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1st contact with CA was Summons; Legal?


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I recieved a Summons last week, no case number yet. I was told I had 20 days to respond to Summons. I have filled out my Answer. I was also going to include a letter for validation and start that process. Yesterday, I got a letter saying this law firm represents Unifund and I have 30 days to dispute the debt etc. Shouldn't I have received this letter before the Summons? The letter is dated July 22nd, same as the Summons, but postmarked the 2nd of August. What I am wondering is if this is legal or can I request in my validation letter that they stop the court case and have to start all over again with a new summons etc. after the 30 days is past for validation?

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In researching how to fill out my Answer, the offical Wa court site says that the law allows the plaintiff to serve you before they actually file the papers. When the plaintiff files with the courts, I will receive a case number. So, I guess that part is legal but how is it a violation of the FDCA? Also, I was not personally served. The server left it with my father in law. I don't live in their house but on a seperate residence on the property. So, legally we do have the same address. So, that part probably doesnt matter. Can someone give me some advice on how to answer.

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In reading the code on validation of debt 809, it says "within 5 days of the initial contact with debtor" send the 30 days to dispute letter. Is it legal for the "initial contact" to be a summons? Also, does 5 days mean 5 business days or just 5 days period?

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I'm guessing we need more information before suggesting how to respond. First, do you want to be agressive? The federal guidelines for collectors...the FDCPA...does imply that their first communication with you should have been either a letter informing you of their intent to collect a debt (or a phone call, followed by a letter within 5 days) giving you your mini-miranda. By serving you with the summons first, I would guess this falls under the "overshadowing" clause in the FDCPA, by making it appear that you were being sued even before they told you of your rights.

If by "answer", you mean they included a list of questions for you to respond to...see Recovering Attorney's posts on the second page of

http://www.debt-consolidation-credit-repair-service.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=18988&start=15

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In reading the code on validation of debt 809, it says "within 5 days of the initial contact with debtor" send the 30 days to dispute letter. Is it legal for the "initial contact" to be a summons? Also, does 5 days mean 5 business days or just 5 days period?

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sorry, somehow I posted that twice. By "answer" I mean the legal response to their summons. They didn't send me any type of questionaire or anything. They sent a summons which listed the account number, amount etc. The Answer is admitting or denying the paragraphs listed in the summons. This must be delivered to them withing 20 days. I have filled this out and am ready to sign it. Should I send them my request for validation with that. Or should I wait and send it separetly closer to the 30 day time limit? Is there a place that I can quote the FDCPA in my validation letter to them so that I may note that their 1st communication should have been a letter not a summons. I can't seem to find it. Thanks

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Until a lawyer jumps in here, I'd suggest you go to the search function at the top of the page and search on "Unifund". Looks like theres been lots of question about these folks.

And, maybe you want to add a little more information here about the debt. CC? Other collection activity? Whatever...

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They can file suit anytime they want, even if you send a DV letter. Under the FDCPA and case law, the summons constitutes the initial communication in your case and they must provide the 30 day dispute notice within 5 days if it was not included in the summons (which it usually is not). If it was post-marked 5 days inclusive from the date you were servied it's good.

While some states do permit serving a summons before actually filing, as pointed it out, this is often a scare tactic. For that reason, do not speak with or contact the CA or the attorney for any reason until you verify that a suit has actually been filed. The first order of business is to download and study your courts rules of civil procedure, then prepare your answers, defenses and counter-claims. Although the summons says you have 20 days to respond, you cannot file your answers at the court if no case has been filed (the clerk will look at you stupidly). If you're lucky and have on-line ability to check the court do it daily, otherwise call about once a week and then again on day 20. If a suit is filed, then file your answers and send a copy to their attorney. If they don't file within 30 days of the day you were served, it's an FDCPA violation and you can sue them or wait until they sue and file a counter-claim. If the complaint has an affidavit based on a holder in due course, a holder, an account stated or a statement of account, study the section on motions in your civil procedures and file a motion to strike the affidavit after you file your answers.

People can help you better if you give some particulars about the OC, CA, Date of Last Activity etc.

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thanks for the info. From what I have read in the Washington court site on how to answer a summons, it says that even though a summons doesn't have a file number on it it is still valid. Wa law allows this and it says I am to follow the directions on my summons. My summons says that i have to serve the plaintiff with an answer within 20 days. So, I guess this is what I will do for now.

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You guys are forgetting one major thing here.

They have now caused confusion to the most unsophisticated consumer.

She has to answer the summons within 20 days but she has 30 days to ask for validation?

Which takes precidence??

If she answers.. does she give up her rights to validation??

The 30 days to dispute should have also been included on the summons.

What you need to do is immeidately DV them AND include the DV with your answers to the court.

I would also file countersuit immediately against Unifund for FDCPA violations and whatever else you can find.. state law wise and such.

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you would file the FDCPA violations against the law firm as they are the collectors. Back when I sued people for a living, I always sent the letter with 809 notice out before I sued. The notice does contradict the summons: if there is not a reference to the summons in the letter you got post-service, I might consider that a violation, as Sky Warner suggests.

If you are sending the lawyers a letter DV'ing them, tell them you consider their conduct violative of teh FDCPA and you intend to hold them liable for statutory costs and the costs of defending the lawsuit, as that suit was brought prematurely.

Don't ignore answering the complaint, though.

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