Jump to content

Merrill Lynch Visa Signature - Arbitration rights/Collection Law Firm


Recommended Posts

I received a letter from a New York Debt Collection Law Firm ("DCLF") regarding a Bank of America balance outstanding. They seem to be a collections law firm that I think represents a junk debt buyer. I  I never had a credit card or borrowings from Bank of America name or entity.. I have a Merrill Lynch VIsa prior to the global financial crisis. Merrill was acquired by Bank of America. I called Merrill after trying to work with them as COVID was tough but they said my account was in collections. 

1) I been reading on why NOT to send Debt verification letter to the debt collector.  https://www.avoidbk.com/ hosted by Jared Strauss seems to advocate this strategy.   

2) I read up on Peter Holland's advice on how to deal with debt collectors lawsuit, https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2079155.

And 3)  I been reading about arbitration strategy from "fisthardchees", who is great!

So I am wondering if anyone had advice or thoughts on the "3" items above.

Should I wait to get sued or served? Is arbitration worth it or a possibility in this situation?  I am also worried about such costs. And How do I find my Merrill credit card agreement and if it has arbitration clause in it?

Thank you everyone for your time and thoughts. Stay healthy & positive.

Rex

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 minutes ago, Rexedwardsmooney said:

I received a letter from a New York Debt Collection Law Firm ("DCLF") regarding a Bank of America balance outstanding. They seem to be a collections law firm that I think represents a junk debt buyer. I  I never had a credit card or borrowings from Bank of America name or entity.. I have a Merrill Lynch VIsa prior to the global financial crisis. Merrill was acquired by Bank of America. I called Merrill after trying to work with them as COVID was tough but they said my account was in collections. 

1) I been reading on why NOT to send Debt verification letter to the debt collector.  https://www.avoidbk.com/ hosted by Jared Strauss seems to advocate this strategy.   

2) I read up on Peter Holland's advice on how to deal with debt collectors lawsuit, https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2079155.

And 3)  I been reading about arbitration strategy from "fisthardchees", who is great!

So I am wondering if anyone had advice or thoughts on the "3" items above.

Should I wait to get sued or served? Is arbitration worth it or a possibility in this situation?  I am also worried about such costs. And How do I find my Merrill credit card agreement and if it has arbitration clause in it?

Thank you everyone for your time and thoughts. Stay healthy & positive.

Rex

To determine whether or not the account has been sold, check your credit report.  If B of A shows a balance owed, then the bank still owns the account.  If it shows a $0 balance, the account has been sold to a debt buyer.

When did the account go into default?

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You seem to have misinterpreted the article about not sending DV letters.  
 

That is referring to cleaning up your credit reports.  It does NOT refer to warding off debt collectors.  
 

In fact, the article clearly states that debt collectors often do not verify the debt.  
 

This is simple.  If you send a DV letter and they don’t validate, they cannot collect.  Simple as that. 
 

For my personal experience over a decade ago, I spent years playing whack-a-mole with debt collectors for BOA.  Two accounts almost $70k total. A CA would send a collection letter, I would send a DV CMRRR.  I would never hear from them again.  Then I would get a letter on the other account.  DV, no reply.  A few months later a different CA, DV, no reply.  This went on for years.  I never paid a penny.  
 

For a debt collection law firm, I would send the following. Omit the last sentence if there is no arbitration provision in the agreement. 
 

Dear Debt Collectors,

I dispute this debt.  I demand validation. 
 

I hereby elect arbitration for all matters concerning this account. 
 

Yours,

OP

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, BV80 said:

To determine whether or not the account has been sold, check your credit report.  If B of A shows a balance owed, then the bank still owns the account.  If it shows a $0 balance, the account has been sold to a debt buyer.

When did the account go into default?

 

 

Hi BV80, I just went to equifax and AMEX (transunion) and the balance of $42,000 is still on B of A. Hence, it is not under the NY Debt collection firm, Rubin & Rothman ("R&R"). 

