StressPot

Hired an attorney to go after Brachfeld & Associates

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To Everyone,

First I'd like to say that this a great and very informative site. I've done a lot of reading the past few months and this is my first posting.

I've had Providian CC debt that was written off and sold to LVNV Funding over 2 years ago. I've responded to every dunning letter ever received, and thanks to this site, I've learned the art of DV'ing. Now I am on my 7th collection agency and this time I had decided I've had enough of the abusive tactics.

Brachfeld & Associates is a collection law firm in California, and for the last 2 months I have been letting the violations pour in. I hired an attorney to go after them once I had documented 7 violations in over 30 different instances.

I am posting this thread because I would like to share this experience with this community. I would have done this Pro Se, but I tend to be a stress pot. I am now glad I do have an attorney.

I was told that the best thing I have going for me right now is the fact that Brachfeld & Associates are not registered with the Department of Licensing in WA state to act as collection agents. I was suprised to hear that the other violations didn't make a strong enough case to warrent hiring an attorney. Those included Call Spoofing, Calling more then allowed per week under WA state law, Implying litigation had started in their voice mails, Ignoring my DV and continuing their collection attempts, leaving messages for me (assuming it was my telephone number) on relatives voice mails, and finally the ever hard to prove Not sending the initial Dunning Letter.

Because of their lack of licensing, I have a stronger case that I understand will net me triple the damages allowed by law. That and I can sue for more then the FDCPA allows for. I've only had my first meeting with my attorney, and I'm really new at this...but I will keep the community updated as best I can. I hope anyone else in WA state reading this will benefit from my experience.

Thank you!

Stresspot

BTW: All other collections I've ever had in the past have been settled, and this is my last. I would have settled it, but LVNV Funding likes to hire real scum when tryin to collect. All of my letters were ignored, and the debt was passed from agency to agency in attempts to collect from me. If my lawsuit pans out, I fully intend to try and settle the debt with LVNV Funding for a small fraction of what it owed, as they bought my debt for roughly .07 cents on the dollar. :smile:

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Don't settle with them for a DIME!!!

If you win your lawsuit.. part of what you tell the lawyer you want is that the debt is dead.. never sold or re assigned and if it is then you can sue them again. . or something to that effect.

You dont pay the people you sue. they bought an out of SOL debt. you don't legally owe them a dime..

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The debt is still very well within the SOL. I've had it for under 3 years now, and my attorney confirmed that most judges see SOL in WA for CC debt as 6 years.

I am not sueing the debt holder, I'm sueing the collection attorney they hired to harass me. I will not work with a company that continually breaks the law at the consumers expense. If LVNV actually hired a reputable agency, then maybe I wouldn't have gotten fed up with the 7th agency to give it a try.

At this time I am willing to work with LVNV Funding to get it paid off at a reasonable cost to me. This lawsuit, if I win, will help me do that while punishing the law breakers.

When I negotiate with LVNV, it will be for substantionally less then the original debt. I've read enough here (thank you community!) so I am in the know about getting it in writing that once I send them money that it's done, no reselling balances ect...

Sorry, just wanted to clarify my position with this pending case. More updates when I hear more.

Based on this info, how would you do it differently?

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It's been a few weeks...

The complaint is just about done. My attorney seems to be really busy with these kinds of cases! I did have the first draft within the first week of my consultation, but it has gone through a few edits to ensure all the facts are straight. She even found a few more violations that I had not thought of, in light of the evidence I had presented to her. This includes all of my documentation and notes - call logs, recorded voice mail messages, DV letters (with Green Card return receipts), e-mails and the complaint I had filed with the WA state Dept of Licensing.

(On a side note: I also am waiting on the second rewrite of the Retainer Agreement. I had several questions on it, and even the attorney agreed that it could have been made clearer. I've learned so far to read everything more then once just to make sure I understand things correctly. I could have hurt myself if I would have signed it "as is".)

If I am lucky the complaint will be filed very soon and this Collections Law Firm will be served soon after.

More later....

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Where in WA are you? Where did you find your attorney?

Thanks for the information.

