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TroubleinFL

Being sued by Portfolio but with a twist...

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I was served with a notice to appear in a pretrial hearing o determine validity of  suit against me by Portfolio Recovery here in Florida for Account Stated. The Account Statement they provided has someone else's name, and account info from another state. I have no idea who they are, they are of no relation to me, they are not a past acquaintance,  friend, coworker or collegue of any kind, no idea who they are.

How do I answer this?

ETA:: Thank yu for any and all your help.

1. Who is the named plaintiff in the suit?   PRA, LLC

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

3. How much are you being sued for?   >$1000

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

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)   In Person

7. Was the service legal as required by your state?  Yes, I signed for it.

Process Service Requirements by State - Summons Complaint

8. What was your correspondence (if any) with the people suing you before you think you were being sued?   One phone call that I denied ever having any business with PRA, LLC. No letters replied to and many other phone calls sent to voicemail.

9. What state and county do you live in?   Florida

10. When is the last time you paid on this account? (looking to establish if you are outside of the statute of limitations)  It's not my account, the Account Statement they included belongs to someone else, a complete stranger to me.

11. When did you open the account (looking to establish what card agreement may be applicable)?  See #10 above.

12. What is the SOL on the debt? To find out:   I believe its 5 years.

Statute of Limitations on Debts

13. 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).  Open, Summary Procedure

14. Have you disputed the debt with the credit bureaus (both the original creditor and the collection agency?) No, See #10 above.

15. Did you request debt validation before the suit was filed? Note: if you haven't sent a debt validation request before being sued, it likely won't help create FDCPA violations, but disputing after being sued could be useful to show the court that you dispute the debt ('account stated' vs. 'breach of contract').   No, see #10 above.

16. 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?   It just says to show up in the Judge's Chambers on a date in June. No questionnaire, no instructions to answer before showing up either.

Here is an example of what the summons/complaint may look like: Sued by a Debt Collector - Learn How to Fight Debt Lawsuits

17. What evidence did they send with the summons? An affidavit? Statements from the OC? Contract? List anything else they attached as exhibits.   Statements from the OC, Synchrony Bank, that state another individual's name and address from another state entirely different from mine. The amounts, nor the ending 4 digits do not match what is listed in the claim itself either.

18.  How did you find out about this site?   Googled PRA, LLC.

18. Read these two links:   Okay, will do.

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So the complaint is in your name, but the records are for a totally different debt? It's a gamble, but you could file an answer with a general denial and never mention the discrepancy in the records, and hope they don't catch it themselves until the day of trial. 

If you bring it up now, you guarentee they will get the correct records before trial. 

Option C is just hit them up with arbitration, but PRA may be starting to follow into arbitration these days, so even that's a greater potential gamble than it was 6 months ago. 

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To follow up on what Harry asked - is this your debt, or did you not even have that card? It does sound like they just messed up and included wrong documents.

 

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16 hours ago, Goody_Ouchless said:

To follow up on what Harry asked - is this your debt, or did you not even have that card? It does sound like they just messed up and included wrong documents.

 

Thank you, Goody, and Harry for the responses very much.

The account statement they included is for someone else entirely different from me, no relation, never met that I'm aware of. I have no clue who that person is whatsoever. I do not have the card listed on the account statement but did have a card with the OC at one point but based on the info provided I do not know that this is the account.

My guess is yes, they included the wrong account statement and I have no idea what account they are suing me for as they only list the last four digits of an account and an amount in the claim.

17 hours ago, Harry Seaward said:

So the complaint is in your name, but the records are for a totally different debt? It's a gamble, but you could file an answer with a general denial and never mention the discrepancy in the records, and hope they don't catch it themselves until the day of trial.

 

Thanks Harry, kind of what I was leaning toward as well.  This is for a pre-trial meeting so do I bring the answer with me or do I have o file something ahead of time as the court filing doesn't mention anything about an answer at all.

Furthermore, they also filed a Notice of Confidential Information within the court filing as well, does this violate the person for whom I have their account statement and can they then sue PRA/Pollack for anything because they sent this to me?

