Raybert

Being sued in Michigan for credt card debt, Need help

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Hey All! Seriously need help! So stressful with this situation on top of having one lung (hot weather is tough!) and a 93 year old father with dementia that I advocate for - he just got out of the hospital yesterday, after being there for two weeks for emergency surgery.
I have to answer the pretrial statement by Monday.  I have been reading about a motion to dismiss, but with Covid, everything is short staffed at the courts.  The courts told me not to do a motion to dismiss.
 
Is anyone familiar with FIFTH THIRD, Jefferson Capital Systems, Trak America and/or Stillman Law Offices?
 
Years ago I had a credit card with FIFTH THIRD BANK. I kept in close communication with FIFTH THIRD during difficult times. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I had no choice but to default.
I called Fifth Third Collections - they said they cannot settle anymore; my account went to Jefferson Capital Systems.
I called Jefferson Capital Systems, they said my account went to Trak America.
I am not sure who owns my debt at this time. I have court scheduled for July 2, and have to submit a Pretrial Statement 10 days before court.  Need to drop off at court Monday, June 22, 2020 and mail to the Plaintiff.
 
* I received a letter from Stillman Law Office, LLC  last night, Friday, 6/19/2020, after the offices are closed until Monday.  Letter says "Our firm is interested in speaking with you so that we may discus you in resolving your account."   It states, "This communication is from a debt collector.  This is an attempt to collect a debt and any information obtained will be used for that purpose."
 
**** I AM EXTREMELY UNCOMFORTABLE WITH STILLMAN LAW OFFICES ****
 
ORDER OF EVENTS:
Had a credit card with Fifth Third. After life crisis events (cancer, had right lung removed, abuse from husband with a son with special needs (mentally 2-4 years old) who has medical issues, had to leave with three children, daughter with epilepsy, let marriage home foreclose,...) I fell behind. I explained this to Fifth Third. The minimum I had to pay was too much. Credit limit was $10,000. My balance was $8126.32 when I defaulted. They continuously offered amounts to settle. The final offer was just over $1,500.
I communicated with Fifth Third that I wanted to pay this offer but could not. There was nothing I could do.
 
TIMELINE:
6/2/2014 - My last payment posted to the account
Fall 2018 - I received a notice from Jefferson Capital Systems stating I owe $8971.87. I sent the the notice back stating I needed more details/information. My balance was $8126.32 when I defaulted.
6/24/2019 - I received notification from Stillman Law Offices stating they are a debt collector re: Jefferson Capital Systems.
7/16/2019 - I sent a certified letter stating:
This letter is sent in response to a letter received by you on June 24, 2019. I am requesting that you provide verification of this debt.
Send the following information:
The name and address of the original creditor, the account number, and the amount owed.
Verification that there is a valid basis for claiming I am required to pay the current amount owed.
Details about the age and amount of the debt including a copy of the last billing statement from the original creditor; a detailed explanation of any interest added or payments made since the last billing statement and the legal authorization for this interest; the date the original creditor claims this debt became delinquent.
Whether this debt is within the statute of limitations and how that was determined.
Details about your authority to collect this debt: whether you are licensed in my state, and if so, provide the date of the license, name on the license, license number, and the license number, and the name, address and telephone number of the state agency issuing the license.
I need more details about what you claim I owe so that I can make an informed decision.
9/9/2019 - I received a cover letter with a copy of a Bill of Sale between FIFTH THIRD and Jefferson Capital (The Bill of Sale said “see file attached” with nothing attached), and some copies of statements. I did not respond since they did not answer my many inquiries - I thought it was over.
 