How did R&R get my detailed personal info?  Kind of scary that my address and financial information is easily attainable and that R&R can send me a letter claiming if I don't respond the debt will be valid? What do I do? And my credit is now shot.....

However, on the credit reports it shows that I have a collections of slightly under $8K with a firm called Cavalry.  ????? I don't even know what this is.

I am trying to study all the great comments on this website, but its a bit overwhelming.  Thank you in advance for any repititve answers that might be present.

Thank you for your thoughts and time.

R-

Link to comment
Share on other sites

26 minutes ago, BackFromTheDebt said:

You seem to have misinterpreted the article about not sending DV letters.  
 

That is referring to cleaning up your credit reports.  It does NOT refer to warding off debt collectors.  
 

In fact, the article clearly states that debt collectors often do not verify the debt.  
 

This is simple.  If you send a DV letter and they don’t validate, they cannot collect.  Simple as that. 
 

For my personal experience over a decade ago, I spent years playing whack-a-mole with debt collectors for BOA.  Two accounts almost $70k total. A CA would send a collection letter, I would send a DV CMRRR.  I would never hear from them again.  Then I would get a letter on the other account.  DV, no reply.  A few months later a different CA, DV, no reply.  This went on for years.  I never paid a penny.  
 

For a debt collection law firm, I would send the following. Omit the last sentence if there is no arbitration provision in the agreement. 
 

Dear Debt Collectors,

I dispute this debt.  I demand validation. 
 

I hereby elect arbitration for all matters concerning this account. 
 

Yours,

OP

Hi OP,

Thank you. I would think that a DV would bring attention to an account and tip the debt collector into action?????

May be this is a dumb question, but wouldn't the debt collector be able to verify the debt? I just noticed, thanks to BV80, that the debt is actually still at BOA and not the debt collector. But when I log into Merill to access my credit card, I can't get in...So I presume Merrill/BOA wrote me off their website access, it may of been sold to a third party?

May I ask What happened to your credit? My credit got crushed.

And I noticed I now have a collections under Cavlry as mentioned. Thanks for listening to novice thoughts.

Warmly,

R-

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 minutes ago, Rexedwardsmooney said:

Hi BV80, I just went to equifax and AMEX (transunion) and the balance of $42,000 is still on B of A. Hence, it is not under the NY Debt collection firm, Rubin & Rothman ("R&R"). 

How did R&R get my detailed personal info?  Kind of scary that my address and financial information is easily attainable and that R&R can send me a letter claiming if I don't respond the debt will be valid? What do I do? And my credit is now shot.....

However, on the credit reports it shows that I have a collections of slightly under $8K with a firm called Cavalry.  ????? I don't even know what this is.

I am trying to study all the great comments on this website, but its a bit overwhelming.  Thank you in advance for any repititve answers that might be present.

Thank you for your thoughts and time.

R-

Apparently, R&R has been hired by B of A to collect the debt.  That’s how it got your information.

Since Merrill turned the account over to a debt collector, it may prefer you deal with the collector.  

The letter should state that if you don’t dispute, they can “assume” it to be valid.  It does not mean it becomes valid.  Failing to dispute has nothing to do with the validity of the debt.

Cavalry is a debt collector and debt buyer.  Do you have any other defaulted accounts?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, BV80 said:

Apparently, R&R has been hired by B of A to collect the debt.  That’s how it got your information.

Since Merrill turned the account over to a debt collector, it may prefer you deal with the collector.  

The letter should state that if you don’t dispute, they can “assume” it to be valid.  It does not mean it becomes valid.  Failing to dispute has nothing to do with the validity of the debt.

Cavalry is a debt collector and debt buyer.  Do you have any other defaulted accounts?

Hi BV80 - I have 2 credit cards and one that I now recall, my ex used ad left me during COVID. Merrill/BOA, AMEX and Cavalry (looks like Capital One).   Only Merrill/BOA and Cavalry are default per my credit report. I dont have other liabilities yet - but I have a pinched nerve and knee problems which has amounted to medical bills over the last couple of years that I am worrying about.