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Things are getting a little more interesting in my case vs Brachfeld & Associates.

Today my attorney has found another pending lawsuit against Brachfeld & Associates.

It appears that Brachfeld & Associates does not exist as a seperate corporation. If you are being contacted by Brachfeld & Associates, please note that it is just Erica Brachfeld and her troop of legal assistants.

Does anyone know what kind of trouble she can get into representing herself as a valid and seperate corporation (a Debt Collection Law Firm)?

As for my case, it has been filed against Erica Brachfeld, not Brachfeld & Associates because they appear to not legally exist. She is however an attorney doing business in California. Service of the Summons & Complaint has been started, but so far has not been completed.

I will share more when I know more.

StressPot

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Today I just learned that the process server servered the summons & complaint last week. Today I hear from my attorney the Brachfeld office has called to start settlement negotiations.

It's my understanding that during the telephone conversation, Brachfeld & Associates conceded all of the harassment violations in my lawsuit (9 Federal and 3 State). They are not yet willing to concede that they are in violation of not being licensed as a debt collector in the state of Washington.

For those of you following this thread, not being licensed as a CA in WA state incurs triple damages. There is enough evidence to show they are not licensed at the time the suit was filed.

So..the negotiations have started and I still do not know much beyond that. The communications between myself and my attorney has quickened, but I am not sure if we will keep this fast pace going.

Future general updates coming...that is if I don't have to sign anything keeping me quiet about this. :smile:

StressPot

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B&A has been unable to show they are licensed in WA state as a debt collector! Right now they are waiting for my attorney to contact them with our settlement offer.

My attorney is working out the numbers and soon (within days) we will be discussing an appropriate number to hand them "across the table" so to speak.

Just an FYI, that is information I will not be sharing BUT I will keep the updates coming with the generalities of how this proceeds and ends!

Thanks to those who have been following this for reading!

StressPot :)++

EDIT: These things really take time. I've just now looked at all of my update post dates!

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LVNV is also not licensed or bonded in the state of Arkansas. They have sent me several letters from different "attorneys" offices. Every time I get a letter, I send a dispute and then about 3 weeks later I get a letter from a different attorney. They are not showing on my CR yet and the debt is still SOL for about another 10 months. So I guess i will continue disputing until I am out of SOL and then tell them to kiss off.

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Why does LVNV hire CA's and Attorney's to try to collect their debt, one right after the other?

Brachfeld & Associates is the 7th agency they've hired in under 3 years just for my debt! I don't understand. Not all agencies work on a "We don't get paid til you get paid." attitude, so I'm eager to know what their whole collection strategy is. Harass until I give in?

You'd think that by the 7th try it just isn't working. :|

StressPot

EDIT: Spelling

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As of this writing, I'm not the only one sueing Brachfeld & Associates. According to the justia.com website, there are a total of 4 pending lawsuits against Erica and her lawfirm. The 4th one was JUST filed today! She was also sue'd last December, but I am sure that one has been settled by now.

I imagine she isn't too happy with her current state of affairs.

StressPot

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Has anyone tried suing her PERSONALLY??

Has anyone approached the CA Bar Association about her & every single one of her scum associates???

Maybe it's time someone does! I'm sure you could start a wonderful writing campaign to the bar. If she wants to play with fire, then she deserves to burn!

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Thank you again to those that have been following this thread! I have more news...

Today my attorney received word of their counter offer. It kind of feels insulting to see the number they passed to us after they had ample time to review the number (with full explination of how we came to the number) we had initally sent to them.

Needless to say, I do not think they take the actionable violations very seriously. We will be giving them a week to file their answer or we'll be moving to default.

This stage makes me really nervious because I know they can still wheel and deal before we actually make it in to see the judge. My name says it all and I think before long I'll have to get a new case of Tums.

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We live in Wa and they're attempting to collect from my dh, also. They're trying to collect on a 4 yr old Repo. Last date of payment/activity is April of 2003, official repo occurred on July 3rd 2003.

Elyse

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How interesting to see this post. I received a letter from them as well and that is why I logged onto this site this morning. I had questions concerning it, but I will start a new thread to ask them! Good luck!

