LookingforInfo2018

HELP: Portfolio Recovery in Arbitration

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I'm not sure what I am supposed to do at this point, and really need some help. I had charges dismissed last year in Magisterial Court after doing research here. However, almost everything states Arbitration as a last ditch effort to get JDC to drop their case. I received a summons 2 days ago from PRA. Rather than being in MC it's already in Arbitration... What are you supposed to do now?

I have 20 days to respond with an 'Intent to Appear in Court'. Are there other things I should file along with this in attempt to get them to drop this? I'm really lost as to what to do!

 

 

MY ANSWERS TO THE STANDARD QUESTIONS:

1. Who is the named plaintiff in the suit?

 PRA

2. What is the name of the law firm handling the suit? (should be listed at the top of the complaint.)

 listed for Norfolk, VA

3. How much are you being sued for?

$4000

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

Synchrony Bank/Citi

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

Served

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

Sheriff

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

Yes

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

None

9. What state and county do you live in?

Pennsylvania

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

Not sure, but within the last three years

11. What is the SOL on the debt?

4 yrs

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).  

Suit served - I can't seem to find the Arbitration dockets online

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.

No

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? (listed below)

I have 20 calendar days to respond.

16. What evidence did they send with the summons? An affidavit? Statements from the OC? Contract? List anything else they attached as exhibits.

 

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Can you give some more details about what you mean when you said it's already in arbitration?  How did it get there?  Is this the court sponsored arbitration?

And just for clarification, the 'old way' used to be that arbitration was viewed by some as a last ditch effort.  The reality is private contractual arbitration as provided in the credit card agreement is about the only way to win debt collection cases against debt buyers like PRA.  It's marginal at best when dealing with original creditors, but that's not your situation.  Here's a link for info on the majority opinion for dealing with debt buyers.

https://www.creditinfocenter.com/community/topic/329436-arbitration-overview-and-strategy-2018-most-up-to-date-info/

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1 hour ago, Harry Seaward said:

Can you give some more details about what you mean when you said it's already in arbitration?  How did it get there?  Is this the court sponsored arbitration?

And just for clarification, the 'old way' used to be that arbitration was viewed by some as a last ditch effort.  The reality is private contractual arbitration as provided in the credit card agreement is about the only way to win debt collection cases against debt buyers like PRA.  It's marginal at best when dealing with original creditors, but that's not your situation.  Here's a link for info on the majority opinion for dealing with debt buyers.

https://www.creditinfocenter.com/community/topic/329436-arbitration-overview-and-strategy-2018-most-up-to-date-info/

Thank you for responding! This is exactly why I am confused. I was under the impression that the only time a case is taken to arbitration was when the consumer (i.e. the card holder in question) takes it there. There was no previous lawsuit, no interaction whatsoever with this company. What exactly is a court sponsored arbitration and could this be one?

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10 hours ago, LookingforInfo2018 said:

What exactly is a court sponsored arbitration and could this be one?

It's where the courts order the parties into mediation/arbitration as a matter of course. This arbitration is held with some court appointed hearing officer type of person, usually at the courthouse, that just tries to get the parties to reach an amicable settlement. There is usually no, or very low,  cost for this arbitration. 

In contrast, the private contractual arbitration from the card agreement is a completely separate process from court. In fact, PCA removes the parties' rights to use court. It's held with an arbitrator who is paid by the parties, and thus very expensive. The reason it's effective against JDBs is because the consumer only has to pay a small portion of the fee ($200-$250) and the JDB has to pay everything else, minimum $5,000 and could reach as high as $20,000. Common sense tells you it doesn't make sense for them to pursue a $4,000 debt when it could cost them 2 or 3 times that amount. 

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7 hours ago, Harry Seaward said:

It's where the courts order the parties into mediation/arbitration as a matter of course. This arbitration is held with some court appointed hearing officer type of person, usually at the courthouse, that just tries to get the parties to reach an amicable settlement. There is usually no, or very low,  cost for this arbitration. 

In contrast, the private contractual arbitration from the card agreement is a completely separate process from court. In fact, PCA removes the parties' rights to use court. It's held with an arbitrator who is paid by the parties, and thus very expensive. The reason it's effective against JDBs is because the consumer only has to pay a small portion of the fee ($200-$250) and the JDB has to pay everything else, minimum $5,000 and could reach as high as $20,000. Common sense tells you it doesn't make sense for them to pursue a $4,000 debt when it could cost them 2 or 3 times that amount. 

Is there a way to know which it is? Does arbitration work the same way as a court? As in, they could still possibly pull out if I enter a "Notice of Intention to Appear"? Or will it go all the way regardless?

 

What are the proper steps going in to arbitration? Do I need to file a motion of discovery or is it too late? 

Another odd thing about all of this is that the cover paper, "Notice of Suit to Sheriff" has the defendants name different than the Arbitration docket. 

