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JDB paid the initial arbitration fee - what now?


shadow99
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Using @Fisthardcheese 's advice on the stickied arbitration thread, I have gotten great settlements from 5 or so JDB's.

Now, our favorite JDB that starts with a P (don't want to put the name in case they have an automatic search) has paid the initial $1500 fee to JAMS.

PLEASE DON'T MENTION THEIR ACTUAL NAME SO IT'S HARDER FOR THEM TO FIND.

Again, using advice I received here, I did not mention the alleged debt in my JAMS request - just possible FDCPA & TCPA violations - so they should also have to file a counterclaim and pay for that. I've read you guys say that sometimes JDB's walk away after paying the first fee - but I don't think that's going to happen here.

The debt in question is <$2500.

Here's what's happened so far:

  • I went to court and they agreed to arbitration.
  • I sent them a few settlement offers with no response.
  • I filed with JAMS & sent via email and certified mail.
  • Almost 20 days after JAMS emailed them and the green-card date, they uploaded all the court paperwork to the JAMS site
  • The payment reached JAMS about 2 weeks later

Now, I'm reading the JAMS Consumer Minimum Standards, the JAMS Streamlined Arbitration Rules & my contract to see if I've shot myself in the foot.  It was a risk I willingly took, so I can't complain now.  I can afford to pay the bill off in full if it comes down to it.  All the JAMS fees, etc. would be harder - it would be something I'd have to pay off over time.

Here are my questions.  Any advice, encouragement, etc. is welcomed, even if it's that I should cancel the JAMS case, pay the debt and walk away from it.  I might do that - I just have to sleep on it a night or two.

1. Rule 7 (Streamlined) Notice of Claims says this:

(c) Within seven (7) calendar days of service of the notice of claim, a Respondent may submit to JAMS and serve on other Parties a response and a statement of any affirmative defenses, including jurisdictional challenges, or counterclaims it may have. JAMS may grant reasonable extensions of time to file a response or counterclaim prior to the appointment of the Arbitrator

Does that mean I should object now to them not filing anything within 7 days.  They haven't technically filed a counterclaim - just all the court paperwork.   Did they not notice that I didn't mention the debt?  If I object, am I giving them a heads up?  If I don't, when do I lose the ability to object?

2. From Minimum Standards:

With respect to the cost of the arbitration, when a consumer initiates arbitration against the company, the only fee required to be paid by the consumer is $250, which is approximately equivalent to current Court filing fees. All other costs must be borne by the company, including any remaining JAMS Case Management Fee and all professional fees for the arbitrator's services. When the company is the claiming party initiating an arbitration against the consumer, the company will be required to pay all costs associated with the arbitration.

Does this mean that JAMS should not be able to award them JAMS fees, attorney's fees, etc?  It seems to conflict with the Streamlined rules, but maybe Streamlined is for both consumer & non-consumer, and the Minimum Standards overrides for Consumer cases?

3. From Streamlined Rules where it conflicts with #2

(e) The Award of the Arbitrator may allocate Arbitration fees and Arbitrator compensation and expenses, unless such an allocation is expressly prohibited by the Parties’ Agreement. (Such a prohibition may not limit the power of the Arbitrator to allocate Arbitration fees and Arbitrator compensation and expenses pursuant to Rule 26(c).)

(f) The Award of the Arbitrator may allocate attorneys’ fees and expenses and interest (at such rate and from such date as the Arbitrator may deem appropriate) if provided by the Parties’ Agreement or allowed by applicable law. When the Arbitrator is authorized to award attorneys’ fees and must determine the reasonable amount of such fees, he or she may consider whether the failure of a Party to cooperate reasonably in the discovery process and/or comply with the Arbitrator’s discovery orders caused delay to the proceeding or additional costs to the other Parties

4. From the contract - Paypal/Synchrony:

The arbitrator may award any damages or other relief or remedies that would apply under applicable law to an individual action brought in court, including, without limitation, punitive damages (governed by the Constitutional standards employed by the courts) and injunctive, equitable and declaratory relief (but only in favor of the individual party seeking relief and only to the extent necessary to provide relief warranted by that party’s individual claim). The parties will bear the fees and costs of their attorneys, witnesses and experts. However, the arbitrator will have the authority to award fees and costs of attorneys, witnesses and experts to the extent permitted by the Agreement, the administrator’s rules or applicable law.