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We live in Wa and they're attempting to collect from my dh, also. They're trying to collect on a 4 yr old Repo. Last date of payment/activity is April of 2003, official repo occurred on July 3rd 2003.

Elyse

I just checked online and Brachfeld & Associates is still NOT licensed in the state of WA. If you can, please file a complaint with the WA state Attorney General (http://www.atg.wa.gov/) and with the WA state Department of Licensing (http://www.dol.wa.gov/business/collectionagency/colcontact.html).

EDIT: They have tried to collect from you and they are not licensed in WA state to do so. They have violated the WA state Consumer Protection Act by doing this. If you sue for this violation you can recover your attorney's fee's and receive triple actual damages if you win.

Good luck!

StressPot

EDIT: Edited a sentence that I felt didn't make much sense as written :D

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I just checked online and Brachfeld & Associates is still NOT licensed in the state of WA. If you can, please file a complaint with the WA state Attorney General (http://www.atg.wa.gov/) and with the WA state Department of Licensing (http://www.dol.wa.gov/business/collectionagency/colcontact.html).

EDIT: They have tried to collect from you and they are not licensed in WA state to do so. They have violated the WA state Consumer Protection Act by doing this. If you sue for this violation you can recover your attorney's fee's and receive triple actual damages if you win.

Good luck!

StressPot

EDIT: Edited a sentence that I felt didn't make much sense as written :D

Hi stress,

Ok-I will file the complaints as you mentioned. Would I just say that they are attempting to collect w/ out a license? Is this what I'd say in BOTH complaints to BOTH agencies? Sorry for the questions, but I want to deal with these AH's NOW...things are FINALLY going better financially and I don't want it mucked up.

Also, would I do this PRIOR or AFTER sending THEM a letter about the letter they sent us? Would I even bother sending a response?

Elyse

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Yes, I would file complaints based on the fact they are not licensed as collection agents in the state of WA. Their website fully indicates they are a debt collection law firm and therefore they can be held accountable under the FDCPA.

I would also write a DV letter to them, and also ask for them to prove they are licensed and bonded correctly in this state. As they aren't, Brachfeld should back off.

If they don't then document all violations in preparation to sue.

Good luck!

StressPot

EDIT: It also looks like you are getting really good advice in your thread about this matter. I'd go with that advice over mine!

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If they're a law firm, are they registered with the state bar?

I am sure they are registered in their home state of California. As it stands, LVNV hired them to pursue me in the state of Washington. They do have a business license here. That doesn't give them the right to be collectors here. They need to have an attachment to their business license specifically stating they can act as collection agents.

This is something they do not have.

Update: This situation of mine is really close to being finished. Offers have been passed back and forth, and we are coming really close to an agreed upon sum. My attorney assures me that we should have resolution on this by the end of next week.

Wow, these things take time! I will let you all know!

StressPot

Edit: When this does come to a close I will recap all of my entries of this thread in my final posting. I will do my best to give a timeline and I will answer all PM's and questions to the best of my ability.

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I am sure they are registered in their home state of California. As it stands, LVNV hired them to pursue me in the state of Washington. They do have a business license here. That doesn't give them the right to be collectors here. They need to have an attachment to their business license specifically stating they can act as collection agents.

This is something they do not have.

Update: This situation of mine is really close to being finished. Offers have been passed back and forth, and we are coming really close to an agreed upon sum. My attorney assures me that we should have resolution on this by the end of next week.

Wow, these things take time! I will let you all know!

StressPot

Edit: When this does come to a close I will recap all of my entries of this thread in my final posting. I will do my best to give a timeline and I will answer all PM's and questions to the best of my ability.

In Oregon, an attorney has to be a member of the bar in order to be allowed to practace law. I believe it's the same in every state. They can be members of the bar in multiple states but they must be a member in any state they wish to practace in. Not sure what the rules are for federal court though.

What I'm guessing they would do is if they decided to persue legal action, they'd hire a local attorney.

I know for a fact that Erica is not a member of the WA bar. I checked. You may want to use that as your wild card if they attempt to sue.

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