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HELP: Pursue legal action or not?


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Hello legal experts,

I have a HUGE favor to ask of you all.

I am writing to request some help/assistance/advice on what my next course of action should be (legal or not?). I will outline below what has happened thus far.

I received a letter from a CA (their FIRST communication with me with NO 'you have 30-days to dispute etc.' statement on the letter) last April 30th threatening 'legal action' if I do not respond to them within 10 DAYS(!) of the DATE ON THE LETTER. Unfortunately the letter was DATED April 15th(!) and they didn't even MAIL IT until April 28th...kinda makes it hard to reply within their time window if they don't even MAIL it out until AFTER the window has EXPIRED, right?

Then I notice an 'hard' inquiry was done by this Collection Agency April 27th on my EXP report.

I SHOULD Have 30 days to dispute this after their initial contact, right (even though they acted like we had been in touch before)? Well, on May 8th, I received a 2ND LETTER stating that they will be suing me very soon...I immediately sent out a DV letter disputing the validity of the debt and their right to collect on it, etc... (within 30 days of their initial communication with me via mail).

By now they were ONLY reporting to EQ and TU but not EX. After I had the CMRRR green card that proved their receipt of my letter, I disputed this with EQ and TU to start the 30-day window...And then the CA VERIFIED (!) with EQ and TU after receipt of my letter and NEVER sent me ANYTHING (validation or even an attempt at validation).

I immediately sent out a 2ND DV LETTER demanding validation after the 30 day window passed and immediately disputed AGAIN with EQ and TU after verifying that they had received my 2ND letter. Lo and behold, they VERIFIED for a 2ND time(!). By this point (2 DV letters), they STILL HAD NOT EVEN MARKED THIS ACCOUNT AS IN DISPUTE.

Well, 2 months after RECEIVING my 2ND DV letter (~ 3 months after initial communication), they sent me an 'Affidavit of Indebtedness'-type letter (a poorly xeroxed copy), stating that they had purchased this from another JDB. I was also unable to verify the licensure of the notary that had notarized it with the State they were allegedly a notary in.

The OC that this CA is (allegedly) linked to is reporting a DOLA (and has verified this themselves via numerous disputes) that would put me WELL outside of the SOL for collections. Therefore, I recently sent them a 3RD DV letter disputing the nature of the debt, etc., and also informing them that this alleged debt was well outside of the SOL (according to the OC that they claim this debt was purchased from). I then immediately disputed this with EQ and TU after obtaining proof of receipt (green card #3).

Well, lo and behold, after 30 days they VERIFIED for the 3RD time and STILL did not MARK THIS ACCOUNT AS DISPUTED BY CONSUMER.

ALSO: They had now REPORTED THIS INCORRECT DEBT to EXPERIAN!

(and didn't even mark it as disputed).

Summary:

3 DV letters

3 disputes with EQ & TU

3 verifications by CA with EQ & TU

0 accounts marked as 'in dispute' with EQ & TU

1 EX account added after all of the above occurred

QUESTIONS:

What should my next step be? Should I attempt to obtain an attorney? Send an ITS? I am REALLY getting fed up with these corrupt people. I pulled my real FICO scores the day BEFORE they added it to EXP and the same day that they posted it and my real FICO score dropped 23(!) points from just this single TL (this was the ONLY difference).

Should I apply for a credit card, etc., to get rejected and claim additional damages? Thus far I have applied for a Wal-Mart card and got denied because of 'collection accounts' on EQ. [This is the ONLY CA on EQ, by the way].

Please, give me some advice on what my next action should be (legal or otherwise). Also, any examples of letters, cases, etc., that I could use would be most appreciated.

Many thanks,

-WIJ

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Thanks for the reply, Recovering Attorney!

I know that you are one of the resident experts on this board (long-time reader, first-time (approximately) poster )...I was wondering if you could offer me any further advice:

If I am in the state of FL, and they are located in the Mid-west (and/or the North-east...I think that they have offices in both places), could I still sue them in small claims court?

Why would I consider federal court...is there an advantage to federal over small-claims court in this matter? (I believe that there is a damages/violations 'cap' in small-claims court, right?)

What other 'lower court' possibilities are there?

Should I apply for further credit and possibly incur additional damages in the process (e.g. credit cards: I could use additional positive TL's) because of their 'blackball' tactics?

Thanks again for all of your advice, R.A.! :)

-WIJ

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Becasue it is a federal law you are enforcing, and they are out of your state, you could due t hem in federal court in FL. There is no real advantage except the judges tend to be better versed in the FDCPA. If you win and get a judgment, it is easier to trasnfer that judgement to another state and enforce it. Procedure can be tricky, though.