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One big question:

 

You say you had an account with them. 

Did you default on your account?

The rest of the post assumes you defaulted 

If so, it could be they have a valid claim against you, sent the wrong information by mistake, and will come up with the correct information at some point.  

I did have something like that happen to me once.  The incorrect papers were not a fatal error.  I did win the case for other reasons.  

Realize you are in Florida.  You have to decide to arbitrate or not before you answer.  If you answer you waive arbitration. 

Your choice is to either file an MTC instead of an answer OR file a general denial and hope you catch them unawares.  

Both are risky. 

The judge may just give them time to come up with the proper papers, and you lose.  

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2 hours ago, TroubleinFL said:

This is for a pre-trial meeting so do I bring the answer with me or do I have o file something ahead of time 

I honestly have no idea. Some places an answer is required, others you just show up for a court hearing. Even better if you're in the latter category. 

2 hours ago, TroubleinFL said:

does this violate the person for whom I have their account statement and can they then sue PRA/Pollack for anything because they sent this to me?

It does violate the FDCPA, but a.) that person would have to find out and b.) I'm sure this kind of thing would be subject to a bona fide error defense. 

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58 minutes ago, BackFromTheDebt said:

 

 

Thank you for your answer BackFrom.

I am in Florida but when calling the clerk's office of the judge, she said that she didn't know if I had to file an answer but that she had never seen any answers with regards to other account stated claims. Again, this says it is a Summons To Appear For A Pretrial Conference and there are no official court seals, forms or information from or about the judge or an answer in the summons. I had to look it up online and then call the judge's clerk to ask questions about it.

7 minutes ago, Harry Seaward said:

I honestly have no idea. Some places an answer is required, others you just show up for a court hearing. Even better if you're in the latter category. 

It does violate the FDCPA, but a.) that person would have to find out and b.) I'm sure this kind of thing would be subject to a bona fide error defense. 

 

Thanks Harry. I looked up statutes for Florida and one says that I have 5 days from being served and another says that I have 20 days from the date of being served to answer but it doesn't tell me where to send my answer, what form to answer with, etc.

I realize that a lawyer would know all of this but I can't afford one. I am unemployed and am struggling with a lot of other things and so am trying to do this on my own.

I ran across this page, good advice or bad advice in my situation? https://toughnickel.com/personal-finance/You-Can-Beat-Credit-Card-Debt-Collectors

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That article is full of incorrect information. In addition, the strategies he talks about worked fairly well 10 years ago but not anymore.

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2 hours ago, BV80 said:

Brian Gray’s article is loaded with bad information.   

Thank you all, read your links BV80, that you included as well, thank you, very helpful.

Question though, if it comes to me being called to the stand, is the answer to every question the one Gray listed, "I am without information or knowledge sufficient to form an opinion as to the truth or accuracy of Plaintiff’s claim, and based on that denies generally and specifically Plaintiff’s claim "?

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So I've called the clerk for the judge twice now and she said that she is unaware of any reason to file an Answer or to inform her that I intend to defend the suit before I show up. Nowerein the Summons to Appear for Pretrial Conference does it indicate that I have to submit an Answer or inform them I am defending. It only states that I am to show up to judge's chambers on my day, that's it.

So after reading someone else's accounting of their day, it stated that the lawyer tried to talk her into a settlement plan before the hearing and then she met with the judge after saying it wasn't hers and a trial date was set. She didn't file an Answer ahead of time either, also in Florida btw. I guess my question, is it a legal summons serving if it doesn't include any information about filing an Answer or am I responsible for researching and determining whether, how and when I have to file said Answer?

I really do appreciate ALL of your help.

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19 hours ago, TroubleinFL said:

am I responsible for researching and determining whether, how and when I have to file said Answer?

Yes.  You are required to know and follow all of the rules the same as any lawyer. You're not supposed to get any preferential treatment just because you don't have a lawyer. 

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Is this for a small claims court?

