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Any experience with Synchrony Bank as the OC in Arbitration?


Thisisntfun
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1. Who is the named plaintiff in the suit?

Synchrony Bank 

2. What is the name of the law firm handling the suit? (should be listed at the top of the complaint.)

Sessoms & Rogers

3. How much are you being sued for? $5800 (approximately)

4. Who is the original creditor? (if not the Plaintiff) Synchrony

5. How do you know you are being sued? (You were served, right?) Served with Summons

6. How were you served? (Mail, In person, Notice on door) In person

7. Was the service legal as required by your state? As far as I know, yes.

Process Service Requirements by State - Summons Complaint

8. What was your correspondence (if any) with the people suing you before you think you were being sued?  None

9. What state and county do you live in?  South Carolina

10. When is the last time you paid on this account? (looking to establish if you are outside of the statute of limitations):  10/2020 (Not outside of SOL)

11. When did you open the account (looking to establish what card agreement may be applicable)? 2015 

12. What is the SOL on the debt? 3 years

13. What is the status of your case?  Served on 2/2/2022 (last week)

14. Have you disputed the debt with the credit bureaus (both the original creditor and the collection agency?): No

15. Did you request debt validation before the suit was filed? Note: if you haven't sent a debt validation request before being sued, it likely won't help create FDCPA violations, but disputing after being sued could be useful to show the court that you dispute the debt ('account stated' vs. 'breach of contract'): No

16. How long do you have to respond to the suit? (This should be in your paperwork). If you don't respond to the lawsuit notice you will lose automatically. In 99% of the cases, they will require you to answer the summons, and each point they are claiming. We need to know what the "charges" are. Please post what they are claiming. Did you receive an interrogatory (questionnaire) regarding the lawsuit?:  

-30 days from date of service

-Checkbox form to answer complaint & send back to Magistrate with 4 options: 

1) I contest the jurisdiction of the court

2) I admit everything & don't want a trial

3) I admit responsibility but not to the amount

4) I deny everything 

 

-Complaint states 

1) Defendant opened a card account on Oct 2015 with acct number xxx

2) Defendant made charges but failed to make payments & defaulted. On May 2021, the account was charged off

3) Attached is a copy of last statement before charge-off

4) Case is brought within 3 years

5) Attached affidavit shows indebtedness of $xxxx plus court fees

6) The business herein may be a consumer credit transaction as defined by SC Consumer Protection Code

7) Notice of Consumers Right to Cure was sent to defendant (I don't recall this)

? Plaintiff entitled to a judgment of $xxxx and/or: court costs of $xx, plus any costs resulting in this action, plaintiff declines any post charge-off interest whatsoever

 

17. What evidence did they send with the summons? An affidavit? Statements from the OC? Contract? List anything else they attached as exhibits: 

-Affidavit of Account Balance signed by employee of Synchrony Bank

-Affidavit & Itemization of Accounts signed by attorney for plaintiff with total due 

-Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Status Report on myself & Affidavit of Non-military Service

-One account statement dated May 2021 when the account was charged off

 

18.  How did you find out about this site?  Referred by consumer group 

 

Hello everyone,

Lots of great info on these forums. Maybe I missed it but I haven't been able to find much about Synchrony Bank filing suits themselves...don't they usually sell their charge-offs? Anyway...after looking at the court records in my area, it appears they have filed or are in the process of filing quite a few of these lately (at least for my small town). And it appears they've been quite successful obtaining default judgments. 

I want to settle this but I've heard that Sessoms is extremely difficult to negotiate with and that's even if they answer the phone. I haven't tried yet but I intend to. My question is, if they won't come to an agreeable number, should I compel arbitration? 

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

 

 
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If the law office will not deal, simply file an answer and compel arbitration. Being an original creditor, they might follow into arbitration and then they might now. I would prepare to argue the MTC however as the law office may try anything under the sun to get out of arbitration.

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@Thisisntfun

I agree with @WhoCares1000.  If you cannot come to an agreeable settlement, try a MTC arbitration.  However, just know that if Synchrony agrees to arbitrate, it will most likely win.  While you will not be responsible for their arbitration costs, the court cost of them confirming the arbitration award with the court along with the associated attorney fees can be added to your balance.  

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It appears @thisisnotfun is between a rock and an a hard place.  Synchrony has the records to win in court or arbitration.  

I agree with above best check box 1 and file a MTC,  It's possible that Synchrony will just dismiss case and sell debt rather then go to arbitration.

Perhaps this is their new strategy go after the default judgements via garnishment and levies and dismiss the rest and sell them. 

They might dismiss case after the MTC is file. 

It's new ground so no telling what will happen.

Only sure thing is if you don't file answer or check box 2 you will get a default judgement.  

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7 hours ago, Thisisntfun said:

Maybe I missed it but I haven't been able to find much about Synchrony Bank filing suits themselves...don't they usually sell their charge-offs?

You are correct that the anecdotal evidence we have over the past 10 years or so is based on them selling the bad debt portfolios off to junk debt buyers.  Your situation and the ones you are observing in your state may be the first sign they are changing their business strategy.

