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Everything posted by cjtx2

  1. There have been several cases where creditors have verified deceased status sfter a dispute. So there is no guarantee that they think the way the person making a bona fide dispute would think. I have been reading about this and there are ID theft considerations. So it is not as black and white as it seems.
  2. True. TCPA has an exception for collection calls. So I cannot control what they do, but can certainly make it clear what will happen when they call: that I will not take their call(s). So any attempt to contact me after they know that the call(s) will not be answered, will be deceptive attempt(s) to collect a debt / fraudulent attempt(s) to verify information which they know in advance will not be answered. So assuming I must be deceased because I did not answer a call from a random number will not fly and at least make it hard to justify assumptions without hard, official proof.
  3. Before I dispute with the CRAs, I would send the OC a letter of dispute with the stipulation that because they have been extremely abusive in calling me before, I will not authorize for them to call me anymore, that I do not intend to respond to their phone calls and that any further contact must be by mail. After they receive the revocation of express consent, I will dispute with the CRAs and see if they verify.
  4. Thanks! I had not thought of that. So if I include a revocation of permission to call, they have to contact me by mail if they decide to investigate that way, right?
  5. From my credit report. Several tradelines by this OC (not all) under responsibility instead of individual, joint, etc. show deceased and under payment status consumer reported as deceased.
  6. What kind of proof are you referring to? Contracts? Dunning letters? Calls? Or is it enough to show that if it looks like a duck, etc... ?
  7. Sorry, I meant to say that I would sue the OC for false reporting / failure to investigate correct records under FCRA.
  8. Background: The OC kept all collection activity in house for a long time. Then they hired a CA that specializes in collecting from the dead through their relatives. This CA never reported to the credit bureaus and they quickly returned the account to the OC. This is based on all the times the OC made calls on a regular basis. The CA only had the file for about a month or less before the OC reported me as deceased. Also, I have disputed information reported by the OC and they did not correct anything. I understand what you say applies to regular debts. But given that this was a specialized debt collector, is it possible the OC hired them with the expectation that they would make a determination about me being dead or alive? Here is the scenario I am preparing for. After I dispute, suppose they insist I am dead and continue to report it like that, without changing anything, as they have done before. If I have to sue the OC, they may raise a defense that it was a bona fide error which they tried to correct by contracting the specialized collector. Similarly, the CA will claim as in your response, that they relied on what the OC told them. So they will blame each other and claim bona fide error and nobody is the wiser. Who is at fault? Is there anyway to know beforehand or do I have to rely on discovery? Or does the liability fall with the CRAs for not investigating properly?
  9. You are required to serve the other party copies of everything you file with the court. So by now they should have a copy of everything without the signed order. Court orders are usually served on all parties by the court. So basically you are just sending PRA's attorney a letter, so send it certified and you can include copies of all documents you think may be relevant. Reminding them of the deadline to provide discovery would be a nice gesture that you can use if they fail to produce it. Give them a deadline of at least 5 business days or a week before trial so you have enough time to file a Motion to Compel Discovery / Motion for Sanctions (dismiss) in case they do not comply and/or try to produce it at the last minute for an unfair surprise.
  10. cjtx2

    I welcome all feedback and responses to my questions even if it is not what I expected or I disagree with them. Not sure if you have noticed, but I never disparage anyone with a different point of view or opinion and I discuss only the subject matter and never make it personal or resort to personal attacks. 

    About your conclusion that I know the answers in advance / I made up my mind... you give me too much credit. I genuinely do not know the right answer, although sometimes I have some idea about possibilities. Responses help me consider issues I had not even thought of and give me ideas to do my own research. I thought posting my conclusions could help others, but it is giving the wrong impression.

    I was not aware that I was being so annoying. It was not my intention to come off as a know it all.

    I do appreciate the reminder about my unsupported opinions. It must be frustrating having to repeat it and me failing to implement it. I do understand it, I am just not bright enough to put it into practice.

    Bad habits die hard, but I will try my best to limit myself to asking questions and refrain from justifying my points of view.

    1. BV80


       I apologize for sounding a bit short with you in your thread, but it’s a bit frustrating when suggestions are met with nothing but what a poster thinks should take place.  It’s fine to justify your points of you as long as you realize that in court you would be required to prove them.

