for those who care, i got served my papers

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Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 169
   Posted 9/18/2007 6:06 PM (GMT -6)   
I am being sued for a credit card account from over 8 years ago. It was an account I opened and that my ex charged up, and I refused to pay, because my credit was already trashed and I didn't care. I don't know why they are going after me now, but hey. It's for around 1400 dollars.

I don't know how to "answer with the court" but I do have 21 days to do so. I mean, these people (the lawyers/collection company) called me a few months ago and I told them straight up that I have no money, no income, no assets, etc. The lady was arguing with me, "Well who pays your bills?" and "How do you live?". I told I was disabled, lost my job, and can no longer work. She just continued to argue with me and I wound up in tears.

So, that's what it's about. What to do about it, I have no idea. All I do know, is that I have no way to pay it. Heck, I can't even buy food for my kids. I have NO INCOME. NONE. Do they think they can squeeze blood from a stone?? If it wasn't for my parents, I would be either dead or on the streets. They live on a limited income, and I HATE that I am wasting their precious few retirement dollars to pay for pain management and my insurance at the tune of nearly 1500 a month. Then there's my kids pills, at the tune of over 300 a month.
I am not going to ask them to help me pay for this.

I can only imagine there will be more lawsuits coming as I don't pay the mounting medical bills I get. How can I??? I pay what I need to see the person, but I don't pay what I get billed later, cause my crappy insurance didn't pay. The only one I pay all thetime is my pain doc, because you will be discharged from the practice if you don't pay.

I just wanted to let you know what happened, and what it was about, for those who cared. If anyone has any info on what I should do, or how to serve an "answer with the court in proper legal form" please let me know.
DX: DDD, DJD, HNP L2-S1, OA, OP, intractable pain, severe asthma, COPD, migraines, endometriosis, uterine ca, PCOS, metabolic syndrome, chronic epstien-barr virus, fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, PTSD, avoidant personality disorder, social phobia, SLE, connective tissue disorder

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Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 38
   Posted 9/18/2007 8:22 PM (GMT -6)   

Well, I dont know about your particular credit card and who they use to collect but I can share a personal experience with you.  5years ago I had someone come out to work on my house. I signed a year contract to pay by the month for services. When the year was up I was billed for the next month.  I called them and said the contract was for only one year but they insisted I had to pay the next month and then I would be done with it.  I refused out of principal in my opinion.  Well, eventually it was sent to collections.  I avoided it for a long time and finally got some nasty letter in the mail about taking me to court and so on.  Someone told me if you send    $1 a month they can not do anything.  As long as you send them something.  So I sent them $1 a month for 2 years, My guess it was just a pain to them as I finally stopped paying one month to see what they would do with the balance.  It has been years and I have never heard from them.  Try it, you got nothing to lose


Stella Marie
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Date Joined May 2005
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   Posted 9/18/2007 8:46 PM (GMT -6)   

Dear Rehab Nurse,

I actually had a friend that was in a similar situation.  Legal aid is certainly there for you and is an excellent advocate, so make sure you contact them as soon as possible.  One thing my friend did was get a letter from each of her doctors which briefly outlined her diagnosis and prognosis.  She had each of the doctors clearly document her ability to work and their opinion of her earning potential.  Next, she compiled all of the letters and then composed a cover letter recapping her health situation, but also her family situation and responsibilities.  She sent the packet of letters to each of her creditor’s along with a family picture of her and her children.  I was surprised, but several of her creditor’s dropped their outstanding balances or dramatically reduced them based on what they claimed were compassionate circumstances. I am not sure  what your specific situation might be, but it is just a suggestion.

Stella Marie

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 535
   Posted 9/18/2007 9:54 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello there Rehab Nurse,

I am sorry to hear about your legal problems. I was involved in a similar situation about a year and a half ago. I had applied for disability but had not yet been approved. So I had no money in which to pay something of this nature. So I decided to research this and I found out quite a bit of information.

The first thing to do is respond in writing to the court that you are contesting this lawsuit. You must do this quickly as most municipalities only allow a short time in which to respond. If a response is required and you do not they may consider the creditors case to be true and award them a judgment.