A lower court would be the regualr civil part of your city court , county court or state trial court. Check with Tallahassee and see if they are authorized to do business in Florida. If so, I say sue them in small claims court, let them argue juridiction

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Thanks for the reply, R.A. :) When you wrote:

"...see if they are authorized to do business in Florida. If so, I say sue them in small claims court, let them argue juridiction."

They are, in fact, licensed to collect (as a CA) within the state of FL (at least according to the state of FL website). Are you saying that I could/should sue them in small claims court? What do you mean by 'letting them argue jurisdiction?"

Does that mean that they might try and say that I cannot sue them in small-claims court? Should I be able to pursue this in s.c. court since they are licensed to collect in FL?

Also, would they possibly try to move it to a federal court (for some reason) or do CA's most likely prefer small-claims? I am just curious...they mentioned in one of their letters that my case was being forwarded to an attorney in FL to sue me on their behalf...??? Isn't it illegal to threaten legal action and then not follow through (e.g. is it likely that they will STILL try and sue ME despite all of my dispute letters, etc.)?

Thanks again for all of your help, R.A.! :)

Best regards,

-WIJ

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yes, it is illegal to threaten to sue if you do not intend to.

They could have a collectors license in florida, but to sue in their own name in Florida they need to be a FL corp or authorized to do buisiness in FL ( at least, that is the case in most states I believe). The rationale is, if you don't pay FL taxes, you can't use our courts. It is an affirmative defense, i.e., enough for you to win on that ground. Most litigants forget about this. If they are a JDB, they likely operate on a shoot first, answer questions later if at all mentality. Just becasue Providian, a national bank, could have sued you in FL doesn't mean a collection agency from out of state can. worth looking into, if only as a brake on them.

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Thanks for the prompt reply, R.A.! :)

So are you saying that unless (theoretically) they are a a FL corp or are authorized to do business in FL (e.g. pay FL taxes), then they never could have 'legally intended to sue' since they were never legally authorized to in the first place? Could they sue me in THEIR small-claims court (e.g. in their home state) even if the alleged debt/contract was for FL?

One of the letters actually came from an 'attorney' with the EXACT same street address, paper type, EVERYTHING, only with the lawyer's name on the heading instead of the CA. In the letter, they said that unless I paid it within XX days (10, I believe) they would forward my account to an attorney to file suit in FL.

My question is: If this CA was not a FL corp or an authorized business in FL, could they still 'forward' my case to an attorney to sue me on their behalf in FL? Any way that they could circumvent this (e.g. still sue me)?

How/where could I go about finding out if they are, in fact, a FL corp or an authorized business in the state of FL?

Also, any suggestions on where I could look for law(s) that actually would require them to meet the above criteria in FL? This legal angle is completely new to me, but I believe that I may have to pursue it this time...

Thanks again for all of your help/advice R.A.! :)

Much appreciated!

-WIJ

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try this link:

http://www.sunbiz.org/corpweb/inquiry/search.html

can they try to sue you even without authority in FLA? Sure, happens all the time. It's a defense you must raise. But you know about it, so you'll be ready. Others here have used it against Unifund.

One thing: the string of letters bothers me. many use that kind of progressive threat. but if they never sue or intend to sue, you may have a violation. Keep that in mind.

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Thanks again for the link and your time, R.A.! :)

Well, I checked the webpage that you posted and it appears that the Collection Agency is listed as a 'Foreign Profit' corporation with addresses for the Registered Agent and the Officer/Director listed (are these for serving a summons to?). There was no info for the Annual Reports, etc., but it looks like they 'applied' in early 2004 and are currently listed as 'ACTIVE.'

What does this mean? I assume that this means that they ARE legally able to sue me in FL, etc., since they are in the database as a corporation, right?

Also, when you wrote: "One thing: the string of letters bothers me. Many use that kind of progressive threat, but if they never sue or intend to sue, you may have a violation. Keep that in mind" :

What did you mean by the above statment? Could you please clarify further? Should I have MORE to worry about since they sent me a string of letters and were threatening to sue?

Also, since they ARE registered as a corporation in FL, does this mean that I could sue them in small-claims court and they would have difficulty 'arguing juridiction'?

Should I apply and incur additional damages? I have heard that more damages = a better case (?). Thanks again, R.A.! :)

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Thanks for the reply, R.A. :)

Do I need to incur additional 'damages' (e.g. declines for c.c., car loans, mortgage, etc.) to successfully pursue this matter in small-claims court?

Any suggestions on how to PROVE damages caused by a CA?

I just want to be sure that if and when I decide to pursue legal action that I have the strongest case possible.

Thanks again! :)

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