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Allied Interstate demands I apologize


tropicaljo
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I started coming to CIC several years back when I began cleaning up mine and DH's credit reports. This place is one of the most useful sources for credit repair that I know and I recommend it to everyone who asks me about their own credit issues. Now I have new financial issues and I could use some opinions.

I had to default on several credit cards back in June. DH had been unemployed for about 8 months, and I had lost several of my housecleaning clients when the global financial crash happened this past winter. When DH finally went back to work, he had to accept a job that paid about half of what his last job paid, so there just wasn't enough money to go around. Naturally, we had to prioritize what we got caught up on first... auto loans, the mortgage, and keeping food on the table. I sent out letters to all of our credit card companies during the last week of July, explaining our financial situation and informing them that we would not be able to make payments for the foreseeable future. Yeah, I knew it was going to get messy, but thanks to the lessons I learned here, I wasn't a tearful mess. We started screening our calls and writing down every unknown number on the caller ID.

Anyway, I had a card with GE Money Bank, which they assigned Allied Interstate. After numerous attempts to get me by telephone, I got a notice from them on August 9. I sent them a letter, CMRRR, on Sept. 1, saying that I don't negotiate with collection agencies and that I didn't want them calling my home, put it in writing, etc... which they got on Friday, Sept 4 at 10 a.m.

Well, I got a call at 1:00 in the afternoon on the 5th (Saturday) from one of their agents, "Edna" wanting to set up a payment plan. The conversation was prefaced on their end with "This call may be recorded..." Now, I bought a recorder a few years back just for recording collection agents and I turned it on. I informed the woman that I was recording and she told me that it was against company policy for phone calls to be recorded. I asked her "Why not? Your end just informed me that the call was being recorded." I went on to tell her that I had sent a cease and desist request and that I had the proof that they had recv'd it the day before, and that she was violating consumer protection laws by calling my home. Still, she continued to attempt to negotiate a payment plan. I ended telling her that if I got one more call from her company I would pursue a suit against her company for violations of the FDCPA.

Now comes the hysterical part. At 8:30 the next morning, Sunday no less, I got another phone call from "Christine", who informed me that she was aware that I had spoken with one of her co-workers the day before, and asking for an apology. Yes, I have her on tape repeatedly asking me to apologize. I asked her, "For what? I'm supposed to apologize for them violating a legal cease and desist?" I heatedly repeated to her everything I had said to Edna and informed her that I also had her nonsense and proof of a second violation of my C&D on tape. She sputtered and asked me to allow and additional 24 hours for "this information to be entered into their computer and asked that I disregard any further phone calls from her company. I told her uh uh no way would I "disregard any further phone calls" that I was documenting EVERYTHING. Even after all of this, she attempted to continue with her objective which was to negotiate a payment plan for my delinquent account with GE. I ended up having to hang up on her as well.

So, I was wondering if anyone here might have an opinion on how I should proceed? Should I send an ITS? I offer my thanks in advance for any replies.

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1.) a Summons and complaint to them for debt collection violations.

2.) a copy of the formal complaint I filed with attorney general

3.) and a photocopy of my posterior, so they can identify the exact one they need to kiss.

but thats just me.

Allied Interstate did listen to cease letter, but I'm tempted to call up and give them their file number on my claim # and ask for "christine".

Maybe I can put these guys on my "people to sue today" list!

Edited by trueq
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I sent them a letter, CMRRR, on Sept. 1, saying that I don't negotiate with collection agencies and that I didn't want them calling my home, put it in writing, etc... which they got on Friday, Sept 4 at 10 a.m.

I hate to pop your balloon, but this doesn't sound like a "Cease and Desist" to me. It starts out fine (the "I don't negotiate with collection agencies"), but you need to say "don't contact me again." It sounds like you said "don't call my home, and communicate in writing only." Unfortunately, this doesn't have the legal force of the FDCPA behind it. Many agencies will honor the request as you stated it, but obviously AI isn't. Now, it's possible you could sue and win, but I think the odds are against you. If you want to have the weight of the FDCPA behind you, you have to say "don't contact me again."

