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Could this work to cripple the JDB collection industry?


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Some of you may have received solicitation letters from lawyers offering to defend you in your lawsuit. I had an idea sparked by this practice that I wondered if it might work and wanted to toss it out here to get some feedback.

We all know default judgments are the JDBs bread and butter, right? I wonder what would happen if, instead of lawyers sending the solicitations, someone starts a crowd finding campaign and then use the funds to request names and addresses of people that have been sued and then send them postcards with a brief 'there is a good chance you can beat this lawsuit without hiring a lawyer' type of paragraph and a link to here or maybe a dedicated website to get them started and then refer them here to get more info or whatever.

If enough people respond and start fighting these bottom feeders, it seems to me they couldn't keep up with all of them. The question is, would they fall away or step up their game to improve they l their success rate (better documentation/witnesses, etc.)?

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I like the idea. Yesterday, out of curiosity, I checked how many lawsuits MF had filed so far this year, it was under 20 I think. I thought to myself, "I could go pull those files, get the names and addresses and send them a letter  to come check out the CIC."  > then I thought what if I can get someone who responds to do the same, maybe we could get something rolling?

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Something that came to mind. If this had even a modicum of success it would of course drive the JDBs crazy, but it wouldn't make the consumer attorneys to happy either. Whoever would be involved in advancing it would be a target from both sides. Could they make a case that 'we' (whoever is doing it) would be a credit repair agency subject to those regulations?

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I think there are alot of people who don't even think to use an attorney (scared of possible cost or don't think they could win anyway), or who consult an attorney that is not familiar with debt lawsuits and are are advised to settle. Like you wrote, many just go to default. I'd say the letter doesn't have to solely suggest checking out the CIC, could also suggest consulting an attorney, specifying that a consumer attorney is the best kind to consult. I'm under the impression a decent consumer attorney would charge their fees to the plaintiff anyway, I'd think it would be a success if a peviously unaware defendant went with either the right lawyer or the CIC, so long as they are helping themselves and not giving up?

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I like the direction of this thread alot.  I sat in on numerous trials to get a feel of what I would be facing. Every case I watched lost, based on a mistake. No answer, No discovery, etc....

 

I felt sorry for the people because they did not understand the system, the paperwork, their rights, and clearly in most cases were afraid.  I feel that this forum is made up of selfless people who go out of their way to help educate others . There has to be a way to take turns and find the JDB cases and send out a mailer to get to this site.

 

I personally think Harry is on to something good here. 

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@Harry Seaward

 

I actually thought of that at one time and wondered the same thing.  I just don't know if such an action by mail would be considered advertisement for this site and if some statute would be involved.  Also, could it possibly be considered legal advice?   You'd have to thoroughly research laws to make sure that the idea is legal and doable.

 

Another problem would be the time involved.  To get names, you'd need to go to court websites.   Thousand of collection lawsuits are filed in this country every day.  Considering that fact, it would also be incredibly expensive.

 

Since this website is already available, anyone who googles  "debt buyers", "collection lawsuit", etc. will find this site.

 

After some thought, I think that anyone who wants to defend himself will find a way to do so.  They'll speak to an attorney or do their own research.  If someone is scared and chooses to bury their head in the sand, I don't know that they'd bother to come to site even if they know about it.  Others just don't want to put forth the effort to defend themselves.

 

We do have word of mouth.  If you know of someone who is hearing from debt collectors, tell them about this site.  They'll tell someone else, and so forth.

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Not sure about legal advise, because the atty's go to court sites and send mailers. Also now in 2014 they are stamping if you need legal advise call>>>>>>>>>> on the complaints. If you did not mail anything but simply called the person to let them know it would not be expensive. People could take turns calling the court and calling,  after all how much time do we spend in here?

 

We could set up a network in every state.  Where there is a will there is a way.

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@Harry Seaward

 

 

 

Since this website is already available, anyone who googles  "debt buyers", "collection lawsuit", etc. will find this site.

 

 

I agree. Most people that lose cases do it by default. Less than 10% will actually fight one, and of the 10% that do; most of them are well aware of this website, or do not have internet access anyway.

Not to say that it's not a good idea.

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It would have to be in postcard format I think. Letters are most likely going to be thrown away under the "more bad news" heading.