Under collection costs:  If we ask an attorney who is not our salaried employee to collect your account, we may charge you our collection costs. These include court costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees.  P** has their own attorneys, so not applicable?

 

 

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  • shadow99 changed the title to JDB paid the initial arbitration fee - what now?

If you were to go through and lose and get access fees you can appeal to have fees removed :

 

Thomas2

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I finally have an outcome. The Appeal was granted & due to the current circumstances was done via a series of arguments & counter-arguments. The Award just came through. The Appeals panel accepted the original arbitrator's award for both parties, & they vacated the fees/costs. They clearly stated that this goes against JAMS CMS & all of the consumer policies. The original arbitrator erred in his decision. So this ruling does affirm that the OC CMS does not take precedent over the JAMS CMS & that cost shifting is against JAMS consumer policies. 

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8 minutes ago, Bulldoger said:

If you were to go through and lose and get access fees you can appeal to have fees removed :

 

Thomas2

  • Impressive 100+ postings
  • Members
  • Location: Arizona

I finally have an outcome. The Appeal was granted & due to the current circumstances was done via a series of arguments & counter-arguments. The Award just came through. The Appeals panel accepted the original arbitrator's award for both parties, & they vacated the fees/costs. They clearly stated that this goes against JAMS CMS & all of the consumer policies. The original arbitrator erred in his decision. So this ruling does affirm that the OC CMS does not take precedent over the JAMS CMS & that cost shifting is against JAMS consumer policies. 

 

Thanks - I remember that.

I also remember Catlady22 said an appeal at AAA would cost her $6K.

I think @Thomas2 might have said it didn't cost him anything to appeal with JAMS, but I can't find that information on the JAMS website.

Something told me I should have just settled this one, but I can't seem to get anyone there to talk to me.  The number on the summons just goes to their main number and no one seems to answer the legal email address. I've asked the JAMS case manager some questions about Minimum Consumer Standards vs. what the Streamlined rules say as well as what happens if I withdraw the arbitration case now that they've paid.  We'll see what they say.

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This was the case manager's reply:

"The JAMS Consumer Minimum Standards only speak to how the fees for the arbitration will be paid to the arbitration provider.  Whether or not fees and costs can be awarded in an arbitration award is a question of law, and I would urge you to seek the advice of an attorney regarding this question."

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2 minutes ago, nobk4me said:

I would note that the cases where P** went all the way and stuck the consumer with arb fees were in AAA, not JAMS.  JAMS does have the reputation of being more consumer-friendly.

Except for the one person who did get stuck with the fees and had to appeal it.  He won on appeal, and I think he said it didn't cost him anything to take it to appeal, but I can't find anything official.

I feel like I gambled and lost on this one right now.  I'm trying to decide between cutting my losses & paying up - or going all the way & risking owing a lot more.

It's a toss up.  I'm in a very different place than I was a few years ago financially, so it wouldn't ruin me or force me into bankruptcy no matter what I chose.

I'll let it roll around into my head until the decision feels right.

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I went ahead and settled with them at 90%.

At that rate, I didn't pay more than I actually owed at 100% once you factor in the JAMS fee I already paid.

And, they'll still not actually make any money on the deal when you consider what I'm paying vs. what they paid for the acct + the JAMS fee.

It's not a ton of money and I have it, so I can live with that for now.  On to the next one.

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18 hours ago, shadow99 said:

Except for the one person who did get stuck with the fees and had to appeal it.  He won on appeal, and I think he said it didn't cost him anything to take it to appeal, but I can't find anything official.

The only person I know on the boards who went all the way with them in arbitration is catlady and she lost all the way and filed bankruptcy.  I do not recall anyone winning in arbitration against that Plaintiff.  The major problem is a bad case in court is a bad case in arbitration.  The entire goal of the arb threat was not to actually do it but for them to throw in the towel as it wasn't worth it.  This is the first JDB to say "hmmm, maybe it is worth it" and not back down.  Whether others follow suit remains to be seen.

