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Actual Attorney (form) Letter

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This is an actual letter that someone in my husband's family received.



Attorney at Law



RE: xxxxx Clinic

Total owed: $205.67

Dear *

This law office has been retained to represent the interests of xxxxx Services, Inc., (address), the assignee of the original creditor, and has been retained to assist in the collection of the above listed, unpaid account. While no decision has been made regarding suit, a lawsuit may be filed against you if payment in the full is not received. Please contact --------- at -------- at 412-3109 to resolve this matter immediately.

This is an attempt to collect a debt. Any information obtained will be used for that purpose.


So and So, Esq.

Attorney for **** Services, Inc.

(A Debt Collection Agency)

Unless you notify this office within 30 days after receiving this notice that you dispute the validity of this debt or any portion thereof, this office will assume this debt is valid. If you notify this office within 30 days after receiving this notice, this office will: obtain verification of the debt or obtain a copy of a judgment and mail you a copy of such judgment or verfication. If you request this office in writing within 30 days after receiving this notice, this office will provide you with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current creditor.

Be advised that this 30 day validation notice in no way precludes the filing of a lawsuit within said aforementioned 30 days. In other words, a lawsuit can be filed against you before the 30 days set forth has run.

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I'm just curious about this. I know that they can't threaten a lawsuit unless they actually intend to file suit. I also know that the lawyer isn't actually threatening a lawsuit by claiming "While no decision has been made regarding suit..." However, when they include "a lawsuit may be filed against you if payment in the full is not received," doesn't that constitute as a threat?

In other words, is it illegal to say "we will sue you" and legal to say "we can sue you" when they are both obviously threats of a lawsuit?

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That letter smacks of overshadowing. The measure is whether or not the 'least sophisticated consumer' would read that letter and believe they were in danger of an immediate lawsuit. The way I read it, they want full payment now and the threat of a lawsuit is hardly veiled. The way its worded would certainly make most people believe they'd better fork over the full amount right away or be sued.

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I was thinking overshadowing, too. If you look at first paragraph to contact so and so immediately, but then also says they have 30 days . . . can be very confusing to unsophisticated consumer.

Also, when debtor did call "so and so", they were told that the agency would not accept payments on an amount "so small" (it was $200). Where is the standard for "small"? It wasn't "small" to them.

At that point, they did not pay any attention to anything else in the letter. They had already done what it commanded to do "immediately" and were told "no".

Additionally, (have to research it), but I also think the attorney was supposed to advise them that if they request validation of the debt, that while it was being validated, no collection action will take place during the 30 days(?). Instead, it says they may still be sued. . . (the opposite).

And, attorneys are held to a higher standard as they should know better.

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Additionally, attorney letter dated 11/15/04, so they would have 30 days for validation "after receiving the notice. (11/18? or 11/19? or ?

Summons and Complaint served 12/8/04 and

Attorney did file in DISTRICT Ct (not small claims) 12/16/04.

Answer due 12/28/04.

Complaint states balance owed is $153.02 + $4.39 interest.

Plaintiff spent $151 filing the Complaint with that Court.

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Okay, as usual, I can't lay my hands on the actual document...but...

I remember there was another discussion about this. Just like the "30 day rule" doesn't say the consumer MUST validate within 30 days or give up all rights, it also doesn't say that the CA MUST wait 30 days before suing. Whether or not their suit violated the FDCPA depends on the timing. If they received a DV prior to filing suit, then yes, they're in violation...but...is they sent out the original letter and then filed suit before they got a response, no violation.

And, although like LadyNRed says, it could be construed as "overshadowing"...that's one of those "in the opinion of the court" thingys that may or may not hold water.

As I often say, we have the best legal system money can buy...so, who wants to spend the most money fighting this?

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Now this was for my husband's nephew that had a collection agency on him for a $153 medical bill. The in-house attorney was rude and nasty - wasn't interested in collecting a debt, but seems "out for blood".

If you see from previous notes, attorney filed a complaint in District Court, not small claims after he, the original debtor and collection agency ignored many attempts from nephew to settle all along.

I was "lurking" in the background taking notes. My nephew didn't even know that alot of the tactics and such that were used against him were unlawful or just plain unethical.

Some of the actions I took (in the background):

1) Called the state bar to make sure the attorney is licensed and if there are any complaints against him. These calls are logged and I'm sure might be relayed to the members if they are being checked up on;

2) Called the attorney to verify that there was actually an in-house attorney (he "flipped" when I identified myself as a paralegal--which I am). He was very rude and condensending. (This was in violation of ethics set for attorneys and others in the profession on how to conduct yourself). I just wanted to verifiy his address as he has a P.O. Box listed with the Bar. He never answered my question. I ended up hanging up on him as he was yelling. Well, I KNEW then that he was up to "no good" -- and he knows it. His whole guise is to "slam" people who are too poor to get a lawyer or ignorant of the laws. (Someone who KNOWS something is calling and asking questions!);

to be continued . . .

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