Then, on March 17, 2020 (lockdown now in effect) - I received a summons that had very few papers included. The paperwork stated that I was avoiding them (not true). The paperwork said “see attached affidavit,” only thing included is an excel spreadsheet.
I then looked more closely at the statements Stillman sent to me 9/9/19. He sent a year of statements excluding one month, and duplicates of two pages. Forty-Six pages as follows:
  1. Cover letter - “This communication is from a debt collector”
  2. Copy of Bill of Sale (says “to those Accounts identified in the File attached…) nothing attached
  3. Page 1 Statement dated November 18 to December 28, 2014
  4. Page 2 Boilerplate
  5. Page 3 dated October 18 to November 17, 2014 (Note date different from #3, same as #9)
  6. Page 4 dated October 18 to November 17, 2014 (Note date different from #3, same as #10)
  7. Page 1 Statement dated October 18 to November 17, 2014
  8. Page 2 Boilerplate
  9. Page 3 dated October 18 to November 17, 2014 (See #5)
  10. Page 4 dated October 18 to November 17, 2014 (See #6)
  11. Page 1 Statement dated September 18 to October 17, 2014
  12. Page 2 Boilerplate
  13. Page 3 dated September 18 to October 17, 2014
  14. Page 4 Header only dated September 18 to October 17, 2014 - Blank
  15. Page 1 Statement dated August 18 to September 17, 2014
  16. Page 2 Boilerplate
  17. Page 3 dated August 18 to September 17, 2014
  18. Page 4 Header only dated August 18 to September 17, 2014 - Blank
  19. Page 1 Statement dated July 18 to August 17, 2014
  20. Page 2 Boilerplate
  21. Page 3 dated July 18 to August 17, 2014
  22. Page 4 Header only dated July 18 to August 17, 2014 - Blank
  23. Page 1 Statement dated June 18 to July 17, 2014
  24. Page 2 Boilerplate
  25. Page 3 dated June 18 to July 17, 2014
  26. Page 4 Header only dated June 18 to July 17, 2014 - Blank
*****NOTE DATES ***** MONTH MISSING *****
27) Page 1 Statement dated April 18 to May 17, 2014
28) Page 2 Boilerplate
29) Page 3 dated April 18 to May 17, 2014
30) Page 4 Header only dated April 18 to May 17, 2014 - Blank
31) Page 1 Statement dated March 18 to April 17, 2014
32) Page 2 Boilerplate
33) Page 3 dated March 18 to April 17, 2014
34) Page 4 Header only dated March 18 to April 17, 2014 - Blank
35) Page 1 Statement dated February 18, 2014 to March 17, 2014
36) Page 2 Boilerplate
37) Page 3 dated February 18, 2014 to March 17, 2014
38) Page 4 Header only dated February 18, 2014 to March 17, 2014 - Blank
39) Page 1 Statement dated January 18 to February 17, 2014
40) Page 2 Boilerplate
41) Page 3 dated January 18 to February 17, 2014
42) Page 4 Header only dated January 18 to February 17, 2014 - Blank
43) Page 1 Statement dated December 18, 2013 to January 17, 2014
44) Page 2 Boilerplate
45) Page 3 dated December 18, 2013 to January 17, 2014
46) Page 4 Header only dated December 18, 2013 to January 17, 2014 - Blank
 
***** TAKE NOTE: ALL ACCOUNT NUMBERS ON PAGE 1 of STATEMENTS listed above, ARE BLACKED OUT WITH A HEAVY BLACK MARKER (as opposed to the paperwork sent to court, which are blacked out neatly and professionally with black tape)
 
PAPERWORK STILLMAN SENT INCLUDING SUMMONS, 17 pages as follows:
  1. Order Regarding Alternate Service
  2. Second Summons
  3. Motion for Second Summons and Order; States “See Attached Affidavit”
**No Affidavit attached
     4. Summons
     5. Copy of Complaint
     6. Page 1 Statement dated November 18-December 28, 2014
     7. Page 2 Boilerplate
     8. Page 3 Statement dated November 18-December 28, 2014 shows “clearing offset”
and “client service fees”
**Please see #3, #4, #5 and #6 of the 46 pages he sent to me.
    9. Page 4 Statement dated November 18-December 28, 2014 - Blank
  10.  Page 1 Statement dated May 18 to June 17, 2014
**Missing statement in the 46 pages above - last month I made a payment
  11. Page 2 Boilerplate
  12. Page 3 Statement dated May 18 to June 17, 2014
  13. Page 4 Statement dated May 18 to June 17, 2014 - Blank
  14. Copy of Bill of Sale (says “to those Accounts identified in the File attached…)”
  15. Excel spreadsheet p. 1 of 3, titled “Excerpt from Sale File Assigned to Jefferson Capital Systems, LLC Pursuant to the bill of sale dated 9/7/2018
**Shows 23 redacted lines. One line with my name, ss#, acct #, Seller acct#, date act opened
  16. Excel spreadsheet p. 2 of 3, titled “Excerpt from Sale File Assigned to Jefferson Capital Systems, LLC Pursuant to the bill of sale dated 9/7/2018
**Shows 23 redacted lines. One line with charge off date, charge off amount, purchase balance, last payment date, last payment amount
  17. Excel spreadsheet p. 3 of 3, titled “Excerpt from Sale File Assigned to Jefferson Capital Systems, LLC Pursuant to the bill of sale dated 9/7/2018
**Shows 23 redacted lines. One line with Original creditor
 
