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About masonuc

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  1. Here's my situation. I have good credit and have used it buy several investment properties. I am looking to buy a few more but need a middle score of 720 and my credit score has dropped slightly below that thanks to a problem with a bank. I had a $50k line of credit with them. In April 2009, I borrowed the full $50k for a short time and because of a problem on their end (they had deactivated automatic payments), I missed the first payment due on the line that month. It was about 45 days late. I paid off the entire amount a few months later and the account is still active but at $0 balance. I have tried calling the bank to have the 30 day deliquence from April 2009 removed (they reported to all 3 bureaus) and gotten nowhere. All I got was a form letter saying they can't remove it. This is the primary factor keeping my credit score below 720. It is costing me at least 20-30 points, maybe more. I have no other deliquencies on my report. Any ideas on how to get this removed quickly? If it matters, the bank is Suntrust. I realize this will diminish in effect in several months, and go off completely in a few years -- but I need a quick resolution or I may miss out on a good opportunity available now.
  2. Overseas company trying to collect a debt and they are basically breaking every law in the book, and the guy is just crazy. I'd sue tomorrow if they were in the States and I could collect. I know I can sue in my home jurisdiction, but what good will a judgment be -- I can't go overseas to collect and this is not a company with any US operations. Ideas?
  3. Have a total b.s. debt from an overseas vendor (long story). They sent it to collection and I did a standard "debt is invalid, I dispute, etc." letter. Collection agency apparently sent it back to them as uncollectable. Today I received a harassing phone call (from the original creditor) basically saying that if I don't pay (50%) right now, they will be begin calling my workplace to verify employment, plus my family, etc. I realize some of this legal -- until I tell them to stop, which I plan to. Not sure these guys will care about US laws, but I'd like to do everything by the book in case there is a chance to sue them later. FYI, I am a lawyer but do not practice law in this area at all. Thanks in advance for any helpful info (including statute cites, form letters, etc.) you can pass along.
  4. Here's the situation. Couple about to get married. Just bought a very expensive house in both of their names -- no need to move for a while and can't be attached by their individual creditors. Both have excellent jobs (100k+ a year). Wife just started her job. Wife has about 100k in student loans. Obviously not dischargeable in bankruptcy. Can they be eliminated or greatly reduced? E.g., debt counseling, etc. If the wife's credit was screwed up... it wouldn't matter much because the husband has excellent credit and they won't need to buy a house for many years. (Plus the husband could buy a car or other major purchases solely based on his credit). Any thoughts?
  5. MD's post doesn't really address the issue. The point is that whether a CA is registered in the state is not really helpful in determining jurisdiction over them. It's probably too strong to stay registration is irrelevant -- it's probably a nice fact if you were trying to prove jurisdiction. But really all that matter is that the CA tried to collect a debt in your state. That's all you need to establish jurisdiction -- the CA has reached into your state and purposefully availed itself of the laws of your state -- that's the basis for jurisdiction. The point is not about filing a counterclaim or defending a lawsuit. This is about you suing a CA for a violation of the FDCPA or any other law -- including any law of your state (hint: that's where the big bucks can be won). Obviously if they sue you then you can counterclaim without any jurisdictional question. But if you just sue a foreign corporation, you need to have jurisdiction, and that is established by their actions. You need to plead that in your Complaint.
  6. I'm about to get a very large mortgage. For various reasons, I'm going to have a 2nd trust of about $250K. I'd like it to be revolving (better rate) but recently I learned how this can screw your credit score (had a tough time refinancing when my last 2nd trust was about $50K, revolving, and I owed about $50K). Question: what are my options? Is there a limit to how much revolving debt will screw my score? Will the first trust (non-revolving) of about $650K more than make up for the 2nd? I'd need to keep my score above 680 -- it's about 710 now. If I can't get the revolving second (because it will ruin my scores), I need to do a fixed second and the rate will be much worse. Any thoughts?
  7. As another lawyer pointed out, whether a collection agency is registered in your state is irrelevant. There a bunch of cases that establish the proposition that if a collection agency tries to collect a judgment against you in your state (i.e., sends you ANY letter), you can sue them in your state. There is an IL federal court case (name escapes me) where they allowed jurisdiction over an AZ company that had sent like 1 letter to IL in its existence, and the original debt occurred in AZ, where the debtor then lived. Anyway, the point being is that you can sue in your state. If enough people want me to post my legal work on this issue, I will. I recently settled out of court with a CA (for far more than statutory damages) and this issue was litigated. Long story. Most important: you should sue in your state. It gives you much, much more leverage when negotiating. It is more costly and complex for the CA to fight you in a foreign state -- and it is easier for you.
