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Settled but not settled?


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Hello, I would really appreciate some thoughts on a situation I am in with a debt collection/law firm who is suing me in Arizona justice court on behalf of a card issuer (original creditor). 
Some background:
The amount  claimed owed is approximately $5000 (likely correct).  I am within the statute of limitations.  I have been served recently by alternate means.  The venue is incorrect.  I am within the answer window and change of venue motion window.  There is no arbitration agreement

The main problem that I am facing right now is that I thought the matter had been settled BUT over a month after reaching a settlement agreement over the telephone with the firm's rep and making 2 of 12 agreed upon direct debit payments (full amount owed over 12 payments), I was served by the firm and they are pressing forward in justice court.  The rep that I was negotiating with told me originally that I would be mailed settlement paperwork that I needed to sign, notarize, and return.  I have spoken with the rep two times since then about not getting the paperwork.  He has my correct address, says he'll resend and that "I'm all set." but the lawsuit presses on,

I now realize I shouldn't have paid anything until getting the agreement in writing.  I think the problem is that I "settled" with the firm's debt collection arm and not their legal arm.  Apparently they don't talk whatsoever?  Or, this is a ploy to also get a judgment so they can also tack on some legal fees and extra interest?   I can't get in touch with their legal arm at all.

My plan is to file for a change of venue ASAP.  The things I'm wondering about are:

  • Is this a common tactic?
  • Should I send them a letter saying to cease all debits since the matter apparently isn't settled like I thought?
  • I don't know if I file my answer right away or if I have to wait for the judge's decision on the change of venue and then answer to the appropriate court? 
  • Should I also file a complaint with the court in my answer about them not honoring the settlement (except they're honoring the taking my payments part of the agreement just fine) 

Thank you very much for any assistance.

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If it is not in writing. it did not happen. I would however get proof that the first 2 payments had been made and bring that to court if it goes to trial.

You can also try to redo the agreement with the attorney but realize they will probably want a stipulated judgement so that if you miss a payment, they don't have to go to court again.

This is why you don't pay anything until you get the paperwork for any agreement.

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Agree with @WhoCares1000 that an agreement not in writing is no agreement.  And making payments doesn't prevent them from exercising their right to sue for the full amount.  It's crappy business model, but they are within their rights.

If you are not located within the jurisdictional boundaries of the specific JC where they filed the suit, you should file a motion to dismiss based on lack of personal jurisdiction.  They will have to pay the filing fee and costs of service again so, while it probably totals less than $200, it gives you a little bit of leverage to negotiate a settlement, but get it in writing this time.

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