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Pre Legal notification by Atty on behalf of Midlands- in SC


Phillio9
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Hi, I received a letter recently from an attorney representing Midlands for a debt they bought from Capital One for $2500. I sent them a dv and they replied with 6mos statements, bill of sale, etc. I have another year before SOL runs out and no arbitration defense. I called them today to discuss a settlement- (I would prefer a lump settlement). However, they advised midlands requires an expense to monthly income ratio and want all my bill and income info. I’m not comfortable doing that even if I lie about the figures. Is this typical? I told her I would see about getting my info and reaching out later. This has to be bs, right? Any advice or personal experiences?

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10 hours ago, Phillio9 said:

debt they bought from Capital One for $2500.

You may be able to file for arbitration if this is a Walmart Card that transferred to Capital-one and you didn't use the Capital-One Walmart card.  

If you have no income and none in near future then yes give them info, they may dismiss due to hardship. If you have a job and money in bank then no I would not give them information. 

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This was for a neiman Marcus card from 2016. I didn’t see an Arb clause in the agreement. I feel suspicious about giving them my bill/income info bc why do they care about that? They should just want their own money and talk settlement, right? What if they ask for statements? Seems fishy. 

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2 hours ago, Phillio9 said:

This was for a neiman Marcus card from 2016. I didn’t see an Arb clause in the agreement. I feel suspicious about giving them my bill/income info bc why do they care about that? They should just want their own money and talk settlement, right? What if they ask for statements? Seems fishy. 

You say it’s Midlands?  Is it Midlands (with an “s”) or Midland Funding (no “s”)?

When you sent the DV, did you mention being out of work, no income, or bankruptcy, perhaps?

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Time for me to bring out my lesson on “policy”. 
 

Pretty much every company has its “policies”.   They act like they are written in stone, but can be changed by someone powerful.  Often they make sense. Sometimes not.  My employer lost tons of people due to its COVID policies. But now they have different policies which I may be able to deal with. 
 

Midland, possibly due to a law suit or government pressure, has a policy on debt forgiveness for people down on their luck, especially for medical reasons.  That has been great for some people. 
 

However, from what I have seen in the postings, it appears they may not be negotiating debt outside those parameters. 
 

If that really is their current policy, there is nothing the law firm can do.  They have been given certain instructions they MUST follow.  They have no choice. 
 

There are two possibilities:

1.  The OP mentioned financial hardship, which brings in the hardship policy.  The law firm MUST follow Midland’s policy. 
 

2.  Midland may or may not have a separate policy for debt negotiations for non-hardship cases.  
 

The only way to find out is to call the law firm again, offer a settlement without mentioning hardship, and see what happens.  
 

Unless the OP really is destitute. In that case, fill out the forms and see what happens 

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Thanks guys-

its MCM and I’m not trying to request hardship. I just want to settle for a low percentage of the debt. I suppose I can get some numbers together. But I’m not comfortable with going any further say if they want statements. I do understand that this might be a new ‘policy’ and I appreciate the clarification. 
it’s just odd to me bc I have seen attorneys offer settlements and payment plan options at court prior to the hearing. 

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If you didn’t mention hardship when you called, I would suggest:

 

Send a letter to the law firm. Mention you are NOT admitting to the debt, but you are willing to pay $x to save both sides the hassle of a court case.  
 

If my guess about the Midland policy is correct, they will either ignore you or else send hardship forms. If my guess is incorrect, they may accept or make a counter offer. 

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2 hours ago, Phillio9 said:

I have seen attorneys offer settlements and payment plan options at court prior to the hearing. 

Settling is about leverage.  The side that has the most gains the advantage.  If Midland believes you can pay and the SOL is still alive where they can get a judgment in court then the leverage shifts to them.  Someone on disability, unemployed, on SSI becomes virtually impossible to collect from even with a judgment the leverage shifts to the consumer.  Creditors hear sob stories by the thousands daily on why someone hasn't paid.  After being played too many times by consumers crying hardship when there was none they started demanding proof of financial instability or insolvency before agreeing to really small settlements.  

53 minutes ago, BackFromTheDebt said:

Send a letter to the law firm. Mention you are NOT admitting to the debt, but you are willing to pay $x to save both sides the hassle of a court case.  

This is a good idea but I would take it one step further.  Settlement discussions are not admissible in court.  I would enclose two copies of a settlement agreement with ALL your terms listed.  I would sign both copies and in the letter state that you dispute the account that they contacted you about but in the interest of time and money you are offering $X to settle the account in full.  The terms:  In exchange for payment within 21 business days of receiving the signed settlement agreement back you will pay by money order or cashier's check.  They agree this is settlement in FULL, any remaining amount is disputed, not to sell the disputed balance, and to remove the trade line from all bureaus within 30 days.  Simply return a copy of the agreement signed by an AUTHORIZED representative and within 21 days you will make the payment as agreed.  They keep one copy for their records.  More settlements get accepted this way than back and forth sometimes.

