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Received 1st letter from Stenger and Stenger, now what?


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Hi, I'm new here. I just received my first letter from Stenger and Stenger stating I have 30 days to validate a debt in writing. It's from an account from credit one which is now owned by LVNV in amout of $839. It appears based on my credit report that account was opened July of 2018. I have found my agreement through links provided here. I am planning to send the DV letter around the 25 day. I'm hoping just to buy time to pay it off when I get my taxes. I'm in Michigan (yes I have read the michigan board) so would Arbitation even be worth it? And what am I looking at in terms of a timeframe? Will sending a dv letter buy me enough time to end of Feburary beginning of march to hopefully have taxes back to just pay it? Thanks

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Smart of you to plan ahead. 

Yes, the DV is your first option.  These days debt collectors almost always validate. In the old days I was able to walk away from debts when they didn’t validate.  That situation is rare now, but is not impossible. 

We can’t tell you if arbitration is your best option. I am personally not familiar with the credit one arbitration agreement; whether it can be used in small claims, etc.  Others may know.  

I personally always put a clause in my DV letter that I was invoking the arbitration agreement.  Some disagree, but sometimes it worked in my favor.   

Another strategy is to negotiate a settlement.  Realize that arbitration will take some time and money.  For that small an amount it may be better for you to negotiate a settlement you can afford.  The extra money you pay above what you would pay for arbitration may or may not be worth it to you to avoid the hassles of arbitration.  

A good time to negotiate a settlement is between the time you receive validation and when they file in court.  If you send a DV letter at the end of January, they will usually respond some time in February. It is very common for people to use their tax refunds to pay settlements.  If you have to contact them before you receive your refund, make it clear that you will pay the negotiated amount as soon as you receive your refund.  

In the final analysis, you need to find a solution that works for you. 

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50 minutes ago, BackFromTheDebt said:

We can’t tell you if arbitration is your best option. I am personally not familiar with the credit one arbitration agreement; whether it can be used in small claims, etc.  Others may know.  

A Credit One Bank 2019 Agreement I found states: "Claims Not Covered: Claims (whether brought initially or by counter or cross-claim) are not subject to arbitration if they are filed by you or us in a small claims court, so long as the case remains in such court and only individual claims for relief are advanced in the case." The good news for Michigan defendants is Michigan does not allow attorney representation in small claims court unless the attorney is the plaintiff collecting on debt owed to the attorney. 

General Civil Matters

"For disputes involving amounts of $5,500 or less, the plaintiff can choose to file the case with the small claims division of the district court. The defendant can agree to have the case remain in small claims or can request the case be removed to the regular civil division. An attorney may not represent you in the small claims division."

We've had several Michigan posters sued by LVNV/Stenger who've had happy endings following the arbitration strategy using a motion to compel arb after being sued. 

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