FLORIDA. I am being sued by Midland Funding, LLC for credit card debt claimed to have been purchased from Synchrony Bank. The complaint was filed 12/27/2017, filed the same day was a summons (stating issued) which was "BLANK" at the bottom, no date or signature. I was not served with a summons, however, I received a copy mailed to be via USPS, not certified or registered. There is no proof of my ever receiving a summons. In error and out of fear of a judgement being awarded against me, I answered the summons 1/27/2018 with an "Answer & Affirmative Defense". I now know I should have handled it differently, I now have to continue from this point. Filed on 6/20/2019 (17 months later) was an answer from the Midland representative, denying the affirmative defense and demanding strict proof. In Florida, I am not sure if I have overstepped being able to request Arbitration or if it would be the correct course. The credit card agreement with Synchrony states the cost for Arbitration will be paid by Synchrony, should I prevail in the claims against them. I am not certain the case would be dropped by Midland due to the cost they "might incur" for arbitration.
Midland Funding, LLC, supposedly purchased my credit card debt for pennies on the dollar. Why would I owe more than they paid for the debt? I was not notified by Synchrony, as required by law, within 30 days of the sale of my debt. I did not enter into an agreement with Midland. The amount of the claim is over $7400 plus the fees associated with the case. I would estimate a total in access of $8000. I am unemployed since 2016, I do not have the money for an Attorney.
At your request, I will send you a copy of the complaint and my answer so you will be completely aware my situation.
What are the steps I should take from this point? Thank you for any advice you can me.
2 Answers from Attorneys
You answered the complaint, thus consenting to service. Florida law is fairly settled on the idea that once you file an answer and affirmative defenses, you waive any right to arbitration. However, you can file a motion demanding arbitration - you never know what the judge might do. I would not do it if you hired me as your attorney. You owe the debt to Synchrony, the amount that Midland paid is irrelevant to any aspect of your case. You don't have to enter into an agreement with Midland, because sales and assignments of contracts are not subject to the debtor's approval. Did you raise the lack of notice as an affirmative defense? Whether you have any money to pay the debt is also irrelevant to the question of whether you owe the debt. There are lawyers in Florida who do nothing but defend people who have been sued by debt buyers - I think these cases are taken on contingency, but I'm not certain . That's a hint.
The amount you spend on hiring an attorney for this matter will be minor has to compared what you may have to pay if you get a judgement against you, not to mention the time and stress this will cost you. I strongly suggest you contact an attorney to help you out of this mess. You already see how trying to do it yourself has led to another problem. If you decide to do it yourself, be sure to read all the statutes and proper procedures you must follow to obtain your goal.