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Shafee

MCM Pre-Legal Notifications

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Hello everyone, I'm new to this forum and super green on dealing with legal matters myself, but I've been doing(most likely will continue) some reading around about Midland and how some people have handled this issue. I am a little unsure of where I should first start approaching this!

I got behind in a credit card payment via losing my job some time ago and didn't pick the payment back up "in time" before it was turned over to a credit agency...

Midland Credit Management sent me a "pre-legal notification" that is asking me to call them by 6-7-12(today) and that I send them $500 and to call and set up a payment schedule etc. etc.

One thing I noticed is that they're using the word "may" a lot, as in we "may" turn this account over to an attorney.

Legally, I don't see any proof that this is my debt. All they have is a balance and an original account number. My first question is where do I begin handling this? The paper says that I need to call them by today. Should I do this, and if so, what should I say?

I appreciate anyone willing to aid me so I can get this ugly company out from under me!

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The answer to your question depends on the outcome you wish to achieve.

You are correct in noticing the fine details of the letter, such as the use of "may." It is called intimidation.

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It is also called defense to the FDCPA because they can turn around and say "We did not say we would turn it over to an attorney, we said we may turn it over to an attorney." A very good way threaten you within the law.

As the previous poster said, what is it that you wish to accomplish. That would help us tell you the best path to take.

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I too got this notification. Sent them a DV letter and still waiting to hear something from them. Been a couple months, so see how it goes.

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Well what I''m hoping for is to reduce the costs to as little as possible. It would be nice to get them to drop the account, since I dislike these horrible companies. I do have a conscience in not being able to pay for my debt, but looking at it now, any funds given will be going towards this terrible company.

I am not familiar with the specific laws nor the paperwork, and that worries me a bit-simply because I'll need other, well-informed individuals(like you guys!) to guide me in the right direction.

Ultimately I'd like to get this done with as little cost/time as possible, but I'm willing to learn.

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If you want to settle, pay NOTHING until you have an agreement in WRITING. If you fail to do that, they WILL screw with you. Every case of such I have heard of resulted in it. And these guys are special ists at it.

Edited by Torden
word special ists has a spammy drug name in it

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Shafee,

This site overall (in addition to these forums) is a good place to start learning about this stuff.

Don't panic. You've received what is called a Dunning Letter. They use intimidation and terms like pre-litigation to get you to respond. Next, if they call you, they'll try and get you to give a 'good faith' payment.

Tell them that without *knowing* that you clearly owe a debt, that there's nothing to pay and that they need to validate.

If your aim is to reduce costs (ie: money) to as little as possible, I'd say stick around and learn from the people on this board. There is an incredible amount of information to be found here and a lot of us have been in your shoes.

My first case, which was just like this was settled out of court, and I didn't pay a dime (on $4500), in fact, after learning here, I found out I had them on FDCPA violations and they asked ME not to sue THEM.

Like WhoCares1000 rightly says, it all depends on what you're looking to do.

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Is this the first letter you've received from them?

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Shafee,

This site overall (in addition to these forums) is a good place to start learning about this stuff.

Don't panic. You've received what is called a Dunning Letter. They use intimidation and terms like pre-litigation to get you to respond. Next, if they call you, they'll try and get you to give a 'good faith' payment.

Tell them that without *knowing* that you clearly owe a debt, that there's nothing to pay and that they need to validate.

If your aim is to reduce costs (ie: money) to as little as possible, I'd say stick around and learn from the people on this board. There is an incredible amount of information to be found here and a lot of us have been in your shoes.

My first case, which was just like this was settled out of court, and I didn't pay a dime (on $4500), in fact, after learning here, I found out I had them on FDCPA violations and they asked ME not to sue THEM.

Like WhoCares1000 rightly says, it all depends on what you're looking to do.

Thank you for the response! I would definitely prefer to settle out of court and relinquish no money towards them, that's for sure.

