Should I go to court and fight? Should I call the attorney and settle? – Lana
I have a very confusing situation. I will start from the beginning. In January of 08 my car was broken into at my place of employment. I had to keep my personal belongings in my car because we did not have an area to put our things. My purse was stolen. All my money, credit cards and debt cards were taken. One of my credit cards was already at the limit because I had to use it to pay for school books. The limit was 1600. Once I reported my car had been broken into I was on the phone with my bank and I was informed that my debit card had been used to buy goods at Walmart. The bank told me that my account was in the negative 500 dollars. Of course, I called all my card companies and reported my card as stolen. Chase Bank was one of my card holders that I had paid a day before the incident. I have a police report showing proof of the incident. Due to the circumstances of the following day, the transaction did not go through for the credit card. I called Chase Bank told them the situation and they seemed fine. I told them once I get all the bank issues handled I would pay them.
I set up a new account and I was waiting for the reimbursement back from the bank for the fraudulent charges. A few weeks later Chase Bank calls me at my place of employment saying I have to pay 127 dollars to them right now. I told the representative I was unable to do so at the time because I did not have the money in my account to cover it. She kept being persistent and not accepting my answer. I got so irritated because I was at work and we are not suppose to have personal calls that I ended the call.
About two months later I was able to repay the debt. I called Chase Bank and they said that they no longer had my account. I assumed it had been sent to collections. About two months later I received a letter from ARS recovery. I contacted them and they said that Chase Bank had the account. I kept going in circles. I just really got to the point that I didn't care and it was such a hassle, I was just going to let the SOL expire. My credit is already messed up due to ID theft.
I checked my credit report and I saw that Chase Bank charged off my account in April 2010. It stated another lender had purchase it. At the end of April, I received a letter from a law firm. They said that I owed them 3152 dollars, the original debt when charged off was 2469. Of course, I was outraged with the price because it added an additional 655 to the original amount. I sent a letter requesting a DV and a cease to desist only written contact letter, but I did not sent it certified mail. I never received any other written contact from the company.
I was recently informed that I was being sued for the debt of 3152. I was served a paper that did not seem legit so I called the General Sessions Court Clerk to confirm and it was legit. The clerk then preceded to tell me that they filed suit in June of 2010, but I was unable to be contacted. Then they re-issued in December of 2010. I just received the papers on March 14, 2011. I stated before the last letter I received from them was stating they had my account this was in April 2010. I no longer live in the county they filed because I moved October of last year They did not send me a written letter about going to court for the matter. They do not update their records because my address has changed since last contacted.I do have the money to pay the amount but it is the principle of the matter. They are charging extra than the original debt and they did not contact me in writing about the suit. I would pay the original debt owed which is 2469 but not 3152.
How should I approach this situation? Should I go to court and fight? Do you think I need to get an attorney to represent me? Should I call the attorney and settle? What is your advice on the situation?
Thank you for all the background detail you provided about your Chase credit card, Associated Recovery Systems (ARS), and the attorney collecting your now inflated balance through the courts on behalf of a debt buyer.
I generally encourage consumers to fight debt buyer collection lawsuits when motivated, and when it makes sense to do so. I do advise you to seek out an experienced consumer attorney in this regard. You will have to come up with a retainer to pay the attorney to defend against the suit. You may not win.
The issue with your situation is the balance. If you are willing and capable to pay 2469.00 to settle the account now, but instead dug in and defended the suit, the cost would likely exceed the 700.00 difference between what you would settle for and the amount you are being sued for.
If you are willing to defend the debt buyer/debt collector lawsuit on principle, I offer my applause and encouragement.
Be sure it makes mathematical sense to fight a credit card collection lawsuit from a debt buyer.
If you are inclined to settle for 2469 and are willing to reach out to the collection law firm in that effort, you should. You would have better odds of getting them to accept your offer (or even less of an offer) if you had first filed an answer to the complaint pursuant to your courts local rules. Reason being; most junk debt buyers are looking for the lowest hanging fruit and literally count on your not responding to the summons and getting default judgment. The lawsuits that get answered have an increased likelihood of getting settled out of court for a fair amount.
If you would like further assistance with locating a debt collection defense attorney, or some tips on negotiating the account, feel free to reach out to us through the consultation request form, and to post in the comments below.
Anyone with questions or concerns about dealing with debt buyers is welcome to post in the comments below for feedback.