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debt settlement companies

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Hi, I read alot of messages and don't see my problem covered. I'm hoping someone can help us. My husband and I enrolled in a debt settlement program over 4 months ago and we "thought" things were progressing normally. HA! We just recieved a summons from Discover and I immediately called the debt settlement company. We faxed the documents to them and haven't heard a word since (almost 4 days) We are really sweating this and everyone else seems so laid back and casual! (yikes) We do not want to declare BK because we do have assets we are trying to protect. Here's a few of my questions: 1. I thought enrolling in the debt settlement program meant THEY handled all this so the creditors were not trying to sue? We are not running from our debts....just need three years to satisfy everyone involved. 2. I thought once the OC was informed of the involvment of the debt settlement company they were supposed to communicate directly with them and not with us any longer. C & D's were sent certified mail a long time ago and not a word from any of the OC's involved till now. 3. through reading the posts here I thought third parties couldn't file a complaint (lawyers sent the letter) it has to be the OC (Discover). 4. Also. concidering we are enrolled with this debt settlement company, wouldn't the OC be happy we ARE trying to do something? 5. will we still have to go to court? won't the Judge look kindly on the fact we are already doing something long before the summons showed up?

if anyone has any answers or comments please help us....we are totally lost in all of this! oh, we are in Ohio by the way if that matters! thanks

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1. I thought enrolling in the debt settlement program meant THEY handled all this so the creditors were not trying to sue? We are not running from our debts....just need three years to satisfy everyone involved.

Question: Is this Debt Counseling or Debt Settlement?!?

* Counseling - will negotiate lower interest and set up a payment plan over a few years to pay all of the debt owed. (less interest reduced)

* Settlement will set up savings; and use the money to negotiate settlement of less then full of balance owed. After a determined period of time on the Settlement companies part)!

2. I thought once the OC was informed of the involvment of the debt settlement company they were supposed to communicate directly with them and not with us any longer. C & D's were sent certified mail a long time ago and not a word from any of the OC's involved till now.

No, debt settlement company is only taking your money to place into a savings account for a later date. They are playing a game, and waiting for the creditor specifically to serve you - before they step in to negotiate the settlement.

* Original Creditors --- Don't have to honor Cease & Desist Letters!

Now Collection Agencies do; and if you sent a FULL C&D Letter; then you left them no choice but to sue you. If you send partial; then that puts them to written correspondence only!

3. through reading the posts here I thought third parties couldn't file a complaint (lawyers sent the letter) it has to be the OC (Discover).

They can if they meet requirements like being licensed and such. It is only collection agencies that don't have a lawyer on staff that can't (even then they can still fix this problem to get representation).

5. will we still have to go to court? won't the Judge look kindly on the fact we are already doing something long before the summons showed up?

Yes, you best go to court; not nessassarily will the judge look kindly on this matter: depends on which program you got mixed up with (I think you might have got mixed up with the wrong company) but if this company does their job as others do; they will step in and negotiate a settlement; thus causing the creditor to dismiss the cass before going to court.

You need to call this company & get a copy of that contract -- VERY important that you figure out exactly what type of company you got mixed up with!!! Settlement companies are about as bad as loan sharks, I would even suggest counseling companies over these & I hate credit counseling companies. You will want to definitely GET legal advise once you have a copy of that contract.

Come back here and let us know, we have a few lawyers in the house here that might have some ideas in this matter.

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wow! thanks for the quick response! It is a debt Settlement Company, not a counceling group. I have the original contract we signed with the debt settlement company since everything was done through fax and phone. The debt settlement company is Homeland financial and up to this point they seemed to have done everything they were supposed to do. And in fairness I have to point out we faxed the documents to them 4 days ago......maybe they are handling it and will call soon but I hate this sitting here with a big target painted on my back feeling. The assets we are trying to protect are a subdivision we started well over 3 years ago (we own the property) and the lots ARE for sale. But the economy around here is very depressed and no one is buying. we just want to make sure we get value for the property (if a CA sells it we don't think this would be true).

The big worry is the summons itself is the time constraint. They want an answer in 28 days and Homeland hasn't told me how/when/where/to respond. I sure wish I had found this site long before now!

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You need to find out what your last activity dates where on all of the accounts currently being worked on by this company!

Each state has an SOL (statute of limitations) there is a link above, but it states that if after this time period expires then you are no longer legally liable to pay the debt. Won't do you no good having debt settlement company settling on debt when you could have extra money for the others still within the SOL.

