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"Pre-litigation" warning on call today...

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  • "Pre-litigation" warning on call today...

    Have been dealing with this now for several months and had planned on filing the 1st of Sept., but because of some unexpected things (had to fix air conditioner, medical bill, etc...) are having to wait longer to save up.

    Today, got a call from Chase Card Services regarding one of our accounts and went thru the same song and dance with them...they were actually pretty nice, as they have been for the most part, however the woman on the phone told me that she just wanted to let me know that this account was getting ready to be sent to "pre-litigation"... From looking around on this site, I assume it is getting ready to be discharge or bought off. Would that be right?

    Could someone possibly shed some light on this for me...those that might have gone thru the same.

  • #2
    FDIC regs require an account to be chargedoff at 180 days from first default.
    Prelitigation can mean many things from they're getting ready to sue to, doing nothing more than handing the account to 3rd party debt collectors.
    I had 4 Chase cards and was in default for 5 months before I filed and they did nothing but call and send letters.


    • #3
      Don't sweat it...


      The process takes FAR LONGER than they would have you believe.

      First they typically take 180 days to sell or "charge off" the account. If you take a look at the legend of most credit reports, you'll notice that the longest symbol is 180 days past due. I don't know for sure, but they might be legally obligated to either sell or charge off the account after that point, otherwise they could charge people the late fee + overdraft fee + inflated interest for a very long time.

      AFTER THAT it usually goes to outside collections. ONLY one outside collector has tried to use arbitration against me, and that was after a couple of months of trying to get me to settle. They started the arbitration process in February. By filing simple, free objections and requests for extension I was able to push back the date several times. Supposedly it will now occur on in mid October! Even after that, they have to use the arbitration decision to get a judgment / garnish wages, which I'm sure will take a few weeks as well.

      After all is said and done, the debt is still covered by Ch 7 and Ch 13 BKs, assuming that there weren't any shenanigans involved in obtaining the accounts / etc.

      So, if you're only 2 months past due, and you're probably going to file anyway, don't worry about it. As a matter of fact, I never even really spoke to the collectors. Whenever they call(ed), I just say "sure, hold on for a moment..." and then set the phone down by my stereo, while it is playing the most demented music possible, without being too vulgar of course. Frank Zappa, Dr. Demento, the Dead Milkmen, DK, etc. have plenty of strange things to mess with the BCs'. I have noticed that the stranger, or funnier, a song is the longer they will stay on the line, thereby preventing them from trying to collect from somebody else. Never be intimidated by them, their options are pretty limited and universal. Just put them on hold, don't even listen to what they say while they are holding.

      They are a lot weaker than they make themselves out to be.





      • #4
        Don't worry about it.

        It is illegal for them to threaten you with legal action if they do not plan to pursue such action though several still try that.

        Even if they filed judgment papers tomorrow.

        Generally the Sheriff or Dept that handles that in your area has 30 days to deliver the notice and then you have 30 days from the time of receipt to reply.

        This basically would just establish that you owe the debt.

        Next they'll have a hearing asking you to divulge your information. Again you get papers from the court, and you have something like 30 days to reply.

        After that they'd have to file additional paperwork to either garnish your check or banking accounts. That would take another couple weeks to another month.

        I had folks threaten me for 6 months or so before they really did anything

        My point is don't sweat it, don't send them money, and just get the money you need to file
        May 31st, 2007: Petition Filed by my lawyer
        July 2nd, 2007: 341 Meeting Held
        September 4th, 2007: Discharged and Closed.


        • #5
          They can't legally say "litigation" because then they would be required to sue you. So they say "pre-litigation" and then they are just playing it safe. You are fine. It is just a word they use. Again, my advice is not to talk to creditors. Put a message on your machine that identifies you so that they know they are getting you and not someone else and DON'T ANSWER YOUR PHONE. That means so much less stress.
          Chapter 7 Pro Se....Discharged Feb. 2006


          • #6
   I am freaking out a bit!!! We just got our first letter from Chase that was not the typical, "you have missed payments, please call us, we want to help you thru this difficult time"...

