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Sued by Collection Agency/Attorney representing OC


TXlaw
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Hello,

I am getting sued in Atlanta, Georgia by a collection agency/attorney representing OC. Recently I received a letter from the collection agency/attorney stating the text below. I sent a request for debt validation- signed by the plaintiff on 09/27/11. they did not provide ANY kind of response/validation, but now I found out they filed a lawsuit on 10/05/11 against me. Can I sue them for FDCPA violations? Don't they have to validate debt before they file a lawsuit? clearly, they have "covered" themselves in the text below.

They sent me a letter that consisted of the following:

a letter with a statement "We are debt collectors. We will assume this debt to be valid unless you dispute the validity of all or any part of it within 30 days of the receipt of this letter. if you notify us in writing that you dispute all of a portion of the debt, we will obtain and send to you verification of the debt or a copy of the judgement against you. Upon written request within 30 days after receipt of this notice, we will provide you with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the creditor named above. this is an attempt to collect debt and any information obtained will be used for that purpose.

Background information: in 2008 i was getting divorced and "hired" someone to do a business evaluation on my ex. This financial company has never delivered the report I asked them to- in fact, they provided no guidance whatsoever and I fired him. they kept my initial deposit of $1,500 and harassed me with over $2,700 in alleged additional debt. I never received any kind of business evaluation report I paid them for.

In addition to the letter, the attorney/collection agency included "a signed contract" - I am not sure whether it is a VALID contract. it is the document that was addressed To MY attorney that he was "retaining" this professional, several pages long, the last page had my attorney's name on it to sign and mine. my attorney did NOT sign it, so the document has only my signature on it- and only on the last age. I believe it must be signed on all pages to be found as valid and by all parties, which was not the case here. the "agreement/letter" begins with "Dear. Mr. Attorney, this letter wiill serve to confirm our understanding and agreement whereby you, as attorney for XX, have retained XXX firm as financial consultants in connection with the above-referenced matter..."

they also included bogus invoices (though the invoices may sound legitimate to someone not knowledgeable about the matter). I hired them to produce a business valuation report that was NEVER done and no work was provided to me (or my attorney, if that matters).

at this point I am waiting to be served, while:

1) preparing for the answer

2) contemplating whether I can sue the law firm/collection agency for FDCPA violations. ($1K fine for Collection agencies if they do not validate your debt yet continue to pursue collection activity (file for judgments, call or write you))

again on the violation regarding filing lawsuit within 30 days, here's what I found:

"If the debt collector does not verify the debt within 30 days, it is not allowed to continue collecting the debt from you nor can it list the debt on your credit report. Should the debt collector list the debt on your credit report, you can dispute the debt with the credit bureau. Sending the credit bureau a copy of your debt validation letter along with the certified and return receipts will help get the account removed from your credit report."

Does this mean that their lawsuit can be requested to be dismissed??

Please advise how to answer the lawsuit- any forms and documents are welcomed. I thinking about filing a few of the various discovery tools-

Requests for Production of Documents and Interrogatories (or one of the two?)

the attorney has sued me before doing debt validation. "Under the FDCPA, even if Joe hires a lawyer or law firm to collect a debt from you, the lawyer or law firm is still considered a collector and must adhere to the FDCPA." based on this, I can 1) file a lawsuit in small claims against the law firm for violating FDCPA.

2) describe this violation in my response to their lawsuit.

Edited by flashback
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Clear as mud. This does not sound like anything the FDCPA would apply to, that is for consumer credit collection practices. What is this? It sounds like a breach of contract issue, in which you would countersue.

why would it not apply? the law office handles collections and sues before debt validation. they advertise their firm as "an experienced collections law firm handling your commercial collections in Atlanta and surrounding areas."

On the other issue, I am not even sure we have a valid contract... as said above, they never provided the service I hired them for. the Letter/agreement" was addressed to my attorney, NOT signed by him and has only my signature on the last page. I have never seen the analysis they were supposed to do, nor have they provided me (or my attorney) the business valuation. I am out of work now, long divorced, but this financial company is after me despite NOT having done any work for me. all they have is some bogus invoices.

Edited by flashback
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why would it not apply? the law office handles collections and sues before debt validation. they advertise their firm as "an experienced collections law firm handling your commercial collections in Atlanta and surrounding areas."

On the other issue, I am not even sure we have a valid contract... as said above, they never provided the service I hired them for. the Letter/agreement" was addressed to my attorney, NOT signed by him and has only my signature on the last page. I have never seen the analysis they were supposed to do, nor have they provided me (or my attorney) the business valuation. I am out of work now, long divorced, but this financial company is after me despite NOT having done any work for me. all they have is some bogus invoices.

Since any FDPCA violations would be against the attorney, not the OC, it's possible you'd have to file a separate claim against the attorney. Ask you lawyer about that.

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Since any FDPCA violations would be against the attorney, not the OC, it's possible you'd have to file a separate claim against the attorney. Ask you lawyer about that.

thanks, but I can't afford an attorney, which is why I am trying to figure it out on my own.

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