The bad news is that a bad case in court is equally bad in arbitration.  You have nothing to lose by trying but in general arbitration with other OCs has not been favorable to the defendant other than a better settlement.

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Thank you all for replying. I'm really not looking to win as much as just needing a really good settlement offer. I have tax returns coming that I can pay a lump sum. However, there are several other creditors that I need to consider paying as well before they also sue. 

I'm also a little concerned about the small claims language in the arb agreement. From what I understand, Magistrate's is small claims in SC if the amount is <$7500. The agreement says "we will not require you to arbitrate any individual case in small claims or your state's equivalent so long as it remains an individual case in that court." Does that they can't force me to arbitrate but I can force them?

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On 2/7/2022 at 12:35 PM, BV80 said:

@Thisisntfun

I agree with @WhoCares1000.  If you cannot come to an agreeable settlement, try a MTC arbitration.  However, just know that if Synchrony agrees to arbitrate, it will most likely win.  While you will not be responsible for their arbitration costs, the court cost of them confirming the arbitration award with the court along with the associated attorney fees can be added to your balance.  

Interestingly, my original agreement with them says nothing about the arbitrator awarding attorneys fees but the most recent one that I found online does. Which agreement would I use? And would it even matter regarding this point?

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1 hour ago, Thisisntfun said:

Interestingly, my original agreement with them says nothing about the arbitrator awarding attorneys fees but the most recent one that I found online does. Which agreement would I use? And would it even matter regarding this point?

Members here recommend you use the one that matches your last payment or charge.

You should be able to find it here:

https://www.consumerfinance.gov/credit-cards/agreements/

 

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4 hours ago, Thisisntfun said:

Interestingly, my original agreement with them says nothing about the arbitrator awarding attorneys fees but the most recent one that I found online does. Which agreement would I use? And would it even matter regarding this point?

The awarding of attorney fees would apply to actions needed in court.  For instance, arbitration awards must be confirmed with the court.  Their attorney would have to take care of that, and he would charge the plaintiff for his time.

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OK! So I'm willing to roll the dice with Arbitration. Just got off the phone with Sessoms and they are not willing to settle for anything less. So here we go. Going to start my answer. I'm sure I'll have some questions along the way. Thank you all.

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1 hour ago, Thisisntfun said:

OK! So I'm willing to roll the dice with Arbitration. Just got off the phone with Sessoms and they are not willing to settle for anything less. So here we go. Going to start my answer. I'm sure I'll have some questions along the way. Thank you all.

Probably your best bet.

With arbitration, the three most likely outcomes are:

1. They either walk away from arbitration or settle for mutual dismissal.  That way you win completely.

2. Somewhere along the line they agree to a decent settlement.  The best times for that are either before they pay the initial arbitration bill, or else right before they have to pay the bill to have a hearing.

3.  It goes all the way to the end and you lose.  You are in no worse shape than you are now, and you have bought some time to raise money.  

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Exactly what I was thinking. Plus I like the idea of having all this kept private b/c I'm currently looking for a job. As it stands now, I'm trying to apply to places that don't do credit checks b/c my credit is in shambles.

I just took that money that I offered them & gave it to Discover. They were much easier to deal with. 

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Forgive me if this is a dumb question but are creditors responsible for inaccuracies and/or discrepancies on your credit report or is it a matter of them sending their info over to the credit bureaus and the bureaus upload that info into their formatting which could cause mistakes?

In attempting to nail down the DOLP on this Sync account to use the correct CA, I pulled 2 of my credit reports. They are reporting different things on this account, namely the DOLP but also balances due each month after the account went delinquent. Both reports say they were last updated on Jan 9, 2022. Is this normal or cause for concern?

 

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1 hour ago, Thisisntfun said:

Forgive me if this is a dumb question but are creditors responsible for inaccuracies and/or discrepancies on your credit report or is it a matter of them sending their info over to the credit bureaus and the bureaus upload that info into their formatting which could cause mistakes?

In attempting to nail down the DOLP on this Sync account to use the correct CA, I pulled 2 of my credit reports. They are reporting different things on this account, namely the DOLP but also balances due each month after the account went delinquent. Both reports say they were last updated on Jan 9, 2022. Is this normal or cause for concern?

 

Did you get the reports from annualcreditreport.com?

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19 minutes ago, Thisisntfun said:

Yes I did

Balances can be different depending upon the day the information was provided.  Furnishers don’t necessarily provide information on the same day, and ifinterest is accruing and/or fees are being added, a balance can change from day to day.

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Yes that seems likely. Their data is just very confusing since it doesn't line up. One of them even stated that a payment was made on the account in Dec 2021 which it definitely wasn't.

On to another topic....found out last week (via online search) that my case was moved to a different Magistrate's court. Does this mean that I will now be served again and the 30 day clock to file my answer will restart once that happens? Or should I just file the answer with the original Magistrate? I plan on filing everything this week.

