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Received letter from collection attorney...need advice fast, please!!!


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I received a letter from an attorney yesterday on a debt from a local company here in Florida. It is stating that I owe his client $3400. and that his client may be willing to accept payments over a "reasonable amount of time" or would be willing to discuss "other alternatives". The attorney gave me two weeks to contact him or have a cashier's check in his office for the full amount....If payment in full or other arangements aren't made by the date his client may bring suit against me.

I did a little digging and this attorney is a divorce attorney in our area who, according to his website, handles collections also (says he sends out a letter and if no response he files suit...at the clients direction, of course).

My question is this. I owe the debt. Things have happenned and I couldn't pay it all at once, then. I still can't pay it all at once now. Should I send this attorney a certified letter stating that I can make payments on this? Should I call him? What should I do at this point?

I would be willing to make a lump sum payment of $1000 to settle the debt. I could also pay $100 a month on it. What are my chances here?

This is the first time I have ever gotten a letter like this. I am a little unsure of what to do. i have read the forums but would really appreciate some advice. Thanks!!!

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The only saving grace in this may be the lack of a mini-miranda in the letter. Since the attorney is considered a 3rd party, under the FDCPA, the letter must contain a message stating that this is an attempt to collect a debt and if you do not agree with the debt, you have 30 days to dispute the debt and that any information will be used for the purpose of collecting a debt.

You can try to validate but I am betting that at most, validation would buy you an extra week and the attorney may simply include time in the 30 day demand before suit. Since they are not calling or doing anything other than sending a letter, there is no real violation in that aspect.

Realize that this is a small town attorney and a small town company. Not the big JDB and national banks. I would be surprised if the mini-miranda was not in the letter and the attorney is more likely to follow the law than the JDB and the company is more likely to have proof that you actually owe the debt than the national bank. This means that if they say they are going to sue, you better realize that if you do nothing, a lawsuit is coming.

If the mini-miranda was in the letter, then I suggest you make arrangements to pay this debt ASAP. If you don't, the attorney will sue, they will get a judgment, and the will start taking stuff. This is the way things used to work in the old days (before 1995).

If by luck the mini-miranda was not included in the letter, you may have a chance a negotiation to knock $1000 off the bill by pointing out the violation and informing the attorney that you will commence your own suit if they do not do that (you could even go $1500 - $2000 by the time you add legal fees to the mix).

As for general negotiation, I would get financial statements together and prove to the attorney that you cannot pay the full amount nor can pay high payments. More likely than not, because this is a small company rather than some idiot in a cubicle 500 miles away, you probably will be dealing with a person who has some functioning brain cells and may know that it is better to take less than nothing at all.

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