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HUGE collection agency problem.. PLEASE HELP!


shiroinu
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Ok I have a big problem here!

Back in 2003/2004 (my boyfriend/husband) had 2 reposessions. (one was my car one was his. We fell on bad times and both lost our jobs, we were using our Unemployemnt just to pay rent and survive. Also at this time we stopped paying on all of our CCs loans ect..) (last payments for everything was in 2003)

The car loans were through First Merit Bank in Ohio from 2002 a few months later we moved to FL.

I know there is a stature of limitations on repossessions but in OH if you have not lived in the state for the whole time, the 4yrs starts the date you moved back to Ohio OR the date that they can locate you. Ohio Also has a 15yr SoL on personal loans(THIS STATE SUCKS) According to the lawyer this is what they use no matter what and its very rarely the follow the 4yr SoL even though ohio has adopted the fccCode

The reposessions happened in FL. (2003/2004)

In 2006 we moved back to Ohio.

The accounts were sold to some shady local collection agency in Ohio in 2006.

Neither the collection agency nor the Original creditor are reporting on the credit reports. The only think I see is that the collection agency pulled a TU credit file early 2008.

First judgement they filled in a county court was 10/08 it was originally sent to my parents house. They told me and I let the certified letter get returned to the court and then when they sent it reg. mail I did "Return to sender" after that they sent certified letter to my current address and I let that get returned. When they sent it Reg. Mail It was only taped shut so I opened it and read it. Basically they had a copy of my original loan paper work and a typed letter saying that their company is now the owner of debt from FirstMerit bank(nothing specific or official just a generic typed letter) They also had the "if you dispute this information please respond to this letter with in 30 days" Which is REALLY stupid since they never sent anything like that to begin with, PLUS in Ohio you only have 20 days to respond to court paperwork.

I contacted a lawyer and they said I could not use the SoL on repossessions since I was out of state until 2006. They also wanted $1500 up front..... that was the cheapest lawyer I could find... (we can not afford this by any means)

sooo I put " Return To Sender currently lives in FL" to buy more time.

The judge put that the case will be closed on 5/21/09 because in Ohio you only have 6months to finish a case.

Now just today they are trying to send a personal summons person to a business that has nothing to do with him (they must have found incorrect job informations. The company name is somewhat simular to an contract agency that he had used before they went out of business) So I am not really worried about that but I am worried that they may find out where he works with in the next 30days..

This agency is trying to claim over $20000 (the original remaining ballance was only like $4k but they are claiming 20% interest from 2003)

This is only for the first car...

Now for the second car...

They just filed a claim for the second car at the local court now (not the county court) 3/2009 (different lawyer too)

Same thing pretty much. Sent first Cert. letter to my parents house, left it unclaimed and yesterday they just received the Reg. Mail letter which I know have and are planing to send back the same way I did with the first.

So to date there are no judgements as of yet....

Sooo all of this is going on.. If we still lived in FL this would be finished since FL has a SoL of 5yrs on personal loans...

My biggest problem is not only is it a HUGE amount they are trying to claim but aslo that we just got finished repairing our credit and got all 3 scores in the 675-715 range Ture FICO scores. We could file for BK since he makes under the amount for the state but darn it we worked sooo hard for the last 2.5yrs to get the CR cleaned up from the 400 score range.....

There is NO way we can afford to pay the amount they are claiming and NO way we can afford the lawyers...

I mean should we really just up and move to FL!! (not that this is possible but that would seem to resolve the problem...)

Probono (sp?) lawyers wont help because he actually has a job... (I tried)

Should I just continue to avoid them? I don't want to risk going to court.. I can track the court/case information online so I will know if and when they actually set a court date (who knows this shady company may lie and say they served him even though they never had..)

Continuing to aviod them stesses me out to no end since I never know what they are going to do next and I am always trying to stay one step ahead of them..

But if we go to court we risk the chance to loosing to them... and if we get a judgement our credit score will be back down the drain . . . . as well as the risk of having them pull money from his pay check which again we can not afford....

PLEASE HELP!

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Eventually you are going to have to face these debts, either through bankruptcy or not.