What should I do about the R&R letter/collector? I can't afford the $40K w current and upcoming medical bills. What scenarios should I be thinking about? And how do I handle the Cavarly? --- do I wait to get sued by them and go arbitrary route?

Thank you!

R-

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 minutes ago, Rexedwardsmooney said:

Hi BV80 - I have 2 credit cards and one that I now recall, my ex used ad left me during COVID. Merrill/BOA, AMEX and Cavalry (looks like Capital One).   Only Merrill/BOA and Cavalry are default per my credit report. I dont have other liabilities yet - but I have a pinched nerve and knee problems which has amounted to medical bills over the last couple of years that I am worrying about.

What should I do about the R&R letter/collector? I can't afford the $40K w current and upcoming medical bills. What scenarios should I be thinking about? And how do I handle the Cavarly? --- do I wait to get sued by them and go arbitrary route?

Thank you!

R-

 

 

You could send a debt validation letter to R&R, but be sure to do it within the 30-day timeline referenced in the collection letter.  That way, they can’t do anything else until they validate.

You really can’t do anything about Cavalry until they make a move.

Considering the ML debt is $40k, would bankruptcy be a possibility?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

36 minutes ago, BV80 said:

You could send a debt validation letter to R&R, but be sure to do it within the 30-day timeline referenced in the collection letter.  That way, they can’t do anything else until they validate.

You really can’t do anything about Cavalry until they make a move.

Considering the ML debt is $40k, would bankruptcy be a possibility?

ML Debt of $40K - I would prefer to avoid bankruptcy. When will  or will R&R initiate a lawsuit? Or will Merrill/BOA try to sell their debt to a junk debt buyer?

I been simultanaously reading this website and looking for old documents. I am assuming R&R will sue or take me to court.  I found this clause within Merrill agreement. Would this be something to consider interms of a long term strategy? Whats a predispute arbitration clause? Dumb question, is arbitration a strategy for way down the road? Sorry for all these questions, I am trying to think of all the scenarios.. Its amazing how much the stress goes to your shoulders.. Thank you!

AGREEMENT TO ARBITRATE CONTROVERSIES

Tis Agreement contains a predispute arbitration clause. By signing an arbitration agreement the parties agree as follows:

• All parties to this Agreement are giving up the right to sue eacho ther in court, including the right to a trial by jury, except as

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you are already dealing with a law firm, that is a clear threat to sue. 
 

Sometimes the DV letter I recommended will stop a law suit.  At worst it will delay a law suit by a few weeks.  Sometimes they will make a stupid mistake.  
 

If you don’t send the DV letter, you will get sued.  And you will probably lose.  
 

The letter I suggested buys you some time.  A few days or a few weeks, sometimes a few months or years.  Occasionally they give up.  But you have the time to work out your strategy.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, BackFromTheDebt said:

If you are already dealing with a law firm, that is a clear threat to sue. 
 

Sometimes the DV letter I recommended will stop a law suit.  At worst it will delay a law suit by a few weeks.  Sometimes they will make a stupid mistake.  
 

If you don’t send the DV letter, you will get sued.  And you will probably lose.  
 

The letter I suggested buys you some time.  A few days or a few weeks, sometimes a few months or years.  Occasionally they give up.  But you have the time to work out your strategy.  

The collecting law firm, New York Based, R&R, stated in their letter that no attorney is with this firm has personally reviewed the particular circumstances of your account. And there is an assistant collections manager in addition to forwarding instructions for payment.  

I apologize, I am confused - if i don't send a DV letter, I will get sued and lose. How would I lose? May I inquire about arbitration? Or is arbitration with a collecting law firm impossible?

Again, thanks for the time and perspective.  A few wrinkles in life have really brought a thunderstorm on me. And now I am trying to read as much as possible as I can't afford an attorney

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Rexedwardsmooney said:

ML Debt of $40K - I would prefer to avoid bankruptcy. When will  or will R&R initiate a lawsuit? Or will Merrill/BOA try to sell their debt to a junk debt buyer?