The papers included by Stillman were the papers missing in what they sent me. Also, no mention of attorney in paperwork sent to me, just “Stillman Law Offices.”
Attorney name, Stuart Lebenbom, is listed on summons in court papers.  He is one of the partners. I called his office and was told Jefferson Capital has a very large volume of debtors and that a staff attorney will be handling my account.
 
ON PAPERWORK TO ME: Stillman appears to be a debt collector.
ON PAPERWORK WITH THE COURT: Stillman appears to be representing Jefferson Capital
 
I am a single mom on a very low budget... Had kids later, and was forced to retire early to be with them. Child support also just got cut in half... very small pension.
HELP!!
** Have paperwork to share, not sure how to attach here

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1 hour ago, Raybert said:
Send the following information:
The name and address of the original creditor, the account number, and the amount owed.
Verification that there is a valid basis for claiming I am required to pay the current amount owed.
Details about the age and amount of the debt including a copy of the last billing statement from the original creditor; a detailed explanation of any interest added or payments made since the last billing statement and the legal authorization for this interest; the date the original creditor claims this debt became delinquent.
Whether this debt is within the statute of limitations and how that was determined.
Details about your authority to collect this debt: whether you are licensed in my state, and if so, provide the date of the license, name on the license, license number, and the license number, and the name, address and telephone number of the state agency issuing the license.
I need more details about what you claim I owe so that I can make an informed decision.
9/9/2019 - I received a cover letter with a copy of a Bill of Sale between FIFTH THIRD and Jefferson Capital (The Bill of Sale said “see file attached” with nothing attached), and some copies of statements. 

The ONLY thing they were required to do was respond to the bolded text with the name of the OC and amount owed.  Not even the account number was required.

NONE of the italicized test was required to validate and clearly indicates you used a cut and paste letter from the internet.  Under FDCPA they were free to ignore the requests and continue collections or as in your case file suit.

If they sent copies of statements and the bill of sale they did way more than they were required to.

1 hour ago, Raybert said:

I did not respond since they did not answer my many inquiries - I thought it was over.

It didn't require a response from you because once they did respond with what you did receive they were free to proceed regardless.  As you are now aware it isn't over.

1 hour ago, Raybert said:
ON PAPERWORK TO ME: Stillman appears to be a debt collector.
ON PAPERWORK WITH THE COURT: Stillman appears to be representing Jefferson Capital

They can be both and in your case probably are.

1 hour ago, Raybert said:

I am a single mom on a very low budget... Had kids later, and was forced to retire early to be with them. Child support also just got cut in half... very small pension.

I would start by checking with a consumer attorney.  The pension may be safe from bank levy but I am not so sure about child support. If you determine that your funds are safe from bank levy then your action would be different.  Regardless you MUST answer the suit before the deadline in order to prevent a default judgment.

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@Raybert

For future reference, in the 6th Circuit where you are located, more than the name of the OC and amount owed was required to validate the debt.  

The 6th Circuit Courtappeals has ruled that the "baseline" for verification is to enable the consumer to "sufficiently dispute the payment obligation."  See Haddad v. Alexander, Zelmanski, Danner & Fioritto, PLLC, 758 F.3d 777, 785 (6th Cir. 2014).  To provide only the name of the OC, amount owed, and no account number would not enable a consumer to sufficiently dispute a debt. 

However, the billing statements provided to you did give you enough information to sufficiently dispute the obligation. 

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