But on a postcard, the content is exposed  - don't think people would appreciate that. Letters, so long as they don't look like generic mailers, have a good shot at being read. Hand write the addressee and I think it gets opened most of the time.

 

 

@Harry Seaward

 

I actually thought of that at one time and wondered the same thing.  I just don't know if such an action by mail would be considered advertisement for this site and if some statute would be involved.  Also, could it possibly be considered legal advice?   You'd have to thoroughly research laws to make sure that the idea is legal and doable.

I think if it comes from a person relating their own experience it would be okay, no?

 

Another problem would be the time involved.  To get names, you'd need to go to court websites.   Thousand of collection lawsuits are filed in this country every day.  Considering that fact, it would also be incredibly expensive.

I agree. My county charges a decent amount to get a copy of a summons online. I'd have to go to the court to look them up physically. Then there is postage, envelopes, time spent etc. I'd have to keep it modest, pull 10 or 20 names and send out letters - do that every now and then, and hope anyone who ends up being helped by it will pay it forward themselves.

 

Since this website is already available, anyone who googles  "debt buyers", "collection lawsuit", etc. will find this site.

 

After some thought, I think that anyone who wants to defend himself will find a way to do so.  They'll speak to an attorney or do their own research.  If someone is scared and chooses to bury their head in the sand, I don't know that they'd bother to come to site even if they know about it.  Others just don't want to put forth the effort to defend themselves.

^ ^^ Good points. Though even with the right search words it could take time to find us. And in between there are sites that don't give as good or even bad advice. I'm good with searches and locating info but it took me some time to realize this particular site was the one to come back to. I had to read thru many threads to see the conssitency of the advice and the positive experiences.

 

We do have word of mouth.  If you know of someone who is hearing from debt collectors, tell them about this site.  They'll tell someone else, and so forth.

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What would hurt the JDB industry would be the CFPB enforcing tough standards AND a method for those who have little means to obtain an attorney in these matters. Most legal aid organizations have lost funding because of the recession and can now only handle criminal cases (and some are even having a hard time with that). This leaves many without any legal aid what so ever.

As for the post card, I do not like the idea. One would be that it could be construed as giving legal advice. The 2nd would be that it puts people's woes out for all to see. Finally, you have the issue where some are so beat down, they do not have the fight in them to pull this off.

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But on a postcard, the content is exposed  - don't think people would appreciate that. Letters, so long as they don't look like generic mailers, have a good shot at being read. Hand write the addressee and I think it gets opened most of the time.

 

I hadn't considered that as it wouldn't have bothered me, but I see how it would others.

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I really like the idea, but the problem would be raising funds and getting enough volunteers. Many courts charge .50 - 1.00 per case/defendant info. Multiply this times all of the cases filed and you easily hit several hundred thousand. Add the cost of postage and printing and you are in the millions. Just for an average size town you are looking at a few thousand each year.

 

We are the few that might have the energy to participate, but most of us do not have the money or time. Unfortunately the industries we are going up against have thousands of employees with an almost unlimited amount of money.  ::devillaugh:: "Our name is legion for we are many"  xxHellxx

 

This is what I found after doing a five minute search on national elections. A detailed search would come up with many more since they hide behind PACs. Many of the contributions are made by individuals associated with the companies and are even harder to track. Most of the debt collection industry are even more active on the state level. Take a single company that gives 50K on the federal level and their state participation may be in the millions. 

 

http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/lobbying.php?cycle=2014&ind=F06

 

http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/lobbying.php?cycle=2014&ind=F03

 

http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary.php?id=D000062945&cycle=2012  *This is just for one year

 

http://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/lookup2.php?strID=C00507392&cycle=2014  *This is just for one year

 

http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/summary.php?id=D000032242&cycle=A

 

https://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/lookup2.php?strID=C00491589   *This is just for one year

 

https://www.opensecrets.org/industries/totals.php?cycle=2014&ind=F1420

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The reason attorney can send letters offering legal advice is because they ARE lawyers.  

 

I actually thought of that at one time and wondered the same thing.  I just don't know if such an action by mail would be considered advertisement for this site and if some statute would be involved.  Also, could it possibly be considered legal advice?   You'd have to thoroughly research laws to make sure that the idea is legal and doable.

I think if it comes from a person relating their own experience it would be okay, no?