So if/when I speak to them, what exactly is "knowing" whether I owe a debt? They do have my name, they have an account number, but I'm sure that is all they have as I have not given them any information, nor admitted to the debt. However, what actually would qualify as "knowing," other than flat out admitting it on record?

BV80: Yes, this is the first letter I've received from them. I'm sure they have called me, but I refuse to answer calls that are listed as "private," as well as calling services calling my cell without leaving a message for me to review. I don't know that just irks me the wrong way.

LR_Knight: What is a DV letter? I'm assuming it has something to do with them being able to validate my debt?

I'll be sticking around here-at least throughout this case. Much of my family is the type to get victimized by all sorts of companies and I don't want to be another check mark for them.

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Thank you for the response! I would definitely prefer to settle out of court and relinquish no money towards them, that's for sure.

I would not feel any MORAL obligations, since the company you did choose to do business with (the original creditor, known as "OC") did not choose to work with you to arrive at an agreeable settlement. I assume you would have paid the debt to them in full, with interest, had they worked with you to make that possible to do. They sold the account for what they believe was better than working with you. They have gotten their preferred satisfaction out of it. They are done with you as far as they are concerned, by choice.

I never feel any moral obligations to debt buyers, who are really nothing more than "gamblers", paying lowball to the OCs and hoping to strike it rich on some percentage of accounts. They may be able to pursue this to the point of forcing you to pay. They will try dirty tricks. Why feel any moral obligation to people like that?

So if/when I speak to them, what exactly is "knowing" whether I owe a debt? They do have my name, they have an account number, but I'm sure that is all they have as I have not given them any information, nor admitted to the debt. However, what actually would qualify as "knowing," other than flat out admitting it on record?

That may well be all they have. They may be able to get more. Push come to shove they may or may not try to get more.

Definitely do not give them any more information, not even acknowledging anything. I would just tell them that "I only deal with business, financial and legal matters in writing, just as my lawyer does, and just as the courts do".

BV80: Yes, this is the first letter I've received from them. I'm sure they have called me, but I refuse to answer calls that are listed as "private," as well as calling services calling my cell without leaving a message for me to review. I don't know that just irks me the wrong way.

They may have. Continue your approach and let them deal with you in writing.

LR_Knight: What is a DV letter? I'm assuming it has something to do with them being able to validate my debt?

It's mostly a pointless step, other than for the fact that it is something that they MAY trip up on. You only get the 30 days since receiving the first communication to make this demand. Once you make the demand, and after they receive it, they are not allowed to attempt to collect from you until they respond with the legal minimum response. That legal minimum is not much, however. So they can generally respond rather easily. Once they do respond with that legal minimum, then the game is back on. But at least they now know that you know there are things to do to deal with them.

In that DV letter, also say that you dispute the debt. This adds one more requirement for them. If they report the debt on your credit report, they must also indicate that it is disputed. Note that disputing to get that indication can be done at ANY time. So even if you miss the 30 day window to do the DV, you can still dispute at any time to get that dispute indication.

60 days later (should be 30, but if you give more time, it looks more favorably to you if it ends up in court), check your credit report to see what they put on it. If there is no dispute indication, they may argue they haven't updated your tradeline, yet. That is sort of a bogus excuse as they should update just for the dispute indication. But some of the wording of the law makes this excuse plausible. Deal with it by disputing with the CRA (credit reporting agency) that the tradeline is wrong. That sends it back to MCM in the credit reporting channels. If they verify the tradeline, now they MUST include that indication. If they do NOT verify, then in 30 to 45 days the tradeline must be removed.

I'll be sticking around here-at least throughout this case. Much of my family is the type to get victimized by all sorts of companies and I don't want to be another check mark for them.

Unfortunately, way too many people are easy and willing victims.

If you read this post in time, see ABC TV's Nightline tonight (10:35 PM CDT). It's only a little more than an hour from when I am typing this. There will be a story about how some people are very highly pressured into paying debts they do not owe. Get your family to watch it.

