sounds like a story that belongs on the news, warning the 99.9% of the world that doesn't come to these boards exactly what scum they are dealing with.

If it really is true that they're so 'butt hurt' by consumers electing arb that they're unwilling to settle for anything < than the entire balance, I will pursue one of two options: 1) BK7 them after an appeal, while filing every possible motion under the sun along the way  (it turns out I may be able to qualify after all) or 2) my state requires $25 weekly payments for collections judgments..so I'd just take the judgment, pay the $100/mo and they would be precluded from bank account levies/garnishment as long as I am paying on it.  They'd have their money in 10-12 years.  Seems like really stupid options on Amex's end, but if they want to play the part of the butt-hurt bully, so be it.  

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The 100K arb bill appears to be an urban legend. Those that we have seen through to conclusion finish with much less wrangling than previously thought. Recall, there is verbiage about "frivolous claims" and "good faith," so pulling all of the old nonsense from the dead board could open one up to sanctions.

I suspect that if it was you lending money, rather than defaulting, you'd be more sympathetic to their position.

 

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1 hour ago, pulpfiction0 said:

I wonder if Amex's shareholders are aware they are spending $100k to pursue $10k debts.  Sounds like a breach of their fiduciary duties to me. 

Again your thinking is clouded.  It does not cost their investors a penny.  The costs of arbitration like legal fees are a tax write off.  That is probably why they have no problem going all the way through with it.

1 hour ago, pulpfiction0 said:

Also sounds like a story that belongs on the news, warning the 99.9% of the world that doesn't come to these boards exactly what scum they are dealing with.

You are referring to yourself right?  AMEX isn't scum.  NONE of this would be happening had you not defaulted on the account.  Calling them scum for exercising their rights under the contract you AGREED TO when you got the card and used it is perfectly legal and expected.  It never ceases to amaze me the number of consumers who have NO problem using credit spending money they do not have but then get "butt hurt" when they can't pay and the creditors have the "audacity" in their minds to expect to be paid back.

 

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19 hours ago, Goody_Ouchless said:

The 100K arb bill appears to be an urban legend. Those that we have seen through to conclusion finish with much less wrangling than previously thought. Recall, there is verbiage about "frivolous claims" and "good faith," so pulling all of the old nonsense from the dead board could open one up to sanctions.

I suspect that if it was you lending money, rather than defaulting, you'd be more sympathetic to their position.

 

I can speak to two arb bills shared with me by others going through an appeal with an OC which were both well over $100k. One of which, that included a second MTC for a new arbitration case AFTER the appeals process, was over $200k.

Most people with a full JAMS case plus an appeal will likely have the OC billed between $50k-$100k from JAMS.

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On 2/18/2019 at 5:37 PM, Clydesmom said:

Again your thinking is clouded.  It does not cost their investors a penny.  The costs of arbitration like legal fees are a tax write off.  That is probably why they have no problem going all the way through with it.

You are referring to yourself right?  AMEX isn't scum.  NONE of this would be happening had you not defaulted on the account.  Calling them scum for exercising their rights under the contract you AGREED TO when you got the card and used it is perfectly legal and expected.  It never ceases to amaze me the number of consumers who have NO problem using credit spending money they do not have but then get "butt hurt" when they can't pay and the creditors have the "audacity" in their minds to expect to be paid back.

 

Amex's decision to extend credit to myself was a simple business decision.  All business decisions carry some degree of risk.  That risk is built into their corporate financial model. 

My decision to default on their card was a personal business decision.  It came down to paying my mortgage, car, etc vs. making minimum payments on a card that would get me nowhere.  

It really is as simple as that.  Why you take such an antagonistic tone at times is beyond me. The 'tough love' approach is fine, but you are dealing with people experiencing financial hardship and simply looking for a reasonable way out of it.  Stop making yourself sound like a debt collector.  Many of your posts are full of useful information.  At the same time, you often seem more determined to tear someone apart than to help them.  

Not that it really matters, but you seem to have very little knowledge of the concept of a tax write-off.  If Amex expends $100k on a full-blown JAMS arb w/ appeal, that does not mean they are able to decrease their net tax liability by the full $100k.  The $100k is deducted from their taxable income, thereby decreasing their tax liability by perhaps 40k (assuming a 40% corporate tax rate).  So they are still on the hook for $60k in collection fees.  On a quite typical $10k balance, they still have a net loss of $50k.  Multiply this by the thousands of consumers per year that are sticking it to Amex and the like in this fashion (okay, I of course have no clue what the volume here is like...) and Amex is easily losing $10 million per year by pursuing these arbitrations to hell or high water.  A drop in the bucket, of course, for one of the largest corps in the country, but still it's still millions.  

 

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1 hour ago, pulpfiction0 said:

The 'tough love' approach is fine, but you are dealing with people experiencing financial hardship and simply looking for a reasonable way out of it. 

Interesting that you assume I have never had to make that decision.  I did when the recession hit.  The major difference is I OWNED my part in it for not having enough savings set aside and living beyond my means. You lost my respect when you called AMEX scum for merely exercising their legal right.  Nothing more than a business decision after all.   You are not looking for a reasonable way out.  You want to avoid paying and clean credit.  Well you don't deserve it.