Trying to ignore this will not make it go away and if fact, only make it more likely that they'll get judgments against you (if they don't already have them...I'm a bit unclear about where they already have a judgment(s)). Assuming they haven't actually gotten judgments yet and are trying to serve you, understand that you can't really hide form service - every state that I know of has was to perfect service that doesn't require them to put the summons in your hand.

If they have judgments or get judgments; especially for the amounts involved, I'd say it's likely that they will find you and execute on the judgments and they'll likely have a couple of decades to do so.

You've got a complicated issue...two repossessions and two states involved...you really need an attorney to sort through all this mess.

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The company on the complaint is Landmark National II Corporation. From Warren Ohio. They also go by LMS(landmark services), Landmark America, and a few others....

Their website is:

www .landmarkamerica. cc

It looks like they buy debt from bankrupt or closing banks...

The ONLY thing on all 3 CR is an inquiry on TU(ONLY) from 3/2008, 10/2008, 3/2009 Which I have NO idea how they were able to do this since I have had a fraud alert/Block on my CR until 2013... Meaning no one should be allowed to pull my credit report without further verification right??

The inquiries were done by LMS (Landmark services)

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Eventually you are going to have to face these debts, either through bankruptcy or not.

Trying to ignore this will not make it go away and if fact, only make it more likely that they'll get judgments against you (if they don't already have them...I'm a bit unclear about where they already have a judgment(s)). Assuming they haven't actually gotten judgments yet and are trying to serve you, understand that you can't really hide form service - every state that I know of has was to perfect service that doesn't require them to put the summons in your hand.

If they have judgments or get judgments; especially for the amounts involved, I'd say it's likely that they will find you and execute on the judgments and they'll likely have a couple of decades to do so.

You've got a complicated issue...two repossessions and two states involved...you really need an attorney to sort through all this mess.

They do not have a judgment against me. And in Ohio you only get 6 months to serve someone... if you can not serve someone in that time the claim gets dismissed.

The amount is completely fabricated because the ballance of the car loan was only $4k and that is not including what ever they got it from auction.

Also this company never sent anything, they are not on the credit reports they have never sent a notice of debt or that they aquired the debt from First Merit bank..

Do they not have to tell us that they are trying to claim money so we can dispute it or request information?? How do I know that they own this debt. Even first Merit no longer has ANY record of these loans. So I can not get any information on this at all....

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They do not have a judgment against me. And in Ohio you only get 6 months to serve someone... if you can not serve someone in that time the claim gets dismissed.

I find that highly doubtful. And if true, then you can count on them doing whatever is necessary to find you and serve you.

The amount is completely fabricated because the ballance of the car loan was only $4k and that is not including what ever they got it from auction.

You have no idea if the amount is “fabricated” or not – just because it’s a lot higher than you think it should be doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Go back and look at your loan documents…see what they are allowed to charge in the event of a default…look at what Ohio allows as interest on an unpaid debt like this…the amount that a small debt can rise to will likely surprise you.

Also this company never sent anything, they are not on the credit reports they have never sent a notice of debt or that they aquired the debt from First Merit bank.

Did they follow the proscribed process for repossession? If not then you may have something with which to fight. However, beyond what the repossession laws say, they are not obligated to do any of the above.

Do they not have to tell us that they are trying to claim money so we can dispute it or request information??

No, they don’t.

How do I know that they own this debt. Even first Merit no longer has ANY record of these loans. So I can not get any information on this at all....

You can’t get anything from them while hiding from them.

Now that this has moved into the court system; the Discovery process is the appropriate tool to use to obtain information/documents, etc.

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Ohio rules of civil procedure:

Summons: time limit for service.

If a service of the summons and complaint is not made upon a defendant within six months after the filing of the complaint and the party on whose behalf such service was required cannot show good cause why such service was not made within that period, the action shall be dismissed as to that defendant without prejudice upon the court’s own initiative with notice to such party or upon motion. This division shall not apply to out-of-state service pursuant to Rule 4.3 or to service in a foreign country pursuant to Rule 4.5. [Adopted eff. 7-1-70; amended eff. 7-1-71, 7-1-73, 7-1-75, 7-1-84]

The six months to find you isn't a sealed door.

It only applies if they can't show good cause for not having served you (hiding from them would probably be "good cause"). Also, at worst it just means they can re-file the case and try later.

