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This is in regards to CA law.

I received a phone call from someone threatening to serve me papers. He called my friends and family and was desperately trying to find my address. He left a phone number. When I called the phone number that was left, I was sent to a BNG (or BMG) Litigations. I spoke with a woman named Margo who could not tell me anything other than I was being sued. I asked who I was being sued for and why, but would only tell me that BNG (or BMG) was suing me. She refused to tell me who hired them. She said it was in regards to a Chase Account that was closed in 2010. The amount she gave me is NOT the amount listed on my credit report. The last payment was 2009. When I asked to see proof of this, she originally told me she would fax the information, then changed her story that it would take several days to get it and she was not sure when she could fax it. She also said I need to call Chase for any information. She then said she would fax me a Bill Of Sale. I am still waiting for it. I asked for a phone number and an address to give to my attorney. She gave me both, which Google Search does not recognize as any particular business and when I search for BMG and BNG Litigations, I am taken to a website for an attorney in Cambodia. I asked "Margo" to please stop calling my friends and family and to only contact me. She said she could not do that, the person calling was an outsourced business. but refused to tell me the business name. It was very difficult to get any information out of her, in addition to hanging up on me twice, resulting in me to phone back.

My questions are

1) Is this legitimate?

2) I have not been served papers, only been told that they are serving me. Is there already a court date and if I am not given any information on it, how am I expected to show up?

3) What is my next step? I was told that they will fax me information, but still no fax from them.

4) I pulled up my credit report and I have an account that was opened by Unifund in 11/2011. I never opened this account. It states that I owe them $7,000, but I have no idea who they are or what account this is. Is this related to this "lawsuit?"

Any help is much appreciated. Thank you!

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My questions are

1) Is this legitimate?

Hard to say. Legitimate in the sense that someone is suing you? Maybe. Legitimate in the sense that someone wants to get money from you? Very probably. Either way, what you have experienced strikes me as very unprofessional all the way around.

2) I have not been served papers, only been told that they are serving me. Is there already a court date and if I am not given any information on it, how am I expected to show up?

This is not something you should lose sleep over. It is their responsibility to serve you. Your only responsibility is to let them know your correct address. Then they have no business harassing your friends and family, and are violating the law if they do. If they don't serve you, there will be no court date for which you must show up. They will be called in periodically to explain why you haven't been served, and eventually the case will be dismissed. Now, if they lie about serving you, that's a whole different ball game.

3) What is my next step? I was told that they will fax me information, but still no fax from them.

In your shoes, I would sit back and wait. Don't do their job for them. If you had to have a tooth pulled would you say, "Please doctor, give me the pliers. I'll pull it out for you, and don't bother with the anesthesia!"

In the meantime, there are many things you can do to prepare yourself:

- Read up on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)

- Read up on these forums on How to Respond if You're Sued, Affirmative Defenses, how to do Discovery

- Go online and look at court filings. You can go to the Alameda County Superior Court site, for example, and look at paperwork from real cases.

4) I pulled up my credit report and I have an account that was opened by Unifund in 11/2011. I never opened this account. It states that I owe them $7,000, but I have no idea who they are or what account this is. Is this related to this "lawsuit?"

Unifund is a debt buyer, so they could have bought it from Chase, if you did indeed have a card from them. So this may be what the "lawsuit" is about, but usually they make many attempts to get you to send them money before they resort to a lawsuit.

The bottom line is, don't panic, stay calm, just try to get as much information you can, including from these people calling you. You don't know enough yet to really know what's going on.

Good luck, and feel free to ask questions.

DH

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Thanks for the info! I have been searching for answers everywhere on the web and just walk away more confused. When I called the number that was given to me they asked if I lived at a certain address. I said no (have not lived there in 6 years). They did not ask for a current address. In all honesty, my address is not that hard to find. It is right there on my credit report and all the utilities are in my name, so if they wanted to serve me, I am sitting right here!

So I guess for now, I just sit and wait? I just want to make sure I do everything right so that I do not miss a court date and have a judgement against me because I didn't know when and where I was supposed to be!

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Be aware that "we have papers to serve" is also a tactic used by scammers. They may just be trying to scare you to make you more readily give up information that can be used to boost the value of the "stolen credit card info" they are selling to other scammers. There can be many other causes.

Call or visit your local court clerk's office and ask if there is any pending case on file in your name. If so, ask if you can take service on it right there. If not, it's is likely bogus (except in Minnesota which has a messed up law that lets lawyers serve without filing so it is impossible to verify if it is a scam or not).

If the alleged server calls again, ask for the case number.

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I do find it interesting that these calls started two days after I had a bunch of bogus charges in my checking account. Coincidence?

I am not saying that I didn't have an account with Chase, but I am also not saying that these claims are in regards to that account. I just don't have enough proof from them that this really is my account and no proof that I owe them anything. I did check online with 3 of the County Courts online (The county that the attorney claims they are in, the county that I used to live in, and my current county). Searched the case files by my name and nothing came up. Even more strange considering they said they have papers.

Thanks for all the insight. I feel so much more prepared and educated after reading through this board!

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OK, so I have spent the weekend doing some research into this company that claims they are suing me. I found out that the actual name is Bertrand Management Group. They do have a complaint against them with the BBB:

It won't let me post links, but if you google the company name and BBB, it comes right up.

I also found a different address than the one they provided to me and a lot of mixed reviews on the web. Some people were served, some say it is a scam. I have still not received the fax they said they would send, but with the holiday weekend, I am not expecting it until tomorrow.

So for those who have a little more experience in this than I do, what is your opinion? Still no knock on my door....