DH

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Why are mortgage and auto loans more important then credit card bills? Could sell the house and rent, that would cut down on some expenses. Could also sell your vehicles and use public transportation - you would save money on the car loan payments, insurance, gas and repairs. Not trying to be a troll, these are just realistic options.

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Why are mortgage and auto loans more important then credit card bills? Could sell the house and rent, that would cut down on some expenses. Could also sell your vehicles and use public transportation - you would save money on the car loan payments, insurance, gas and repairs. Not trying to be a troll, these are just realistic options.

Seriously? And in Rogers Arkansas no less. No offense to Rogers Arkansas, I have deep roots in Arkansas, Oakalona to be exact. Remember that whole housing bubble thingy they kept talking about, not the best time to be a seller. As far as saving money and renting, theory seems flawed since tax code allows for deductions for mortgage interest, loose mortgage interest deduction and likely all other deductions are lost as well and you are back to the EZ.

Sell the car take public trans. Since the average depreciation on a new vehicle is approximately 30 percent, it is plausible that a majority of auto loans remain upside down through satisfaction. Additionally, and I am going out on a limb here as I did not look it up but I am willing to bet Rogers Arkansas does not have a “killer” light rail system in place. That I would argue is why unsecured debt is less important than secured. Your theory though heavily flawed might be feasible in the heaviest of urban centers but not in the majority of the remaining populous and certainly not in the rural south.

Edited by wahoo238
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Ok, so what are the suggestions, you seemed to omit them. While I follow your personal theory of not prioritizing debt, from a real time prospective it simply is not feasible. If you only have X but you need pay Y you would be left with a negative, an impossible short of borrowing.

As for the OP location, a lack of attention to detail is the difference between an attorney and a good attorney.

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Ok, so what are the suggestions, you seemed to omit them.
Could sell the house and rent, that would cut down on some expenses. Could also sell your vehicles and use public transportation - you would save money on the car loan payments, insurance, gas and repairs.

These are the suggestions, we may have different opinions. I just believe the way OP is handling this is all wrong.

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I know the saying keep it simple stupid, but the simple ual solution is stupid.

Everyday all day we make choices based on precieved importance, we prioritize so that decisions are made in meaningful ways. Its part of how the human brain is set up.

Feeding my children or paying off a credit card, blah blah blah!

You can't rent the same sq feet as you can own.

If you purchased a new car you were upside down in the loan the minute you took it off the lot.

Why pay more to live in the same space, why sell a car for less than you owe?

And if a person can't afford the minimum on a credit card how are the supposed to afford to pay for a move? Do magical renter fairies float down and move the items?

Also for the record renting isn't a save all, credit reports are run, and there are income requirements... your solution is not well thought out at all ula. You want them to use money they don't have to move into a space I'm assuming smaller based on the new smaller income but your not taking any tenant laws into account.

Or the fact that renting also means being approved and giving up equity and selling in a buyers market? Silly.

And to be fair she didn't say they wouldn't eventually pay off the debt she said she told them they'd have to wait.

And she was very upstanding she didn't hide her head in the sand and ignore the collectors, she was upfront and honest and sought them out.

Also ual your qoute about people paying off credit card debt being a cure all for the current american economic situation was also very simple minded.

Edited by ditaloca
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Okay, some of your replies are quite ammusing, but I just can't resist replying back to some of of the comments made here...

DH.... I sent them the "limited" C&D because that's what I learned to do, here, the last time I had to deal with collection agencies. The thought behind it at that time was that if you sent a full-on C&D then it left the collection agency no recourse but to start playing hardball. Guess things have changed, but I don't think that it makes such a HUGE difference towards the end result. I put it in writing that they were to stop ringing my telephone, but left them the alternative to send me written communication should they decide that I am completely ignorant regarding consumer rights. By no means am I saying that I am an expert, but I HAVE spent alot of time reading the Acts over the past 4 years and have a basic understanding of my consumer rights and obligations.

