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Proper procedure to end collection of "zombie" debt


carolina
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Hi, all...

I just received a standard collection letter from RJM Acquisistions, including their three bogus "options" for paying off a debt that is not only over 20 years old for a long defunct bank card account (as in the bank hasn't existed for well over a decade either), but was paid in full to the original creditor over 20 years ago.

I have no record of payment any longer, and I doubt I can even locate record of payment at this point as it was paid from a Chase checking account my husband and I held many, many years ago but no longer have.

My understanding is that I should immediately send a debt validation letter, then a follow up letter when they cannot validate the debt (which they clearly won't be able to do). I should then check my credit reports and ask them to remove any references to this "debt" because of lack of validation, blahblahblah, correct?

Should I also immediately file a complaint with the AGs offices of their state and/or mine, and a complaint with the FTC? I'm thinking of including a complaint to the bar association about their head counsel? Is this overkill? Should I just wait and see what their response (or lack thereof) to the DV letter is?

I know I'm on solid ground here, and I'm not all that worried about this, but I'd like to nip this in the bud ASAP just to avoid further aggravation. Any thoughts? Thanks!

Pertinent facts: Original account was opened in NY, debt incurred in NJ (although it was paid -- this is what truly aggravates me!), and I currently live in CA. SOL is clearly long, long passed in all states.

Edited by carolina
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Tell them you're not scared of them and unless they are a bunch of blow hard clowns they will immediately sue you. Then pray the do sue you. Odds are very long they will, but if you goad them enough they just might.

Credit report? That shipped sailed about 13 years ago. Them validating the debt or not has zero to do with credit reporting. They can't report a debt over 7 years past due. In other words negative info can't be reported or has to removed around the 7 year mark.

Complaints? Well technically they have done nothing illegal at this point. Give them enough time and rope and they probably will.

If you just want this to go away, skip the DV and here is what you send, yes this simple.

Dear RJM,

In reference to the alleged debt you claim (might put their file number here) I owe, never contact me again.

Sincerely,

You

The sincerely is optional.

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I'd staple this to a baggie full of sand and ship it to them in a flat rate box:

Cirtificate of Unpoundedness

This sand is completley unpounded.

Prerequsite for Pounding This Sand:

Cease and Desist all contact with me.

Potential Side Effects of Leaving This Sand Unpounded:

* Angry letters from me in your mailbox.

* Angry letters from the state Attorney General.

* Knowing that you are nothing more than a con-artist.

* Angry letters that say summons on the top. Be careful with this one, it makes it an ITS letter and should only be used if you really mean it.

* Wasted time and resources as you won't see a dime of this.

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Thanks! :D

I thought the best way to deal with them would be to create a paper trail of all the reasons why they're wrong in attempting to collect just in case they try to pull a slimey (or even slimier) move going forward. However, if a simple C&D letter will suffice, even better!

That said, I like filing complaints with the AG, FTC and bar association (I learned this trick from my dad -- federal judge -- and godfather -- federal appellate court judge) when another bottom feeding CA attempted to collect on this a few years back. Once enough complaints stack up, they're on the radar and sometimes things do change. We regulate the crap out of legitimate businesses and even charities, yet these animals are left to their own devices and it's up to the individual they're targeting to force them to operate within the boundaries of the law. So frustrating.

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We regulate the crap out of legitimate businesses and even charities, yet these animals are left to their own devices and it's up to the individual they're targeting to force them to operate within the boundaries of the law. So frustrating.

To these clowns it's all a numbers game hey? Send out as many of these letters as they can and net a certain % of them.

They rely on the least sophisticated consumer to not know what to do in this type of situation. Some people who get mail like this *do* actually pay.

That's what keeps them in business. But agreed, they are slime.

You could send the C&D with a small tube of vaseline and see if they understand the humour... haha...

Good Luck.

