A debt collector wants to arbitrate with me through the National Arbitration Forum.
I tried to settle this debt with them by sending a letter to them in December 2008 demanding they show proof they own the debt.
Would their refusal of proving to me they own the debt be a defense for me to not respond?
They were being tricky when they sent me the five (5) page letter via Fed-Ex in a large box. I was thinking it was the documents I had requested.
As a general proposition, if a debt collector has commenced an arbitration proceeding through the NAF, your failure to respond substantively and timely, no matter how justified you believe your position may be, is quite likely to result in issuance of an Award against you and in favor of the debt collector, not only for the principal amount allegedly due, but also for associated interest, fees, and other money damages that can substantially increase the amount for which you may be held liable. In other words, and I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you ignore an NAF arbitration proceeding at your own peril. Please note that such an award, once issued, can be extremely difficult to vacate or appeal. Bottom line: If you receive a claim filed against you before the NAF or similar arbitral forum, either engage counsel to assist you, or become very familiar with the forum's rules (available online), and follow all procedures and deadlines to defend your case. If you don't respond to it, the Arbitrator won't know why, and it's more likely than not that you'll lose. (The supposed trickery to which you refer is immaterial -- please don't distract yourself with non-issues that only might hurt, not help, you.) Please note that I practice in NY. As they say, "Your Mileage May Vary." Best of luck.
There is a new Kentucky Supreme Court case that throws out many arbitration clauses in contracts. It was decided in January, 2009.
If the case applies to your situation, you may not need to deal with the National Arbitration Forum. Of course, if you are able to use this case to avoid arbitration, you may end up in a lawsuit in court.
You should carefully weigh which forum is likely to yield a better result for you, in light of the new case. It appears from the decision that even if an arbiter rules against you, the decision can not be enforced in Kentucky Courts. You should consult with a local lawyer about your situation. If they are not aware of the new case, you can educate them!