Definitely call them; to follow the progress of this case, Discovery is a very agressive company; sue happy! So you need to post in the section here: Is there a lawyer in the house to prepare your reponse for court!

If you can copy and paste this link there for them to see everything talked about so far for the others to help you out. Court is not my area, and you need to get on this part ASAP.

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thanks again....for the quick response!! I understood most of what you're saying and will post this link to the laywers page and see if I get a response.

I'm not sure how to go about getting the last activity dates you mention though. Would this be through the validation letters? or just my old bills?

I do know (through research) the SOL for Ohio on unsecured debt is 6 years.

thanks again Dee

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6 years on the SOL, may be that you are still within this time period, but still worth checking out where you stand on this matter, & know what all of your creditors at doing at this time.

Best of wishes, oh, & the panda & me are FEMALE, :lol:

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OMG! I am soooo sorry! *L* what can I say? I'm upset. (not much of an excuse I'm afraid)

I am on the Phone with Homeland right now and pretty much what they are telling me is My husband and I are going to court! (can't repeat the language here right now) They say they are in contact with our creditors but have not settled anything to date (since february) they are telling my husband and I that we need to go to court and tell the judge that we are enrolled with homeland. Big Freaking deal! so far homeland has cost us over 1500.00 and we have a savings account with 500.00! I could have used that money to settle with the creditors on my own without going to court!! I guess my question now is.....is there any way out of Homeland and just do this on our own without going to court??? Boy, do they talk a good story! looks like I'm looking for a good lawyer either for settlement help or BK! seems like a viscious circle......can't afford the payments, get behind, owe even more, and then go pay a lawyer so you can owe even more money! worst part is, we haven't used that dang card in so long I can't even remember the year! (I'm looking in my files for to start of delinquency date though) no matter what, you can't get out from under them! ARGGGGHHHH!

sorry....I got carried away de

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I am so sorry, and really feel for you in this matter.

You need to get a hold of your contract with Homeland and see what penalties might be involved for backing out. If you can obtain your savings back. If you can get out of (power of attorney) has you happened to sign one of these.

You would then need to call Discover card yourself / if there is a collection agency involved: Send them a Debt Validation letter; so you can get a complete accounting of the bill. If they don't provide this by the time you go to court (tell the judge that you have not recieved this yet) so it might buy you a little more time. If you can get this part done prior to court, and review everything. Then going back to Discover or their colleciton agency you have the task of negotiating your own settlement for condition of the judgment not being filed.

There is more the the DV letters then what I have mentioned but I really am not certain if you can absorb this much in such a short period of time. Legally some here fight the validation; weather or not it is proper show of ownership on the accout. (But this is not easy path to take). You really need to read the link above on that part to see what you are willing to do, on this matter and what all your options are.

Really at this point we need to educate you just as soon as possible to help you out the best on dealing with Discover.

Keep coming back to ask questions as you go along, will try my best to help you; and if I can't I know which key people here can help best for certain areas of concern. ok.

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well the education is progressing nicely! *L* I rechecked my statements and receipts for the last date of activity and I'm sorry to say I'm not past the SOL yet! *sigh*

but the good news is I have since talked to a lawyer who seems to feel a chapter 13 would be just right for us. I have not retained him yet as my husband is at work still and needs to be brought up to speed.

the lawyer told me I am under NO obligation with Homeland at all and to dump them immediately. since we have not decided to file BK yet he also told me that we could go over/around/through homeland and approach the lawyers suing for Discover card personally if we decide not to file BK13. (and homeland can't do a durned thing)

things are by no means settled but at least right this moment I don't feel quite so powerless! I still have that pesky target on my back....but at least now it's in khaki color and not bright red! *L*

I can't thank you enough for your advice and listening skills! (I know, I write alot) but without this site I might be living in a cardboard box! *L* at least now I know I CAN keep my property. thanks! dee

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Would suggest looking over in the bankruptcy section: LadynRed is your next person to find, she knows the ins and outs dealing with bankrutpcy and can walk you through any key items you might over look or need to know on things.

That is good to know, on Hartland, did you see anything in the contract they have as far as being able to get your money back?