 

NO, it would not be okay. I know people disagree with me that what some of the posters here do is the unauthorized practice of law but for right now the state Bar Associations are not overly concerned with a few websites where a handful of people are giving advice.  You start mailing out post cards soliciting the website and offering advice on how to defend a lawsuit without an attorney and I guarantee you the bar associations WILL get involved and you will found out very quickly how far across the UPL line some of the posts are.  NOTHING will spur attorneys and JDBs to get the Bar Association involved in shutting down a site like this more than a post card saying "you are being sued by JDB in XYZ court.  We can help you fight this suit without a lawyer!"

 

" People could take turns calling the court and calling,  after all how much time do we spend in here?"

 

No court clerk is going to take a call daily or weekly to give up the names of defendants in newly filed lawsuits.  Not to mention that a phone number for the defendant is rarely if ever including in the filing.  A phone is not necessary to sue.  An address is.  They will either refer you to their online docket or you will be required to go to the court to get it.  Then there is the cost of the mailings.  All of that costs time and money.  Who pays?  The second problem is that at the point the consumer is being sued they are most likely already receiving a plethora of debt collection calls daily so the chances of them even answering your phone call are slim to none in avoiding debt collectors.

 

It is an interesting idea but it won't cripple the JDB industry.  The reason this idea won't work to hurt those that do file suit is because less than 10% of defendants even follow through with contacting one of the law firms that might mail them offering their services in the suit that has been filed.  The JDB gets the default judgment first and foremost because the consumer is SO over whelmed with debt and/or other problems they figure why bother.  So they don't show and the plaintiff gets a default judgment.  The second reason is when the plaintiff files in the wrong court, has a wrong address either last known is old or deliberately, so you may not reach the defendant at all.  

 

People who are going to fight no matter what against a JDB lawsuit will either hire a lawyer, find there way to a forum like this after starting to research, or show up and fight even if not prepared.  You might get a percentage that will check out the forums based on mailed contact and 10% would probably end up being fighters and see it through to the end.  However, I suspect that the majority of defendants will simply bury their head in the sand and hope it goes away or time passes and their situation improves.   

 

The last part of this equation that presents an obstacle is that there is not a huge number of consumers that are prepared to do all the necessary work to educate themselves on how to be an effective pro-se defendant.  So while you could give the best advice in the world if they are not prepared to stand up in court and argue effectively it won't do any good.  It takes a certain kind of chutzpah to do that and consumers who are over whelmed frequently decide it isn't worth it.  

 

What WOULD cripple the lawsuit machine for a while is tightening up the documentation requirements on assignment and sale of accounts.  If the requirement was that the account they are suing for has to be specifically listed with at least three identifiers for the consumer in the sale to pursue the suit that would slow it down for sure.  There needs to be improved regulations on what constitutes proof.  Raise that bar and the incentive to buy debt for pennies on the dollar and sue goes WAY down.

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People who are going to fight no matter what against a JDB lawsuit will either hire a lawyer, find there way to a forum like this after starting to research, or show up and fight even if not prepared.  You might get a percentage that will check out the forums based on mailed contact and 10% would probably end up being fighters and see it through to the end.  However, I suspect that the majority of defendants will simply bury their head in the sand and hope it goes away or time passes and their situation improves.   

 

The last part of this equation that presents an obstacle is that there is not a huge number of consumers that are prepared to do all the necessary work to educate themselves on how to be an effective pro-se defendant.  So while you could give the best advice in the world if they are not prepared to stand up in court and argue effectively it won't do any good.  It takes a certain kind of chutzpah to do that and consumers who are over whelmed frequently decide it isn't worth it.  

 

 

I agree. The people who are willing to fight are the ones who ask for help and/or do enough research to end up at a place like CIC. Most are either way too scared or too apathetic to fight. Even many who are normally strong willed might be too depressed to do anything about their situation. I'll admit I had given up until I got involved in my first lawsuit. I spent every available moment driving around talking with legal professionals (which was not always motivating) and doing research online. The odds of someone fighting who needs someone to contact them to get going is probably pretty slim. It is possible to help a few but the damage to the industry would not be measurable. 