If so, check out:

https://www-media.floridabar.org/uploads/2017/04/small-claims.pdf

Rule 7.090 describes what to expect at a pre-trial conference. Basically, you must show up or your lawyer must have authority to enter into an agreement unless you and the other party waive the pre-conference. Filing an answer does not excuse you from showing up at the pre-conference. Unless the court requires it, there is no need to file an answer in advance. You do not deal with a judge, but one may be there to supervise. They may decide if additional discovery is necessary, including admissions, production of documents and witnesses and set a trial date. They may try mediation to reach a settlement without a trial.

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I still have not seen ( or im blind lol) Did you have an unpaid debt, as in did you know a defaulted account that was in collections?

If the above is correct they probably sent the wrong papers on accident.

On 5/15/2019 at 12:30 PM, BackFromTheDebt said:

Realize you are in Florida.  You have to decide to arbitrate or not before you answer.  If you answer you waive arbitration. 

Your choice is to either file an MTC instead of an answer OR file a general denial and hope you catch them unawares.  

Both are risky. 

The judge may just give them time to come up with the proper papers, and you lose.

As Backfromthedebt stated this is a critical time, in the time allotted, use it to formulate your plan of attack.

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19 hours ago, Harry Seaward said:

Yes.  You are required to know and follow all of the rules the same as any lawyer. You're not supposed to get any preferential treatment just because you don't have a lawyer. 

Thank you for the verification.

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13 hours ago, cjtx2 said:

Is this for a small claims court?

If so, check out:

https://www-media.floridabar.org/uploads/2017/04/small-claims.pdf

Rule 7.090 describes what to expect at a pre-trial conference. Basically, you must show up or your lawyer must have authority to enter into an agreement unless you and the other party waive the pre-conference. Filing an answer does not excuse you from showing up at the pre-conference. Unless the court requires it, there is no need to file an answer in advance. You do not deal with a judge, but one may be there to supervise. They may decide if additional discovery is necessary, including admissions, production of documents and witnesses and set a trial date. They may try mediation to reach a settlement without a trial.

It is and that is exactly what I've been looking for, thank you. When I googled, "What happens in a pretrial conference in Florida" nothing was telling that exactly.

The above is my exact situation as of right now so I'm trying to gameplan for this as well as the next steps.

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11 hours ago, MikeB35 said:

I still have not seen ( or im blind lol) Did you have an unpaid debt, as in did you know a defaulted account that was in collections?

If the above is correct they probably sent the wrong papers on accident.

As Backfromthedebt stated this is a critical time, in the time allotted, use it to formulate your plan of attack.

LOL, nope not blind. I read to be careful and to never admit or deny anything in writing in these forums because of watchful eyes.

And yes, trying to get to a plan of attack but my scrambled brain is causing me to not articulate this very well at all.

My thinking is to go to the PTC, deny and ask for a dismissal or trial. If denied a dismissal, that starts the a) Denial with a MTCD or b)MTCA.

I realize I am ignorant in lots of ways and I'm okay with being told I am dumb as long as you give me legitimate reasons so please feel free to tell me that I am going about this the wrong way and how I should be going about this. I am asking for lots of advice.

Thanks again for all of your help.

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On 5/15/2019 at 2:33 PM, Goody_Ouchless said:

Assuming a clerk stuck wrong statements in envelope, I would expect them to have the correct ones in court.

Yeah, it's a gamble, and if you lose, it's game over and the arbitration option is gone at that point. 

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I understand there may be watchful eyes, I just want to make sure to paint a correct picture.

First and foremost make sure to read up on your local court rules and procedures, thats pretty much step one. This will inform you on your timeline and proper procedures.

After you have established the above step, it may be a good idea to search other cases in the forums similar to yours. (I.e. the JDB, and state.)

Many of the community members are very knowledgeable, and extremely helpful in assistance with drafting up your answer. Keep in mind if you do post your drafts in your thread to redact any and all information pertaining to you personally or your case# etc. 

It is a nerve wrecking process, however many of the methods in defending yourself are battle tested. Just take your time, breath, and be sure to read, then read again over everything you type up.

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