pli21401

Legal Firms & Collections - First Steps

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Hello -- I received a letter via regular mail from a law firm that handles debt for FIA Card Services. I believe I had previously been contacted by another collection agency regarding the same account. Today's letter indicates the matter "has been referred to this office for immediate action". It goes on to state that the debt will be assumed to be legitimate unless I dispute the validity by letter within 30 days. If I respond as indicated, they will provide verification of the debt or a copy of the judgement against me. To my knowledge, there has never been such a judgement. The stated amount owed is substantial. I believe that probably reflects principal plus interest. Lastly, the letter states that if I don't dispute the validity of the amount owed, they expect to receive payment in full. 

 

Questions:

 

1) At this point, how should I respond to ensure the greatest amount of protection and reduce the risk of further legal action?

 

2) How seriously should I take this particular "threat". It is my intent to eventually pay our debt in full, but have been unable to proceed until my financial situation improves. I am slightly more concerned because another group is now involved in the collection effort, and they appear to be a legal firm (although a web search indicates they perform collections). 

 

Any help or advice is appreciated. Thanks!

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Part of the FDCPA requires creditors to provide a copy of the judgement, is one exists, upon request before they can continue collection efforts. It is part of the verification process. You should still DV any debt collector to make sure they really own the debt.

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You send a DV letter CMRRR to them prior to the 30 days and request that they validate the debt and that you dispute it. That's all you need to put. If you don't they can go forward and obtain a default judgment against you. Should you receive a summons later on, you MUST respond within the time allowed with a general denial. YOU MUST NOT BURY YOUR HEAD ON THIS MATTER!

 

Start a file and keep records on everything, get on here and read and learn how to fight them. You can most likely beat them if you put forth some effort. Why pay them? These fools bought your debt for pennies on the dollar. Most likely 4.5 cents per dollar and as low as a .01 cent on the dollar. You don't owe them a thing. Once you owed the OC but not the JDB. They are looking to make a fortune off of your misfortune.

 

Again, learn to defend yourself, get on here and read and research. You can beat them.

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@pli21401

 

Would you mind posting the exact words in the letter?  Or upload the letter itself?  Stating that unless the debt is disputed in writing, the debt will be considered valid could be an FDCPA violation.  The FDCPA does not state that a debt collector can consider a debt to be valid unless the consumer disputes in writing.   The writing requirement is only for debt validation and a request to cease communication.

 

 

The reference to a judgment is not a violation because it says "if" there's been a judgment.

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1) At this point, how should I respond to ensure the greatest amount of protection and reduce the risk of further legal action?

 

You can DV them but the only thing that will reduce the risk of further legal action is settling the account.  

 

2) How seriously should I take this particular "threat". It is my intent to eventually pay our debt in full, but have been unable to proceed until my financial situation improves. I am slightly more concerned because another group is now involved in the collection effort, and they appear to be a legal firm (although a web search indicates they perform collections). 

 

VERY seriously.  FIA Card Services is the original creditor not a junk debt buyer and they sue for small amounts and most definitely for "significant" amounts that are owed to them.  

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The letter states the following:

 

"This matter has been referred to this office for immediate action.

 

We will assume this debt to be valid unless you dispute the validity of all or any part of it within thirty (30) days after receipt of this letter. If you notify us in writing that you dispute all or a portion of the debt, we will obtain and send to you verification of the debt or a copy of the Judgement against you. Upon written request within thirty (30) days after receipt of this notice, we will provide you with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the creditor named above. 

 

In the event that you do not dispute the validity of the amount owing, we will expect to receive payment in full."

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@pli21401

 

Ok.  They did not say that they would consider the debt to be valid only if you dispute in writing.   They only applied the writing requirement to a written dispute which would require them to validate or cease collecting. 

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Peter Holland is a law professor at the Univ of MD School of Law and runs a Consumer Law clinic for debtors.  Student lawyers assisted by faculty members defend debtors free of charge in selected cases.  You can google "peter holland university of maryland law school" to get his email address, and then you can contact him about your case.  Or you can go to www.naca.net and consult with a consumer lawyer.  A consultation is free.  Charges vary among lawyers.

 

Prof Holland also has his own private practice of consumer law:

 

http://www.hollandlawfirm.com/    He takes credit card defense cases on a flat fee basis.  He also accepts some pro bono (free) cases.

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" and consisted of Chase monthly credit cardaccount statements bearing Bartlett's name, address, and original account number that reflected credit card charges, payments...."

 

 

"To be sure, at a minimum, Bartlett's monthly credit card statements are considered bank records. Not only do such records have a strong indicia of reliability...."

 

I cut and pasted these quotes from a 2014 MD debt collection case that was won by the plaintiff.  That kind of credit card evidence carries great weight in MD courts.

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