      I wonder if you realize that your argument may be with the original creditor, not the debt collection agency.    Have you contacted the original creditor?

      I will re-open the thread and we can discuss it more there.

    2. cjtx2


      Thank you and I am sorry I gave the wrong impression of being a know it all.

      I agree with you that the problem is with the OC, who is the one who actually reported me deceased. I have not contacted them yet. I want to have documentation first, in case I have to sue, so I ordered credit reports from all bureaus since I only had one of them.

      My question is whether the CA has any liability.  The OC gave them my file, but the OC may argue, as part of their reasonable procedures to ensure accuracy, that they expected the CA to verify that I was indeed dead. So they can blame each other and avoid responsibility for reporting false, unverifiable information. 

      Is discovery the only way to find out for sure who is actually responsible? or is it the OC because whatever it did, it was the one who actually made the false report? Can they hide behind a bona fide error if they hired the CA to make sure I was dead?

  11. Unlike the alleged balance, which is mostly known or under control of the creditor, external factors are not based on first hand knowledge. DCM knew that a list of dead people provided by a creditor is not official and therefore it is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate. So they knew they were using an unofficial list and it resulted in a misrepresentation.
  12. According to the NYT and several attorneys, DCM Services goes out of their way to collect otherwise uncollectable debts (from the dead). They also collect medical bills and other debts, but their big business is collecting from the dead. I believe they are aware of the possibility that the list provided by a creditor is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate, and it is far from official. Therefore, it is part of their business model to assume that in the worst case scenario (if someone is actually alive), they will feel compelled to contact them and show proof that they are alive... like current utility bills, ID, employment records, etc., pretty much setting themselves up for being sued.
  13. There is no FDCPA requirement to validate a person's life/death status. However, claiming I am dead is a lie and they used deception to attempt to collect a debt. Have you experienced this? I do not believe they can hide behind a bona fide error unless they have implemented procedures to verify the death status of a person. I had to fight my instincts to call them up and tell them I am alive, but in the end I decided to ignore them just like I would do with any other scumbag debt collector, which by the way is my right. For them to go and report me deceased without making sure of it is at the very least irresponsible, but it is also a dirty collection trick.
  14. A regular debt collector would send dunning letters or make collection calls. But most debt collectors do not leave a voicemail or just say they are trying to contact you about an important business matter. A voicemail has a lot of potential to violate some privacy laws and in many cases it discloses that it is a debt collector (and violates FDCPA). For this company to just assume the file they received belongs to a dead person without verifying it subjects them to great liability. Even more so after they leave a voicemail falsely stating that so and so is dead and we need to contact whoever is handling their affairs or their estate representative. At a minimum the call uses deception (claiming you are dead) so if you are alive you would feel obligated to correct their error and confirm your contact information. Since they do not validate whether you are deceased or not, it is a genuine possibility. If you are actually dead, it opens your relatives to the guilt trip tactic described above. In both cases it is a deceptive attempt to collect in violation of FDCPA.
  15. Unless that is their bread and butter. I looked them up and the company name is "Deceased Case Management Services LLC" aka DCM Services. They are a third party debt collector who specialize in collections from estates and relatives of deceased debtors. They lay a guilt trip on relatives of deceased debtors who have no obligation to pay the debt and mislead them into thinking that they are violating the law or that the bank will care one way or the other so better pay in order to be in the bank's good graces. It looks like they intentionally did it. Even if they received the file, they should at least verify it. It is their main business!! (as compared to a regular debt collector). I think the voicemail was a FDCPA violation.
  16. I found a FAQ in the SSA website. They can issue an "Erroneous Death Case - Third Party Contact" notice letter to give to banks, doctors and others. https://faq.ssa.gov/en-US/Topic/article/KA-02917 It is supposed to be for cases in which the SSA records contain this type of error. Not sure if they will issue the letter because there is an error in the credit bureaus' files.
