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refusal to pay


gwheelock915
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So last year, we switched our home phone to vonage to save $$$ over ATT. We told ATT to keep our internet on (so we can have vonage), but lo and behold, they cut both. We were without internet or phone service for more than a month, and despite this, ATT is trying to collect. We called ATT numerous times, and were told that it was resolved. Yesterday, we received a letter saying we owe $35 for internet. I refuse to pay.

I don't want a fight, but I don't like the CAs language in their letter (FCSI), and I'm not going to pay. Here's what I propose sending them...

We are in receipt of your letter to us dated May 19, 2012, with regard to the aforementioned account number.

We have no obligation to pay the outstanding balance claimed owed by you or AT&T, and therefore we refuse to pay.

The defenses available to us, as mentioned in your letter, are well documented, and will defeat any and all of your claimed potential remedies. Further harassment with regard to this matter will result in us exploring our potential remedies to resolve this issue.

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Add to the letter "We request that you do not contact us anymore." That will protect your rights under the FDCPA. That will force them to go either court or sell the account. They will probably sell the account. For this little amount, court does not make sense.

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so stating a refusal to pay does not automatically trigger a cease and desist?

Here's what the FDCPA says:

15 USC 1692c

© CEASING COMMUNICATION. If a consumer notifies a debt collector in writing that the consumer refuses to pay a debt or that the consumer wishes the debt collector to cease further communication with the consumer, the debt collector shall not communicate further with the consumer with respect to such debt, except --

So the clause has an or in it. So either saying you refuse to pay or directing them to cease communication both trigger the same protections. However, let's be honest: just saying that you "refuse to pay" may not be clear to "unsophisticated" collectors.

The strategy being suggested in these forums in various places is this: If you only say you "refuse to pay", you may lure the collector into violations of the law that you can sue them for. But if you don't want to play that game, and just want them to go away, then be clear: tell them to "cease further communication."

Regards,

DH

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Add to the letter "We request that you do not contact us anymore." That will protect your rights under the FDCPA.

Taken directly word from word from the federal lawsuit I filed this morning.

"Under the FDCPA, 15 U.S.C. § 1692c©, if a consumer notifies a debt collector in writing that the consumer refuses to pay a debt or that the consumer wishes the debt collector to cease further communication the debt collector “shall not” communicate further with the consumer, except for one of three explicit exceptions written in unambiguous plain language permitting a debt collector subject to a cease communication directive to contact the consumer.

First Cause of Action

On the date of April 27, 2012, the Defendant violated the FDCPA, specifically 15 U.S.C. § 1692c©.

The Defendant violated the cease communications directive which had been lawfully asserted by the Plaintiff as the Plaintiff advised the debt collector in writing they refused to pay the debt.

No reason to throw in the warning they not contact you if you state you refuse to pay the debt. Now the OP in their post said they were not looking for a fight so they might want to as obviously there is a ton more chance they will violate if you just say refuse to pay the debt and don't follow up with a cease communications. However, in my case I was looking for the fight and they took it hook, line and sinker.

Gee,

I had a friend that worked for AT&T. It was on the wireless phone side, but in a case like yours he told me the second you asked to speak with a supervisor they would credit your account off if the dispute was less than $37.00.

He told me that it costs AT&T $37.00 just for a manager to picked up their phone and all the calls are tracked. In fact he said that AT&T has dropped customers who knew this and called over and over again for a manager, basically getting their bills credited each month by simply demanding to talk to a manger when the rep would not credit the charge when asked, because they knew after they asked to talk to a manager it was an instant credit.

Also he told me that if somebody is nice that each rep has $200.00 authority that will self approve for adjustments right there on the spot and most reps will give you what you want because they want to keep you on the phone with them because most people that call in are constantly yelling and cursing at them. He told me that he credited accounts all the time just because somebody was not an A hole to him (not implying that about you one single bit) and sometimes without the customer even asking.

Now this party I don't know, but I would assume all this is done with a live person ever looking at the account, $35.00? can't imagine AT&T would not credit that off in about 5 seconds.

I'd call AT&T back and when they say it's resolved asking them to send you a quick follow up text or email confirming that so you will have that for your records. If they won't then ask to speak to a manager, and I bet they send you something.

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Here's what the FDCPA says:

15 USC 1692c

© CEASING COMMUNICATION. If a consumer notifies a debt collector in writing that the consumer refuses to pay a debt or that the consumer wishes the debt collector to cease further communication with the consumer, the debt collector shall not communicate further with the consumer with respect to such debt, except --

So the clause has an or in it. So either saying you refuse to pay or directing them to cease communication both trigger the same protections. However, let's be honest: just saying that you "refuse to pay" may not be clear to "unsophisticated" collectors.

The strategy being suggested in these forums in various places is this: If you only say you "refuse to pay", you may lure the collector into violations of the law that you can sue them for. But if you don't want to play that game, and just want them to go away, then be clear: tell them to "cease further communication."

Regards,

DH

I promise DH and I are not posting from the same account and are not one in the same.

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