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Don't they have to send you some kind of paper bill?


tropicaljo
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My DH has gotten a couple of phone calls last week from a company named First Collection Services out of Little Rock. As is allowed in our state, we taped both calls. The first call was on Tuesday evening . The agent did tell DH that the call was in regards to collecting a debt, but she stated a much higher amount than what we believe we owe. She did not tell him he had the right to dispute the debt or that he has 30 days to dispute it. He got the agents name and the name/address of the company, told her to please limit further communication to writing. She told him that telling her over the phone did not mean she would stop pursuing the debt, and threatened further action.

I fired off a letter the next day (Wed, CMRRR) telling them to confine further communication to writing, and that we did not believe we owed as much as they claimed. Thursday, another woman called and after pretty much the same conversation, she hung up on DH, telling him that if he didn't want to cooperate and by his refusal to work with her, that she would push the account thru for "Final Review". Ew, I'm scared.

The thing is, neither agent mentioned that DH has the right to dispute the debt or that he has a time frame in which to make a dispute, an we have never received anything in writing from there office stating the "mini-Miranda". My experience with legitimate collection agencies is that they send you a bill with a statement regarding your rights before they start with the phone calls. So since they haven't provided a written document within 5 days of that first phone converstation (May 12), doesn't that put them in violation of FDCPA 809? Here's another thing... I mailed the limited CD on Wednesday and after checking with usps.com. I see it's been sitting in the post office in Little Rock for two days now and they haven't picked it up. I'm considering writing them a follow-up letter to re-state that we are not refusing to pay, but wonder if it's worth the effort.

Any opinions would be appreciated.

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They gave the mini Miranda at the start of the phone call so thus far were in compliance. They do not have to tell you on the phone of the right to seek validation.

There is no need for you to speak to anyone on the phone no matter how much they want you to. The option is there to hang up. I would never advise anyone to engage in a conversation with these people other than to elicit who they are their address and the matter they are calling about. Once that has been obtained hang up. Do not allow them to control the conversation and admit nothing.

The call was presumably the first communication? I would not have sent a VOD letter at that stage. Instead I would have waited 7 days to see if the written communication followed. I know the act says 5 but an extra 2 days grace for mail delays will strengthen the case that you are a fair and reasonable person acting in good faith.

From what you say it did not. That is the point I would have written to them on 2 counts, 1 VOD please 2 You are in breach of FDCPA

Pushing the account through for final review may or may not meet the test under the FDCPA I am of the opinion that the courts have held that this sort of language fails the least sophisticated customer test and they have made another breach of the act. Others may disagree with me.

Why are you writing to a PO box rather than their physical address? It appears to be

10925 Otter Creek East Blvd

Mabelvale, AR 72103

(501) 455-0758‎

(501) 455-1658‎

Send them a proper VOD letter to the above address once you have verified it is in fact the same company, but a quick google search ties the PO box to the telephone number listed for the physical address so I think it is. Call them and ask the question "where do I write to you at PO BOX x or street address y" Record the call.

I do no think there is any such thing as a limited cease and desist it is all or nothing. Just like pregnancy you cant have a little bit of it. Include in your VOD letter a statement to the effect that it is never convenient for them to contact you by telephone at any time. That should achieve the result you want without giving them the cease and desist shield to hide behind.

It is most definitely worth it to establish the basis for an action in the future under the FDCPA and also to give you evidence in any suit they may issue against you.

Perhaps if you told us more about the alleged debt who it was owed to when it went into default etc etc people could be more specific in advice.

Finally there is no need to be scared, so try and relax a little and good luck.

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Thanks for the reply, newryman! The account is with Alltel and went delinquent back in January. DH was unexpectedly layed off from his job in December and we've been living off his unemployment benefits since then. He's in construction, so finding a replacement job is currently nearly impossible.

I've been a member of CIC since 2003 and so I know a few things... like I'm not REALLY scared of these jerks and I know we don't have to talk to them. In fact this is the third company to have been assigned this account, and we wrote the 2 previous collection agencies and told them that we don't work with collection agencies and to return all docs related to the account back to Alltel, which evidently they did. They, by the way, both sent us a paper bill with our rights clearly shown before beginning their telephone campaigns.

I guess I should have Googled the company and got their physical address, and will address the next letter to that address. Thank you for taking the time to look it up for me. The next letter will go to that address.

