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JDB hiring a Service to collect? Who do I fight?


RockDaddy
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Hey Folks,

I'm stumped and need some advice on a case I'm helping a friend with:

She originally had a debt with Chase Bank. It was charged off in collections in March of 2009.

The debt was bought by JDB, Equable Ascent Financial, LLC, who then retained the services of National Asset Recovery, who sent her a dunning letter on January 15th, 2011. I sent back a DV letter, which they never responded to, but Equable Ascent still recorded with the CBs. (a violation of the FDCPA?)

Fast forward a year later, and it has bounced to another company, Capital Management Services, LLC, who now also claims to be collecting on behalf of Equable Ascent Financial, LLC. They sent her a dunning letter on November 16th of 2011, and I responded with a DV letter within the 30 day period. In the letter I told them that a predecessor had been unable to / refused to Validate and that they would probably not be able to either and that I'd welcome the opportunity to face them in court if they thought they had a real case.

A month later, on December 16th, 2011, Capital Management Services, LLC responded with a letter that said they were in receipt of my letter and then said, (and I am quoting from their letter here):

"Our office has requested this information from our client, Equable Ascent Financial, LLC. Once we have received the information from Equable Ascent Financial, LLC, it will be forwarded to you. "

Thing is, it's now over 2 months since I received their *deflection* letter and I'm wondering how to proceed. Do I send a Cease and Desist to Capital Management Services? Do I send it to Equable, their, "client"?

Do I sue? (Which I am more than willing to do, having recently won a case against JDB LVNV and their lawyers for $4500 in the recent past for the same friend)

Also, Equable Ascent has been reporting to the CB's since March 2009, but only sent a first letter to her, via Capital Management Services in January 2011... AND a *mystery* entity, only listed by name as *COLLECTIONS* on her CB reports has started listing it AS WELL for the same debt. So it would appear she's being double-dipped here. Actually, with Chase also having reported it, it's triple-dipped... or strikes against for the same debt.

I'm perplexed, how on earth do I proceed? It's the first I've seen this. a JDB hiring a second company to collect. I mean, how is that possible?

Feel free to ask me questions. I'm trying to be as clear as possible.

You guys have really helped me in the past and it's appreciated.

-RD

Edited by RockDaddy
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1stStep,

Thanks - I agree, it must be a stall tactic. Wtih the holidays and stuff I got busy, but am ready to tackle this again with renewed effort.

By the way, Equable Ascent (as well as "Collections") is *still* reporting the debt, even though FDCPA prohibits this while the debt is being Validated.

I believe I have them on infractions here right? I would love to sue them!

-RD

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Also, Equable Ascent has been reporting to the CB's since March 2009, but only sent a first letter to her, via Capital Management Services in January 2011... AND a *mystery* entity, only listed by name as *COLLECTIONS* on her CB reports has started listing it AS WELL for the same debt. So it would appear she's being double-dipped here. Actually, with Chase also having reported it, it's triple-dipped... or strikes against for the same debt.

Unfortunately, this is legal. Entries on our CRs are a history of an account. The OC reports, of course. If they sell the debt, they must report that fact and can no longer update the account. Collection agencies can report. If they don't collect the debt, and the OC hires someone else, the CA's entry can remain...they just can't update.

JDBs are allowed to report, as well. It's not considered "triple dipping". It's the history of the account. Read up on case law in your state and circuit court of appeals. See if they've ruled on the lack of a response to a timely validation request and updates on a credit report.

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JDBs are allowed to report, as well. It's not considered "triple dipping". It's the history of the account. Read up on case law in your state and circuit court of appeals. See if they've ruled on the lack of a response to a timely validation request and updates on a credit report.

BV80,

I totally get that OC's report and that JDB *also* report. Thing that I'm saying is that the JDB is reporting but also having a CA also hound me who is *also* reporting the SAME debt...

