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Threatened by civil lawsuit


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I got a call from an unknown party. Claimed to be an attorney in the Legal Dept. of a debt collection agency. (I have been Googling and reading up on this stuff for about 5 days now).

He threatened to serve me court appearance papers "if I don't settle a 3-year old debt in 20 minutes".

I asked who he was and what company he was with. He told me and also told me they mailed me a letter 45 days ago.

No problem with the preamble here -- I recognize it is most likely bogus or no justification for litigation at this juncture. I also realize this to be a certain modus operandi of collectors.

So I got all 3 of my CR's (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion).

I then sent a Debt Validation letter to the caller, USPS Certified Mail w/ Return Receipt. I was able to do my own "skip tracing" to find his address given the direct phone number he gave me to call him at, which I have done a few times over the past 5 days.

I saw that his company appears in the "Inquiries" section on only 1 of my CR's and does not appear anywhere on the other 2 reports. The date of inquiry was 4/05/2012 -- about 3½ weeks ago (way more recent than 45 days ago).

I then contacted the bank issuer of the credit card that is approx. 3 years past due. They gave me the name of a totally different party that they supposedly sold the debt too. It is not the same company that is contacting me.

Ok, here's my questions:

  1. Can I officially request proof of who owns the debt by sending a letter to the Original Creditor? What might that letter look like in order to be applicable under the "Fair Debt Collection Practices Act" and/or the "Fair Credit Reporting Act"?
  2. I have read it is best to go back and settle the debt with the Original Creditor. Is that true or are there certain caveats to doing that?
  3. As I stated above, I never received a letter from the collector. They stated sending a letter 45 days days earlier. I have read where I have 30 days to respond under the FDCPA. In my opinion, I responded less than 48 hours from the time they first called me and notified me of who they were. If this went to court, would they have a case simply by saying they sent me a letter 45 days earlier? I know that sounds ludicrous, but I just want to cover all my bases here.

Thanks for helping me get started to put this matter to bed.

Edited by torstev
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Who bought the account? We need that name. The lawyer who called represents them, perfectly legit. We also need a ton more info before we can help. You have not been sued yet, so there isn't much to do. You'll have plenty of time to learn. We'll need to wait until you are sued before we can help much, there are several different courts in NY, all have different procedure. NYC is different from Upstate, etc.

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Guest usctrojanalum

Can I officially request proof of who owns the debt by sending a letter to the Original Creditor? What might that letter look like in order to be applicable under the "Fair Debt Collection Practices Act" and/or the "Fair Credit Reporting Act"?

If the OC sold it - they will likely tell you who they sold it too. That is not uncommon. However, debt often gets sold multiple times, they may not have a clue as to who has it now.

I have read it is best to go back and settle the debt with the Original Creditor. Is that true or are there certain caveats to doing that?

If the OC sold the debt, this question is moot. What is the OC reporting to your CR?

If this went to court, would they have a case simply by saying they sent me a letter 45 days earlier? I know that sounds ludicrous, but I just want to cover all my bases here.

Basically yes. Laws are very lax in this regard. They just have to show they have systems in place for sending out letters.

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He threatened to serve me court appearance papers "if I don't settle a 3-year old debt in 20 minutes".

I could be wrong, but I have a feeling this is an empty threat. I've received calls like that in the past, and I haven't been served once. I simply laughed at them and told them I'd look forward to meeting them in court.

If the debt is outside the SOL, don't worry about it. It was a bogus threat.

Edited by BV80
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Who bought the account?

According to my Experian C/R, this supposed debt collector appears on it only as having made an inquiry. The debt is still listed with the OC, however their closing statement is "Purchased by another lender".

Thanks @legaleagle.

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@usctrojanalum -- the OC states "Purchased by another lender".

The OC sold it. Like I stated, if it's outside the SOL, don't worry. If they sue, you have a defense. However, considering what the "attorney" said, I doubt they'll sue.

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If the OC sold it - they will likely tell you who they sold it too.

@usctrojanalum, how do I get them to do that? Is there a certain letter I can draft and mail under the guidelines of the FDCPA or FCRA?

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Usually if you call them they will tell you who they sold it to. However it is possible it has been sold a couple of times. The good thing for you is that none of these debt buyers are able to prove they own your debt and you can beat them down hard.

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Usually if you call them they will tell you who they sold it to. However it is possible it has been sold a couple of times. The good thing for you is that none of these debt buyers are able to prove they own your debt and you can beat them down hard.

Couple things @KentWA.

  1. I called the OC and they could not and would not tell me who they sold the debt to. I found it odd and frustrating. Hence why I am asking if I have legal method(s) to send them something in writing to get that info.
  2. Now, I am new to this debt collection business, so what exactly do you mean by "none of these debt buyers are able to prove they own your debt and you can beat them down hard"? Can you elaborate with respect to how I need to handle this matter going forward?

I greatly appreciate your comments -- thanks!

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It was a bogus threat.

We love bogus threats. Coltfan is probably going to retire on bogus threats, which just happen to violate the FDCPA. I'd like to see a JDB attorney stand in front of a judge and explain why he told a consumer he had twenty minutes to resolve an unproven debt. I'd pay good money to see that.