I don't own anything. However, the person on the front does, and also coincidentally recently filed for bankruptcy. Could this possibly be them barking up the wrong tree and thinking they will get something out of this? 

I'm nervous about calling anyone, but I really am confused by all of this. Is it not wise to call?

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1 hour ago, LookingforInfo2018 said:

Is there a way to know which it is?

Yes.  If it is in AAA or JAMS it is private contractual arbitration.  If it is through the state or the court it is not the ones I just mentioned.

1 hour ago, LookingforInfo2018 said:

Does arbitration work the same way as a court?

Similar but not the same.  The arbitrator has more discretion than the court in applying or disallowing evidence.

1 hour ago, LookingforInfo2018 said:

As in, they could still possibly pull out if I enter a "Notice of Intention to Appear"? Or will it go all the way regardless?

Some states make ADR: Alternative Dispute Resolution aka mediation or arbitration mandatory before a trial can be conducted.  If you do not reach a settlement in ADR then it goes to trial.

1 hour ago, LookingforInfo2018 said:

Another odd thing about all of this is that the cover paper, "Notice of Suit to Sheriff" has the defendants name different than the Arbitration docket. 

My concern is that you may have been scammed by one of the phony arbitration companies that makes it appear they are working on behalf of a creditor like PRA in an attempt to sucker both of you out of a chunk of money.  What arbitration forum is this supposedly in.  

WHAT name is on the arbitration papers you got.  Personal or professional.

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6 minutes ago, Clydesmom said:
Quote

Yes.  If it is in AAA or JAMS it is private contractual arbitration.  If it is through the state or the court it is not the ones I just mentioned

.There's a stamp for the county court house so I'm assuming that means it's not AAA?

Quote

Similar but not the same.  The arbitrator has more discretion than the court in applying or disallowing evidence

.As I said in the first post, I managed to have charges dropped last year is Magisterial Court. Is arbitration that same in that you deny everything? Or are they more prepared? This one did include a last statement, my other one did not.

Quote

 

My concern is that you may have been scammed by one of the phony arbitration companies that makes it appear they are working on behalf of a creditor like PRA in an attempt to sucker both of you out of a chunk of money.  What arbitration forum is this supposedly in.  

WHAT name is on the arbitration papers you got.  Personal or professional.

 

This is what I'm concerned about also, but I'm nervous about making phone calls just yet. How do I know which forum it's in? Sorry, I'm totally new to this.

It's father and son's names. Same first and last, different middle initial. The sheriffs paper is to the former and arbitration papers are the latter. It just seems too much of a mistake to be overlooked?

Thank you for your response, also!

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8 minutes ago, LookingforInfo2018 said:

There's a stamp for the county court house so I'm assuming that means it's not AAA?

What do the papers you received say about arbitration?

9 minutes ago, LookingforInfo2018 said:

As I said in the first post, I managed to have charges dropped last year is Magisterial Court. Is arbitration that same in that you deny everything? Or are they more prepared? This one did include a last statement, my other one did not.

Read the link i gave you in my first post here. 

10 minutes ago, LookingforInfo2018 said:

It's father and son's names. Same first and last, different middle initial. The sheriffs paper is to the former and arbitration papers are the latter. It just seems too much of a mistake to be overlooked?

Were you served with an actual summons and complaint? Did you verify (either online or directly with the court clerk) that there is in fact a lawsuit filed against you?

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On 3/1/2019 at 5:50 PM, Harry Seaward said:

What do the papers you received say about arbitration?

Read the link i gave you in my first post here. 

Were you served with an actual summons and complaint? Did you verify (either online or directly with the court clerk) that there is in fact a lawsuit filed against you?

Sorry for the delay, I had to wait until Monday to call the clerks office. They have no explanation why the sheriff's office had a different name, but stated the name on the docket is who it's for. 

Here's a photo of the docket itself. Sorry for the quality, my scanner decided not to work at the most inopportune time. 

 

 

2019-03-04_14.55.29.jpg

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That is court/state arbitration also known as mediation. It is nothing more than an attempt to force you to settle.  It is NOT the arbitration referred to in the card agreement.

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2 minutes ago, Clydesmom said:

That is court/state arbitration also known as mediation. It is nothing more than an attempt to force you to settle.  It is NOT the arbitration referred to in the card agreement.

Thank you!! How do I proceed with this? I read the link Harry linked, and I'm still confused. I'd really like to avoid all of this and have a dismissal if at all possible, I just have no idea how to do this. I'm afraid to make any phone calls just yet as I don't want to put my foot in my mouth.

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1 minute ago, LookingforInfo2018 said:

How do I proceed with this?

You file an answer asserting your right to private contractual arbitration per the terms in the card agreement belonging to the account alleged in the complaint.  You state an affirmative defense that the court lacks standing as you have elected arbitration.  At the same time you file your answer you file a motion to compel private contractual arbitration.

