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Clovis & Roche Threatened with private intestigator .


doormat
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I have a small business a DBA. Last year I purchased some advertising in a phone directory. The company was over billing ( getting two statements a month and not record the payments I made) . I stopped paying until the account was brought up to date and a correct balance was given to me. They turned it over to Clovis & Roche. I got a collection letter from them 3 months ago and I sent a DV Letter and got no response. Since then the salesman came back in to sell me some more advertising and I said forget it.

Today I got a "courtesy" phone call telling me that tomorrow a private investigator would be at my business to take pictures and gather personal financial information. I was floored and asked the girl on the phone what in the he-- she was taliking about. She me the number to the "attorney" that was handling the case. The phone number led to Clovis & Roche. I asked what court order they had to investigate me and they said they didn't need one that they had all the autority they needed because this was a commercial account. My question is.....do your legal rights fly out the window when you have a account in your name DBA your your business? Or are they BSing me big time? Can some one explained what is going on? Can someone waltz into your business and demand personal information? PLEASE HELP!

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While it is true that the FDCPA does not apply to business credit, they still cannot walk into your place of business without a court order. If someone does show up, call the police and let them sort it out.

Because the FDCPA doesn't apply, business CAs do tend to be more agressive. I'd suggest you call the business office of the phone directory and start raising a little hell. If you've got a lawyer, you might even mention his name.

I've been through this. The people that sell ads are generally subcontractors rather than employees...any screw up usually starts with them.

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Today I got a "courtesy" phone call telling me that tomorrow a private investigator would be at my business to take pictures and gather personal financial information.

Like Grim says, a PI is NOT a cop and has ZERO legal authority to do anything. He can ask all the personal questions he wants, you would be under NO obligation to answer him or to let him take photos.

I suppose there are people out there who would be shaking in their boots to be threatened in this way, but a PI is completely powerless, they are nothing more than private citizens - no authority.

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Forgive my ignorance but while I think it’s always been clear in the case of dedbts of incorporated businesses, LLCs, etc that FDCPA does not apply; I was under the impression that the FDCPA does apply even for “business” debts if it's an individual debtor who is personally (and especially solely) liable for the debt.

In other words, if I as a small business man personally incure a debt, even if the debt is to benefit a business I own (DBA, sole propreitor, etc), it's still a "personal" debt and subject to FDCPA.

Even with an “incorporated” business; when just starting out, it would not be at all unusual for a bank/lender to require an individual to personally sign for a loan (in other words, if the corporation is not “credit worthy” in their opinion, the bank ignores the existence of the corporation for the purposes of making the loan). As such, it seems extremely unfair to me if, when the loan is in default, the bank hires a CA and claims that the FDCPA doesn’t apply based on the fact that it’s a “commercial” obligation.

Have I just always been wrong in that belief or has there been some decisions in recent years that has clarified that point?

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FDCPA § 1692a(5):

The term “debt” means any obligation or alleged obligation of a consumer to pay money arising out of a transaction in which the money, property, insurance, or services which are the subject of the transaction are primarily for personal, family, or household purposes, whether or not such obligation has been reduced to judgment.
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As usual, the law is subject to intepretation. I, personally have been able to scare some CAs away by claiming that once the C Corp defaulted, and my personal gurantee kicked in and they placed the collection on my personal credit report, then the FDCPA applies. But...there are, I beleive, some FTC letters that imply that the doctrine of "least sophisticated user" doesn't apply to a business owner...regardless of whether they're incorporated or not.

The bottom line seems to be that if the debt is incurred under a business name, its not covered by the FDCPA. Only "consumers" are...

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Because they can ?? Because the debt is personally guaranteed by the individual making him/her personally liable for the debt.

The key, I believe, is that definition of 'consumer debts'

..alleged obligation of a consumer to pay money arising out of a transaction in which the money, property, insurance, or services which are the subject of the transaction are primarily for personal, family, or household purposes,

A debt for business purposes would not meet that criteria.

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mtnair: Okay, if you have an incorporated small business, and the debt is strictly in the name of the business...they can't.

However, in order to borrow money, most small businesses are required to have a personal gurantee by one of the owners...even incorporated businesses. If the business defaults, the personal guarantee is liable. Therefore, it goes on your personal CR.

Not fair...but legal.

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willingtocope is correct. Incorporated debts personally guaranteed go against personal credit. Sole props are already on the credit report. Also, PI's are a scare tactic as most secured lenders, sometimes even unsecured lenders show up to photograph their assets. So, you needn't shake in your boots just yet!

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If he sets one foot on your property, have him cited for trespassing.

If he forces his way in, that's assault.

If he breaks in, it's breaking and entering....

He needs a COURT ORDER to get in.

Period.

Oh and see if this gumshoe is carrying a weapon. Most do. As far as you knew, he was casing the joint and preparing to rob you ... hint hint

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Having someone from a PI's office go to the debtor's place of business falls under the heading of "rough shadowing" and back in the old days it could get pretty rough. Like haranguing you while you sat at the diner rough, tripping you as you walk down the street rough, etc.

Today that sort of thing is a ticket to court ... with the debtor holding all the high cards.

http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rls=SUNA,SUNA:2005-49,SUNA:en&q=%22rough+shadowing%22

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What I would do is make copies of all invoices, payments, copies of all cancelled checks, etc., in chronological order, and send a copy of each to the OC and the ignorant attorney. Make it clear as to why you are not paying, such as poor billing practices, that you, upon your receipt of an itemized statement, showing that all payments have been properly applied, proper credits are issued (for duplicate payments sent), and appologies are sent, you will forego notifying all of your fellow businesses as to your experience with this company, and will also not pursue any further actions, including, but, limited to, naming them and their attorney as defendants in a civil suit in a court of proper jurisdiction, as the law allows, for their unwarranted actions in the attempt to collect a debt that does not exist.

Remember, you can legally say what you want as to your experience with any company as long as it is the truth and is written as it happened. In short, no exaggerations or added words.

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IN MY BUSINESS I CAN PRETY MUCH COME INTO YOUR PLACE OF BUSINESS OR RESIDENCE AS I SEE FIT 8-) BUT THE PI CANNOT :lol:

SOMETIMES A VIDEOCAMERA CAN MAKE A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE IN THE WAY THEY APROACH YOU :twisted: SPECIALLY WHEN THE ZOOM IS ON THEIR FACE AND UPPER BODY, ALWAYS WATCH THE HANDS THEY CAN DEMOSTRATE AGRESIVENESS :twisted: AND ALWAYS,ALWAYS SHRED ANY PAPERWORK THAT YOU ARE DISPOSING OF, :twisted: , U'LL BE SURPRISED HOW MUCH INFO ONE CAN GET FROM THEM

GOOD LUCK

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