            I am going to quote the letter here, so bear with me...

            "Over the past several months you have failed to make the required minimum payment on your credit card account. To avoid having your account referred to our attorney, you should call us within 20 days of this letter (dated Sept. 27, 2007) to schedule your payment."

            "Because we have not received the required minimum payment for the last several mohtns on the account, Chase now demands immediate payment of the entire balance."

            If you do not agree to a suitable payment arrangement Chase will refer your account to our attorney, who may potentially bring a lawsuit against you for the entire balance due on the account. This could begin a series of events that may potentially result in a judgement being entered against you, and the possible garnishment of part of your salary and/or the attachment of existing bank accounts to potentially pay that judgement."

            We want to help you avoid this unpleasant process - please call now. Otherwise, Chase intends to instruct its attorney to commence legal action against you for the entire balance owed plus appropriate interest and court costs. In order to avoid referral to our attorney and possible legal action, you need to agree upon a suitable repayment arrangement with Chase."

            This is from the Chase Collection Support Department. I am not sure what to do now. The account balance is a large one...over $30,000. Is this just the beginning of "scare tactics" on their part or is this the beginning of the end for us?

            Any advice or words of wisdom would be GREATLY appreciated.


            • #7
              For $30K, you can bet someone will sue sooner or later.
              If bk is in the cards, you need to file ASAP.


              • #8
                Okay calm down.

                This looks like a standard notice sent out. However you don't have the money so there is no point in fretting about it.

                Okay that's dated Sept 27 so if they are counting all days they expect a reply by October 16th. (Now if the 20 days is just business days its more like October 22nd).

                You've still got time. Say they refer it to the lawyer on October 16th. Let's say he has his paralegal send out a letter to you the next day and it takes around 4 days to get to you. His letter will ask for a response in probably 20 to 30 days.

                He'll then probably follow up with a second letter. Then seek a judgment to establish you owe the money. (What state do you live in?)

                I know that you said you were saving up for the bankruptcy. Many attorneys will allow you to pay them in installments. It might be time to consider seeking out 3-4 Bankruptcy attorneys in your area. Take the letter with you. This is show you can show it to the attorney and get some feedback. Out of these 3-4 hopefully you'll find a good one and you should ask if they will allow a retaining fee to be paid and then installments paid on the remainder for a bankruptcy filing. Most are willing to work with you on this, though they cannot file until such time they are paid they can help nip stuff like this in the bud. Once you'd retained a lawyer you'd be proactive and call those collection numbers or when they call inform them that you have retained a lawyer with the intent to file bankruptcy. My lawyer's name is ________. I will be filing a Chapter 7. My lawyer has asked that you contact him at ___________ number.
                May 31st, 2007: Petition Filed by my lawyer
                July 2nd, 2007: 341 Meeting Held
                September 4th, 2007: Discharged and Closed.


                • #9
                  We live in Indiana... I literally feel like my whole body just crashed. This has gotten me REAL worried. I was hoping to wait a few more months but it doesn;t look like that is in the cards.


                  • #10
                    I know how you feel. I ignored the letter warning about the lawyer referral. I then ignored the lawyers letters. Let's see they stated in December 2006 in a call they were coming after me, last time I spoke in person. I ignored all the letters and such. Finally got served papers for the Judgment in April which is what forced me into bankruptcy.

                    It wasn't Chase for me it was Aspire. So I know how scared you feel.

                    You can choose to ignore it if you want and wait for the judgment to see if you can't get some more time. It might take some of the worry off your shoulders though if you can see the BK Attorneys and perhaps get one retained. Once I retained a lawyer I stopped getting calls as I informed folks. They'd still send letters though. It helped me out a lot in my peace of mind.