Reporting the debt:

1. OC - Chase Bank, but stopped once charged off, in March 2009, it's historically part of the record now. I understand this.

2. JDB - Equable Ascent, the buyer of the Debt from Chase, who has been reporting since March 2009, but never sent anything to me in writing, nor called on phone. They are still reporting this to the CB's.

3. CA - Capital Management Services, acting on behalf of the JDB (Equable Ascent), *also* reporting, separately as *COLLECTIONS* on the report, which I had to figure out, as it's *cryptic* and not as Capital Management Services, but knew it had to be them because the $$ amount matched.

Both #2 & #3 have been reporting to the credit bureaus *after* I asked for Validation. I have the signed green card stating the CA received it, stating they received my DV request.

Sorry if my post was confusing...

I was going to send the CA a C&D, skipping communications with the JDB, but now maybe I'll actually skip dealing with the CA *goons* (nice analogy Credithis), and just send a DV and C&D to the JDB... good idea?

I mean, who is actually on the proverbial 'hook' with the FDCPA statue that says that they can't report to CB's while I'm awaiting validation?, the JDB, the CA or *both*?

Sounds like I have to go directly after the JDB.

Please confirm....

Many thanks to all here.

-RD

Edited by RockDaddy
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Hold the fort. I just got what you meant. Ok...Equable never responded to your debt validation. Now they've hired Cap Man to collect. That could be considered continued collection activity. The only problem is that it would be your word against theirs that Equable never responded.

According to the FTC, not responding to a DV, but updating an entry on a CR is considered continued collection activity. Now, that's the FTC. It might also depend on what your federal court or circuit court of appeals has ruled on the matter.

The whole problem is the I said/they said. I say they didn't respond...they say they did respond.

Did you dispute the debt (not just request validation) in your letter to Equable? If you did, do they have their entry marked as disputed?

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Hold the fort. I just got what you meant. Ok...Equable never responded to your debt validation. Now they've hired Cap Man to collect. That could be considered continued collection activity. The only problem is that it would be your word against theirs that Equable never responded.

According to the FTC, not responding to a DV, but updating an entry on a CR is considered continued collection activity. Now, that's the FTC. It might also depend on what your federal court or circuit court of appeals has ruled on the matter.

The whole problem is the I said/they said. I say they didn't respond...they say they did respond.

Did you dispute the debt (not just request validation) in your letter to Equable? If you did, do they have their entry marked as disputed?

BV80,

I'm a idiot. Sort of. :)

I *never* got anything from Equable (the JDB). So I've never corresponded with Equible, never sent them DV because I have only ever had the CA's (plural) that they *hired* send me dunning letters.

The first CA I DV'd, never responded. I went through some family stuff so left it alone.

Fast forward a year later to late 2011 and a 2nd CA (Cap Man) sent me a dunning letter, to which I responded. They sent back what I consider a stall tactic / deflection letter which said:

"Our office has requested this information from our client, Equable Ascent Financial, LLC. Once we have received the information from Equable Ascent Financial, LLC, it will be forwarded to you. " That was over 2 months ago.

Both the JDB (Equable) and the CA (Cap Man) are reporting to the CB's - the same debt. However Cap Man isn't listed as Cap Man... only as *COLLECTIONS*, but I'm assuming it's them. It actually could be someone else, but the number they are reporting is the same for this debt... so....

Question I really have, is should I stop dealing with Cap Man the CA, and go directly to the the JDB (Equable).

Equable has not put the debt as disputed. In fact on the credit report they have it listed under "Installment Accounts", and in the *notes* section it says, 'Account Seriously past due date / account assigend to attory, collection agency, or credit grantor's"

It lists Equable as reporting it since March 2009, which is when Chase charged it off and sold it. But I never, ever heard from Equable.

Also, pursuant to my earlier post, what do I do about the entity known as *COLLECTIONS*, which says they also opened it in March of 2009..... I'm stumped.