You may still have to do the mandatory court mediation but you basically admit to nothing and stand firm you want PRIVATE arbitration by a neutral third party not one handled by the courts.

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15 minutes ago, Clydesmom said:

You file an answer asserting your right to private contractual arbitration per the terms in the card agreement belonging to the account alleged in the complaint.  You state an affirmative defense that the court lacks standing as you have elected arbitration.  At the same time you file your answer you file a motion to compel private contractual arbitration.

You may still have to do the mandatory court mediation but you basically admit to nothing and stand firm you want PRIVATE arbitration by a neutral third party not one handled by the courts.

 

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3 minutes ago, LookingforInfo2018 said:

To file an answer, do I do this through the AAA website? 

The 'Notice of Intention to Appear'. Do I file this also or do I file the MTC first? Or file something else in its place?

 

File the notice of intent to appear then file a separate MTC arbitration at the same time.

 

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For now, everything you file goes to the court and the lawyer for PRA. Wait on contacting AAA until at least after that and you get a response from PRA on the motion to compel. 

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On 3/4/2019 at 3:37 PM, Clydesmom said:

File the notice of intent to appear then file a separate MTC arbitration at the same time.

 

Just to be clear, as it is a bit overwhelming, the form 'Demand for Arbitration' through AAA is not the same as MTC? 

This is the arbitration clause in the card agreement. Since I am essentially suing them instead, does this mean they are responsible for the costs?

 

Also, I can't seem to find a straight forward answer. I've seen people say they have done it many times, but do you know if it's acceptable to send someone in your place to represent you in court, such as a spouse? And if so, is there something that needs included to state this in the Intent to Appear?

 

Thank you both!

2019-03-05_15.50.31.jpg

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1 hour ago, LookingforInfo2018 said:

Just to be clear, as it is a bit overwhelming, the form 'Demand for Arbitration' through AAA is not the same as MTC? 

Correct.

1 hour ago, LookingforInfo2018 said:

Since I am essentially suing them instead, does this mean they are responsible for the costs?

No.  Remember the goal is not to actually arbitrate the case but to make it so expensive to pursue that PRA simply drops the whole thing.

1 hour ago, LookingforInfo2018 said:

I've seen people say they have done it many times, but do you know if it's acceptable to send someone in your place to represent you in court, such as a spouse?

There is a small number of states that allow  a spouse to appear on behalf of one being sued when there is extenuating circumstances such as a medical condition.  I do not know if PA is one of those states.  You would need to ask an attorney.

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1 hour ago, LookingforInfo2018 said:

do you know if it's acceptable to send someone in your place to represent you in court, such as a spouse?

Not by default, but you can ask the judge if your spouse can represent you. It still means you have to show up to court to ask, though. 

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On 3/4/2019 at 3:37 PM, Clydesmom said:

File the notice of intent to appear then file a separate MTC arbitration at the same time.

 

 

On 3/5/2019 at 5:46 PM, Harry Seaward said:

Not by default, but you can ask the judge if your spouse can represent you. It still means you have to show up to court to ask, though. 

 

Thank you both for your help. I've still yet to file anything. I've spoken to two lawyers basically stating it isn't worth their time/my money to represent this. I felt like I was talking to used car salesmen. One's advice was to speak to the JDC to see if they would work out a payment plan and in turn, drop the lawsuit.. Is this even a possible outcome? The problem is my spouse really does not want to appear in court, which is obviously frustrating but understandable.

I received conflicting information about Arbitration as well. Is Arbitration the same as magisterial court, in that both parties have to show up. And if not, the present party wins by default? 

Also, one stated the threat of judgement meaning they can show up to your home and take furniture. He's judgement proof in every way, and currently living with relatives. Would that even be a legal possibility if the home isn't even in your name?

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1 hour ago, LookingforInfo2018 said:

Is Arbitration the same as magisterial court, in that both parties have to show up. And if not, the present party wins by default? 

Read the link i gave in my first post here. 

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4 minutes ago, Harry Seaward said:

Read the link i gave in my first post here. 

Yes, I do understand that. I was just confused why the lawyer would give conflicting information. I'm not sure what he was trying to accomplish.

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9 minutes ago, LookingforInfo2018 said:

I was just confused why the lawyer would give conflicting information.

Because they are thinking about arbitration in the conventional sense, the same way you are. That's why you need to read the link so you can understand the strategic value of arbitration vs. just another way to have the debt litigated. 

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I talked to PRA for over an hour today, they won't budge on a settlement and refused to consider any settlement less than 75% of the claim.

I've re-read everything. This is not a bluff, and has to be seen all the way through. What if they actually do go through with the MTC.

Could be you please give me advice on what I should write as a defense on this form? They did not send anything with signatures, they claimed they sent statements showing credits and debits, but they did not.

 

 

 

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