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nope, the contract for Homeland is pretty clear on the refunds part. non refundable!!!! but when you're listening to them, they talk a durned good story and you think "I'll never need to back out anyway" since according to them they handle EVERYTHING! ~oh yeah....they handled things alright!~ sheesh! but at least thanks to you I can laugh a bit now and not cry in a corner! *grin*

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oh boy are you going to love this! *L* an attorney from Homeland called me and we went over the case. minimum I will answer the summons at Homelands expense (finally seeing my money work) and this will buy us more time to figure out strategy and direction. (possibly not BK) AND (this is the good part) the lawyer for Homeland already found a possible failure to verify in 30 days violation! *L* doesn't mean I win anything but it does mean I'm not the only one who seems to be lost in this mess!

so it looks like my next step is to let Homeland do the research for violations, line up the lawyer for the answer, and then answer. Dee

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I just seen Calawyers response, you should check out that site, and find a lawyer there that works with credit issues. And may know some more about settlement companies.

I am a little leary of a lawyer from Hartlands office finally taking notice to step in, you need a back up opinion on this for sure before letting them drag you in further.

If you are wanting to find possible ways out with the debt dealing with discover; you are going to need a bit more agressive help here then myself. Like Swede and a few others that are good with quoting certain laws and such. They can let you know what exact letters to use against the collection agency for discover.

This is going to become hectic for a bit for you with all the information over load - hope you are ready. You are going to get a crash course right quick - ok.

Now you said Heartlands lawyer said he thought he had something on the validation? can you explain this in better detail what he said?

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yup, I'll try to explain what the Homeland lawyer explained to me.

but first let me tell you that when you enroll with a debt settlement company they have you send out C & D to all the companies and a limited power of attorney (they say this lets them negotiate on your behalf) by cert mail.

ok, now according to this attorney from Homeland, he was reading my account and it's activity off his computer screen. now, lets see if I followed him correctly. on May12th the CA for Discover (a lawyers group) sent a letter to Homeland requesting payment or settlement arrangements in 30 days, Homeland responded with a verification letter on June 3, but on June 9th I recieved my summons by cert mail from the CA for Discover. According to the lawyer for Homeland, since the CA for Discover did not Verify they can't legally proceed any farther?

I do also have to say the lawyer from Homeland admitted he was not familiar with my account and had to research further. *shrug* but they (Homeland) are giving me a referal to a local Consumer Affair lawyer that Homeland pays for the answer to be prepared.

The other thing I did yesterday was Speak to another lawyer. He also told me that the biggest thing I needed to do was answer the summons because minimum this answer bought me some more time. Time to be used to either come up with some funds to settle and to see if this CA for Discover made any violations. so, the two laywers said about the same thing. Answer the summons and then see what the CA for Discover will do. According to the lawyer from Homeland, answering the summons will get me 9+ months of time?

ok, I know this is long! and I have appointments today so won't be home until after 3pm (sorry) I'll check here when I get back! thanks again! Dee

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Let see, I won't be in here much the next few days; but you want to check back with the legal section; for members like Calawyer; Bingo; maybe even our new member Texaslawyer; they know how the court responses work.

I have posted in the off topic section to pull in even more members... and you are going to need them at this point. (I am out of my sorts on DV side of things) see what we can get going here to help you. - ok.

Sis if you click on here name; you may find sample letters that she has all over the place, even going to the first post in this section and following it back to the old board to read archived posts can be of help for you to get a feel for this part as well.

Ok, have a good day,

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Here is a debt validation letter that you would send to the CA, you will want to modify it to fit your situation:

Do no include your SS# and NO SIGNATURE, and NO COPY OF DRIVERS LICENSE. from GOOD CREDIT IS SEXY

Your Name

123 Your Street Address

Your City, ST 01234

ABC Collections

123 NotOnYourLife Ave

Chicago, IL

Date

Re: Acct # xxxx-xxxx-xxx

To Whom It May Concern:

This letter is being sent to you in response to recent communication from your compnay. This is not a refusal to pay, but a notice that your claim is disputed.

Under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA), I have the right to request validation of the debt you say I owe you. I am requesting proof that I am indeed the party you are asking to pay this debt, and there is some contractual obligation which is binding on me to pay this debt. Below are a few questions to answer which may help you to resolve these mistakes.

You should also be aware that reporting such invalidated information to major credit bureaus might constitute defamation of character, as the negative marks on my credit report harm my credit and prevent me from enjoying all the benefits of good credit. I’m sure your legal staff will agree that non-compliance with this request could put your company in serious legal trouble with the FTC and other state or federal agencies.