I really appreciate you taking the ongoing time to aprise yourself of my situation and offer suggestions.

Thank you very much.

-RD

Edited by RockDaddy
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You're not an idiot and not even sort of an idiot. :) The FDCPA is not clear on some things. It can be confusing. Believe me, I understand.

Here's the deal: A CA should communicate with the company who hired them. You sent a DV to the CA, and they chose not to validate. We don't know if they told Equable that a DV had been requested. Now, CapMan is in the picture. If we knew for sure that Equable knew about the DV request, then they could be in violation for not responding and then hiring CapMan to collect.

The problem is we don't know if Equable knew about your DV request. If they didn't know about it, we don't know if they could be held liable for a letter sent to the CA they hired. The FDCPA doesn't mention vicarious liability.

I'd contact the legal department at my state's Dept. of Consumer Affairs. They might be able to answer the question. Be very clear with them. Equable bought the account. They hired CA #1 to collect. You sent a timely DV to the CA. The CA nor Equable responded. Now, a new CA (CapMan) has sent a letter. Since neither the first CA or Equable responded to the DV, is Equable liable under the FDCPA for hiring another CA?

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The problem is we don't know if Equable knew about your DV request. If they didn't know about it, we don't know if they could be held liable for a letter sent to the CA they hired. The FDCPA doesn't mention vicarious liability.

I'd contact the legal department at my state's Dept. of Consumer Affairs. They might be able to answer the question. Be very clear with them. Equable bought the account. They hired CA #1 to collect. You sent a timely DV to the CA. The CA nor Equable responded. Now, a new CA (CapMan) has sent a letter. Since neither the first CA or Equable responded to the DV, is Equable liable under the FDCPA for hiring another CA?

Ah, vicarious liability is a good point. Okay, understood there.

I am wondering if since Cap Man sent me a letter responding to my DV, by saying that they'd been in touch with their client, if it's enough to get Equable *ON* the hook. Of if Equable can again claim ignorance on this.

I'll chat to the Dept of Consumer Affairs, but before I do, what exactly would Equable be liable for under the FDCPA? I can't prove intimate knowledge *yet*, though I can provide both copies of the DV letters and CMRRR cards to both CA#1 and CA#2 Cap Man...

Think I ought to send a DV to Equable? Or do you think that they'll claim they sent me a dunning letter in March 2009, claiming I never responded, putting me out of the 30 DV window?

I won a case (for my friend) against LVNV (before it went to trial) after they sued her, or tried to, because the JDB couln't prove the chain of custody and had multiple FDCPA infractions... Can we sue Equable preemtively, rather than just let the debt sit and sit and sit... I'd love to do that. I enjoy the fight and enjoyed beating down LVNV's local lawyer.

Ah, I'll talk to the Dept of Con Affairs as suggested... You answers always inspire more questions. :)

Have a good weekend!

-RD

Edited by RockDaddy
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Equable, I believe is jointly and severally liable for the actions of their CA's. What they are doing is straight out of LVNV's playbook. Yoiu DV one they send it to another CA. I found out years ago, always DV the parent company holding or owning the alleged debt. This way there is not squirming out of having to abide by the FDCPA.

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Since CapMan responded, I wouldn't DV Equable right now. However, see what Consumer Affairs suggests.

Originally posted by Credithis>

Equable, I believe is jointly and severally liable for the actions of their CA's. What they are doing is straight out of LVNV's playbook. Yoiu DV one they send it to another CA. I found out years ago, always DV the parent company holding or owning the alleged debt. This way there is not squirming out of having to abide by the FDCPA.

I'm going to do *both* I think.

I'm going to talk to the lawyer at the Massachusetts Dept of Consumer Affairs and see if I can get a straight answer.

I also believe that Equable, as mentioned *should* be jointly and severally liable for the actions of their CA's.

