I also posted this on another board, but think it might be more appropriate on this board.
On 11/21/01 I was involved in a motor vehicle accident and my 2001 Chrysler Sebring was totaled. I was informed by my insurance company that my vehicle policy had expired 1 week prior, so they refused to cover repairs/replacement (that's another story).
At the time, I was a recently divorced parent with no assests, or money in the bank, to cover this huge loss. On 1/14/02 I sent a certified letter to the vehicle lien holder informing them of the loss, that I would no longer be making the monthly payment (last payment made in 11/01), and was relinquiching the vehicle to them (informed them where to pick-up the vehicle). I knew they would probably sue me for the loan balance (20,000), but at the time I had no other options.
The lien holder chose not to pick-up the vehicle and it was left at a local repair shop. That shop was closed down 2 yrs later, and the Sebring (along with numerous other vehicles) were towed by the local police to a scrap yard in another town. I was contacted by the scrap dealer (and DMV) in 2003 informing me the vehicle was being sold for scrap (less than 200 dollars).
I remarried (legally changed last name) in 2003 and moved 30 miles away, never hearing another word about the Sebring from the lien holder or any collection agency. I have been employed with the same employer for the past 10 yrs (state government agency), and figured the lien holder, or a collection agency, would contact me through my employer, but no one ever did.
While trying to purchase a home in 2005, I learned the $20,000 owed to the lien holder was showing on my credit report as a charge off, so my husband purchased our home in his name only. I have rebuilt my credit (other than the charge off), but I still have no actual assests/property. I have two new car loans in my name, 2 visa cards, and 3 store credit cards.
Yesterday, I rec'd in the mail (addressed to my former last name) a copy of a Case Management Statement showing an attorney/collection agency filed a complaint (I am listed as defendent, but under my prior married name) with my local Civil Court stating... "I entered into a an agreement with them in 11/00, defaulted on the terms of the agreement in 11/01, that they (the debt collector) repossessed the collateral, I was given notice of the sale, the collateral was sold in a commercially reasonable manner. However, the proceeds were not enough to satisfy the outstanding balance (none of which is true). Therefore, Plaintiff (the debt collector) has been damaged in the sum of $20,000 from 11/16/01, attorney fees and cost.
What does this mean??? Is the debt collector now trying to sue me for something that was charged off by the original lien holder? I'm pretty sure the SOL has expired! To date, I have not been served with any summons, but I checked my local courts online service, and it does show a Case Management Conference scheduled (under my prior last name) for 4/3/06?
Do I need to contact this attorney/debt collector agency right now, or wait until I receive a summons? When, or if, I need to respond, do I use my new last name, even though all of their paperwork shows my old last name? Should I seek an attorney now, or wait until I receive an actual summons? Is the Case Management Statement copy I rec'd in the mail just a scare tactic used by some collection agencies, or is it the real thing?
Any info you can offer would be helpful... Thanks!