Find our what your state's statute of limitations are. Most say that a creditor has 4-5 years in which to bring legal action against you. Although every state is different. If the statute has expired you can then advise the court and creditor of such. Requesting that the case be dismissed.

Write a letter to the creditor and Carbon Copy the court asking for validation of your account. You want to ask them to send you all the documentation that they have on you that proves you have an obligation to pay this debt. If the creditor is a 3rd party collection agency there is a very really possibility that they won't have this information and without it the lawsuit will be thrown out. Whatever you do, do not sign an agreement with the collection agency and do not send them any money.

When a collection agency purchases bad debt from a credit card company, bank, etc. they do it in bulk and for pennies on the dollar. Your account maybe in a certain portfolio and there usually is no documentation associated with it. IE; your signature. If for some reason you sent money or signed an agreement to pay they will now have legal proof that the debt is yours.

Now if for some reason you are still found liable to repay this debt and a judgment is entered against you the court will take into consideration as what your earning are and where they come from. Certain types of income are considered judgment proof (they can't take your income), things such as Social Security, Disability from private insurance, Welfare, Workers Comp. So even if you were to lose this case you would most likely not have to pay.

From my experience the type of companies that issue lawsuits for old debts are the worst of the worst. The are known as bottom feeders. What they try and do is obtain a judgment and then come after you. Most of the time the are awarded these because people do not respond in a timely manner or they do not go to court. They win by default and that is exactly what they want.

So please do not get yourself overly worked up. You can beat them.

If you need some help in writing letters please let me know, as I have a few that I can send to you. or if you need anything else please feel free to let me know.

Take care.


Post Edited (quahog) : 9/18/2007 9:07:23 PM (GMT-6)

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Date Joined Jan 2005
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   Posted 9/18/2007 10:02 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm so sorry for your misery. First, do what Stella suggested. Contact Legal Aid in your area. The Red Cross may be able to help also. If any of these people call you again you have the right NOT to be called any more. Tell them do not call again or you will report them to the attorney general's office. You DO have rights even in this situation. Don't let them bully you.

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New Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 9/19/2007 12:25 AM (GMT -6)   
I care. I dont know you and I havent been on this site for very long.

I just wanted to let you know that I really do care and am so sorry that this is happening to you.

You will be in my thoughts.
Hugs to you and your family.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 4305
   Posted 9/19/2007 12:56 AM (GMT -6)   
I am glade that you finally found out what is going on.Glenn is so right they can not attach you Social Security,and the others that he has mention(sp)and like Chutz said don't let them bully you.I aslo had a simmler one my self about six months ago a colection agency had bought my account and they were calling me left and right.I told them that I had no money that I was not able to work and this is what he said--I WILL THROW YOU IN JAIL,I told him to take his best shot.When this man finally fiquerd out that I was not going to take his crap he then wanted me to agree to paying $300.00 a month.I asked him what part of what I said did he not understand?any way I told him to get it the best way that he could.I told him I was on disability and he told me well we will put a garnishment on my disability and I told him to go ahead and try because the law reads you can not garnish any money that are from govenment money.The others are right there is leagel aide and that is what they are for to help people like you that have no money and can not afford any other typ of Lawyers.Let us know how it goes.

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 169
   Posted 9/19/2007 8:43 PM (GMT -6)   
If the SOL if 7 years, what about the agencies that buy the original debt?? I know this is not the first collection agency to deal with this debt. This is at least the second one, because they started calling all my old numbers.

Is there any way I can find out how many times this original debt has been bought? Or do I just do that by asking this lawyer's office to show me proof of debt? Then I could find out the original date of opening the account?? Does it matter what what the last time I made a payment was? I was reading online that if your debt is 6 years old, and you start to pay on it a few dollars a month, the whole 7 year rule starts all over. Is this true??

Ugh. This is all so much to deal with. I called Legal Aid and they said they could not help me with this, so I am on my own. At this point, I don't know what to do.

