tigerlily1

Pre-Legal Letters from Midland

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Long story short I let my ex-fiance take advantage of multiple credit cards because love makes you do stupid things. After I found out he cheated on me I left him, changed all my contacts, & ignored all my bills. It was stupid, I was depressed, but now I am being hunted.

I am living in Florida, and I am from Florida. I’ve been getting letters, some in regular mail, & some in UPS envelopes. They are from Midland & they all state that if we do not hear from you we may give give this account to an attorney. I am getting nervous because I’ve gotten notices from them from them from 2 different accounts now. One is a best buy (citibank) & the other is a double cash card (citibank).

I really need help, anyway possible, obviously removing this from my life at zero cost would be amazing but I’m going to be realistic & understand that I will need to pay up some cash. I’ve tried reading through the forum & I’m having a hard time understanding the terminology & how do address this situation in a formulaic way. I am open to any suggestions. Thank you!

Sincerely,

Sam

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Take this one step at a time.  

You are in Florida.  That puts you in a very tricky situation.  You need to do things the right way.  

If you formulate the correct strategy now, your chances of winning are much better than if you wait.   This is from someone who waited until it was too late and got socked in some situations, and was very proactive and won in others. And I did beat Citi cards on two accounts   

First step - how long ago was the first contact? Was it within the past 30 days?  If so, send a DV letter right away.  Just say “I dispute this alleged debt and demand verification”.  That’s all.  Short and simple. And send it certified mail, return receipt requested.   If it has been over 30 days, it is too late.  

Second step.  Get copies of the Citi card agreements online from the CFPB web site.  Download the agreements.  Read the arbitration clause, if any.  The questions you need to answer:

a.  Is there an arbitration clause?

b.  Is there a small claims exemption to the arbitration clause?

The Citi arbitration clause has changed since I dealt with Citi   Others may know the answer, but don’t count on everyone else. 

Third step.  Find out how much you allegedly owe on the accounts.  Find out if these would be small claims or not.  This would be important for your strategy.  

Get back to us soon for your next steps. 

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@tigerlily1 Here's the current Citibank list of branded agreements:

https://www.consumerfinance.gov/credit-cards/agreements/issuer/citibank/

Here's the archived lists. If you know approximately when the last payment was or when the account was last in good standing, you look in that year by quarter, then find the Citibank agreements in that file: 

https://www.consumerfinance.gov/credit-cards/agreements/

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@BackFromTheDebt Thank you so much for the detailed steps! I mailed both of them via certified mail today. One of them I was first contacted mid June & one of them just a couple days ago. I sent a letter to both, hoping that I’m lucky enough to dodge the 30 day rule. 

There is an arbitration section in the agreements, I’m not sure what that means & how that works. One card is a little over $1500 & the other card is a little over $2300. These numbers are principal + interest + fees. My last payments were around August, 2018. I hope this info helps.  Again I appreciate the support!

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They are required to validate the account they first notified you of recently.  The one from mid-June they don’t have to, but might.  

Here is where it gets tricky.  There is a small claims exemption for arbitration. Meaning if they sue in small claims court, which is what they normally do for amounts under $5k in Florida, you don’t get to use arbitration.  

One way around that is for you to start arbitration against them before they sue.  That gets a. It tricky. 

The agreement says you can choose arbitration, but doesn’t say how to do it   

Next question — have they done anything which could possibly violate your rights under the FDCPA or FCRA?

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18 hours ago, tigerlily1 said:

@BackFromTheDebt I read my rights from those acts & I don’t believe they’ve violated anything.

From the sound of it, doesn’t seem like there’s much I can do. 😔

Maybe there is. 

What I was thinking about was pre-emotive arbitration. You need to find some way to get this into arbitration before you are sued in small claims court.  The easiest way is if there are violations. There are other ways. 

Usually the best time to start arbitration is right before they file suit   

I would suggest sending additional letters for both accounts saying you are electing arbitration for the claim and that the claim must be handled in arbitration.  Add something to the effect that you are willing to work with them to get the matter into arbitration.  See how they react to that.  

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Has Midland been calling your cell phone?

I would order hard copies by mail of all 3 credit reports.  You can google the 800 numbers for each CRA and go through the automated phone prompts to order a copy by mail for free (decline the addition of your credit score for a charge).  Use the option of "adverse action" to get a free report.  Once you get the reports by mail, look for Midland on your reports and compare the information (dates and especially BALANCE) to the collection letters they have been sending.  It is likely that the balance will be different on your credit reports.  You can likely turn this into a violation for use in arbitration.

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@BackFromTheDebt I actually added “Pre-Arbitration Notice” at the top of my DV letters. I read that tip from another thread & it got a lot of praise so I figured I’d add it to your advice. Fisthardcheese actually mentioned something that could work so I’m going to see if the balances do match up or not. 

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19 hours ago, tigerlily1 said:

@fisthardcheese Yes, they call me everyday pretty much. I’ll order my reports ASAP. Thanks!

Next time they call, record the call.  FL is a two party consent state, but it is likely that THEY will say that the call is being recorded so that should cover you recording as well (or to be sure you can respond with "I agree" or "yes").  On the call, don't admit to owing anything, but verbally tell them you revoke consent to call your cell phone.  After this, you can hang up if you wish.

Every call they make to your cell phone after this is a definite TCPA violation and can be used for a future arbitration claim against them.  Start keeping good records of their calls.  Answer them so they appear on your phone bill.  Hang up on them without saying anything if you wish.  You just need it to register on your call records.

19 hours ago, tigerlily1 said:

 I actually added “Pre-Arbitration Notice” at the top of my DV letters.

🤣  It doesn't really mean anything (although it can show that you are asking for arbitration early if needed in court), but it's just my personal favorite response to the equally meaningless "pre-legal" language they use to scare people.

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