Further, they DO NOT have to place the summons in you hand...Ohio allows other types of "service".

You can read up on it here (and I'm sure lots of other places for that matter): http://www.serve-now.com/resources/process-serving-laws/Ohio/

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You need to read up on the repossession law, including if, when, and how they must notify you when the car is sold, how out of state repos are handled, and how they are allowed to handle collection of remaining balances, etc.

Chances are you will be served, either by public announcement or being found. Might as well start coming up with your defense now.

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Did they follow the proscribed process for repossession? If not then you may have something with which to fight. However, beyond what the repossession laws say, they are not obligated to do any of the above.

No they did not but this wasn't the collection agency it was First Merit bank. What had happened was we worked out a payment arrangment and said we would pay the total past due amount. The FirstMerit repo/rep told us that it was ok. The next day they took out the past due ballance from the bank account and that evening the car was taken even though the full amount past due was paid for and it was previously arranged. When I called the FirstMerit rep. He said " nothing I can do about it" When I asked if he could apply that money to the other car loan that was also past due he said NO and several weeks later the second car was taken.

We never received a notice about auction or sale. We never received a way to get the first car back again. Even though it was taken and NO payment was due......

Now I have already looked into the avenue that they wrongfully repossessed the first car but it is already past the SoL for that. Thats what the lawyer told me anyways...

But either way, it is some collection agency trying to claim this money NOT the Bank.

And just for the record if we could afford a lawyer we certainly would get one but unless anyone knows someone who will work for free or little money down or with payments then there is nothing we can do about that.

Like a lot of people today, we are lucky that one of us even has a job. Perhaps you are well paid and have money to spare, but short of mooching off the government... we just don't have the extra cash laying around..

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Below is what the information in the case is.. I blocked out any personal informations but you get the idea. IF eventually they do figure out how to get a summons (even though they only have a couple weeks left.)

What could I possiblly do to get this case dismissed WITHOUT having my husband have to go to court..

04/20/2009 Summons, copy of complaint and any and all additional pleadings listed, issued by private process server to XXXXXXXXXXX

04/20/2009 Instructions for service, filed

03/19/2009 NOTICE & JOURNAL ENTRY FILED: Notice is given that a review of my docket indicates that to date no service of summons and complaint has been made upon defendant XXXXXXX as required by Civ. R. 4(E) within six months after the filing of the complaint. Action shall be dismissed on May 21, 2009, abestn compliance with Ohio's rules. IT IS SO ORDERED. Vol 1818 Pg 0680

03/04/2009 Regular mail service to XXXXXX returned to sender and filed. Notice of failure of service issued to atty. Copy filed. Return to sender, not deliverable as addressed; see attached to failure.

02/10/2009 Summons, copy of complaint and any and all additional pleadings listed, re-issued by regular mail to XXXXXXXX

02/09/2009 Instructions for re-issue of service, filed.

01/28/2009 Certified Mail rr# XXXXXXXXXXX returned to sender and filed. Notice of failure of service issued to atty. Copy filed. Unclaimed.

01/07/2009 Summons, copy of Complaint and all papers issued by certified mail rr# XXXXXXXXXXXXX

01/07/2009 Instructions for service, filed.

12/22/2008 Regular Mail issued to XXXXXX returned and filed (attmpted not known/unable to forward). Notice of failure issued 12/22/08 to attorney, copy in file.

12/01/2008 Summons, copy of Complaint and all papers reissued by Regular Mail to XXXXX. Postal certificate of mailing in file.

11/26/2008 Instructions for service, filed. Attorney: XXXXXX

11/18/2008 Certified Mail rr#XXXXXXXXXXX returned to sender, (unclaimed) and filed. Notice of failure of service issued to atty. Copy filed.

10/24/2008 Issue Date: 10/24/2008 Service: Summons and all pleadings listed - certified mail Method: CERTIFIED MAIL Cost Per: $ 2.00 writ $5.66 postage

10/20/2008 Complaint, pre-trial order, filed. Receipt:XXXXX Date:10/20/2008

10/20/2008 Initial civil action deposit Receipt: XXXX Date: 10/20/2008

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You can't get a case dismissed unless you have and can show good cause and in any case it isn't going to be dismissed without going to court.

