CreditDumb

How To Proceed With Letter From Greene and Cooper

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Please see update below.

 

I feel so panicked and overwhelmed that I'm having a hard time reading all of the info on this site to figure out what I'm supposed to do.

 

About ten years ago I got a credit card with Navy Fed.  I used it, I made payments, then became injured and for exactly three months was not able to make my minimum payments.  I called to let them know and they seemed fine with it.  Then, they disabled my bank account and sold the debt to collections.  After many years, I still have not been able to access my money with them.  The debt was sold many times until it finally ended up with Midland after two years later.  I researched online but I'm fairly dumb when it comes to credit (I only knew to pay my bills and that was it) so when I read that it would fall off my record in seven years if I didn't do anything, I went with that.  I hate them for having blocked me from using my own money in my checking account and was naive enough to think not paying the debt was just punishment.   I have completely ignored this account for over five years now.  Things were fine until this week.

 

I returned home from a two week trip visiting family out of state to discover that I now have less than two weeks to respond to a letter from Greene and Cooper.  There are three main parts of the letter.

1. The debt is assumed valid unless I respond within 30 days

2. If I respond in 30 days, a verification or judgement will be mailed to me

3. If I respond, they will give me the name and address of original creditor (which seems redundant with #2)

 

I plan to send a request for debt validation.  I know this is my old debt but figure I can afford to stall since I got this letter two weeks late.  But beyond that, what exactly should I do?  I see that most people choose to fight it, but is that because it's not their debt or are they fighting it just because?  Can I request to do something like a 25% payoff?  The debt is around $4000 so paying $1k would be a win for me I figure, especially since that's the cost of hiring a lawyer to help me through this.  Or should I just let it go to court and fight them there without the aid of a lawyer?  I'm so ignorant with credit that I fear that I'll fail completely if I let it go to court.  

 

Please help!

 

ETA: Just want to include that I'm in Georgia.  I've only recently moved to the state and almost immediately, Midland started sending me threats that I'd be taken to court.  I've only been here a couple of months.  

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@CreditDumb

 

In what state did you default on the account?

I am not entirely sure.  There is a slight overlap on addresses.  I think it would be correct to say that my official mailing address at the time was most likely Texas, though I was actually living abroad at the time. 

 

Also to add, the creditor closed the account in 2009.  It states that the last payment was in 2011, though I know that I did not make that payment, it was the date when I finally gave up trying to get the creditor to allow me access to my checking account.  The creditor sent to collections in 2009, and it bounced around to so many collection agencies.  It's apparently been with Midland since 2013, went to Midland when I was still living in Texas.  

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Do not pay them anything.  That will be the same as an agreement with them to pay, and they will use it against you.

 

1.  They do not know you were abroad when you lived in Texas (being out of state tolls the sol).

2..  When do they say last payment was? 2011?  They would need to prove that.  at any rate if the account was charged off in 2009, and you lived in Texas past 2013, I would say the SOL has run it's coarse and it is time barred.

3.  You may not even be a resident of georgia, if you only have been there for a couple of months.  Many states require a year or at least 6 months where you hold a drivers licence, or some other proof of residency until you are a resident of that state.

 

I would send them a debt validation.  That will buy you time.  But you have a few things going for you.  You say that you had a checking account with that bank, and they closed it, and kept your money?  Did they apply it to the card?  Did they do this before they charged off the account?  Did you ever get any sort of accounting for that money? How much was it?

 

If they file suit against you, you have counterclaims.  What I would do is send them the DV, when they send the validation, I would send them another letter that says "This debt is time barred.  I refuse to pay"  Then if they file suit, you can counter them, and end up collecting.  If the debt is barred by Texas, then it is barred in GA. since you were a resident of Texas when the sol ran it's 4 years.  @Clydesmom probably has some case law handy stating that, I am not in a position to find it right now, but it's there. 

IF they file suit, I would go to www.NACA.com and find a consumer attorney to handle this.  You can probably find one that will take your case at no cost to you, contingent on winning.  Believe me they won't take it unless they think they can win.  

I am assuming that no payment was made since 2009, even though they say 2011.  Sometimes the creditor adds a credit of a few cents for interest overcharge, or what ever, and they try to say that was a payment.  Oh and what month in 2011 do they claim the payment was made?  You technically are still a resident of Texas, so if it was before July 31st, it would still be outside the SOL.

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Thanks @shellieh98

 

I have extremely poor records so it will take a while to backtrack some of the bank account and payment things, and may not even be possible, but I'll definitely  try to find as much information as I can.  For the most part, I'm going by hazy memory (military related brain injury at the time) as well as my credit reports.  The account is reported closed and charged off in 2009, but last payment is reported in May 2011.  Hopefully I can find definitive proof one way or another somehow.  