  8. You can pretty much ALWAYS sue a CA in your home state, unless perhaps if small claims court forbids it in your state -- but I'm guessing most don't, and you can always sue in regular court. Attempting to collect a debt in your state is an act or omission in your state, and the long arm statute of all 50 states + DC should apply. The issue has been litigated in federal court and uniformly came out in the debtor's favor -- even the CA had only one contact (the letter/call) with the debtor's state. I can post some info on this (from a brief I wrote) if there is lots of demand, but the issue is pretty well-settled.
  9. 1st, dispute the debt. In the letter ask for the contract, etc. (See this site for a good sample). Tell them that collection fees are illegal under the FDCPA and you request that they remove them or show you the contract where you are obliged to pay them. If they don't validate fully, and still report you, then sue them. You've got them on the fees. You can file a small claims suit in your home state. It will cost the DC more than $500 to defend, so they may agree to drop debt in exchange for dismissing case.
  10. You probably can't sue them again for the same thing -- indeed you almost surely can't. Who sued who first? If you sued them for FDCPA/FCRA and they later sued you on the original debt, they MIGHT have waived their claim -- and you can argue as such. [Edit by masonuc on Wednesday, March 12, 2003 @ 10:25 AM]
  11. You should have filed a Motion to Dismiss instead of an Answer. You might want to file one now, or a motion for summary judgment.
  12. 1. Some courts have held $1000 total, but that's only for FDCPA. Find Texas statutes and other injuries you have suffered -- skies the limit on those. 2. Finally, it is likely that you can actually serve the Secretary of State of Texas. Sounds weird, but in many states this is legal service.
  13. Plan to file this week. Still tweaking, but thought I'd share. I had to use cut and paste (no attaching of docs on this forum) so formatting is a bit off. IN THE SUPERIOR COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (Civil Division) COMPLAINT [TAB]Plaintiff _______ hereby files this Complaint against Defendant Valley Credit Service, Incorporated (“Valley Credit”) for statutory, compensatory and punitive damages, as well as fees and costs, for illegal activities of Defendant pursuant to the attempted collection of an alleged debt. In support of this Complaint, Plaintiff states as follows: The Parties [TAB]1. Plaintiff ______ is an individual who resides in the District of Columbia at _____. [TAB]2. Defendant Valley Credit Services is a collection agency registered as a corporation in the State of Maryland, and is located at 12907 Oak Hill Drive, Hagerstown, Maryland 21742-2912. Jurisdiction and Venue [TAB]3. This Court has subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to D.C. Code § 11-921. [TAB]4. This Court has personal jurisdiction over Defendant Valley Credit pursuant to D.C. Code § 13-423 (a)(1), a(3), a(4) and a(6). Factual Allegations [TAB]5. In September of 2001, Plaintiff signed a contract in Washington, D.C. with Crystal Springs, a water delivery service, for the delivery of bottled spring water at his apartment, located at ______ in the District of Columbia. [TAB]6. Crystal Springs failed to perform its duties under the water delivery contract in various ways, and Plaintiff ended his relationship with Crystal Springs believing that he owed no further duties to Crystal Springs under the contract. [TAB]7. On April 30, 2002, Defendant sent Plaintiff a “formal demand for payment in full” on his Crystal Springs account. Defendant purported to be authorized to collect the alleged debt on behalf of Crystal Springs. [TAB]8. Included in the collection letter sent by Defendant on April 30, 2002, was the request that Plaintiff pay two illegal fees. First, the Defendant asserted that it (or its alleged client, Crystal Springs) was owed $103 for a “collection fee.” Such fee was prohibited under D.C. Code § 28-3814 (g) (3) and (g) (4) as well as § 808 (1) of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1601 et seq. (“FDCPA”). Second, and also prohibited under the previously mentioned statutes, Defendant claimed that Plaintiff owed a $175 fee for the water dispensing unit, notwithstanding Plaintiff’s offer to return the unit to Crystal Springs immediately. [TAB]9. Consistent with § 809( of the FDCPA, Plaintiff sent Defendant a letter on May 6, 2002, stating in bold that he “dispute[d] this debt in full” and requesting various information that a collection agency is obliged to provide under the FDCPA, such as “[a]ny agreement that bears my signature wherein I agreed to pay the [original] creditor,” “[a]ny judgments [that might have] been obtained by any creditor regarding this account, “[any] [a]greement with your client that grants you the