You have a major problem on your hands here...there aren't going to be any easy answers.

I can understand that you can't afford an attorney but your option, then, is for you learn as much as you can about the law and civil procedures and you do the best you can to represent yourself.

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One thing I found was that they are claiming 18% interest from the date they purchased the debt. but in OH the limit is 10%

Also they stated that they purchased this note from First Merit bank. In the lawsuit they are stating the original purchase price and the remaining ballance(which they do not state how they came up with it) and they are claiming 18% interest from the 2006 date. They also included the first page of the original loan aggreement which states nothing more then what the cars information is, how much we bought it for, and the monthly payments. (it is signed) The next informations just states in 2006 they aquired debt (no specifics just "debt") from First merit bank and it is signed by VP of First merit bank.

The other letter they included was a letter stating exactly this:

"This is from a debt collector. This is in connection with the collection of debt. Any information obtained will be used for that purpose.

Notice under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

1. The undersigned attorney is for Landmark Nation II corp. ("Landmark") and has been retained for the purpose of collecting a debt.

2. Please be advised that your account with Landmark is in default and you are indebted to Landmark in the sum of$18,271.68 as of the date of this Complaint is sent to Court. Because of interest, late charges and other charges, which may very from day to day, the amount due on the day you pay may be greater. Hence if you pay the amount shown above, an adjustment may be necessary after receipt of your check, in which event we will inform you before depositing the check for collection. For further information write the undersigned or call 1-###-###-####

3. If you do not dispute this debt, or any portion of the debt, within thirty(30) days of receiving this information, the undersigned will assume the debt is valid.

4. If you notify the undersigned within the thirty(30) day period that you dispute part or all of the debt, the undersigned will mail you verification of the debt or a copy of any judgment rendered against you on the debt.

5. Upon your written request within the thirty(30) day period, the undersigned will provide you with the name and address of the original creditor if different from the current one.

6. This is being sent to you in connection with a collection of debt. Any information obtained will be used for that purpose.

(lawyer signature and contact informations)

Attorney for Landmark National II corp.

"

So what is that all about?

I'm pretty sure that after they started the claim process a DV is pretty useless right?

Also WHY didn't they originally send this letter out? Why did they just start with a Claim??

Should I move this thread or can someone move it to the lawyer section because I'm not sure if I should be asking this of someone who knows a little bit more about the laws and regulations.

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...

Yes...you are being sued...the Dispute/Validation process is moot at this point.

The second letter is just a simple dunning letter.

How do you know they didn't send it out? I got the impression that you've moved during all this, perhaps more than once...just because you didn't get it doesn't mean it wasn't sent.

As far as the 18% goes, you need to look at the original loan documents - they will dictate what interest/fees can be charged.

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littlefox....I am speaking from a little experience dealing with Ohio's collections and suits. You would do so much better to seek an attorney to help you.

Doesn't matter when it is...but these people are going to recieve a judgement against you. They don't have to put these papers in your hand. All they have to do is show they tried to serve you. Even them taking out a small announcement in the paper shows they tried.

You need to close your bank account...b/c if they recieve a judgement against you, they can take your money. Also they can garnish your pay. That's why I strongly suggest you retain an attorney. Especially considering the amount of money involved in this. I think a judgement can be revived up to 21 years here....???

http://www.naca.net/

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This debt is not going to go away because you returned their attempted service. There are alternate methods of service that the court will accept, such as posting a "notice" in a local paper. The last line of that court docket information says they've now hired a private process server. They may be going for "sewer service" at this point. None of your reasons for not paying this debt, nor anything they've done wrong, matter if he doesn't go to court. They will get a judgment against your husband.

Ohio is not a debtor friendly state by any stretch of the imagination. Once they get their judgment, interest will continue to accrue on the ordered amount. Then they have 21 years to collect on their judgment (though I think they have to "renew" it every 5). They can garnish your wages and seize your bank accounts.

If bankruptcy is out of the question, then you need to scrounge the money to fight this case. Try legal aid if your income is low. Even if they can't help you, they can often refer you to lawyers who are cheap(er). If you think bankruptcy hurts your credit, you're really going to be disappointed at what two public records for over $20,000 a piece does to it.

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