-RD

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Here's the body of a hybridized C&D/DV letter I put together from your templates -- anything wrong with this? Seems to cover the important stuff. I'm not comfortable with in-your-face flip-offs, so to speak, because it only antagonizes and I'm really not interested in suing anyone (or being sued, even if it's an easy win -- who has the time?), so I'm trying to keep it professional and impersonal. Thoughts?

To Whom It May Concern:

I have been contacted by your firm/agency about a $xxx alleged debt. The date of last activity by the original creditor on this alleged debt was in 1989. The Statute of Limitations on this alleged debt, even should it be mine, is 4 years in the state of California. Since the alleged debt is out of the statute of limitations, you are conducting collection activities on zombie debt.

I'm sure you are aware of the provisions in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and that implying that the legal status of this alleged debt is collectible by reporting this alleged debt to any of the three major credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian or Equifax) might constitute fraud under Federal and state law. Due to this fact, if any negative mark is found on my credit reports by your company or the company you represent, I will be forced to file complaints with your state's Attorney General's office and the Federal Trade Commission, and I will consider taking legal action against you for the following:

- Violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act

- Violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

- Defamation of character

Under the FDCPA, I am invoking my right to ask you to stop contacting me, including but not limited to computer generated calls or correspondence sent to any third parties, unless you can provide adequate validation pursuant to FDCPA laws of this alleged debt or notification that you are ceasing collections activities. Provision of adequate validation of this alleged debt and/or notice that you are ceasing collections activities may only be sent to me in writing.

Edited to add a few tweaks.

Edited by carolina
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Here's the body of a hybridized C&D/DV letter I put together from your templates -- anything wrong with this? Seems to cover the important stuff. I'm not comfortable with in-your-face flip-offs, so to speak, because it only antagonizes and I'm really not interested in suing anyone (or being sued, even if it's an easy win -- who has the time?), so I'm trying to keep it professional and impersonal. Thoughts?

To Whom It May Concern:

I have been contacted by your firm/agency about a $xxx alleged debt. The date of last activity by the original creditor on this alleged debt was in 1989. The Statute of Limitations on this alleged debt, even should it be mine, is 4 years in the state of California. Since the alleged debt is out of the statute of limitations, you are conducting collection activities on zombie debt.

I'm sure you are aware of the provisions in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and that implying that the legal status of this alleged debt is collectible by reporting this alleged debt to any of the three major credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian or Equifax) might constitute fraud under Federal and state law. Due to this fact, if any negative mark is found on my credit reports by your company or the company you represent, I will be forced to file complaints with your state's Attorney General's office and the Federal Trade Commission, and I will consider taking legal action against you for the following:

- Violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act

- Violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

- Defamation of character

Under the FDCPA, I am invoking my right to ask you to stop contacting me, including but not limited to computer generated calls or correspondence sent to any third parties, unless you can provide adequate validation pursuant to FDCPA laws of this alleged debt or notification that you are ceasing collections activities. Provision of adequate validation of this alleged debt and/or notice that you are ceasing collections activities may only be sent to me in writing.

Edited to add a few tweaks.

You're very nice. That letter is fine, but everything you stated really isn't necessary unless it just makes you feel better.

The letter I've sent is much simpler:

Account #xxxxxx

To Whom It May Concern:

Regarding the above-referenced account, do not ever contact me again in any manner.

BV80

If you want to add your first paragraph as the opener, you could.

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It's funny, but it's not my style...:)

A little research reveals this RJM outfit is another arm of good ol' Mitchell Kay. Which is interesting, because the Mitchell Kay "law offices" are the ones who originally contacted me about this a couple of years ago, and I sent them the DV/C&D, and when they contacted me afterwards, I filed complaints with the AG, FTC & NY Bar Assoc. I guess he thinks if he "buys" the old "debt" from himself, he's a new debt collector and he gets a fresh start with the FDCPA. That may or may not be true, but this guy runs away pretty quickly once he knows you know he hasn't got a legal leg to stand on.

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