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4 minutes ago, Clydesmom said:

catlady and she lost all the way and filed bankruptcy.

I remember that case. 

For this one, they called my bluff, and I lost.  I'm in the process of withdrawing the arbitration case now. 

Overall, this has still been a good strategy for me.  I have 2, possibly 3 more to go with it. 

I have a little more money now, so maybe I'll change my tactic to trying to get a very low settlement amount vs. $0 for mutual dismissal.  I'm kind of ready to be done with this and move on. The stress of frequent court dates gets old.

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I wonder if the reason P** has gone all the way in arb is because they use in-house counsel.  Apparently one or more of their attorneys has become arb-savvy.  They are already on the payroll, so going though arb doesn't cost them more in attorney's fees.

As opposed to other JDBs and OCs. which use debt collection law firms.  Those firms essentially are default judgment mills.  Some of them will go through the court process if the defendant answers, using discovery and moving for summary judgment.  But arb is a whole different ball game - above their pay grade and experience level.  So going through arb means hiring special counsel.  Which is an additional expense, in addition to the arb fees.

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4 hours ago, nobk4me said:

I wonder if the reason P** has gone all the way in arb is because they use in-house counsel.  Apparently one or more of their attorneys has become arb-savvy.  They are already on the payroll, so going though arb doesn't cost them more in attorney's fees.

As opposed to other JDBs and OCs. which use debt collection law firms.  Those firms essentially are default judgment mills.  Some of them will go through the court process if the defendant answers, using discovery and moving for summary judgment.  But arb is a whole different ball game - above their pay grade and experience level.  So going through arb means hiring special counsel.  Which is an additional expense, in addition to the arb fees.

Maybe that's true for them.  I Googled them a little bit and they seem very aggressive about a lot of things.

Like they went through a lot of effort when the TCPA said that JDB's could not use autodialers to call cell phone.  They seem to be responsible for having autodialers reclassified so it doesn't count if the autodialer goes through a list of phone numbers rather than generating them at random.  In any event, I found plenty of stuff about them pushing for the reclassification, then other articles about the reclassification when it happened that didn't mention them.

It also doesn't make sense how they do things.  They paid $1500 in fees on my slightly more than $2000 debt.  There's another member on here that had a $4K debt where they let the `SOL run out.  And there's someone who recently posted that they filed arbitration against them in Kentucky or Tennessee or somewhere near there, the court date was coming up and the fees didn't get paid.

I'm speculating that I'm a target because my name is on two pieces of real estate and that's a public record.  I'm not sure if they can find out about my employment, but that's pretty good too.  And, I've been paying down my remaining bills as I can.  I'm no where near debt free and won't be for a long time, but it shows I'm current on the bills I still have.

I dealt with M*M's in-house attorney and I really liked him.  He was pleasant even though he had to give me the typical speech about how expensive it was, etc.  But, they settled for $0 for mutual dismissal on one.  When they sued on the second one, he accepted the AAA fee as a settlement and dismissed the case.

The one other attorney was dealing with a questionable contract and I had a couple violations I think I could have proved.  He just asked the JDB what they wanted to do (according to what he told me) and they said non-suit it on the return date.

I did have one crazy lawyer - same one @Bulldogger is dealing with now - that tried every trick in the book to get out of having the judge grant arbitration.  I'm far enough away from her office that she uses rent-a-lawyers for appearances here.  The judge finally threatened to dismiss the whole thing with prejudice if she didn't make "meaningful progress" towards arbitration.  That ended in a $0 for mutual dismissal real quick.  Then she got another one against me and settled with me for a very, very low amount before the first court date.

It's like the wild west out there.  I'm glad mine should be coming to an end soon.  I have 4 remaining accounts.  1 is with Midland, so if they threaten to sue, I'll offer the same settlement as before.  1 has already sued, the judge granted my MTC, and I'm waiting for JAMS to send them an invoice.  Then, the last 2 have the same verbiage as this one with P** does - where they mention fee shifting.  They're with the same JDB, Scott & Associates has sent the legal papers for one, but hasn't filed with the court yet.  I'm hoping it's the same Scott & Associates that @Texasrocker says are lazy.  So, we'll see. 