                    At most though with 30k in debt you'd have about 60 - 90 days at most before they get a judgment I'd think. Then they'd have a garnishment of bank or wages (or possibly both) in another couple weeks at most.

                    Like I said though you don't necessarily have to have all the lawyer's money up front. Most will accept a retaining fee of say 200 to 300 dollars and then allow you to make payments. Don't be afraid, I know it is troubling but the credit collectors want you to be afraid so that you make mistakes .

                    Good Luck pal
                    May 31st, 2007: Petition Filed by my lawyer
                    July 2nd, 2007: 341 Meeting Held
                    September 4th, 2007: Discharged and Closed.


                    • #11
                      I appreciate the kind words... Man, this just blows... I hate to say it, but that $30,000 is just a drop in the bucket of what we actually owe. That is over $120,000. Major medical issues, insurance/no insurance issues, self employed and taxes out the wazoo...using cards to pay for upkeep on the house, cars, etc...robbing peter to pay paul, day after day after day.

                      Whats that old REM song..."it's the end of the world as we know it" (problem is I don't feel fine).

                      Would it be worth the time to call Chase and see what their "options" are or would that just be a waste of time? I would really like to push this off for a few more months but, as I said, isn't looking good.

                      I have seen a couple of lawyers but not overly impressed with either...guess I am going to have to check out a few others. What's that number for Peter Francis Geraci again...? lol


                      • #12
                        For those that have been in this position (possible original creditor "threatening" attorney action), does it make any sense at all to try and work with them to make any type of payments to forestall the inevitable? I guess I am sort of answering my own question there, aren't I???

                        Man, I hate this...we literally have no assets, no extra money, not sure what they would ever expect by doing this, but I am sure it is standard operating procedure, huh.

                        Oh well, life is a b%^&#!


                        • #13
                          Well in early 2005 I lost my previous job due to health issues. I was unemployed for about 3 months. Then got only a part time job. Some of the cards worked for me with a hardship case.

                          However Aspire was the one that refused to help me at all in any way.

                          I didn't owe them as much as you owe Chase, but if you wanted to you might could call them and see if you can't get a hardship case. I'm not sure it would be successful or if you could even pay the hardship price. (Would I suspect be around 200 a month even on hardship).

                          So yes you could call them and see if something is there.

                          I'm not sure I'd wasted a lot of money on them though. You realize you need to file bankruptcy so it might not be worth paying on debts that would be discharged.
                          May 31st, 2007: Petition Filed by my lawyer
                          July 2nd, 2007: 341 Meeting Held
                          September 4th, 2007: Discharged and Closed.


                          • #14
                            I are right. Not sure why I even asked that question as I knew the answer as I was typing.

                            The thing that really pisses me off is that the "genesis" of all this started a few years ago with my back problems and just continued from there. 2 1/2 years ago I was between jobs for a couple of months, knew I would have a hard time paying cc bills, so contacted to them to see what we could work out until we were back on our feet again. Were they interested in helping....absolutely not. All they did, each and every one of them, was raise our rates to astronomical most cases to 29%. This increased just the minimums to double what we were paying before. Then, of course, last year they doubled again when cc companies re-did how they figure their payments.

                            Nothing like kicking someone when they are down... Of course, I did everything I could to pay at least the minimums...even using one card to pay the other...big mistake there. I guess I always thought that "something" would happen to rectify the situation. And of course that didn't happen. Guess I was dreaming there...

                            Thanks anyway.


                            • #15
                              You're welcome pal

                              You know my trouble started when I hurt my back too . That's was one of the reasons I left my old work, as well as my sinus problems there.

                              Chin up though pal. We can only do what we can do. Most of us have tried . We are all here for you in this time of trouble. If you can I'd try to make a few appts for lawyers next week. Most offer the first consultation for free. So you wouldn't need money for that first visit in many cases.
                              May 31st, 2007: Petition Filed by my lawyer
                              July 2nd, 2007: 341 Meeting Held
                              September 4th, 2007: Discharged and Closed.


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