I been simultanaously reading this website and looking for old documents. I am assuming R&R will sue or take me to court.  I found this clause within Merrill agreement. Would this be something to consider interms of a long term strategy? Whats a predispute arbitration clause? Dumb question, is arbitration a strategy for way down the road? Sorry for all these questions, I am trying to think of all the scenarios.. Its amazing how much the stress goes to your shoulders.. Thank you!

AGREEMENT TO ARBITRATE CONTROVERSIES

Tis Agreement contains a predispute arbitration clause. By signing an arbitration agreement the parties agree as follows:

• All parties to this Agreement are giving up the right to sue eacho ther in court, including the right to a trial by jury, except as

That looks like a mandatory arbitration agreement meaning court is not an option.  How old is that agreement?  Did you sign an arbitration agreement? 

 

24 minutes ago, Rexedwardsmooney said:

Or is arbitration with a collecting law firm impossible?

Arbitration would not be with the law firm.  The law firm merely represents a client in court.  Arbitration would be with the plaintiff that is represented by the law firm.

Does your agreement state who issued the credit card?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The information given isn’t really sufficient to answer all your questions. 
 

You never mentioned your state.  If it is not NY your situation is very different. 
 

I can advise you to send the DV letter I suggested.  That is always good advice.  
 

When your situation is clearer maybe I can give some other advice.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, BV80 said:

That looks like a mandatory arbitration agreement meaning court is not an option.  How old is that agreement?  Did you sign an arbitration agreement? 

 

Arbitration would not be with the law firm.  The law firm merely represents a client in court.  Arbitration would be with the plaintiff that is represented by the law firm.

Does your agreement state who issued the credit card?

How old is that agreement?  Did you sign an arbitration agreement?  -- It is a Client Services agreement ("CSA") is from when I received the Merrill Visa Card in or around 2005.

Does your agreement state who issued the credit card? The CSA is with Merrill Lynch.

I am looking for the actual Merrill Visa Signature terms and conditions, but can not locate it. Since I had the card pre financial crisis (2008), it may be lost.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, BackFromTheDebt said:

The information given isn’t really sufficient to answer all your questions. 
 

You never mentioned your state.  If it is not NY your situation is very different. 
 

I can advise you to send the DV letter I suggested.  That is always good advice.  
 

When your situation is clearer maybe I can give some other advice.  

You never mentioned your state.  If it is not NY your situation is very different. 

The state is in NY. Are there issues with being in NY that I should research?

The information given isn’t really sufficient to answer all your questions.

What information should I be looking for? 

ANother dumb question, aren't these situations or when the collection is now with a law firm like Rubin&Rothman (Newyork) is involved, very similar or repetitive in process and nature?

Thank you and enjoy the day!

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Rexedwardsmooney said:

How old is that agreement?  Did you sign an arbitration agreement?  -- It is a Client Services agreement ("CSA") is from when I received the Merrill Visa Card in or around 2005.

Does your agreement state who issued the credit card? The CSA is with Merrill Lynch.

I am looking for the actual Merrill Visa Signature terms and conditions, but can not locate it. Since I had the card pre financial crisis (2008), it may be lost.

In another post, you cited language from an ML arbitration provision (predispute arbitration).  Where did you find it?  Could you please provide the link?

From what I can tell, B of A acquired ML around 2009.  Since you continued to use the card after that date, B of A’s terms and conditions would apply.  Is this your credit card?

https://card.ml.com/RWDapp/ns/home?mc=ml

If so, notice it says it is issued by B of A.  Was the card for personal or business use?  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, BackFromTheDebt said:

If you don’t send the DV letter, you will get sued.

That is not a given.  Failing to send a DV is not a guarantee of a lawsuit any more than Jared Strauss’s claim that sending a DV will make a lawsuit more likely.