As for selling our home... well, wahoo is correct. We're down to less than 4 years on our payoff on 3/4 of an acre, and there is nowhere in this whole country that we could live for less than $325.00 a month, with only an electric bill to pay (well water and a wood stove for heating.) As far as selling the cars, well, my DH is considering letting his truck go back because the payments are soooo high. Then we'd have a bit more to put towards our outstanding credit card bills. And you're also right about public transit in Rogers, AR. We live 8 miles from town so that simply isn't an option where we live. There is a pathetic transit system that has maybe three buses that only go to a limited number of places... around Benton County, most employers require that you have your own reliable transportation... if you don't have your own transportation, you don't get a job.

ualbany... you are too funny! I guess you've never been layed off for 8 months and had the bills back up 'til they're choking you. It's easy to be critical when you've never had to make the hard choices... believe me, it really went against the grain when we had to start letting due days go by without making the required payments. We didn't want this situation, but it happened and we are dealing with it the only way we know how. We worked very hard to build a good credit score, making payments in a timely manner and paying more than the minimum payments up until the bottom fell out and we lost most of our income. Do you think we liked making the hard choices that we've had to make when we prioritized what we needed against what we wanted? We are not frivolous spenders and have lived a very humble life for almost 10 years.

So, anyway, the responses to my original post have been widely varied and some of them had nothing to do with whether to send an ITS, but that's okay. I think I'll go ahead and send an ITS just to see what happens.

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When one is having financial problems, priorities need to be set.

If one can feed his family, keep a roof over his head, pay utilities, but can't pay his credit cards....

It would be foolish to pay credit cards in this situation at the sacrificce of more important prorities.

When faced with life challenges: unemployment, business failure, illness, etc, priorities have to be set.

Ualbany18...debt collectors, like you, is NOT one of the important priorities.

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ualbany... you are too funny! I guess you've never been layed off for 8 months and had the bills back up 'til they're choking you.

Well even though this has not happened, I am prepared. I am financially keen to the point where I have enough money in savings to pay off bills for 5-7 months. It's not an accident.

What it basically comes down to, if you cannot pay a sum back that you borrow within 90 days - then one should NOT be borrowing that money. So many debt problems could be avoided if people made smarter financial decisions.

And what is this "you do not negotiatie with collection agencies" all about?

How about when an attorney serves you with a summons, are you not going to negotiate with him/her either?

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DH.... I sent them the "limited" C&D because that's what I learned to do, here, the last time I had to deal with collection agencies. The thought behind it at that time was that if you sent a full-on C&D then it left the collection agency no recourse but to start playing hardball. Guess things have changed, but I don't think that it makes such a HUGE difference towards the end result. I put it in writing that they were to stop ringing my telephone, but left them the alternative to send me written communication should they decide that I am completely ignorant regarding consumer rights. By no means am I saying that I am an expert, but I HAVE spent alot of time reading the Acts over the past 4 years and have a basic understanding of my consumer rights and obligations.

.

.

.

So, anyway, the responses to my original post have been widely varied and some of them had nothing to do with whether to send an ITS, but that's okay. I think I'll go ahead and send an ITS just to see what happens.

I shall try to be more direct. IMHO, you should not send an ITS, because I do not think you should sue, because I do not think you have a case. There's nothing wrong with what you did, and your reasons are fine, and they might have complied. But it leaves you without legal recourse if they don't comply. If you don't want to talk to them on the phone, don't, but you just have to put up with them making your phone ring, as long as it's not excessive. Personally, I let the answering machine pick up, and then answer only if it's someone I want to talk with.

FWIW, I agree with your approach of prioritizing your financial obligations.

I wish you well.

DH

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"How about when an attorney serves you with a summons, are you not going to negotiate with him/her either? "

Well, sir, if the day comes that I'm served a summons I imagine I'll come here for whatever helpful advice I can find... then I'll answer the summons and appear before the court and deal with it. As I said in an earlier reply, I didn't like having to let the bills slide, didn't do it because I'm a deadbeat, and have every intention of paying every dime I owe as soon as the opportunity arises... but one thing I've learned in this life is that $h*t happens when you least expect it and sometimes there's just nothing you can do about it. I'm not thrilled about the fact that less than a year ago my life was going pretty good and was considered a preferred customer by every one of my creditors and now I'm on everyone's hitlist.