1 hour ago, pulpfiction0 said:

Not that it really matters, but you seem to have very little knowledge of the concept of a tax write-off.  If Amex expends $100k on a full-blown JAMS arb w/ appeal, that does not mean they are able to decrease their net tax liability by the full $100k.

Not that it really matters but you have ZERO knowledge of what AMEX does pay and write off.  They are multi billion dollar company that is in no danger of going under from fiscal mismanagement.  AMEX is not spending $100k on an appeal.  That number is way over exaggerated from the now defunct DB boards.  And why are they spending any money on an appeal?  Oh that is right, a consumer who filed a frivolous one trying to get their own way.  Makes sense.  They are scum for trying to collect money they advanced to the consumer but the consumer is a saint for forcing them to spend unnecessary money for trying to collect.  Got it.

1 hour ago, pulpfiction0 said:

All business decisions carry some degree of risk.  That risk is built into their corporate financial model. 

So is the cost of litigating and arbitrating collection cases.  What is your point?

Own how you got in this mess or you will be there again.

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8 hours ago, fisthardcheese said:

I can speak to two arb bills shared with me by others going through an appeal with an OC which were both well over $100k.

How did they get a copy of the other side's final arb bill? Someone here just finished,  including appeal, and had no idea how much the other side was charged. It would be great to have this info for the "modern era".

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15 hours ago, Harry Seaward said:

How did they get a copy of the other side's final arb bill? Someone here just finished,  including appeal, and had no idea how much the other side was charged. It would be great to have this info for the "modern era".

JAMS sent the final bill in an email to all parties.  I don't know if this used to be common practice that they recently changed or if it may vary depending on which clerk is administering the cases.  We do know that the initial bills are sent out to all parties with both AAA and JAMS which show the retainer and filing fees due and they also present the arbitrator's hourly fees during the arb selection process as well.  With this information you can kind of do the math yourself if you keep track of the hours between emails, phone calls and hearings.

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4 hours ago, fisthardcheese said:

With this information you can kind of do the math yourself if you keep track of the hours between emails, phone calls and hearings.

$500/hr is 200 hours for a $100,000 tab.  Even at the extreme $1,000/hr rate, it's 100 hours. Maybe 10 years ago when arbitrators were still stinging from the notorious smackdown, but it seems really far fetched in a world making a push for streamlining. 

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On 2/20/2019 at 5:30 PM, Harry Seaward said:

$500/hr is 200 hours for a $100,000 tab.  Even at the extreme $1,000/hr rate, it's 100 hours. Maybe 10 years ago when arbitrators were still stinging from the notorious smackdown, but it seems really far fetched in a world making a push for streamlining. 

For an appeal, there are 3 arbitrators, plus additional arbitration admin fees.  That is the 6-figure amounts we talk about.  The average arbitration case is around $10k.

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Something I wrote about on another thread, which I will mention here.

I have worked for two different banks, and I am currently working for a bank.  

I know for a fact that banks will spend ungodly amounts of money to chase down small amounts of money.  

I know of a case going on right now in which the bank I am working for is spending about $1-2 million to chase down tens of thousands of dollars they overcharged customers.  I am not exaggerating.  

Getting the wrong sort of reputation can cost a bank quite a few millions of dollars.  

Somewhere along the line, Amex made the business decision to be hard-a$$es.  That means if you ever cost them money, they will go to the ends of the earth to get the money back.  If you settle, or for any reason wind up owing them money, you will NEVER get a card from them again.  Ever.  That has been their business model for decades, at least.   

Is this the optimal business model?  I don't have a clue.  

What I *do* know is that nobody at Amex will be in danger of losing a promotion or even a job because they go full throtle to collect a debt, but their job could be in danger if they go against corporate policy.  

Which means, when you are dealing with Amex, you are dealing with people whose careers depend on them being a hard-a$$ to anyone owing Amex money.  

 

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To update:

I can't go into much detail (negotiations are pending), but I can say with 100% certainty that Amex most certainly does accept reasonable settlements (consistent with a typical settlement offer from most any other OC).  Again, I can't get into all the details, but let's just say that the pending offer I have is significantly lower than balance-in-full (but nowhere near a 10-20% settlement), and with payments over a significant period of time.

So while it is true that Amex will fight tooth and nail in Arb, they aren't as ruthless as some make them out to be.  Granted I have a TON of charge offs on my report and look like a prime BK candidate, but who knows if they take that into account to any degree.  I also haven't cost them much in JAMS (yet) so that may also be taken into account here.  

 

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On 3/2/2019 at 10:46 AM, pulpfiction0 said:

So while it is true that Amex will fight tooth and nail in Arb, they aren't as ruthless as some make them out to be. 

This has always been my stance.  Using arbitration with any OC including the stubborn ones will net a more favorable settlement.  Some people just either can't afford that or become too stubborn themselves and shoot themselves in the foot.

Congrats on a good settlement offer and being able to get this behind you!

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