If they are going to sue, they are going to sue.  A DV or the lack of one makes no difference.  The advantage to a DV is that it might buy some time.  However, the amount of time it might delay a lawsuit is unknown.  I have doubts that it will prevent a lawsuit due to the amount of this particular debt.

Also, we need to find out if this is a personal or business credit card.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, BV80 said:

That is not a given.  Failing to send a DV is not a guarantee of a lawsuit any more than Jared Strauss’s claim that sending a DV will make a lawsuit more likely.

If they are going to sue, they are going to sue.  A DV or the lack of one makes no difference.  The advantage to a DV is that it might buy some time.  However, the amount of time it might delay a lawsuit is unknown.  I have doubts that it will prevent a lawsuit due to the amount of this particular debt.

Also, we need to find out if this is a personal or business credit card.

 

Also, we need to find out if this is a personal or business credit card.

This is a personal credit card that I used for business as well. Startup didn't raise funding and everything was halted as of last year.

 Is there a difference in strategy or how I should conduct my research given its a personal card with $40K outstanding? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, BV80 said:

In another post, you cited language from an ML arbitration provision (predispute arbitration).  Where did you find it?  Could you please provide the link?

From what I can tell, B of A acquired ML around 2009.  Since you continued to use the card after that date, B of A’s terms and conditions would apply.  Is this your credit card?

https://card.ml.com/RWDapp/ns/home?mc=ml

If so, notice it says it is issued by B of A.  Was the card for personal or business use?  

1) In another post, you cited language from an ML arbitration provision (predispute arbitration).  Where did you find it?  Could you please provide the link?

Its not a link. I have a hard copy of the ML services agreement. 

2) Is this your credit card? https://card.ml.com/RWDapp/ns/home?mc=ml

Yes, I have this personal Merrill Signature VIsa card. I have had it since 2005. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, BV80 said:

That is not a given.  Failing to send a DV is not a guarantee of a lawsuit any more than Jared Strauss’s claim that sending a DV will make a lawsuit more likely.

If they are going to sue, they are going to sue.  A DV or the lack of one makes no difference.  The advantage to a DV is that it might buy some time.  However, the amount of time it might delay a lawsuit is unknown.  I have doubts that it will prevent a lawsuit due to the amount of this particular debt.

 

True, I made some assumptions with incomplete information.  
 

Occasionally a DV halts a suit. 
Occasionally bringing up arbitration gets a law firm to return a case.  
 

Usually a DV buys some time. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, Rexedwardsmooney said:

1) In another post, you cited language from an ML arbitration provision (predispute arbitration).  Where did you find it?  Could you please provide the link?

Its not a link. I have a hard copy of the ML services agreement. 

2) Is this your credit card? https://card.ml.com/RWDapp/ns/home?mc=ml

Yes, I have this personal Merrill Signature VIsa card. I have had it since 2005. 

Well, B of A removed arbitration from its agreements in 2008 or 2009.  The only way you could try to get a court to compel arbitration is if you have a ML agreement for your card that was in effect before B of A purchased ML.  That agreement must also contain a survivability clause that states the arbitration provision survives closures, changes to the agreement, etc.  

I suppose you could contact ML to find out if they have copies of agreements for 2005 to the year B of A acquired ML.  

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, BV80 said:

Well, B of A removed arbitration from its agreements in 2008 or 2009.  The only way you could try to get a court to compel arbitration is if you have a ML agreement for your card that was in effect before B of A purchased ML.  That agreement must also contain a survivability clause that states the arbitration provision survives closures, changes to the agreement, etc.  

I suppose you could contact ML to find out if they have copies of agreements for 2005 to the year B of A acquired ML.  

I suppose you could contact ML to find out if they have copies of agreements for 2005 to the year B of A acquired ML.  

