Helplessly Lost Posted March 20, 2021 Report Share Posted March 20, 2021 I've been reading this forum for a couple of years now, but this is actually my first post. To give some background: I got sick and ended up in the hospital a few years ago, at which point, I racked up tens of thousands in medical expenses over the period of about a year, and which eventually caused me to default on a bunch of credit cards, some of which have already sued. So, at this point, I have already been through several debt collections with both an OC (one) and JDBs (two). In the case of the previous OC, it was the first time I had been sued by a collector and through my research, that is how I initially found this forum and all the great information here. And although I made some mistakes on the first OC case, I was able to settle for a lower figure than their initial offer, so it probably worked out ok for me, but I feel like I could have gotten a better settlement, especially after learning so much more in the two subsequent cases against the JDBs, on which I had the help of an attorney to assist me. My current case: Late last year I'd received 3 initial collection notices from a law firm (not a JDB…and out of state, but mentioned on this board in the past) rep'ing a large bank (that removed arbitration from their CC agreement in 2009), which were all for CC accounts that I had previously had for about 15 years. And I should also say that there is a lot more going in the past with these accounts too, and without getting into everything, there were at least two unresolved disputes from several years prior to all of this starting, and one of the cards was closed when it wasn’t even in default. I hadn’t even missed a payment on it, but I guess that’s their policy when other accounts default – at least, that’s what I was told. Their agreement says they can “close any account at any time for any reason” and because I had defaulted on two other accounts, they said they closed all three (without even telling me first)! Seems like that really ought to be illegal, but should be unenforceable in court at the minimum to make a blanket statement like that, especially when it couldn’t possibly be true for all instances. But regardless of that point, there is a big history here, which I feel makes their case even tougher, especially considering the outstanding disputes and letters I wrote that they never responded to. So I sent a dispute letter for each initial collection notice within the 30 day FDCPA requirement (USPS Signature Guarantee, so there are no questions on the timing). They sent me "validation" in the form of several month’s worth of statements (many of which were never actually even mailed to me…I guess they were created after the account was closed, judging by the dates??), a page outlining some basic information, and a copy of the CC agreement. I should note that the validation package was sent AFTER the 5 day dispute response period (per the FDCPA), but it was close, so they might be able to make the argument that they were “close enough,” but at least it’s a valid cross-claim for me to start with. And then I didn't hear anything else until a couple of weeks ago, when I received three summons’. So the summons’ were pretty thin…didn’t even mention account numbers, no affidavit citing knowledge of the debt, no items of evidence attached, or anything like that. So I called the law firm and spoke to the lawyer on the case. Without saying really anything, other than explaining I had received the summons’, I told them "I still dispute these accounts" and they immediately started going into how they could settle for about 80% of the amount (they gave me a dollar figure), paid monthly over several years. I honestly believe that the amounts owed on the accounts really should be about half of the figures in the summons, so to take that settlement seems insane to me…but it also seems like the easiest out here and I’m soooo tired of fighting these collectors after dealing with this for years now, so it’s tempting! Which brings me to my next point… So now I'm trying to figure out the best way to resolve this case as fast and as cheaply for me as possible (obviously). The pandemic has made my financial situation even worse over the past year (I’m sure you all know the feeling) and we’re seriously struggling just to make monthly expenses, I can't afford to hire a lawyer to defend me here, or if it even makes sense from a financial standpoint… especially if I can negotiate a better settlement myself or make them go away, even if it’s just temporarily. But going with the settlement and taking on additional monthly payments also seems impossible. So I’m trying to figure out my best strategy for approaching these cases and I thought you all might have some pointers, because this one is much more complex than the previous cases I've had to deal with. My questions are: 1. Just to be clear: The Arbitration Strategy will NOT work in this case, because it’s not part of their CC agreement anymore – is that correct? This board has mentioned that Arbitration was removed from unnamed big bank’s CC agreement in 2009 (I think many of you will know which bank in America I’m talking about), and when I checked the agreement, I didn’t see Arbitration in there at all. So Arbitration will not work here – is that correct? 2. Assuming Arbitration seems to be out, should I first file a motion to consolidate these case? Or should I just file my Answer with counterclaims and cross-claims? Or should I file both together? I feel like consolidating all three into one case would help my case, because it (1) increases my chances of getting this moved to district court if my claims are high enough (which would be part of my strategy here, so that I can get full discovery), and (2) would probably help make it a lot simpler to explain the whole story to a Judge (and it’s a long story) if it really did come down to making arguments in court, and (3) cut down on my out-of-pocket expenses. So I feel like I should first file a motion to consolidate for each summons' without the answer - is that correct? 3. Or should I first try a motion to dismiss for each case (since the summons’ didn’t technically cite, or otherwise provide, any real evidence and no affidavit)? I know a motion to dismiss on each case would slow things down here and I could do that without filing my answer, but it seems like they could just respond by sending on copies of statements, so not sure if that would be helpful and not sure if I have grounds to get the dismissal approved or if I’m just wasting the court’s time. 4. Do I have any legit counterclaims against unnamed big bank? Possible FRCA or FTC violations perhaps? (I ordered my credit report when I got the summons'...but still waiting on it.) Does anyone know of a list of common violations that unnamed big bank often violates? Or other things I should look for when dealing with unnamed big bank? 5. Or is there something else I should do in this situation? Like just take the settlement and pray I’m able to pay it off? Any advice that someone experienced with these kinds of cases could provide would be extremely helpful! And THANK YOU in advance, and for all the knowledge this board has provided in the past! Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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