Edited by Torden

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DV = Debt Verification

Actually No. DV = Debt Validation, not Verification

To the OP,

Read the entire SITE here, not just the forums, though for direct answers to questions, the forums is definitely the place to be. The site will teach you how things work, what terms like CA and DV and PFD mean. All stuff you are going to want to know.

As other poster's have said - admit to nothing. In fact, don't even speak to the Collection Agency on the telephone, unless you are savvy and ready to try and goad them into FDCPA violations. (but I'm ahead of myself here - a lot of people on this board look FORWARD to talking to CA's, once they know how the game is played, but for now, do it all in writing)

You want the CA to "Validate" that you are actually the correct party to attempt to collect from. This can be as simple as supplying your name and account number to you, from a print out that they have bought from the OC (original creditor). It only means that you're the right guy. It does NOT mean you actually *owe* the debt in question.

This is where it gets fun. It also is where you decide how much you want to put into this. Settle? Fight? Settle for Less than Owed? Negotiate? It's really up to you. On this site you will find ALL of these strategies explored in depth and how to win depending on your own goals.

There are some of us that NEVER settle. We'd rather go to court. And we all started where you are right now, learning this stuff in Debt School 101.

This site is awesome and will give you plenty to read, study and learn.

Good luck.

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Be sure to read ColtFan's stuff--I think any time he get's a "Pre-legal" notification, he sends out a "Pre-pare to get your B*tt kicked".

Legaleagle, BV80--their are some real sharp people on this board. Read and learn. (Lots of others, too--apologies if I offended anyone by just pulling out the first few names that popped to mind.)

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Be sure to read ColtFan's stuff--I think any time he get's a "Pre-legal" notification, he sends out a "Pre-pare to get your B*tt kicked".

That seems like the fair and reasonable courtesy that a gracious person would provide :twisted:

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Hello again!

I received another letter in the mail, so have decided to update this post to reflect upon it. I took the simplest advice for these past two months and continued what I've been doing. Not answering their calls, waiting for a letter to come if they wish to contact me. As a result I kind of fell off the reading of this site and moved on to every day life, but knew eventually I would have to come back here :)

Midland Funding has place my "obligation" with a local law firm -- which is who sent me a letter. Basically all they're saying is that they encourage me to call them in reference to the account(no thanks) to set up arrangements for payment.

The interesting part of the letter is the NOTICE OF RIGHT TO DEBT VALIDATION. I've read briefly about this from the forums and website. I'm given 30 days to respond or the debt is to be assumed valid on my behalf. For reference, this is exactly what they wrote:

Unless you, withing 30 days after receipt of this notice, dispute the validity of the debt, or any portion thereof, we will assume the debt to be valid. If you notify this law firm, in writing, within the 30 day period, that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, our law firm will obtain verification of the debt and mail a copy of the verification to you. Upon your written request within the 30 day period, our law firm, will also provide you with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current creditor. This is a communication from a debt collector. This communication is an attempt to collect a debt and any information obtained from this communication will be used for that purpose.

I know what I want to do. I want to give them enough resistance until they drop the case without proof of me owing this debt. I don't want to pay this debt collector a dime. My question is, since I now seem to be on time limits to respond, what do I do first? Do I obtain and send them a DV letter?

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Send them a letter cmrr (certified mail return receipt)

To whom it may concern:

In regards to your letter dated xx, I dispute the validity of this alleged debt, and demand debt validation. Also provide name and address of alleged original creditor, and proof of assignment as outlined in the Universal Commercial code and Oklahoma statutes.

Sincerely Yours

Me

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The two possible issues you have in the first letter are clarified I think in these 3 cases.

"In its June 8, 2012, decision in Riggs v. Prober & Raphael, the Ninth Circuit held that the "validation notice" in a collection letter violates Section 1692g(a)(3) of the FDCPA only if it "expressly" requires a consumer to dispute a debt in writing."