authority to collect on this alleged debt,” and “[a]ny other documentation that tends to show this debt is valid.” [TAB]10. Plaintiff also stated in boldface that he was moving on May 15, 2002 (9 days after sending the letter) and clearly provided his new address. [TAB]11. On August 28, 2002, Defendant called Plaintiff at home and left a message that did not identify itself, merely leaving a return phone number in Hagerstown, Maryland, area code 301, which is a long distance telephone call from Washington, D.C. This communication violated D.C. Code § 28-3814 (d)(2) and (d)(3) because the caller did not identify her purpose and caused Plaintiff to incur long distance charges. This call also violated the following sections of the FDCPA: § 805© (communication with debtor when on notice of dispute that had not been properly validated), § 806(6) (“placement of telephone calls without meaningful disclosure of the caller's identity”), and § 808 (5) (causing debtor to incur telephone charges). [TAB]12. On August 29, 2002, Plaintiff (still unaware of who had called him the previous day) returned the phone call and was told that Defendant had validated debt, notwithstanding the fact that Plaintiff never received such validation. Defendant claimed to have sent proper validation to Plaintiff’s old address. Plaintiff politely asked that such validation be resent to his present address, and explained that he had provided a new address, but Defendant refused. Defendant’s agent, a woman identified as Ms. Smith, became hostile and rude and in doing so violated § 806 of the FDCPA. Plaintiff has repeatedly asked for a copy of the validation letter that Defendant claims to have sent on August 5, 2002, but Defendant has refused to provide it. Upon information and belief, Plaintiff believes that Defendant never sent any validation letter and committed fraud and misrepresentation in asserting that it had mailed a validation letter. Defendant’s conduct also violated D.C. Code § 28-3814(f). [TAB]13. Even assuming Defendant did mail a validation letter on August 5, 2002, Defendant violated the FDCPA and § 623 of Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. (“FCRA”), when it reported the alleged debt in July of 2002 to the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and Transunion. Defendant was under obligations of the FDCPA, FCRA and D.C. Code § 28-3814(e) to withhold any reporting of the alleged debt until after the debt had been validated, and even after validation, to report that Plaintiff disputed the alleged debt. Notwithstanding these clear obligations, Defendant illegally reported the debt prior to mailing any validation (even assuming validation was mailed on August 5, 2002), and failed to include notice that Plaintiff disputed the validity of the debt. Plaintiff became aware of Defendant’s violations when he viewed his September 11, 2002 credit report from Equifax, which states that Defendant reported the alleged debt to Equifax in July 2002. Defendant later represented to Plaintiff that it notified all three credit bureaus of the alleged debt at the same time, i.e., July 2002. [TAB]14. On October 2, 2002, Defendant admitted (via telephone) that it had committed error in illegally reporting Plaintiff’s alleged debt. Defendant’s agent stated that she would notify the three credit bureaus that the entry should be removed. Defendant refused to provide any written confirmation that it agreed to resolve the matter. Defendant cited its policy of refusing to send (by email, facsimile, mail or any written form) any communication to an alleged debtor except a standard collection letter. Plaintiff remained unsatisfied that the problem was solved, and memorialized this conversation in a facsimile to Defendant that same day. The facsimile asks for Defendant to provide a statement (“short is fine”) that the alleged debt should not have been reported to any credit bureau. Plaintiff was extremely accommodating in this demand, asking Defendant to provide such short statement -- which Defendant admitted via telephone -- by facsimile, email or regular mail. Defendant refused to provide such a statement. [TAB]15. Notwithstanding the Defendant’s telephone representations that it would attempt to cure its past error, Defendant continued to report the alleged debt to Transunion, one of the three major credit bureaus. Plaintiff learned in January of 2003 that the debt remained on his Transunion file. Plaintiff telephoned Defendant and again asked that Defendant provide a short notice that the debt was wrongfully reported. Plaintiff explained to Defendant that only with such a notice could Plaintiff have the entry removed within 24 hours, thus mitigating future damages from the false report. Plaintiff informed Defendant that he was refinancing and time was of the essence as far as clearing the illegal entry from his credit report. Defendant refused Plaintiff’s