And I do not yet have SSDI, I am only in the process of applying for it. I actually have NO INCOME at all. I don't know why this creditor can't check that out. Isn't there a way that a creditor can check with the IRS for income of mine?? That alone will prove I don't have any income. And last year, I only grossed 16 thousand dollars. 7 thousand of that went into my health premiums. You do the math and figure out how I can raise two young kids on that and live above poverty. It's impossible.

Sigh. I hate dealing with crap like this. I have such an anxiety/panic over things that involve legal matters, I always have. I know others think it is no big deal, but this is a huge deal to me. I don't think my body could handle going to court. These guys are morons for filing suit against a woman who has no income. Duh. You can't squeeze blood from a rock.

And I loved the little card they slipped in between the legal papers. It said "If you are willing to make payment arrangements, please call this number. Then it said, even if you make arrangements, it does not stop this litigation". Why would I want to call then???
DX: DDD, DJD, HNP L2-S1, OA, OP, intractable pain, severe asthma, COPD, migraines, endometriosis, uterine ca, PCOS, metabolic syndrome, chronic epstien-barr virus, fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, PTSD, avoidant personality disorder, social phobia, SLE, connective tissue disorder

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   Posted 9/20/2007 1:39 AM (GMT -6)   
Rehab Nurse, were you actually served with what is called a Plaintiff's Original Petition where it states what court the Petition was filed in? If so, an Answer is due in so many days to be filed with the court that the suit is in. A copy of the Answer needs to be mailed to the attorneys that signed the Petition. You would need a Defendant's Original Answer, that states all allegations in the Plaintiff's Petition are denied. It a one sheet deal only. After that, if they continue on it can go thru whats called a Discovery process. I would find out the SOL for your state and then try to get something to show when the acct was opened. It does not matter how many times its been bought, the statute remains the same. Susie

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 535
   Posted 9/20/2007 3:36 AM (GMT -6)   

The whole 7 years has to do with how long they (creditor) can report on it to the credit bureaus.  There are some cases where it can be 10 years such as with paid judgments and bankruptcies.

Now to bring legal action against you most states say it has to be between 4-5 years after that they can still report it to the credit bureaus for the remainder but they aren't supposed to be able to sue.  Every state has a different law on this. Some only go to 3 years and other go to the full 7. 

It all depends upon the state you live in.  It also doesn't matter if you opened the account in a different state and then moved to another one.   The state you live in currently is what everything is based on.   It seems this a a popular tatic.   In my lawsuit the account was opened in New Hampshire.  Years later after I stopped using the credit card I moved to Maine. I never even used the card here but it didn't matter as they served me papers. In NH the SOL was 3 years but in maine it was 7.  So because of this fact I could not use the  SOL against them.   If I had still been living in NH they would have never tried to sue me.

Here are some weblinks that you may find helpful

I was also wondering if you received my email?  



Post Edited (quahog) : 9/20/2007 3:03:45 AM (GMT-6)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 3148
   Posted 9/20/2007 9:45 PM (GMT -6)   
hi rehabnurse,
i am so so sorry & i wish i could make this go away. i'm in a similar situation also...may creditors i'm 6 months behind payment, etc...
i just opened a file w/ legal aid today.
if you have no assets or real estate in your name...there's really nothing any collection agency can do to you other than harras and sue you.
but...don't let this scare you. they're just papers!
my lawyer today explained to me that since i can not work, i earn no wages, and have no assets...the worst that can happen is collections trying to sue me. (which a few already are attempting to do).

do you think you might be eligeable for any sort of general assistance? if you're to get medicaid it would save you a ton of money.
if you were call legal aid & have them talk to you about bankruptcy would they then be able to help you?

i'm as well figuring this all out as i go.
my heart goes out to you....hang in there.
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Elite Member

Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 9/22/2007 10:18 AM (GMT -6)   
I dont understand IF you have no income at all why does Legal Aide refuse to help you might have just had someone with a bad day the day you contacted them

I know that here in Ontario,Canada while waiting for Disabilty you go on Ontario Works ( fancy name for welfare lol).............