"Camacho v. Bridgeport Fin. Inc., 430 F.3d 1078, 1081-82 (9th Cir. 2005)(to the extent that a validation notice requires that a dispute be in writing, the notice violates section 1692g(a)(3) of the FDCPA)."

CAMACHO v. BRIDGEPORT FINANCIAL INC, No.

The ruling made a distinction between Implicitly requiring a written response and Expressly requiring a written response.

Now if they were pressuring you to contact them June 7th and that date was within the 30 days you have to dispute you might make a case that it was deceptive in confusing in that did you have 30 days to request validation or only until June 7th?

Ruiz lost his suit against Midland on the Pre Legal Notice

Ruiz v Midland Management on the issue of their Pre Legal Notice

US Federal Case Law :: Justia

I think its important to always try to look at the dunning letter as a whole. I mean we take it apart sentence by sentence to see of there is a prima facie case but maybe the Pre Legal Notice is legally acceptable if it is the only perceived violation, I feel threatened by a Pre-Legal notice, "we may refer to a lawyer in your area" doesn't say the same thing as "We will refer your case to a Lawyer in your area"

but in combination with other defects it may become a problem, collectors are always trying to tweak their letters to create the most panic and sense of urgency they can.

Debtors look for the violations and the Courts sort it out as best they can.

Thing is its hard to give a good review of a letter without seeing the letter itself to look at the size of the type, placement of the notices, what is in bold or underlined. So many things are lost by a text only review of a dunning letter.

The other thing that is often overlooked is that often a letter that does not violate FDCPA may violate your State Consumer Protection Laws. In a small debt under a 1,000.00 if you get 4 or 500 in prima facie state violations that is significant.

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Thank you for the response! I would definitely prefer to settle out of court and relinquish no money towards them, that's for sure.

So if/when I speak to them, what exactly is "knowing" whether I owe a debt? They do have my name, they have an account number, but I'm sure that is all they have as I have not given them any information, nor admitted to the debt. However, what actually would qualify as "knowing," other than flat out admitting it on record?

BV80: Yes, this is the first letter I've received from them. I'm sure they have called me, but I refuse to answer calls that are listed as "private," as well as calling services calling my cell without leaving a message for me to review. I don't know that just irks me the wrong way.

LR_Knight: What is a DV letter? I'm assuming it has something to do with them being able to validate my debt?

I'll be sticking around here-at least throughout this case. Much of my family is the type to get victimized by all sorts of companies and I don't want to be another check mark for them.

Just because they have your name and account number does not mean that they can prove they own the debt. If you ask for proof all they will send is the very minimum that is required by law, and that aint much.

You have two choices, pay some or all of the alleged debt, or tell them to go away with a c$d order. If you c&d them they may file suit, but that is where you will be able to hold them to the law and make them prove their allegations.

I my self would tell them to go flip sand, I'll see you in court before you get a dime out of me.

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Here is some additional info on the "in writing" violation of the FDCPA for review. Some of the courts have different opinions but it is a potential violation of the FDCPA that is probably often overlooked.

Baez v. Wagner & Hunt-Class Action Defense Cases: In Class Action Against Debt Collector Florida Federal Court Holds That Law Firm’s Collection Letter Violated Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) - Class Action Defense Blog

(3) a statement that unless the consumer, within thirty days after

receipt of the notice, disputes the validity of the debt, or any

portion thereof, the debt will be assumed to be valid by the debt

collector;

"The only difference between the Dunning letter sent by Wagner and the statutory

language contained in § 1692g(a) is the insertion of the phrase "in writing" to the language adopted from § 1692g(a)(3) ."

"In this case, the Court does not find a sufficient justification for inserting the phrase

"in writing" into subsection (a)(3) . Although the policy considerations stated in Graziano are meritorious, the plain language of the statute is clear and unambiguous and does not

require the insertion of additional language ."