  17. Thank you for your responses. So far it is just one creditor reporting me deceased. But it is a great idea to be proactive and contact the SSA office, the DMV and the driver's license office. I wonder what is the official requirement for a bank to close an account. Hearsay from a creditor or something official like a determination from the SSA office or a death certificate. The banks with my checking accounts do not routinely pull my credit reports so I guess they would get their info from somewhere else. I had read about this problem happening to people who failed to correct it for years and by then there was not much to do. Apparently it is becoming very common, since TU includes this issue in its dispute FAQs. I think the creditor hired a debt collector and they left a message some time ago asking to speak with a representative of my estate. I thought it was a joke in very bad taste or at least a collection trick, so I did not dignify it with an answer. So all it took was not responding to ONE collection call from this CA to report me deceased.
  18. A few days ago I was notified by one of the CRAs that one of my creditors is reporting me as deceased. I know this is an illegal collection tactic, since the SOL is nearly out, they expect me to show up, provide a bunch of documentation to show I am alive while I complain about it so they can use it to sue me. So I pulled my credit report and for starters, I cannot get my FICO score because of my "deceased" status. The DF is not even consistent, since it reports I am deceased on some accounts and not others. What is the process here? Do I dispute the information with the credit bureaus to trigger some sort of bogus verification from the DF? Or do I go for a removal, since the information is clearly inaccurate, cannot be trusted. A consumer statement might be necessary to clarify things. I know a statement is useless in calculating scores, but it would be hard for the bureau to allege they did not know I was alive and failed to investigate. Do the credit bureaus have any liability? Can they change someone's life/death status on the say so of a DF without an official death certificate? or can they hide under the claim they are just parroting what someone else reported to them (even if they have reason to question its accuracy)?
  19. Thank you! Now I understand why it makes such a difference to state the definitions of debt and debt collector in the pleadings. The TDCA has broader definitions and if you do not plead them or plead FDCPA's instead, you do not get all the protections. Tex. Fin. Code 392.001(2): Here the alleged transaction statement takes care of the voluntary/involuntary part. Although a third party debt collector is defined with reference to FDCPA's definition, TDCA also has another category for debt collector. Tex. Fin. Code 392.001(6):
  20. The main distinction is personal v. business. If the involuntary transaction was for a person, as opposed to a business, debt collection for it was supposed to be protected. Thank you for the case references. There is nothing in the FDCPA definition of debt that mentions purchases. Only financial obligations for personal, family or household purposes from a transaction (which is not required to be voluntary). They were supposed to interpret FDCPA liberally to protect non-commercial consumers from abusive debt collection practices, not to look for gotcha's to give the abusers a pass. I have a lawsuit from the former Atty General (Abbott), which sued a debt collector under both the TDCA and TDTPA, and asserted that debt collectors provide services to consumers, such as payment plans, refinance, etc. They settled, but I imagine a pleading from the atty gral. must carry some weight.
  21. I found a blog related to what you say. https://blogs.findlaw.com/seventh_circuit/2011/12/city-sanctioned-fines-not-debts-under-fdcpa.html And the case is: Gulley v. Markoff & Krasny While the 7th circuit admits a city fine is a transaction, they claim it is not consensual (and they claim it is from the plain language of FDCPA). There is nothing in FDCPA related to debts having to be the result of a consensual transaction. The funny thing is that they use old FTC opinions to justify that fines are not debt. But then the FTC changed its tune!
  22. True. But an FTC opinion has some weight and/or can be used to make a stronger argument. The stipulation order is very explicit: Actually, the Texas Debt Collection Act "TDCA" (Tex. Finance Code 392.001 et seq.) allows actions against third party debt collectors as defined under FDCPA. Then there is a tie-in statute, where you can also sue for deceptive trade practices if they violated TDCA. The city employees can claim government immunity if they acted within their job functions, but the goal is to sue MSB only and sovereign immunity does not extend to a third party debt collector even if they are collecting for a government entity.
  23. Thank you for the caselaw references. The information from the MSB website is self-serving, so it would be to their advantage to claim that they are not covered by FDCPA. As you stated, the FTC ruled that FDCPA applied to a company collecting exactly the same types of unpaid fines as this one. So I need to look into their reasoning to see why it applies. Thanks!!!
  24. I think you are referring to a "purchase", but a fine is definitely an exchange. For example, you are supposed to mow the lawn and keep it shorter than X inches. You pay for the privilege of keeping it longer than X inches. A fine, a transaction?, tomato, tomaito?... A transaction encompasses everything not just purchases and includes late fees (fines), overdrafts (more fines) , attorney fees not authorized by the agreement (even more fines) and any other penalty (again, fines) that may be tagged to a debt. All of which are covered by FDCPA.
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