In addition to the questionnaire below, please attach copies of:

• Agreement with your client that grants you the authority to collect on this alleged debt

• Agreement that bears the signature of the alleged debtor wherein he agreed to pay the creditor.

• Any insurance claims been made by any creditor regarding this account

• Any judgments been obtained by any creditor regarding this account

Best regards,

Your Signature

Your Name

Debt Validation Form

Questionnaire to be returned to me for Account #

Original Creditor’s Name: _________________________

Name of Debtor: _____________

Address of Debtor: ___________

Balance of Account: ___________

Date you acquired this debt:

This Debt was: assigned _______ purchased ______

Please indicated any credit bureaus to which you have reported negative marks:

Experian ______

Equifax ______

TransUnion ______

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Here is a letter you can send to the original creditor:

From GOOD CREDIT IS SEXY SERIES

Getting The Original Creditor to Verify You Owe the Debt or Were Actually Late. Debt validation does not work with the original creditor, only with collection agencies. The only way you can get an original creditor to budge on responding to you via snail mail (so you can send it certified) is to tell them you will sue them for defamation if they can’t prove that you were actually late or even that you are on the account. This letter is perfect for those people who are trying to get “Authorized User” accounts off of their credit reports. The court case cited in the below letter is included in this CD under Court Cases.

Company

Address1

Address2

City, State Zip

Date

RE: Account XXXXX-XXXX-XXXXX

Dear Sir/Madame:

I am writing to dispute the account referenced above. I have disputed this account information as inaccurate with the credit bureaus <insert names of credit bureaus here>, and you have been able to verify this debt. How is this possible? I was <not late> <this is not my account> <I am only an authorized user>.

In the event that you can not verify the item pursuant to the FCRA, and you continue to list the disputed item on my credit report I will find it necessary to sue you for actual defamation damages and declaratory relief under the FCRA. According to this regulation, I may sue you in any qualified state or federal court, including small claims court in my area. You have severely limited my ability to <purchase a home> <get a job> <get a credit card>.

In light of the recent court case opinion No. 00-15946 CV-99-00290-D.C. by the US Court of Appeals 9th Circuit, Nelson Vs. Chase Manhattan, the court ruled that the creditor has the responsibility to investigate and make sure that correct information is being reported to the bureaus, and that the consumer has a right to sue under the FCRA, should his or her rights be violated.

While I prefer not to litigate, I will use the courts as needed to enforce my rights under the FCRA.

I look forward to an uneventful resolution of this matter.

Sincerely,

Signature

Your Name

Your Address

City, State Zip

Enclosures <you can enclose a copy of the court case referenced above>

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wow! good deal! I printed out both letters and will add/change them to meet my particular situation! thank you so much!!!! the question I have now is do I send these letters now or go see this new lawyer Homeland is sending me to and see if he/she sends them out? Dee

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Well you have to do what you are comfortable with. Myself, I don't think they would get another chance to mess things up for me. I would send them myself crrr mail and make sure they get where they need to. Your going to have a court date set up for you soon, you don't want any delays with the letters going out or being accepted by the ca or the ocs.

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huh? both of the lawyers I spoke to (the one for Homeland AND the one who's not affiliated with any involved party) told me by answering the summons I was gaining 9 + months before a court date was ever kicked out? you said I'd be assigned a court date soon? (panic big time) Dee

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Once you send in your answer the court would look it over and should set a court date. It could be a few months away if the courts are full. Each time I went in to court to object to garnishment and what have you, I had a court date within a months time. Maybe its just different here with out court system, the judges seem to really keep things moving right along. How much are they suing you for? Maybe its over the small claims amount allowed and its going to the bigger courts, or federal courts, which prob would take a bit longer to get a date.

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I am not sure; if they have inside knowledge of the case work loads going through your local court right now, but I would not say 9 months for people being serviced as the time available set for each case.

So I think someone mis informed you on this part.

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hmmm good point with them not knowing the court schedules right now. but yeah, the amount takes us out of small claims court and into the local municipal court. with everyone else tacking on their own fees and such the amount they listed on the summons is over $7,000.00 the worst part is we haven't used this card in years. but with the lates and over limits we just can't seem to get rid of this thing. My husband and I haven't used credit in years and we still seem to be drowning. *sigh* that's why we joined Homeland.

I dunno, maybe I'm not in the right frame of mind to deal with this today. Then again, it will all look different when I have more than one cup of coffee! *L* Dee

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