As for the SOL, the argument goes like this: Who is the OC? What is the SOL in their state? It ain't NY, I'll tell you that, no credit card company is located there that I know of. Read the CC agreement if you have one, or just give us the name. Most are Delaware, Nevada, South Dakota, VA, or Utah.

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Usually if you call them they will tell you who they sold it to. However it is possible it has been sold a couple of times. The good thing for you is that none of these debt buyers are able to prove they own your debt and you can beat them down hard.

Hi Kent,

I just want to point out that this appears to be more and more common in SC because of our 3 year SOL. These so-called agencies call about time-barred debt in the hopes that they can scare unsuspecting individuals into paying. Most of the time, if not all the time, they want payment over the phone. They don't want to give you an address.

LegalEagle,

It's difficult to sue these agencies because in most cases, you can't locate them. I'm not saying this is definitely the case in this situation. However, if it's the same as the calls I received, the agency won't be located.

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... I'd pay good money to see that.

As for the SOL, the argument goes like this: Who is the OC? What is the SOL in their state? It ain't NY, I'll tell you that, no credit card company is located there that I know of. Read the CC agreement if you have one, or just give us the name. Most are Delaware, Nevada, South Dakota, VA, or Utah.

Ah, I get it...I am in NY but the OC is not. Makes sense! Thanks for that enlightenment. Now I have some homework to do tonight -- fun, fun. But potentially good fun.

As for court shenanigans, if it get too that, I send out invites. Ha ha.

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I apologize. For some reason, I thought you were from SC. I'm thinking about another poster. However, what I stated still applies. It's still your word against theirs regarding a letter. Also, a legitimate agency would give your their name and never make such a threat as the one made to you.

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It's difficult to sue these agencies because in most cases, you can't locate them. I'm not saying this is definitely the case in this situation. However, if it's the same as the calls I received, the agency won't be located.

In this case @BV80, I did fax my DV letter to the caller and his response was, and I quote his words below (excerpted from my chrono documentation log):

I returned call from Mr. {caller}, National Capital Mgt. (111-111-111) - Mr. {caller} confirmed that he "received your fax and that this was not a debt collection matter. The papers I faxed are null and void". He said "he would be processing court appearance papers." I replied "sounds good." We then terminated the call.

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However, what I stated still applies. It's still your word against theirs regarding a letter.

Ok @BV80, but they claimed they sent the letter 45 days prior in one conversation and 47 days prior in a different conversation. They were not being consistent in their position. But anyway, do I not get any sort of grace period on the 30-days? That is, it would be highly convenient for them or any DC caller to state they sent me a letter 45 days ago simply to beat the SOL window on me sending them a DV letter. Is that fair and legal?

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I returned call from Mr. {caller}, National Capital Mgt. (111-111-111) - Mr. {caller} confirmed that he "received your fax and that this was not a debt collection matter. The papers I faxed are null and void". He said "he would be processing court appearance papers." I replied "sounds good." We then terminated the call.

Not a debt collection matter? Didn't he claim he wanted payment for a 3 year old debt?

Ok @BV80, but they claimed they sent the letter 45 days prior in one conversation and 47 days prior in a different conversation. They were not being consistent in their position. But anyway, do I not get any sort of grace period on the 30-days? That is, it would be highly convenient for them or any DC caller to state they sent me a letter 45 days ago simply to beat the SOL window on me sending them a DV letter. Is that fair and legal?

Claims are the problem. You claim one thing. They claim another. JDBs (junk debt buyers) make claims all the time. Note that claims are not the same as a threat.

In court, they'd submit an affidavit swearing they sent you a letter. You could submit an opposing affidavit. The affidavits could have the effect of cancelling each other out. It could be up to a judge as to who is more believable. Of course, we believe you.

Again, is the caller who made the 20 minute threat about a debt the same one who responded in the fax that this isn't a debt collection matter?

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is the caller who made the 20 minute threat about a debt the same one who responded in the fax that this isn't a debt collection matter?

@BV80 -- yes, I have been dealing with one "senior level company attorney" all along. That was they way he identified himself upon initial phone call.

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Another thing about this mess.

I have been keeping copious notes, spreadsheet logs of every contact on what was said, copies of USPS receipts of letters sent to them, copies of the fax transmission showing where it went and at what date & time, copies of the fax and letters sent, google maps locations and street view images of the locations where they claim they are located. Copies of my credit reports, and on and on.

So if we went to court wouldn't I be under oath to tell the truth? And therefore wouldn't all the documentation I brought to court be admissible? And the person I am speaking too is on California. Would he show up to testify in this case?

How do the court proceedings work in this messy matter?

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I got a call from an unknown party. Claimed to be an attorney in the Legal Dept. of a debt collection agency.

I really doubt this guy was telling the truth. In my experience, actual attorneys with law degrees don't waste their time on collection calls. Their minimum wage flunkies make the calls, while they spend their time affixing their scrawled signatures to paperwork prepared by other low paid flunkies.

I asked who he was and what company he was with. He told me and also told me they mailed me a letter 45 days ago.

This "we sent you a letter 45 days ago" story seems to be going around a lot lately, like a flu bug. I think it's just the latest (illegal) collection ploy.

Oh, and do I understand correctly that this "lawyer" is from California? And probably not licensed to practice law in NY? It'll be a pretty neat trick if he's able to file a lawsuit.

Regards,

DH

Edited by debtorshusband
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