 

 

 What WOULD cripple the lawsuit machine for a while is tightening up the documentation requirements on assignment and sale of accounts.  If the requirement was that the account they are suing for has to be specifically listed with at least three identifiers for the consumer in the sale to pursue the suit that would slow it down for sure.  There needs to be improved regulations on what constitutes proof.  Raise that bar and the incentive to buy debt for pennies on the dollar and sue goes WAY down.

 

This is something I wouldn't wish for. If the business model changed to one that was orderly and legal it would almost be impossible to beat them. Of course as long as they make millions doing it the "easy way" nothing will ever change. 

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ject like this. There are a few websites for crowd funding a project. I envisioned this under the heading of "non-profit" as the primary source of funding.

Also, there is no way to reach out to every person that's been sued. My thoughts were to hit the top 15 or 20 hotspots where these guys prey.

I've done some direct mailing for clients so I have experience and resources. Postcards would be by far the most cost effective. They have the lowest postage rates and production costs. A folded postcard could be used to conceal any sensitive info.

I think the most expensive part would be actually obtaining the consumer's names and addresses.

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ject like this. There are a few websites for crowd funding a project. I envisioned this under the heading of "non-profit" as the primary source of funding.

Also, there is no way to reach out to every person that's been sued. My thoughts were to hit the top 15 or 20 hotspots where these guys prey.

I've done some direct mailing for clients so I have experience and resources. Postcards would be by far the most cost effective. They have the lowest postage rates and production costs. A folded postcard could be used to conceal any sensitive info.

I think the most expensive part would be actually obtaining the consumer's names and addresses.

 

Again, all a project like this is going to do is draw the attention of the Bar Association in those states and potentially cause MAJOR financial harm to a few posters for the unlicensed practice of law.   You could conceivably get this site and others like it shut down as a result.  Not a good pay off for the few consumers that might pursue defending themselves.

 

The difference between the mailings you send regarding credit repair and these mailings are that this project would go to consumers already being sued so you are not talking credit repair.  You are talking about legal advice.  

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Again, all a project like this is going to do is draw the attention of the Bar Association in those states and potentially cause MAJOR financial harm to a few posters for the unlicensed practice of law.   You could conceivably get this site and others like it shut down as a result.  Not a good pay off for the few consumers that might pursue defending themselves.

 

The difference between the mailings you send regarding credit repair and these mailings are that this project would go to consumers already being sued so you are not talking credit repair.  You are talking about legal advice.  

So how do the courts provide self-help without being in violation of practicing law without a license?

 

And however they do it, why couldn't the postcard message be something as simple as "your court has all of the information and forms you need to defend yourself"?

 

The point is to get people to, at a bare minimum, file an answer.  If everyone that gets sued by a JDB simply filed an answer, the industry would cave in a month.  The JDBs certainly aren't equipped to actively prosecute all of the cases they file.  Not to mention, the courts would grind to a halt and be forced to do something to stop the meritless filings.

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@Harry Seaward

 

The point is to get people to, at a bare minimum, file an answer.  If everyone that gets sued by a JDB simply filed an answer, the industry would cave in a month.  The JDBs certainly aren't equipped to actively prosecute all of the cases they file.  Not to mention, the courts would grind to a halt and be forced to do something to stop the meritless filings.

 

 

 

While some JDB attorneys would dismiss a case in which a defendant has filed an answer, many won't.   They would send their boilerplate discovery requests, then file their boilerplate MSJs.   They use the same discovery requests and MSJs in every case.  All they have to do is change the relevant details.  It's not time-consuming work for them.

 

You have a good idea, and I know that you thought of it because of what you've been through.  You care about other people.

 

What I wish would happen is that some caring consumer attorneys in each state would hold debt collection seminars  that could be attended by the public. 

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Thanks for the perspective, @BV80. I just can't think of another industry that abuses the legal system to prey on the uninformed and disrupt their lives to this extent when the evidence is so full of holes.

And then the industry further oppresses the uninformed by preventing the information from reaching them with threats of "practicing law without a license". It's so frustrating.

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@Harry Seaward

 

I absolutely agree that abuse the system.

 

Some states are taking action to protect consumers either by suing debt buyers or enacting new debt collection laws.  I think that's because more information is available and more people are complaining about abusive tactics.

 

If anything, we can all write to our legislators, consumer protection bureaus, and attorneys general.  I've sent letters to my consumer protection bureau.   If enough people complain, the likelihood of actions by the states rises.

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