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I found out that the actual name is Bertrand Management Group. They do have a complaint against them with the BBB:

It won't let me post links, but if you google the company name and BBB, it comes right up.

Shocking, a collection company that sues people having a negative rating with the BBB. :D

How about if you can google any of the thousands and can't find complaints, you post that link? :D

Most complaints I would figure are legit, but anytime your suing people and/or collecting and taking money, there is a about a 100% chance you will have complaints.

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I have checked with the local court, the court for the county I used to live in, and the courts in the county the company is "supposedly" located in. There are no cases with my name that I can find.

I just heard from my ex landlord. They called her ex mother in law trying to find my landlord. When my ex landlord called them they told her they needed to speak to me about an active litigation and a subpoena, which as far as I can tell, they are not allowed to do. Violation one? I also told them last Friday that they were to not contact any 3rd parties since they now had my contact information. Violation 2?

Still no fax that they promised... I am still sitting at home waiting for them to come serve me, but I would like them to stop calling everyone I know!

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OK...so it's time to throw a fastball past their ear...

Fax them a letter and inform them that all calls are going to be recorded and their continued calling will serve as consent.

Also write that you've checked the courts and have not found an open case against you as of the date you write the letter - and their mentioning of anything different is both an FDCPA and Rosenthal violation.

Finally mention that you are aware of their contacting third parties - yet another violation (they'll claim it was an effort to locate you).

Fax it to them ASAP.

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Alright, so the fax arrived. It show a a trail of purchases for a pool of accounts. First from Turtle Creek from Chase. Then Blackstone Financial Group from Turtle Creek and on to Bertrand Management Group From BFG. It appears to have passed through 3 or 4 hands. There is a piece of typed up paper that does have my name, SS, address, account #, and balance due (which is NOT the balance they told me over the phone, but the balance shown on my CR).

Nothing about a lawsuit, but what is my next move?

To note: Still nothing in the local courts about a lawsuit and no notice that they had purchased the accounts, other than this fax. It appears they purchased is Nov 29, 2011.

Edited by allegro
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This is their response to your validation demand? You also sent the letter documenting the threat of suit?

If this account passed thru 3 or 4 JDBs, this is good for you...it means they will probably not be able to prove the amount they claim you owe...if they do sue, a BOP will put a stop to it pretty quick.

When did the account default?

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I have not sent a letter for anything because I did not have their correct address. The woman on the phone gave me a phony address that Google can not find in existence. They also faxed from a 000-000-0000 number. I think I am going to call them back, recorded of course, tell them that I am sending them a certified letter documenting all the FTC violations they have committed and until they can send me ACTUAL PROOF that I owe THEM money, they are to C and D.

Sound okay? Or should I send the C&D certified too?

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So here's the diagram I pieced together...

Chase -> Turtle Creek (JDB) -> Blackstone Financial -> Bertrand Management Group

So I'd send a letter to Bertrand - I mean they are the end of the chain so far...

BERTRAND MANAGEMENT GROUP

3296 Guasti Rd., Suite 100

Ontario, CA 91761

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I have not sent a letter for anything because I did not have their correct address. The woman on the phone gave me a phony address that Google can not find in existence. They also faxed from a 000-000-0000 number. I think I am going to call them back, recorded of course, tell them that I am sending them a certified letter documenting all the FTC violations they have committed and until they can send me ACTUAL PROOF that I owe THEM money, they are to C and D.

Sound okay? Or should I send the C&D certified too?

FTC? They don't do anything until the complaints have really piled up. Some state AGs will do something, others won't. If you want to go after them, you either need to learn how to sue them, or find a good consumer attorney who will tear into them. From what you are describing, this company sounds like a walking, talking FDCPA violation. You can sit back, document everything, then nail them to the wall. The FDCPA allows you to recover attorney's fees too. A good consumer attorney's eyes will light up when you plop down some rock solid evidence for him to use.

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Okay, so I should send a DV letter to the address listed? Or you think I should just contact an attorney and let them do the work? I am a little confused and I want to make sure I do everything right. Since they still have not sent me an official letter informing me that they own the debt, I am a little unsure of the proper avenues to take.

As far as I can tell here are their violations:

Not sending a letter within 5 days of purchase

Claiming they have papers to serve for a lawsuit when there is no case in the courts that the supposed contract was signed in

Telling me a different amount due than what is on the faxed record

Calling 3rd parties informing them of subpeneas and legal documents

Giving me a faulty business name and address (not sure if this is really a violation, but def does not help their cause)

My friend is recommending that I just settle and make them go away, but I don't exactly have money just sitting around to settle with.

I really need some guidance on this because as far as I can tell, this is not the typical way most CAs work.

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As far as I can tell here are their violations:

Not sending a letter within 5 days of purchase Not a violation...per the FDCPA, they have 5 days to send you a dunning letter once they make contact with you.

Claiming they have papers to serve for a lawsuit when there is no case in the courts that the supposed contract was signed in This is called overshadowing - it's not an FDCPA violation in the 9th Circuit...however in my opinion it's a 1692e violation - deceptive means to collect a debt.

Telling me a different amount due than what is on the faxed record

Calling 3rd parties informing them of subpeneas and legal documents This is a violation only if the debt was discussed with that third party.

Giving me a faulty business name and address (not sure if this is really a violation, but def does not help their cause) I'd consider it a 1692e violation.

Also, keep in mind, that the violations I noted are also Rosenthal FDCPA violations too. You can double the pain when you file suit.

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Okay, so they made contact with me last week and then faxed over this purchase agreement and my information, which I guess we can call a letter stating they own the debt. Quite frankly what they sent looks like anyone could have taken my information and typed it up with some fake account # and said "Hey, you owe me money!".

So in that case, I should send a DV letter.

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