There are so many places that could help you out here so I would assume that some of these places like Churches Salvation Army .......Goodfellows ...Legions ect would also help out where you are ?? I may be wrong I am only trying to throw out some suggesstions RN

YOU have many many ppl that CARE about you on here and what is happening to you
Remember that plz.............

GREAT input from all posters IMHO..........LYN

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Post Edited (Howlyncat) : 9/23/2007 5:11:07 AM (GMT-6)

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 169
   Posted 9/22/2007 4:52 PM (GMT -6)   
Quahog, yes I did receive your email and responded back twice with all the info i found out. This company is called Palisades, and it is a bottom feeder credit collection. However, these ARE true legal papers. I AM being sued in my county court house.

The SOL in my state is 6 years. I opened this account way before that, and I know, because they have listed on my account my old work number. I haven't worked at that place in over 7 years. However, it looks like, from the paperwork, I made my last payment on the debt in December 2004 (and I don't belive that).

That's what I don't understand. If the debt was opened as a charge account over 7 years ago, does it meat the SOL for my state and this can be thrown out???

OR, because it says I made my last payment in 2004, does the 6 year rule make the SOL run out in 2010???

This is what I do not understand.

How do I reply to the court?? I called Legal Aid twice, and since I have a divorce proceeding going trough right now, they will not help me with any other litigation. I don't know. I talked to more than one person about this.

I have 21 days to respond to the court with an answer.

I just don't understand the SOL. Does it apply to the original opening of the account??? Or does it apply to the last date of payment on the debt???

If I understood this SOL, maybe I could figure out my next step, cause at this point, I am lost.

I just don't understand how these people don't check into what assets or what income I have. I mean, they are wasting a TON of money on filing and attorneys fees by serving me court papers when I have no way of paying them back. I mean, they should really check into one's income before filing suit, but I know these people don't really care about any people they are suing, they just want money, money, money.
DX: DDD, DJD, HNP L2-S1, OA, OP, intractable pain, severe asthma, COPD, migraines, endometriosis, uterine ca, PCOS, metabolic syndrome, chronic epstien-barr virus, fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, PTSD, avoidant personality disorder, social phobia, SLE, connective tissue disorder

MEDS: MS Contin 100mg q 6; MSIR 30mg q 6 PRN; Celebrex 200mg QD; Actiq 600mcg q 6 PRN; Lamactil 25mg BID; Klonopin 0.5mg BID, Cymbalta 60mg QD;
Ventolin 2 puffs q 6; Advair 500/50 one puff q 12, Multivitamin

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 9/24/2007 2:07 PM (GMT -6)   
Im not sure of all the legalities of what you are going thru, but I do know that if those people call you, just hang up on them. If they continue, turn off the ringer. They cant put you in jail, and they cant take money you dont have. No judge who looks at your situation is going to rule against you. You obviously have severe health problems and arent able to earn. Get yourself on disability quick-it takes awhile to get it, so hurry and get the process started. The creditors cant touch disability income.
Try to remember that they cant hurt you-they can just be a pain in the butt. Hang up right away, or dont answer the phone at all. Answering machines are wonderful things!!! If there are papers filed-or maybe even a court date?? find out when it is, and go in and talk to the judge. Bring your medical records. They cant take what you dont have to give, and the judge is going to see that you have no way to pay.

Deep breaths!! Try to smile about something today!

P.S.When the last collection people called to harass me,I told them that I had been on my way to work when I got hurt, to a good job I had for 10 years, and that I hoped they would drive really carefully on their way home that day and everyday, cause some idiot was just waiting out there to hit them and ruin their life too-just like mine had been. And I hoped that IF they were unfortunate enough for something like that to happen to them , I hoped someone would be calling them everyday and harassing them like they were me, when there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. Then they would get to see what it was like to be on the receiving end of that kind of treatment. And I wished them luck. They didnt call back!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 649
   Posted 9/24/2007 3:53 PM (GMT -6)   

Sorry to disagree.  You can't just hang up on these people and hope they'll go away.  Same with court papers.