I'm hoping that in 6 months to a year, frequent court dates are in the rear view mirror for me.

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It's like the old gambling adage "scared money never wins." 

My understanding of arb is that the initial fee is just the start. It's the follow up bills that lead to them losing money is where the aggressive ones fold.

Sounds like their goal in this case was to cause a chilling effect. There aren't many forums like this, so it wasn't hard for them to find this thread.

 

 

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18 hours ago, shadow99 said:

I'm not sure if they can find out about my employment

Check your credit reports to see if employment is listed.  I would recommend removing it, if it's there.  I believe that is the primary thing they (all creditors and debt collectors) look for, as it means there are wages to garnish.  With wage garnishment, they completely bypass you and deal directly with the employer.  They get their cut before you even see the paycheck.  It's the quickest and easiest way for them to get money.

 

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34 minutes ago, nobk4me said:

Check your credit reports to see if employment is listed.  I would recommend removing it, if it's there.  I believe that is the primary thing they (all creditors and debt collectors) look for, as it means there are wages to garnish.  With wage garnishment, they completely bypass you and deal directly with the employer.  They get their cut before you even see the paycheck.  It's the quickest and easiest way for them to get money.

 

So you lied, I got my employment on my report how do you remove it if it's correct. 

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1 hour ago, Bulldoger said:

So you lied, I got my employment on my report how do you remove it if it's correct. 

Number One, I don't appreciate your ad hominem accusations of dishonesty.  Your inappropriate behavior has been reported.

Number Two, while I have not done this in a number of years, as I recall, employment is considered personal information, like your address or phone number.  Such information can be revised by you.  Unless they have changed things so that now you can't.

IMO, it is immaterial whether the information is correct.  It's private information that you choose not to disclose.

And, while on the subject of privacy, that is something that should be of utmost importance to anyone with debt issues.  Privacy is your best friend.  Social media is your enemy.  It always amazes me to see people post on Facebook, etc. so much personal information, such as where they work, sometimes their whole employment history.  Don't make a debt collector's (or identity thief's) job easy.

 

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3 hours ago, Goody_Ouchless said:

It's like the old gambling adage "scared money never wins." 

My understanding of arb is that the initial fee is just the start. It's the follow up bills that lead to them losing money is where the aggressive ones fold.

Sounds like their goal in this case was to cause a chilling effect. There aren't many forums like this, so it wasn't hard for them to find this thread.

 

 

Scared money is exactly what it was.  I'm not much of a gambler and I'd read all the other posts about P*** going all the way in arbitration & getting awards for their fees in some cases.  I wanted to push it and see, but it wasn't the smart decision to make.

I'll just play chicken with the next JDB and see where it goes.  So far, it's cost me about $4400 in fees & settlements to make $36400 go away including this one.  So, I'm OK with it.

But - you're absolutely right.  They definitely scared me & chilled me.

In this case, it was a Synchrony account.  While it gave me every right to arbitrate, it also gave the arbitrator permission to fee shift.  I think I might have seen a loophole that they would not attempt to recover collection costs if their salaried attorney handled the collection, but it wasn't worth my stress or time to find out.  If it was a bigger amount, then maybe.

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2 hours ago, nobk4me said:

Check your credit reports to see if employment is listed.  I would recommend removing it, if it's there.  I believe that is the primary thing they (all creditors and debt collectors) look for, as it means there are wages to garnish.  With wage garnishment, they completely bypass you and deal directly with the employer.  They get their cut before you even see the paycheck.  It's the quickest and easiest way for them to get money.

 

I'll do that.  It might be there.  My company has been bought & sold many times with name changes.  Who knows who it says I work for by now.

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1 hour ago, nobk4me said:

Number One, I don't appreciate your ad hominem accusations of dishonesty.  Your inappropriate behavior has been reported.