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12 minutes ago, Thisisntfun said:

Yes that seems likely. Their data is just very confusing since it doesn't line up. One of them even stated that a payment was made on the account in Dec 2021 which it definitely wasn't.

On to another topic....found out last week (via online search) that my case was moved to a different Magistrate's court. Does this mean that I will now be served again and the 30 day clock to file my answer will restart once that happens? Or should I just file the answer with the original Magistrate? I plan on filing everything this week.

I don’t think you’d be served again, but I’m not sure.  It would seem to me that you’d just get a notice from one of the courts explaining that the lawsuit was transferred.  But, I’d call both clerks of court (clerk where the lawsuit was first filed and the clerk in the new court) and ask.  

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  • 4 weeks later...

@Bulldoger, @BV80, @Clydesmom, @BackFromTheDebt

UPDATE:

Filed Answer & MTC 

Received Notice of Hearing from Court scheduled for May 

Today I received a packet from attorney with MSJ. I'm assuming they filed this with the Court. I was afraid this may happen. This seems like a strategy often used when a MTC is filed. Can someone explain to me why this is? I've never been able to grasp the logic. Like, how can the Court rule on a summary judgment if they don't have jurisdiction to hear the case in the first place? To me, it's like putting the cart before the horse. Are these attorneys hoping that the judge will deny the MTC at the hearing and then they can rush a judgment right then & there since their MSJ has already been filed? Is this the strategy?

Also, in relation to this MSJ, do I need to answer this now or just wait and see the outcome of the MTC at the hearing?

Thank you all, as always

 

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I’ve seen this tactic. 
 

They are hoping the MTC won’t be heard, or else be denied. And then they ambush you with the MSJ 
 

You need to file an objection to their MSJ on the grounds of improper venue. 
 

If you have any other way to fight the MSJ, include that in your objection. 
 

When I had that tried on me, the case was stayed for arbitration, and the MSJ never heard.  But I had good judges. 

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Potential Problem?

This is small claims/Magistrate's Court so I was given a check box form to answer the Complaint. Based on information given in @WillingtoFight593's case (also in South Carolina), I only checked Box A as follows below. It did say to "Check One," not "All that Apply."

 CHECK ONE:

            A.    I contest the jurisdiction of the court based on the following: (use additional pages if necessary) The underlying contract contains a private arbitration clause which the Defendant has elected to exercise. Therefore, This Court does not have jurisdiction to hear this matter.

            B.     I admit everything in the complaint and do not want a trial.

            C.     I admit that I am responsible, but not for the total amount claimed by the Plaintiff(s) because: (use additional pages if necessary)      

            D.    I deny that I am responsible at all because: (use additional pages if necessary)      

 

The MSJ, in a nutshell, basically states that since I did not deny the allegations, then I admit to them. And since I admit, the MTC will only delay the proceedings so it should be denied. Excerpts below:

image.png.bf851eb01988ed2ef7d84edd379f1c37.png

image.png.28804aeadc04608593ca4227a95408c4.png

image.png.05c57ae721779f6619125b2047e3b7cf.png

image.png.0fd932390fd1ee087b077bad920c8ec5.png

 

Thoughts on how to proceed? Should I amend my answer to also include Box D and re-file? Or should I just file a Memorandum Regarding Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment and leave the answer as is?

The Magistrate's Court here is very relaxed. I could probably just argue all points at the hearing without filing anything else but I do want to respond just in case. Also, if I'm reading the Court procedures correctly, I think I have up to 2 days before the hearing to respond. The hearing is May 19th.

 

 

 

 

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I am not close to being an expert, but I've found that lawyers really reach for anything possible to sway the court with arbitration. So far, I've had 2 attorney's try to fight the arbitration in court and 2 agree to it.  I have not yet had a judge turn down my MTC.

I have a variety of things with Synchrony - these are some of my thoughts based on what you have and what's in my contracts.

1. Just because arbitration would delay a decision shouldn't remove your right to it if it's in the contract.

2. Engaging in litigation can mean that you've given up your right to litigation.  Would denying everything count as engaging in litigation?  I don't know.

3. In Virginia where I am, the law says that the judge must compel arbitration without considering the merits of the case. Is that true in your state?

On this page: https://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/t15c048.php

I read this:

Quote

(e) An order for arbitration shall not be refused on the ground that the claim in issue lacks merit or bona fides or because any fault or grounds for the claim sought to be arbitrated have not been shown.

 

4.  Does your contract have something like this:

Quote

5. Only a court will decide disputes about the validity, enforceability, coverage or scope of this Arbitration section or any part thereof. However, any dispute that concerns the validity or enforceability of the Agreement as a whole is for the arbitrator to decide.

That means the judge gets to decide whether or not to enforce the arbitration clause - but everything else, including collections if it's not excluded elsewhere, is for the arbitrator to decide.

5. Also, find a case where Synchrony has used arbitration when they were sued.  They don't get to create a contract, in which you had no power to negotiate, then pick and choose when they abide by the terms. This might be one:  https://casetext.com/case/nelson-v-synchrony-bank

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