 

I'll look into the residency issue.  I moved to Georgia in April.  I got a driver's license and also bought a car here in May.  Not sure if that will make a difference. 

 

As for debt validation, I've been using samples to compose my letter.  Is it better to use a long form like this one, or just a short two sentence validation request?  Also, the letter from Greene and Cooper has four mailing addresses, one for Kentucky, Indiana, Georgia and Ohio.  There are also fax numbers for each.  The person who signed the letter is listed only for Indiana, but there is a cc for a person who is also listed in Georgia.  Where exactly am I to send this letter?  Should I just cover all of my bases and send via registered mail to all four and also send at least one through fax?  

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Midland is hoping you don't realize that the SOL is expired and that they can't revive it simply because you moved to a state with a longer SOL. 

 

Rather than quoting case law this is what I would do:

 

First:  DO NOT use that sample letter for DV.  It is riddled with errors.  I would send one like this:

 

Dear G&C:

 

I received your letter dated [date] regarding an alleged debt from NFCU/Midland Funding.  I dispute this debt.

 

As I believe the SOL expired while I resided in TX and moving to the state of GA did not revive it I am consulting a consumer attorney regarding the flagrant FDCPA violation.

 

Regards, 

 

Credit Dumb

 

Send it CMRR to the GA address, all 4 isn't necessary.  It is entirely possible that the mere threat of the FDCPA litigation sends them away never to return.  In the meantime most consumer attorneys do the first consult for free.  Steve Koval or Skaar and Feagle are two of the best firms in Atlanta (though they take clients throughout GA) and will be happy to discuss the issue with you.  You can also go to www.naca.net to find other firms.  

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@BV80

 

I may be exaggerating a bit regarding the threats.  They were in writing, that they will take legal action.  Of course, because I'm an idiot, I threw these away.  I sincerely thought that if I ignored it, it would go away.  I'm recognizing that I was dumb for not really looking into this more after I read information that was most appealing at the time.  

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@CreditDumb

 

Unfortunately, without the letters, it would be a "you said/they said" situation.  

 

BTW, you were not an idiot.  You just didn't know that there are laws that would protect you.  That's happened to all of us who first started dealing with collectors.  I wish I had known about the FDCPA and TCPA when I first started receiving collection letters and calls.   Some of those letters and calls were definitely in violation of those statutes.

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@Clydesmom

 

  If I state the SOL has expired, is that admitting that I know about the debt?  Should I request a debt validation before remarking on the SOL if I'm also disputing the debt?  

 

Tweak the wording to what you are comfortable with.  If you add the word "has" after SOL in my suggestion it isn't admitting to anything it is merely saying even if there is a debt you are too late to collect on it.

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Got the CMRR letter mailed off this morning.  For two days I've felt a feeling of wanting to throw up so it was a huge sigh of relief to get that out of the way.  Thanks so much for the assistance so far.  I'm going to spend some more days reading everything I can on here and over the internet/at the library and continue gathering my own information as I'm sure I won't be lucky enough that they'd just drop it due to SOL.

 

Thanks again for the help. 

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Green & Cooper and Midland are beatable.  I beat them in court without knowing what I was doing.  They are not very bright.

 

For now, you should just send a very short dispute letter.  Just say "I dispute this alleged debt".  Let them respond with their verification before doing anything else.  This will buy you at least a month or 2 before you need to deal with anything else.  That gives you time to keep reading, learning and understanding how to deal with this.

 

Second, Midland is a JDB.  I would never pay them a dime.  Since this looks like it may be SOL before you moved to GA, then I would wait to see if they file suit against me.  If they do, there are a couple good attorneys in GA who would probably like to counter sue them for you and get the debt to go away plus some bonus money back to you.

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The worst thing you can do is acknowledge the debt is valid.  The 25 percent will, at best, get you a 1099 for $4,000 and a fresh hit on your credit report that will last 7 years.  Deny the debt completely, request validation and always require they contact you by mail in case they happen to know your phone number.

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The worst thing you can do is acknowledge the debt is valid.  

 

NO ONE told the OP to do that and sending a DV does not acknowledge the debt as valid.

 

The 25 percent will, at best, get you a 1099 for $4,000 and a fresh hit on your credit report that will last 7 years.  

 

MAYBE.  If you don't include terms that require they delete the trade line:  yes.  However, what you said is NOT automatic and depends heavily on the settlement agreement and what is in WRITING.

 

 always require they contact you by mail in case they happen to know your phone number.