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Oh great, I just checked the public index and the attorneys office filed a suit today. Now, I have to wait to be served. Should I even bother contacting them now? I have no defense in court tho. 

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1 hour ago, Phillio9 said:

Oh great, I just checked the public index and the attorneys office filed a suit today.

When did they mail the letter?  SC is a right to cure state and you have 30 days from that letter before they can sue.  If they didn't wait 30 days after the date on the letter then you have a violation of SC law and possibly the FDCPA.

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2 hours ago, Clydesmom said:

When did they mail the letter?  SC is a right to cure state and you have 30 days from that letter before they can sue.  If they didn't wait 30 days after the date on the letter then you have a violation of SC law and possibly the FDCPA.

The right to cure only applies if a default can be “cured” and payment would make the account current.  An account that is closed and charged off cannot be cured.  SC Code 37-5-110 and 37-5-111.

This is from 37-5-111:

Cure restores the consumer to his rights under the agreement as though the defaults had not occurred.

As we already know, paying a charged-off account will not restore “the consumer to his rights under the agreement as though the defaults had not occurred.”  Therefore, “cure” could not apply to a charged-off account.

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Do I contact the attorney’s office and work on getting a settlement prior to the court date? I’m stressed now bc I know I don’t have any defense in court. They already produced documents showing mcm has the account. Do you think my chances are low at getting a 50% settlement? Do you think they would rather go to court and get a judgement for the full amount even if it takes years to collect? I haven’t been in this situation before. Thanks. 

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This isn’t a choice between fighting and settling. You can do both.  In fact, fighting the case may buy you time for settlement, and in some cases may increase your leverage. 
 

If you are interested in settlement, go ahead and send a letter to the law firm.  In the meantime, you can at least deny the allegations and prepare for a fight.  That shows the law firm you are not low hanging fruit.  
 

SOME of the time showing you are not low hanging fruit improves your settlement chances.  
 

It is extremely difficult to predict what will happen in this case. All you can do is play the cards you have as best as you can. 

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16 hours ago, Bulldoger said:

Make them prove they own the debt. 

That advice used to work in prehistoric times, but no longer. Midland has the goods and, if you look at court records, their biggest problem is often linking up the debtor's account with a live person at an actual address. When the OP sent a DV request, it provided that link and was an invitation to sue. It's been a while since I've been here, but Midland's settlement terms are usually 100% of debt on a payment plan with a stipulated judgment (so they don't have to start from scratch in case of default) or some small amount off in exchange for a lump sum payment. 

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3 hours ago, BackFromTheDebt said:

This isn’t a choice between fighting and settling. You can do both.  In fact, fighting the case may buy you time for settlement, and in some cases may increase your leverage. 
All you can do is play the cards you have as best as you can. 

What cards DO I have? No arbitration clause and they have what looks like sufficient info to verify the debt. SOL still has 1 year. 

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8 hours ago, Phillio9 said:

Do I contact the attorney’s office and work on getting a settlement prior to the court date?

Yes.  You can and should if that is what you feel is best for you.

8 hours ago, Phillio9 said:

I’m stressed now bc I know I don’t have any defense in court.

DO NOT stress about this.  

8 hours ago, Phillio9 said:

Do you think my chances are low at getting a 50% settlement?

No one can predict that.  You send ANY settlement offer with the amount that you would like to pay.  You can negotiate from there if they decline.  It can and often does go back and forth until a number is reached that both sides can agree to.

1 hour ago, Phillio9 said:

What cards DO I have? No arbitration clause and they have what looks like sufficient info to verify the debt. SOL still has 1 year. 

You have a great one:  South Carolina does not allow wage garnishment.  While they cannot get your paycheck(s) before you receive them they could potentially garnish a bank account.  The good news is there are ways to live "unbanked" so they can't do that until you can settle the judgment if they were to get one.

4 hours ago, BackFromTheDebt said:

This isn’t a choice between fighting and settling.

It very much is.  To @Phillio9 if you want to settle because that is what works for you then you make that your goal.  You can settle ANY time prior to the judge banging the gavel and issuing a verdict.  The only way to get a settlement is to offer one.  Negotiate if you have to.  

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1 hour ago, Phillio9 said:

Thanks Clydesmom. I appreciate your words. Guess I’ll try calling back and see if they wanna play ball. 

My experience with Midland, and that of others, is that they don't negotiate. There will be a number for a cash settlement, and an offer of a payment plan at 100% with stipulated judgment. @Clydesmomis correct, though, about their inability to garish. Definitely remind them of that, in case that figures in their calculus.  

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