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DoBeDo

SOL or DV, can it go on my CR?

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I’ve been reading on this website like crazy, trying to get up to speed with validation/disputing/SOL etc.  and still have some questions which I hope that someone who is more familiar with this can help me. 

 

Short version of story:  hired scumbag lawyer to handle a legal issue in 2007.  No written agreement/fee retainer (violation of Business Practices Act in Calif), and many instances of ethical violations/malpractice/negligence, fired him in 2010, after disputing his billing and demand of renegotiation of previous billings met with no response.  Last payment to him was August 2009.  First unpaid billing with a ‘payment due now’ notice was in December 2009.  SOL in Calif for verbal agreement=2 years, written agreement=4 years, so as far as I can tell, SOL has passed (if this is construed as a verbal agreement), or will pass in December 2013 (if construed as a written agreement…there were written bills sent, but no original written fee agreement ever signed).  Lawyer assigned the account to a CA and I received notice from them 3 weeks ago.  I checked one CR today and don’t see any reference to a collection (yet). 

 

1.  I believe this is a verbal agreement.  Would you agree?

 

2.  Do I write to CA with a dispute/validation letter or do I bypass that and go straight to a SOL letter?  The timeline on this website indicates to bypass DV letter, but advice you give in some forums seems to say to do DV first. 

 

3.  The timeline and the zombie debt letter on this website both refer to it being a violation for CA to report this on my CR,  yet elsewhere I’ve read that it can stay on CR for 7 years.  Which is correct?

Here’s the excerpt from your zombie debt letter that refers to this:

 “your firm has violated provisions of the FDCPA by implying that the legal status of the debt is collectible by reporting the alleged debt to the credit bureaus.  The exact statute:

[15 USC 1692e]

(2) The false representation of—

(A) the legal status of the alleged debt

and

(B) any services rendered or compensation which may be lawfully received by any debt collector of the collection of a debt.

  I am also doubtful that you would have adequate documentation to prove in court that you have the right to report this negative information on my credit report, and therefore you are in violation of the FCRA as well as the FDCPA.”

 

4.  The debt is “assigned” to the CA.  Would it do any good at this point to send the OC, (Scumbag Lawyer) a letter asking him to recall the account from CA and threatening to file a complaint with the California Bar?

 

5.  I still dispute the original billing, but from what I’ve read it seems like that doesn’t really matter…the CA can validate it anyway and it can still stay on my CR for 7 years.  Any way to fight this based on disputing the legitimacy of original billing, or is my only recourse disputing it on CR with a written explanation.  I don’t want this scumbag’s illegitimate billings to mar my credit. 

 

Thanks in advance for any advice you can give. 

 

 

 

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Send a DV letter certified mail to the CA.

 

Start there. They CANNOT report to the bureaus once you do that and must get validation from the attorney on what is owed.

 

See what if anything they do first before going any further.

 

The issue may and probably will die there.

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It was my understanding that they COULD report to the CRAs, but that one could request that the status of that be labeled "disputed."  Now I am more confused.  Do I need to do a DV letter at all since it is SOL?  Would a SOL letter get them to stop reporting/stop collection activity faster?  Also, I thought the standards for validation were very low, and they could provide you with next to nothing and resume collection activities...

Thanks

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Yes, you still need to do a DV letter.  Hopefully, that should put matters to rest and they will not report.  

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To clarify - the reporting period prescribed in the FCRA cannot be lengthened by the assignment to a collection agency.

 

Can a collection agency report ? yes but they cannot lengthen the time and if the item is in dispute (prior to being reported) they CANNOT report at all until and unless they comply with the DV request.

 

Cannot emphasize enough how important it is to send the DV certified return receipt requested.

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You said you disputed the bill, when they sent you the billing statement, did you dispute it in writing? and do you have copy of that? My feeling is he may be trying to collect on an account stated rather than a verbal or written contract.  I believe account stated is 4 year SOL in california. 

 

If they file suit before dec. 2013, they would need to prove claims that you owes him money on an account stated. To establish this claim, he must prove all of the following:

1. That you owed him money from previous financial transactions;

2. That you and him, by words or conduct, agreed that the amount stated in the account was the correct amount owed to him;

3. That you, by words or conduct, promised to pay the stated amount to him;

4. That you have not paid him any/all of the amount owed under this account; and

5. The amount of money you owe him.

 

He would probably try to do this using the billing statement he sent you, stating you did not object to it.  Not saying it is right, but just looking at it from what he would probably try to do if he pursues this.

 

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oh but you said last payment to him was in August 2009, so it really doesn't matter when his first unpaid billing statement was sent to you, if you were on a monthly plan, then your first unpaid monthly payment would have been september, so effectively your SOL should be Sept. 2013.  If they don't file against you by the end of the month, you have more to work with.  If they do file against you before the end of the month, you would need to see what date your payment was due in sept. to get the correct date for the SOL.

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If it's past the SOL, you could draft a letter complaining to the state attorney generals's office and cc the collection agency.  

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