I believe that asking them in writing to limit further communication is what is called a "limited C&D". My terminology may be wrong...comes with age and lousy memory. The letter I sent already was not really a VOD, but rather a recap of the conversation that DH had with their agent and a request that they confine communication to written. As I said in the previous post, the agent told DH that she was calling re/ the collection of a debt with Alltel in the amount of $XXX. My best recollection is that the full mini-Miranda contains 2 more elements, which were not given in either phone call. Since it's been a full 7 days since the first phone call and we still haven't recieved any kind of paper document/bill, I still feel like they are in violation of 809. That's why I was asking about "Don't they have to send us a paper bill?" in order to pursue further collection activities.

Anyway, thanks again for taking the time to post a reply!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Okay, so here's the continuing saga...

we've written this company (First Collection Services) a second letter and stated that, 1) we never recieved a written collection notice as per FDCPA 809 since the initial May 12 phone call; 2.) that if we owed an alleged debt with Alltel, that we would negotiate it with Alltel unless they could provide the full validation documentation. Asked them if they thought that we were just supposed to send money cause someone calls up and demands we "pay or else!"

Their written response was that they had sent the written notice on or about April 20th and that they don't have to know if we received the letter, but they also didn't provide a copy of the notice they claim they sent or any sort validation documentation in their response to our letter. I conceed that one point... that they don't have to know we got their notice (if they actually sent one) however, I have a collection notice in my file from the previous company (Focus Receivables) that attempted to collect on this account dated April 21. We wrote Focus and told them that we preferred to work with the OC and asked them to return the file, and I guess they did b/c it was around 3 weeks later we started hearing from First Collection.

So, my question at this point is... Can an OC assign the alleged debt to 2 separate CA's at within the same time frame? Appreciate any replys!

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The debt can be sold/assigned many times over.

You should send a VOD to the new CA. Include the rider that is never convenient for you to be contacted by telephone all communication must be in writing via US mail.

Alltel is a common carrier I beleive so subject to Federal SOL which is 2 years. Chances are they cant sue on this. What is the date of delinquency?

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Yes, newryman, I know that an OC can assign an alleged debt many times over... this one has already been handled by 2 previous CA's since March. Both previous CA's were handled with "Didn't make the debt with you, will only work with OC, please return doc's to OC." In fact, many years ago, we had an old debt that had been sold several times and had 4 different tradelines on DH's CR's totally 5x the original amount owed, but these companies were back to back in an obvious time line... you could see the chain of action where the account went from one company to the next over time.

But my current question was "Can an OC assign an alleged debt to 2 separate CA's AT THE SAME TIME?" Appreciate any replys!

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How do you even KNOW that the CA has "assigned" this alleged debt? All you have so far is a CA claiming they have the right ot collect. Without validation who knows if they have or have not?

So to my way of thinking your issue over how many people have been assigned the debt at the same time is moot at this point.

What is the date of deliquency or last activity on the account?

If this is outside the SOL then FOAD letters are the way to put an end to this. Why would you care about validation at this point if you have an affirmative defence?

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But my current question was "Can an OC assign an alleged debt to 2 separate CA's AT THE SAME TIME?" Appreciate any replys!

Maybe it's just anecdotal, and it's probably not very common, but I have heard stories of OC's sending accounts in collections to more than one CA at the same time. The purpose is twofold: first, to motivate the CA's to work harder (be more aggressive), because they're in competion with each other, and second, to identify the most successful/productive CA, as the "prize" is the more successful CA gets more of the OC's business in the future.

DH

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newryman, I answered your the first time you asked it.

05-20-2009 12:20 PM

tropicaljo Thanks for the reply, newryman! The account is with Alltel and went delinquent back in January.

The reason I asked if an OC can assign a debt to more than 1 CA at a time is because I like to have all my ducks in a row before I get really nasty with one that is trying to be a bully. This is not my first rodeo with abusive CA's, but I NEVER retaliate without having answers that will cover my a$$. This company says they had the debt and that they sent a collection notice during a time when we were dealing with a completely different agency. We've never had problems receiving mail, didn't have any delay receiving his nasty response to our validation letter claiming the notice had been sent, but you know the USPS as well as I do. He COULD have sent the notice, and it COULD have gotten lost.

debtorshusband...