 

This is SO wrong.  The FDCPA does not recognize a partial cease and desist i.e. "all calls are inconvenient" only contact me by mail.  The law firm can treat it as a full cease and desist or ignore it without violating the law.  TCPA would not even cover this either.

 

I know this law firm well.  ALL your suggestion about only contacting in writing will send them straight to the court house to file a lawsuit.  The OP is handling this just fine and is best served by a good consumer attorney in GA that will sue G&C along with Midland.

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Actually debtfighter, the credit scoring algorithm now takes into account that settling a debt is better than not and has removed the punishment of settling in the scoring model so settling is an option. The OP should DV however just to protect their rights, buy time to learn their options, and to find out what the debt really is about so that they can make a decision going forward.

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I still have not heard anything from Greene and Cooper and it took nearly three weeks for my return receipt to be returned.  Is this good or bad?  I did vaguely mention SOL concerns (simply by remarking on new state residency), though I find I'm not understanding the SOL.  Is it time barred if they haven't collected payment by the end of the 4 years?  Does the fact that Midland sent me a letter threatening legal action very shortly before the debt became time barred change anything?  If it's technically time barred, can I request the credit reporting unions remove it from my personal report?  

 

I've still not received any sort of legal consultation with a consumer lawyer because I had no real information to bring them apart from this first letter from G & C.  I guess right now it's just a waiting game?  I'm feeling a bit impatient as I would like to purchase a home this year.  

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I doubt they will do anything.  If they do file suit against you, you can and should hire a consumer attorney.  At the very least we can show you how to file a counter suit, and in the end you will probably end up making a little money.  The account is time barred.  Even if their was a payment in 2011, they would have to prove you made it.  It doesn't count if they took the money that was left in your account and applied it towards the balance, you did not make that payment.  You have options should they try to pursue this. Your credit report will show when it should fall off, if it was charged off in 2009, then it should fall off in 2016.  If your credit reports show a 2011 payment, I would dispute that with the CRA's.

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New update

For months I have received nothing from either Midland or Greene and Cooper.  I requested a debt validation, received nothing.  The collection account was removed from my credit report.  I've gone on with my life.  

I moved last week.  Today I received three legal advertisements in the mail.  It looked like junk but three in one day seemed strange so I opened.  They all detailed a lawsuit against me from Midland.  I went to my county website and looked up the case and there it is.  Midland has filed a suit against me.  They filed on January 13th, but that was after I moved so everything appears to be going to my last address.  I have received NOTHING aside for these random legal advertisements.  

I know  the best thing to do is to seek the aid of an attorney and hopefully this week I'll have time to do this, but I still don't have anything to actually bring the attorney so it almost seems useless (not to mention extremely expensive in terms of both money, but most importantly time) to go lawyer shopping.  In the meantime, how do I go about getting information about this pending case since they are obviously sending everything to my last address?  Obviously I have address forwarding set up, but what if it's the sheriff's office or whatever sending this info out?

 

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The first thing you need to do is contact a consumer attorney.  If the default was in 2009 and they filed in January 2016 then the exceeded the SOL in GA not to mention I believe the SOL for Texas applies.  There is also the FDCPA violation of over shadowing for proceeding to lawsuit without responding to your validation.   My guess is that a consumer attorney will take this on contingency and not only will the lawsuit be dropped but Midland will be paying you.

Skaar and Feagle is an excellent firm so is Steve Koval.  Otherwise go to www.consumeradvocates.org and hire a lawyer.   Most do the initial consult for free.  Rest easy.  Those idiots at Midland have just made fighting this WAY easier for you by their multiple violations of Federal Law.

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I second the recommendations by @Clydesmom  I have experience using both those attorneys and they get nice results.  I will add that in my experience, Steve Koval is more aggressive which tends to take a longer time, but gets a better outcome in your favor (more money to you).  Skarr & Feagle usually take care of the issue quickly and may not get much or any money back in your pocket, but they can earn a dismissal of the case against you rather quickly. Since they go for the quicker route, they usually get a smaller settlement amount and more of it tends to be used up by their contingency fee, but they do good work, so if you just want it to go away quickly, they do a fine job.

You have much more than you think you do.  You (should) have the initial letter sent by Green & Cooper demanding payment.  You (should) have the certified receipts and returned, signed green card showing they received your DV letter.  You (hopefully) also have a copy of that letter you sent them.  You have the date of your last payment which (hopefully) you can produce bank records or receipts showing that payment in 2009.  You now have a lawsuit against you.  All of these documents together show at least two violations of the FDCPA by Midland and G&C.   This is enough for a consumer attorney to file a federal lawsuit against them on your behalf.  When that is done, they will likely negotiate a settlement that will include dismissing their suit against you.

 

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