request to send him a statement, and asserted that all its obligations had been met because it had notified Transunion to remove the entry. Consistent with its earlier refusals to provide any written communication, Defendant refused to provide any proof whatsoever that it had indeed notified Transunion of its previous error. [TAB]16. In January 2003, Plaintiff wished to take advantage of unusually low interest rates to refinance his condominium. Plaintiff has little equity in his condominium, thus his credit, as reported by the three major credit bureaus, was crucial to obtaining favorable financing. Every mortgage lender in the United States investigates credit reports before loaning money. On September 26, 2002, immediately before Defendant’s illegal actions, Plaintiff’s credit score with Transunion was 755. This credit score placed him in approximately the top 25% of households nationwide, with a delinquency rate of 2%. 755 is an excellent credit score and will ensure access to the most favorable financing terms and lowest interest rates. On January 24, 2003, following Defendant’s illegal reporting and continued failure to correct its error, Plaintiff’s credit score is 637. The sole reason for the Plaintiff’s low score is the entry from Valley Credit. This score is in the bottom 20% of households nationwide. As a result, Plaintiff has been forced to secure less favorable re-financing for condominium, valued at over $300,000, than he would be able to absent the Defendant’s illegal actions. Without the Defendant itself providing a letter to Plaintiff, it will take over a month for Transunion to investigate the entry from Valley Credit. At that time, interest rates may be significantly higher than they are now. Plaintiff, in reasonable mitigation of his damages, chose to lock in the best interest rate he could obtain in January 2003. Count I (Violation of FDCPA, 15 U.S.C. § 1601 et seq.) [TAB]17. Plaintiff incorporates by reference paragraphs 1-16 above. [TAB]18. As a result of Defendant’s violation of the FDCPA, Plaintiff will be forced to refinance his condominium at a rate 0.375% per year higher than he would otherwise be able to. Plaintiff will suffer $993.75 of damages each year as a result of Defendant’s illegal actions. The interest rate is fixed during the first five years of Plaintiff’s new mortgage, and during that time he will suffer damages of $4968.75. The rate for the following 25 years is tied to original rate, and Plaintiff expects to suffer further damages of $24,843.75, for a total of $29,812.50. [TAB]19. Under § 813 of the FDCPA, Plaintiff is also entitled to statutory damages of $1000 for each of Defendant’s violations of the FDCPA. Count II (Violation of D.C. Code § 28-3814) [TAB]20. Plaintiff incorporates by reference paragraphs 1-19 above. [TAB]21. Plaintiff suffered damages of at least $29,812.50 as a result of Defendant’s willful violation of the above section. [TAB]22. Plaintiff has suffered other damages, such as fees for obtaining his credit report, long distance charges, mailing charges, as well as emotional distress and mental anguish in dealing with this situation and Defendant’s unreasonable practices. [TAB]23. Plaintiff believes that Defendant’s willful violations of the above section merit an award of punitive damages in the amount of $50,000, or other relief as the Court may deem proper. [TAB]WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays for entry of judgment against Valley Credit for statutory, compensatory and punitive damages of $100,000, plus pre-judgment interest, post-judgment interest, attorneys’ fees and costs, and such other relief as this Court may deem just and proper. [TAB][TAB][TAB][TAB][TAB][TAB][TAB]Respectfully Submitted, [TAB][TAB][TAB][TAB][TAB][TAB][TAB][TAB] [TAB][TAB][TAB][TAB][TAB][TAB][TAB]_____________________________ (pro se) Dated:[TAB] January __, 2003[TAB] [Edit by masonuc on Sunday, January 26, 2003 @ 06:20 AM]
  14. Batboy -- thanks! That's the info I got from MD Sec of State by phone -- but it's great to have it verified online. Where did you get the info online? I'm thinking of just including the link in my Certificate of Service I include with the Complaint.
  15. Update: finally reached Maryland corporate registration line and got a name. So I call the debt collector to talk to the guy, and they claim he left the company (although first person I talked to said he was not available). The company still refuses to tell me anything about who is authorized to accept service, etc. Plus this company steadfastly refuses to send anything to any consumer, ever. All I want is a letter stating that the initial report was wrong. TWO SENTENCES. They refuse. Not by fax or mail. Weird! Has anyone ever heard of such an unreasonable and bizarre policy. Basically the woman told me that they never, ever send anything (except standard collection notice) to debtors.