01-01-2013 08:19 AM
I sometimes can't use one word when twenty will do, so bear with me.
A few years ago, I had a checking account with Citibank. I switched to a community bank and didn't close the Citi account so I just let it go. Unbeknownst to me (it slipped my mind) I had a couple of checks that were outstanding at Citi and they bounced. Fees built up. Again, I was not aware of the checks or the fees. I had actually opened a savings account with a different bank well after the Citi account was charged off, and got an all clear from Chex Systems.
Interestingly, last winter I went back to banking with Citibank and they, too, had no issues with Chex Systems or their database. No problems. Fast forward to late spring 2012, I got a letter from a company that had purchased the debt from Citi. I thought it was a mistake and asked a friend of mine, who works for Citibank, to check into it. He checked their data base and Chex Systems and nothing was there. I contacted the company to tell them that they had made a mistake and they said they would get back to me. I never heard from them.
Late July I received notification from a FAKO credit monitoring service that I used saying I had a BIG FAT JUDGMENT residing in my credit file.
This company had sued for the debt.
NOTE: as God as my witness, I NEVER received a summons to court. Naturally, I freaked. I contacted my friend at Citi first and, lo and behold, he said that he was going to contact me that very same day that they had found this old account. I have no idea why it never showed up in their preliminary investigation, nor with Chex Systems.
Sidebar, this debt had been charged off to Chex Systems five years previously and yet I was still able to open three bank accounts during the five year period that Chex Systems was supposed to have it in their database which should have prevented me from opening the other accounts.
I immediately contacted the company and settled in full. A couple of weeks later, I went to the court house and spoke to the clerk, explaining my situation and arguing that the judgment should be vacated because: I. Was. Never. Served. She told me to go across the hall, pay five bucks for a document that I could send to the credit bureaus disputing the judgment. I received a document to send to the credit bureaus with the dispute and was under the impression that the credit bureaus would contact the court and the court would not respond and the judgment would drop off.
However, during a conversation about it with a friend of mine, he said that he thought that all that document would do was show that the debt had been paid. He told me that the judgment was probably sitting in my report but did not indicate that it had been paid. Oh, crap! I have disputed the judgment with the bureaus, but that was earlier this month and so I know I have to wait a bit and see what happens. I did speak with a lawyer and indicated that all this hinges on the fact that I was not served. He said I could reopen the case, but I don't want to go to that expense yet. If it comes down to it, I am on friendly terms with a former mayor of the city I live in, the same city I was sued in, and I thought that if it wouldn't be presumptuous I would ask him if he knew a judge who might be willing to vacate the judgment ( or ask one who could) if all else fails, as a favor. My feeling is since I settled immediately upon learning of the judgment and my friend at Citibank would write a letter explaining the steps they took in the investigation which led me to believe that the account was not actually mine that I might prevail.
So, while I wait, I thought I would throw this out to the forum and see what other people might have an opinion of it.
01-01-2013 08:23 AM
What was the document? If it's a "satisfaction" that will only update the judgement to paid.
You need to look in to grounds for vacating a judgement in your jurisdiction. If you were never served then the judgement could have been vacated but I'm not sure whether paying it affects your standing to try to set the judgement aside for non-service.
01-01-2013 09:39 PM
I will have to check that tomorrow and get back to you.
I am not disputing the debt, now that I know it was mine. I just don't want the judgment sitting on my credit report. It didn't cause a big crash (my Fico is in the mid 600s. If I paid my debts down to 10% I could get it above 700). I digress. The fact is, my big fear is one of my card companies seeing it and cutting my CL. I need good limits for emergencies.
01-02-2013 12:55 AM
I would go back and ask what their policy is for vacating a judgement. Some courts will, some won't. But it's worth a try to ask.
01-04-2013 02:50 PM
It's called a "certificate of judgment."
01-04-2013 02:51 PM
Thanks. If my dispute comes back without it being removed from my credit report, then that is what I will have to try. I have been told by an attorney that I can reopen the case in court if I want.
01-04-2013 06:08 PM
Did you pull a copy of the court records of the trial?
A pre-trial procedural requirement in civil cases is that the record show proper notice of service on the defendant.
So there is something in the record that shows how service was allegedly made. Perhaps your situation and jurisdiction provides for notice by publication.
I dont see that having paid the alleged debt would preclude actions to establish inaccuracy in the judgment. To the contrary, payment would establish satisfaction of any judgment they might seek at this point, and thus obviating any future judgement.
I would definately seek a motion to vacate, provided the court records establish basis of lack of proper service. If granted, it would, in my opinion, put the matter in its grave.
01-05-2013 07:35 AM
Thanks, Robert. I didn't pull the records because, frankly, I didn't know to, since I am not a lawyer. But I appreciate your guidance and I will look into it on Monday. My decision to pay the judgment was due to the fact that, as I outlined in my soliloquy, I discovered that the debt was valid and mine. Unfortunately, I didn't find out until after I was supposed to be in court.