Here's my thought on sending DV to Equable - I can send everything I have so far, the DV letter to CA#1, stating they didn't respond, then the DV letter to CA #2, AND their letter back to me saying they'd get in touch with Equable, but having no further response from CA #2, have no choice but to contact Equable demanding an answer and forcing their hand.

My thought is, if I can find out if Equable is jointly liable, I can hit them with both DV and Cease and Desist on this, threatening suit if they don't take this off my credit report immediately. Of course, this might move things towards Equable bringing suit against my friend, but I feel confidant that I could help her handle this pro se, and kill it before it goes to trial, the same way I did with LVNV.

And if I get in over my head, my friend could hire an attorney and have those costs paid when / if she wins the suit. There are definitely FDCPA and FCRA infractions here, so those seem pursuable.

I'll keep you posted what the Consumer Affairs people say.

As always, I appreciate your interest and thoughtful answers.

-RD

Edited by RockDaddy
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Okay,

I just spoke to the Division of Banks, who handles CA's in Massachusetts. Not a lawyer mind you, but someone who quote me law and said she is familiar with this kind of thing.

She quoted MA opinion: 06-060 to me about Passive Debt Buyers...

She said that basically, Equible (JDB) is considered a Passive Debt Buyer in MA, as they are not licensed to collect here, so they must farm it out to a CA who is licensed here.

Said that CA (Capital Management, LP) is licensed here and are bound by the law.

When pushed though, I could not get her to commit that Equable is on the hook, only that I could file a complaint with them and it would go to *management* who would review it and would bring me a resolution on the matter. So......

Feeling like I didn't get what I'd set out to find out, even though I was very specific and explained it a couple different ways, in order for her to understand the specifics.

I am wondering that if Equable is NOT licensed here in MA, if I can just C&D the Cap Man and have them stop. Or do you think it will again bounce to yet another CA?

I can go to the Attorney General who handles creditors. Good Idea?

Thanks.

-Rockdaddy

Edited by RockDaddy
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If you C&D CapMan, the JDB may decide to sue, especially if the debt is still in statute, or they figure you have assets to attach (wages, real estate).

As far as liability, many times a CA will not collect on accounts unless they get an indemnity agreement from their client...I learned this when dealing with a CA that I sued - the OC idemnified the CA against legal action...I was able to work a nice settlement in my favor and they contributed to the Latin America Retirement Palace Fund.

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HOLY CRAP - I just had an epiphany.

I've been worried the whole time about DV'ing the JDB, (Equable Ascent Financial, LLC) because I feared that they'd tell me that they've had my case since Mrch 2009 and that I never answered their original dunning letters way back then, so I'd be out of SOL (30 day dunning response limit). Right?

In other words, I expected them to LIE about it. Right? Yup, expected them to say, "Sorry Charlie, you never responded, hence we sent a CA after you".

Here's the excitement: The JDB in my case never sent me a Dunning letter, ever! Why? Because they are not LICENSED in the State of Massachusetts to do so, so they *had* to farm it out to a separate CA! OMG. I'm an edjit.

I've been playing whack-a-mole with different CA's who stall me, when the answer has been in front of me all along.... just didn't see it because I assumed something that was not true.

I hope this helps anyone who is dealing with this type of situation.

If the JDB isn't licensed to collect in your state, DV them DIRECTLY as suggestd by the ever astute Credithis to the OP in this thread:

http://www.creditinfocenter.com/forums/collections/309075-new-me-c-jdb.html#post1149703

Wow... am feeling good about this!

Now I'm wondering what to do next? Send the JDB *everything* including my timely DV's to their two CA's, and stating vicarious, joint liability?

I think I can claim the above joint / vicarious liability because they have been reporting to my CR since March 2009 and *should* know what their CA's are doing on their behalf. The Mass Attorney General concurred with this when I spoke to them. Any other possible FDCPA violations you folks see?

As Always, With Humble Regards,

-RD

Edited by RockDaddy
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