First, with the collection idiots, pick up the phone and tell them to "cease and desist" harrassing you for payment.  Period.  End of story.  "Cease and desist" are the magic legal words that every collection agency - by law - must obey, and in addition to saying them over the phone, you MUST put them in writing to each agency doing the harrassing.  They've heard every story ever told, and bemoaning health issues won't make a dam bit of difference.  It's their job to collect money, and they'll do anything to scare you into paying.  Why should they believe you when the bulk of their accounts are from people who never intended to pay in the first place?  I don't mean to be harsh; it's just the fact of the matter.  And what you need to do now is deal with the facts.

If you can't get free legal advice, you still cannot ignore a court summons.  There should be a notification requirement in your papers, i.e, a deadline to respond, and whether it can be made in writing or done in person.  You MUST respond whether you have a lawyer or not.  If you don't respond, it will result in a default judgment against you.  At the very least, type out a written response and stick to the facts.  Respond only to what is charged in the papers you received.  Dig out any paperwork you still have from years ago to back up your response.  If you have ignored communications from the creditor for years, you honestly may not have a leg to stand on.  Sick or not, the debt exists, and that's all the court is concerned with.

This very situation is why I preach so loudly about not ignoring debt - medical or otherwise.  As soon as you have a problem paying, you HAVE to contact the creditor and work out something.  And yes, even big bad old Master Card has helped me sort out a workable solution in the past.  Playing the ostrich will only make things worse.  Forget using Ma Bell in these situations.  You have to put it all in writing and keep copies to cover your rear end.

Rehab, have you contacted any law schools, even paralegal schools, in your area to check on low or no-cost legal assistance?  Maybe even one of those "credit help" hotlines could direct you to someone who might help you navigate your way through the courts?

Living in the Republic of Texas minus a gallbladder, a couple of cervical discs, appendix, uterus, and 18" of colon; but living with my wonderful husband, 2 dogs, 1 cockatiel, and 2 gold fish. 

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 554
   Posted 10/2/2007 7:38 PM (GMT -6)   
ohhhh boy. I should start with telling you I am in collections to repo vehicles so I know a little of what you are talking about. I should start the story with 10 years ago I had a 6 digit salary. Lost my job- and my 401K only covered enough to pay my immediate debts, so I let all my credit cards go. I was "served" papers to an old residence and because some moron signed for them, it pretty much meant I was served. Fast forward about 4 years, I applied for a line of credit and was denied due to the fact that I had a judegement on my credit.... yeah. They held everything and since I didn't show up- I was deemed guilty. Though it was my debt, I would have owned up to it... But, would have liked to had the oppertunity to settle the debt. I was only 20 at the time- you live and you learn. Now, in my current position my job is to collect- no matter what. Dosen't matter WHO has the collateral- you have your name on it, it is your responsibilty to ensure that debt is paid. If there is a situation where someone has "stolen" your name/credit you need to immediatly get someone on this. The reason is collectors work only what they know- we aren't all terrible people, I like to think I educate and help people. And statue of limitations is not true. Back track to my 20 year old mistakes I have had several medical and credit lines that still try and come after me. This is how it works:
1) the original company who extended you the credit will attempt to collect
2) (in a cc situation) if they can not collect on you, the sell a bulk of folders to a third-party debt collection agency. The pay a quarter of what you owe. So- a $2000 cc bill might really owe about $300.
3) it is very possible that this third-party might sell their folders to another agency... it goes on and on.