Maybe it's just anecdotal, and it's probably not very common, but I have heard stories of OC's sending accounts in collections to more than one CA at the same time. The purpose is twofold: first, to motivate the CA's to work harder (be more aggressive), because they're in competion with each other, and second, to identify the most successful/productive CA, as the "prize" is the more successful CA gets more of the OC's business in the future.

I don't know... seems kinda like this practice would cause some kind of legal conflict... ya got 2 companies demanding payment on a single debt at the same time... the least sophisticated consumer could get screwed pretty easy... but then...we're talking collections here and we all know that they will bend the rules to accomplish their goals.

Thanks for they replies, guys! Guess I'll think on this one for a day or two before I decide what to do from here.

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FOAD... (*chuckle) Shows I'm not into texting! Had to go look this one up, and yeah, I think so too, newryman. Got the letter pretty much written... was just wondering if I should add a copy of a lawsuit to go with it. :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

So the story continues...

We (DH & I) sent a third letter to this company stating that we had received no validation documentation from them and that we still believe they are in violation of FDCPA 809. We included an outline for a small claim suit and this is the response we got...

"Mr. ______,

Either you owe the money or you don’t. The debate you engage in is somewhat superfluous. We have provided all the relevant information we have.

We will inform Alltel that you refuse to enter into a meaningful dialogue with FCS.

Alltel can decide to sue or not.

We reject your demands.

Please have a good day and lighten up. You seem wound a bit tight.

Sincerely,

Idiot CA.

Compliance Officer.

"

Does anyone else think this letter is a bit insulting? To date, we have received no kind of written VOD documentation from them of any sort, other than their responses to our letters which have the OC's name and the amount claimed as owed (which is not accurate.). We believe their claim that a VOD letter was sent from them to us on April 20, 2009 to be false and that another CA was handling the account at that time. So, we'd like to know if anyone agrees that we should file the suit & take them to court. We can't afford to file if there is no chance that we can win.

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So the story continues...

We (DH & I) sent a third letter to this company stating that we had received no validation documentation from them and that we still believe they are in violation of FDCPA 809. We included an outline for a small claim suit and this is the response we got...

"Mr. ______,

Either you owe the money or you don’t. The debate you engage in is somewhat superfluous. We have provided all the relevant information we have.

We will inform Alltel that you refuse to enter into a meaningful dialogue with FCS.

Alltel can decide to sue or not.

We reject your demands.

Please have a good day and lighten up. You seem wound a bit tight.

Sincerely,

Idiot CA.

Compliance Officer.

"

Does anyone else think this letter is a bit insulting? To date, we have received no kind of written VOD documentation from them of any sort, other than their responses to our letters which have the OC's name and the amount claimed as owed (which is not accurate.). We believe their claim that a VOD letter was sent from them to us on April 20, 2009 to be false and that another CA was handling the account at that time. So, we'd like to know if anyone agrees that we should file the suit & take them to court. We can't afford to file if there is no chance that we can win.

They sound a little hot and bothered :lol:

I would be tempted to have a little fun with a summons, but perhaps not just yet.

Are they reporting on your CR? Chances are they will violate further if you have got to them enough, the tone of the letter suggests they really are not familiar with debt collection law so could prove to be easy pickings. You have 12 months to issue.

An FDCPA/FCRA Attorney will often act on a contingency fee basis. Perhaps it is worth looking one up in your area and having a free consultation to see how he feels about it? Nothing to be lost by that other than some of your time.

Good luck what ever you decide

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Not only just "hot and bothered", but insulting to boot. We offered to settle for $500.00 and threatened to sue for $1500.00 (Violation of 809, plus punitive, plus costs). I thought we were being quite reasonable. :) I am very tempted to go ahead and file and send a summons, but like I said, $$ is a bit of an issue right now.

As for an FDCPA/FCRA Attorney... no such animal in our area. I spent several months looking for one a couple of years back, but only found attorneys who represent CA's. Couldn't convince any of them of the HUGE need in our area for someone to represent consumers against predatory CA's... even citing some of the wins I've had against illegal collection tactics used by the predators. I might be a "simple" housewife, but even I can see how an attorney could make a really decent living representing consumers in my area. In fact, several of these attorneys commented on my reliable knowledge and suggested that I become a lawyer.

And no, they aren't reporting to the CRA's. The last letter we got from them said it wasn't their responsibility to report, but Alltel's. Yeah, like I haven't ever seen a CA reporting an alleged debt without validating.

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