 

there was nothing ad hominem intentionally on my reply I meant to type so you lie (to the credit bureaus) not "lied". It was my understanding that the credit bureaus they verify what's on your report. I never added my employment so I was wondering if they will call my employer and verify I don't work there before removing it. 

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1 hour ago, nobk4me said:

Social media is your enemy.  It always amazes me to see people post on Facebook, etc. so much personal information, such as where they work, sometimes their whole employment history.  Don't make a debt collector's (or identity thief's) job easy.

Have you guys noticed the new FDCPA(I think) rules about social media contact?

I don't remember them exactly because I don't use social media other than a few special interest forums like this one, but I was surprised it was OK to contact someone using those types of sites - as long as it's not in a public post. 

 

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6 hours ago, nobk4me said:

Check your credit reports to see if employment is listed.  I would recommend removing it, if it's there.  I believe that is the primary thing they (all creditors and debt collectors) look for, as it means there are wages to garnish.  With wage garnishment, they completely bypass you and deal directly with the employer.  They get their cut before you even see the paycheck.  It's the quickest and easiest way for them to get money.

 

It USED to be the 3 major bureaus was where the creditors went to verify employment.  That is no longer the case.  There is another bureau called The Work Number that carries ALL your employment information including your annual salary.  It was purchased by Equifax in 2007.  That needs to be frozen too.  Most consumers don't know about it and the creditors and employers bank on that literally and figuratively.

3 hours ago, shadow99 said:

Have you guys noticed the new FDCPA(I think) rules about social media contact?

It goes beyond that.  It also allows text messaging to you, friends, and family too.

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My company has "the work number" years ago I was given a phone number to hand out (lost it) if someone had to verify employment they can call "the work number". I thought it was just a number at place i work that people called to verify my employment.  

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54 minutes ago, Clydesmom said:

There is another bureau called The Work Number that carries ALL your employment information including your annual salary.

That's it then. 

When we were sold, they froze our pension.  To make up for that, they gave us the same defined contribution 401K thing they give newer employees PLUS for long-time employees, you got another 15% of your salary per year.  After 5 years, that's supposed to go up another 3%.  I guess they figured most of us would retire before then.

After the first year, when the new owners could legally make changes to those promises, they decided they didn't want to do it that way.  Instead, they reduced the defined contribution for everyone to a 5% max (makes it cheaper for them on new hires and gets them out of the future 3% increase) and gave all the old people the percentage they lost as a 1 time salary increase.  They also eliminated 100% of our 401K matching instead of raising it from a 1% match to a 3% match as promised.

That looks like a major bump in my pay - which is good because it helps me catch up on things now instead of later.  But bad if it's on this site.  I don't really have any more money than I had before - it was all just creative accounting and money shifting.

It doesn't really matter now though for me.  I don't have many left that can decide to sue me - I'm almost done.

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Just now, Bulldoger said:

My company has "the work number" years ago I was given a phone number to hand out (lost it) if someone had to verify employment they can call "the work number". I thought it was just a number at place i work that people called to verify my employment.  

Now that you mention it, we had something similar - I can't remember if it was the same thing though.

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On 7/21/2022 at 5:30 PM, Bulldoger said:

 

there was nothing ad hominem intentionally on my reply I meant to type so you lie (to the credit bureaus) not "lied". It was my understanding that the credit bureaus they verify what's on your report. I never added my employment so I was wondering if they will call my employer and verify I don't work there before removing it. 

In my view, it's not lying, it's protecting your privacy by removing personal information that can be used against you.  I don't know if the credit bureaus verify employment.  I do know that employment can be added to credit reports, without your knowledge or permission, as a result of a prospective employer's credit check, or as a result of you applying for credit in which you disclose your employer.   These things tend to be like gossip sheets - what one CRA finds out, gets into the others' reports.   

@Clydesmom mentioned freezing credit reports and The Work Number.  A good idea, but I don't know if that can prevent creditors and debt collectors from accessing them.

 

Edited to add:  most people posting here use screen names that are not their real names.  Is that lying or dishonesty, or is it simply being prudent to protect your privacy?  I would say the latter.

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