As for YOUR financial situation, I'm happy for you that you have it so together, but your arm must really hurt from patting yourself on the back while you verbally slam others less "wise" and financially secure than you are. Guess you're too young and inexperienced to understand that it only makes YOU look bad to everyone else by being so judgmental and smug to someone whose life has taken such a drastic turn.

And DH... I respect and appreciate your kindly expressed opinion, however, the folks at Allied have been ringing my phone between 5-10 times every day including Sundays for over a month. When Christine called last Sunday morning and prefaced our conversation by telling me that she was aware of my conversation with her co-worker the day before... which implies to me that she was aware of the content of that conversation, then add that she admitted she was aware of my C&D, then add that she repeatedly demanded an apology from me... well it just pi$$ed me off. After I reamed Christine and threatened to sue, I haven't gotten a single call from them, so if nothing else, I've achieved that simple blessing.

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First off, it is not that this person does not want to negotiate but that this person currently has nothing to negotiate with. Why talk to someone if the conversation will go nowhere and will lead to bad feelings.

When it comes to prioritizing where you money goes, when your income is cut and you have exhausted all of your savings, you may have all the good intentions in the world to pay you bills but good intentions does not bring in any money. Many financial gurus and planners recommend prioritizing when your income is down (along with finding ways to get your income up). The method is usually like this:

1) Food for you and your family

2) Electric/Water/Heat (Basic utilities, not cable tv)

3) Shelter

4) Transportation to and from work (can be a $1000 garage sale car)

Many debt collectors use tactics (some legal, some illegal) to get you to change that list to the detriment of your family. This is especially true if because of following that list, you cannot pay them. If this is the case, then why bother going through it. Simply don't talk to them until you are ready to make a deal. It is better for the OP because they can concentrate on bringing their income up and it is better for the debt collector because they can concentrate on people who can pay and then deal with the OP when he/she is in a position to negotiate.

As for the lawyer, at one point, I would have said negotiate but that was the time when the banks did their own legal work and actually were small enough to keep proof around that you owe the debt. Today, I say fight it because 9 times out of 10, the proof that you really owe the debt under tort law is not there.

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...however, the folks at Allied have been ringing my phone between 5-10 times every day including Sundays for over a month.

Ahhhh, that's a whole new ball game. I didn't pick up on this from your original post. I was assuming maybe a call a day, which you would just have to put up with. But now you are talking about a violation of the FDCPA, as follows:

Sec. 1692d. Harassment or abuse

A debt collector may not engage in any conduct the natural

consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse any person in

connection with the collection of a debt. Without limiting the general

application of the foregoing, the following conduct is a violation of

this section:

.....

(5) Causing a telephone to ring or engaging any person in

telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously with intent to

annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number.

Not a violation of your direction not to call, which as I've said before, is not enforceable.

If you can prove this, now I say sue away, or ITS away, whichever you are comfortable with.

DH

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Whether or not you have a case (I leave it to the rest of the posters to debate this), I agree, an ITS letter does not have the punch it once had.

Collectors regularly read this board (ualbany18 is just one example) and know all the bluffs. You need to back up your intentions with action.

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Except for the 2 calls I've outlined, all others have been allowed to ring out... however, thanks to caller ID, (on randomly chosen days) I've written down the times and dates for unrecognized incoming calls, then googled them to see who initated the calls. As I said, after the call from Christine, all calls from Allied have stopped. I did send an ITS and they've rec'ved it... waiting for a reply.

Admin... I learned from CIC to NEVER make a threat unless I intend to back it up.

No... I can't afford the cost of filing, but I know someone who will "loan" me the necessary funds, should it become necessary.

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Wow, newryman! First, there are no attorneys locally who handle the consumer side of collections tactics... but thanks for the info on "impecunious"! Had to look it up in the dictionary, but it defines my situation! You are a gem!

Now... I'm wondering after DH's last comment... since they rang my phone 5 times on Aug. 31, (one of those random days i wrote down and googled every number I didn't recognize)but they left no message, is that a violation of 1692d(6)?

Last but not least... Does anyone disagree with DH about the enforceability of my "limited" C&D? I'm not trying to be difficult here, but as I said before, this is a tactic I learned the last time I had to deal with nasty collection agencies, and I really don't get why it's now not acceptable or enforceable.

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