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antiquedave: Thanks for the information. I have wondered if the excessive calling during the period in which I had to contact them regarding whether they may or may not send the case over to a lawyer firm can be used against them. On the "in writing" topic as a violation - so basically this has become a violation due to the ambiguity of the phrase "in writing"? In other words, they're telling me that I must literally provide a written statement, whilst the law doesn't necessarily say "written" or "in writing."(it will be in typeface, anyway).

BTO429: Cease and desist definitely seems like a great claim if it were to head to courts. These guys have left me countless voice mails and have harassed my cell phone throughout the entire day. I could print out phone records for proof of harassment, yes?

kutuzov: Thank you, I think this is the next step for me to take.

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Hello everyone, I'm new to this forum and super green on dealing with legal matters myself, but I've been doing(most likely will continue) some reading around about Midland and how some people have handled this issue. I am a little unsure of where I should first start approaching this!

I got behind in a credit card payment via losing my job some time ago and didn't pick the payment back up "in time" before it was turned over to a credit agency...

Midland Credit Management sent me a "pre-legal notification" that is asking me to call them by 6-7-12(today) and that I send them $500 and to call and set up a payment schedule etc. etc.

One thing I noticed is that they're using the word "may" a lot, as in we "may" turn this account over to an attorney.

Legally, I don't see any proof that this is my debt. All they have is a balance and an original account number. My first question is where do I begin handling this? The paper says that I need to call them by today. Should I do this, and if so, what should I say?

I appreciate anyone willing to aid me so I can get this ugly company out from under me!

Did the letter include this language as the purpose of the letter. I would argue that this overshadows the true meaning of the fact they are trying to collect a debt. The unsophisticated consumer would look at this and think,"oh hell they just raised the stakes here, they may be ready to go to court over this if I do not call them."

FDCPA violation for overshadowing.

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Be sure to read ColtFan's stuff--I think any time he get's a "Pre-legal" notification, he sends out a "Pre-pare to get your B*tt kicked".

Legaleagle, BV80--their are some real sharp people on this board. Read and learn. (Lots of others, too--apologies if I offended anyone by just pulling out the first few names that popped to mind.)

Thanks for leaving out the Gunny,,lol

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antiquedave: Thanks for the information. I have wondered if the excessive calling during the period in which I had to contact them regarding whether they may or may not send the case over to a lawyer firm can be used against them. On the "in writing" topic as a violation - so basically this has become a violation due to the ambiguity of the phrase "in writing"? In other words, they're telling me that I must literally provide a written statement, whilst the law doesn't necessarily say "written" or "in writing."(it will be in typeface, anyway).

BTO429: Cease and desist definitely seems like a great claim if it were to head to courts. These guys have left me countless voice mails and have harassed my cell phone throughout the entire day. I could print out phone records for proof of harassment, yes?

kutuzov: Thank you, I think this is the next step for me to take.

Is the number they are calling the same number that you had when you got credit from the OC, or did they skip trace your new number? If you have never gave the OC or the Collector the number they are calling they have also violated the Telephone collection Practices act of 1991. They violated it because they did not have your express consent to call that number. 500 dollars per call or triple damage per call if you can prove willful negligence.

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antiquedave: Thanks for the information. I have wondered if the excessive calling during the period in which I had to contact them regarding whether they may or may not send the case over to a lawyer firm can be used against them. On the "in writing" topic as a violation - so basically this has become a violation due to the ambiguity of the phrase "in writing"? In other words, they're telling me that I must literally provide a written statement, whilst the law doesn't necessarily say "written" or "in writing."(it will be in typeface, anyway).

BTO429: Cease and desist definitely seems like a great claim if it were to head to courts. These guys have left me countless voice mails and have harassed my cell phone throughout the entire day. I could print out phone records for proof of harassment, yes?

kutuzov: Thank you, I think this is the next step for me to take.

Regarding the calls and harassment, it would depend on how many and what your courts have ruled, if anything, on the issue.

What exactly was in the first letter with regard to "in writing"? What was written in that paragraph?

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