I tried getting my agreement from ML and going online. My online is no longer valid. I just spoke with them (ML) and they said, my account was charged off and went to collections with ARSI and now the law firm Rubin & Rothman. What was interesting was when I called Bank of America, they transfered me to a Merrill division. I was never a Bank of america client, I was a merrill and a client beyond using their credit card. I use to use their brokerage but stopped and kept their credit card.  Would the credit card be subject to the clause below?

SOrry of this is repetitive or coming in pieces, but this is all so new to me. I am just so dazed and confused.

May I ask is it worth it to call the collecting law firm Rubin&Rothman? Or is this wrong? If it wasn't for COVID, our startup probably would not of failed and I would not be behind in payments. Is a payment plan worth it or negotiate a percentage of the $40K? I can borrow from my family, I think.  Or just wait and get sued? 

THanks again!

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 minutes ago, Rexedwardsmooney said:

I suppose you could contact ML to find out if they have copies of agreements for 2005 to the year B of A acquired ML.  

I tried getting my agreement from ML and going online. My online is no longer valid. I just spoke with them (ML) and they said, my account was charged off and went to collections with ARSI and now the law firm Rubin & Rothman. What was interesting was when I called Bank of America, they transfered me to a Merrill division. I was never a Bank of america client, I was a merrill and a client beyond using their credit card. I use to use their brokerage but stopped and kept their credit card.  Would the credit card be subject to the clause below?

SOrry of this is repetitive or coming in pieces, but this is all so new to me. I am just so dazed and confused.

May I ask is it worth it to call the collecting law firm Rubin&Rothman? Or is this wrong? If it wasn't for COVID, our startup probably would not of failed and I would not be behind in payments. Is a payment plan worth it or negotiate a percentage of the $40K? I can borrow from my family, I think.  Or just wait and get sued? 

THanks again!

 

 

Yes, you were a ML customer, but the card is issued by B of A.  See if you have some billing statements from around the time of default to see where the payments were required to be sent.

Negotiations are always possible.  The issue would be the settlement amount R&R is authorized to accept, whether or not they would accept payments instead of a lump sum, and what you could afford.   Also note that making payments instead of one lump sum would reset the SOL on the debt.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bank of America has often had some of the most generous settlements we have seen.  

One of the main benefits of the arbitration strategy is that it often creates a more beneficial settlement.

It can't hurt to negotiate a settlement.  If you can get a settlement you can live with, consider that a victory.

 

What you should NOT do is give a sob story to the debt collectors.  Just don't.

First off, some of these debt collectors are trained to manipulate your emotions.  If you give them a sob story, you are playing their game on their home field.  

Second -- this is extremely important -- your particular sob story can be quite dangerous for you.  Once you start talking about your business, you are at serious risk of losing your consumer rights.  That can hurt you more than you can imagine.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, BV80 said:

Yes, you were a ML customer, but the card is issued by B of A.  See if you have some billing statements from around the time of default to see where the payments were required to be sent.

Negotiations are always possible.  The issue would be the settlement amount R&R is authorized to accept, whether or not they would accept payments instead of a lump sum, and what you could afford.   Also note that making payments instead of one lump sum would reset the SOL on the debt.

 

18 minutes ago, BackFromTheDebt said:

Bank of America has often had some of the most generous settlements we have seen.  

One of the main benefits of the arbitration strategy is that it often creates a more beneficial settlement.

It can't hurt to negotiate a settlement.  If you can get a settlement you can live with, consider that a victory.

 

What you should NOT do is give a sob story to the debt collectors.  Just don't.

First off, some of these debt collectors are trained to manipulate your emotions.  If you give them a sob story, you are playing their game on their home field.  

Second -- this is extremely important -- your particular sob story can be quite dangerous for you.  Once you start talking about your business, you are at serious risk of losing your consumer rights.  That can hurt you more than you can imagine.  

So are my steps the following with R&R, the debt collecting lawyer the following:

1) Call them and ask about a settlment or DV?

I have 30 days to where "they will assume the debt to be valid"

And when I speak with them, what words should I use? I am actually nervous speaking with them.

Thank you!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...