A year ago my credit score was in the 400's due to the medical bills I racked up at 20 due to an emergency surgery- i had no insurance- and now my credit is around 750. How did I do it? I went for a car loan and the salesman was very helpful in repairing my credit. Though all my lines of credit now are perfect- I had these medical bills haunting me. He told me to seek legal advice that they can not do this. Ten years of shame and a terrible feeling of dread when I needed to apply for a loan. I called several local attorneys and no one did that type of thing. Finally a secratary at one of the offices told me to try the local bar association-any attorney will be able to provide you with that info- $50 retainer and the process began. Lawyers are held to an ethical code morally whereas a debt repair place doesn't have to. They fight these accounts that try to re-sell and help remove as the salesman told me "junk" in your credit. My advice is to call the local bar and immediatly get an attorney. A judgement will be on your credit for up to 10 years, and then they may sell the debt like mine were, every couple of years. One bad item can resell nearly every 2 years- thats over 4 negative marks by the time the original drops off. It will be well worth the money spent in the end. And I don't know if they have hardship cases- dosen't hurt to ask. (pro-bono work) And as far as collections go- the original issuer- DOES NOT have to adhere to an ethical code of conduct. A lot of people think they can't say rude comments or call on Sundays.. not true at all. All bets are off when they are collecting on the original debt. Only a third-party collector has to adhere to FDCPA laws. (let's say your Chase cc sells the debt to NCO collectors) Chase can call all day, send a letter every single day, call referances if you have them, etc... Now, NCO has to adhere to some ethical codes (though I have dealt with them and really they don't) And a 3rd party can't call on Sundays or from 8am to 8pm local time. My company CHOOSES to follow FDCPA laws because it is the right thing to do. But remember- you are in collections- don't expect the red carpet roll out. I hope this helps you some. I will be thinking of you- let me know what happens!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2005
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   Posted 10/3/2007 1:05 AM (GMT -6)   
I do not mean to be rude but I suggest you do some more research about the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
All Creditors must abide by it and that includes ORIGINAL CREDITORS.

The fact that some will try and tell you they don't have to follow it is scandalous and completely false.

They thrive on people who do not know the law and there are many.

However, I do agree with you that if you took out debt that you should work to repay it but most collection agencies as you have said are slime balls and seek to collect on a debt which they have no business collecting on. When dealing with these people as well as all collection for that matter ask for VALIDATION. Do not make a payment or sign anything without proof that they have the legal right to demand payment. Just because your name is on something doesn't mean you owe anything. If they are a reputable and legal agency then they should have no issues with sending you documentation. IE Signature card, credit contract, etc. proof that you owe the money.
However, most are unable to do so.

Post Edited (quahog) : 10/3/2007 9:30:47 AM (GMT-6)

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Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 554
   Posted 10/3/2007 7:11 PM (GMT -6)   
I will be more than happy to read the link.... I work in the number one lender in the world. There are laws that change every day. We are constantly in a class or taking knowledge checks, even audited by an outside source to maintain our conversations adhere to FDCPA laws. I know quite a bit- not everything- thats never possible. I study hard and work even harder. I am a repossesion agent, it is never something I WANT to do, I make every attempt possible to get in contact before I send an agent to retrieve my companie's collateral. I am a very kind, caring person. I have a fantastic reputation in my company and more importantly with my clients. I am able to stop 90% of my portfolio from losing their accounts. If I have to spend an entire hour on the phone with them I most certainly will. I also have a bachelors and am persuing an MBA along with a minor in international finance. There are some very rude people who do try and collect- usually people who have never walked in their shoes. I have been there, I have had months on end where all I could afford to eat was ramen noodles, I have put myself through college- until my current job who pays the majority of the tab, I have had cancer, lost a love tragically... I keep on going. I KNOW what it is like to be that person on the other end scared to pick up the phone. My only intention from all this and my previous post was to try and help her, from my own experience. And hopefully she will be able to work this out. Ultimatly they want to settle the account- they never want to go to extremes. And, there are nice people who really want to help. FDCPA or not, I would never be disrespectful to anyone, especially someone who is having hard times. I am a strong believer in Karma- what you put out in the world will come back to you. I am not going to post on this topic anymore, because I do not feel as if I need to defend myself to anyone. I did find your comments offensive. Its not nice to stereotype. Rehabnurse, I really hope this works out for you. I will keep you in my thoughts- and I hope some of the things I suggest will help you out. And, believe me- there are nice people on the other end of the phone. If you have someone who is offensive- ask for a unit manager. There are chains of command, no matter what they tell you. I just know what happened to me ended up as a judgement- I had no chance to defend myself over a $200 balance. This is on there for 7-10 years and is a major black spot on my credit. I hope you find someway of resolving this. Shoot me an e-mail if you need anymore suggestions.
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