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My Resignation From CIC


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To All Members and Visitors of CreditInfoCenter:

 

It is with great sadness that today I announce my “resignation” as member of CIC.

 

Though I haven't been regularly active for quite some time, I came here about five years ago in a desperate attempt to figure out how to defeat a suit brought by a debt buyer. Even though I did not receive the information that I sought, I spent a lot of time researching court rules and was able to have the case dismissed.

 

Being freed from doubt and uncertainty about an alleged debt was exactly what we needed at that time. When you are at or near the lowest point of your life, realizing that you still have a spine to stand up for yourself and your family gives you something positive to look forward to, even though the world is still falling down around you.

 

I brought back what I learned from my experience and helped many, many people who found themselves in the same situation that I did. Knowing that I made a difference in someone, or some family's life has brought a tremendous amount of satisfaction and joy to me.

 

Yesterday, however, something radically changed in my life that requires me to hang up the keyboard.

 

As I was being deposed by the country's largest debt buyer, they brought out 3 threads from CIC as exhibits. Of course I testified truthfully an hour earlier and discussed my presence on this board.

 

I suddenly found myself having to defend things I wrote 2, 3, even 4 years ago. It's difficult to put your words into context when written words allow for no such thing, particularly when in the eyes of the viewer everything you say is twisted and distorted.

 

“Celebrating” and discussing my “wins” suddenly was viewed as bragging in the worst possible way. Each collector and creditor could have brought litigation against my wife and I. In fact, 2 did. And those two either dismissed or the case was dismissed on motion. When you are sued, you are entitled to defend yourself. I did that, and remarkably, I was questioned for doing so.

 

People celebrate job promotions, beating cancer, divorcing their spouse and having a baby. People who find themselves clinging on to the lowest rungs of the societal ladder should be judged no differently for being proud that they were putting something negative behind them. I don't feel I would have been judged if I simply filed for bankruptcy, which, in essence is the same outcome where you are stripped of your debts. The goal is the same, it's just the path that's different.

 

In all of this, there was one part of my testimony which I know can never be expressed and understood only through words.

 

Yesterday, something about a question by their attorney really struck a nerve. It made me emotional in a way I'm not sure I ever felt before.

 

The question, more or less, was to why I would make a “good” class representative when they claim I have no real damages (versus the rest of the class members).

 

I paused for a minute, felt the lump in my throat form, and struggled, truly struggled to hold back my tears, but it didn't work too well.

 

I thought and spoke about the times that my family was abused at the hands of debt collectors. I thought about others who need help with their debt or dealing with collectors. I thought about families that struggle whether to pay a collector or feed their children, or to clothe them and provide them shelter and warmth or to pay a debt collector. If you close your eyes, you see them. It could be your neighbor, or a co-worker. It could be your grandparents living on social security. Single moms and starving artists. Black, white, green, blue, no one is immune. I understand the struggle better than most, because I've been there. I know what it's like to be afraid to open letters or to answer the phone. I know what it's like to be called names and to lose sleep over a seemingly insurmountable mountain, particularly when everyday is a struggle, and you worry tomorrow will somehow be worse than today.

I spoke for tens of thousands of people yesterday, and I am so incredibly proud that I did. People I've never met and yet, felt a bond so close, it brought me to tears.

 

As far as we go, however. we persevered, and with time, we thrived. I never believed the mantra that, “everything happens for a reason,” but in some bizarre way now I think it's at least somewhat true.

 

Of course people should pay their bills. But people shouldn't pay unless they have the means. And I don't believe people should have to pay debts that they don't recognize or if they don't trust the collector that is attempting to collect from them.

 

We are all human beings, even the people that run these agencies, believe it or not. Having compassion and caring for other people—even people you've never met is not a difficult thing to do. I am opposed to the collection industry not for what they do, but rather, for the means they use to collect. They are, after all, the most complained about industry in this country.

 

When you buy debts for pennies on the dollar, you are not bringing value to the financial sector. Loss and risk is built into the interest rates we already pay. There is far greater value, however, in treating people with dignity, respect, and offering people the information that they need to make informed decisions.

 

In closing, going forward, I will focus my efforts on other activities that will strengthen consumer protection laws, even if that means being a 1 man lobbyist. I have worked with the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau in the past, and I intend to do so again. In some ways, yes, I'm leaving because of their attorneys, but in others, I'm leaving because I believe I have work to do outside this forum for the better good of those who are most vulnerable.

 

I wish each and everyone one of you all the best in your continued efforts.

~gwheelock915

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I wish you well, gwheel.   You know IL law and you helped a lot of IL members.  As you know, with the recent "Spokeo" decision that was handed down by the US Supreme Court, class action consumer claims are becoming more difficult to file, particularly now that actual injury must be shown when alleging a violation of a consumer protection statute.  All post-Spokeo lawsuits are breaking new legal ground.

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On 8/12/2016 at 9:38 PM, gwheelock915 said:
 

...Of course people should pay their bills. But people shouldn't pay unless they have the means. And I don't believe people should have to pay debts that they don't recognize or if they don't trust the collector that is attempting to collect from them.

We are all human beings, even the people that run these agencies, believe it or not. Having compassion and caring for other people—even people you've never met is not a difficult thing to do. I am opposed to the collection industry not for what they do, but rather, for the means they use to collect. They are, after all, the most complained about industry in this country.

That is the bottom line.  You may owe every cent that you are being sued for but you do not owe one cent to them.  I have yet to see even a single JDB that can prove they own the debt they are suing for.  As long as they continue their status quo business practice of not having adequate proof and blatantly violating FDCPA laws and countless other regulations then they need to be slammed by any means possible and this board provides those means well.     

I must have missed something of the background of this post- what is deemed wrong with celebrating victory in a lawsuit anyway unless it involves violating a non-disclosure agreement?  Is this in relation to the cards recently sent out pertaining to a class-action suit against Portfolio  Recovery's calls to defendants' cell phones?  I was among those who took the second step and acknowledged that last week.  I don't care if I am awarded anything or not but I will certainly join any force against them if given such an opportunity to do so.  

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@gwheelock915

Thank you for your participation and help on this site.   We appreciate you.

It doesn't surprise me that information from this site and possibly others is raised in courts by debt collectors.   Certain websites have been mentioned in the news and on debt collector websites such as Inside Arm.  

While we are free within the limits of the law to express our opinions and offer information in an open forum, we have to consider the fact that our public posts are available for anyone to view and, depending upon the nature of the posts, could be used against the poster or the site.

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Though I'm a new poster (2nd post), I've been a long time reader and I must say I was moved by your post and I wish you godspeed and blessings to you and your family and in all your future endeavors and a heartfelt thank you for the help you've provided to many here. This forum has motivated me beyond words and has empowered me to have defeated 2 large creditors to date. Thank you once again for your most inspirational post.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think we all know who we have to thank for debt buyers trolling the boards.   I actually represent 2 plaintiffs in FDCPA actions where we received discovery and one of the questions asks about online posting activity on this and similar boards.   That's 2 cases where they normally would have paid before filing an answer.

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19 minutes ago, neweuquol said:

I think we all know who we have to thank for debt buyers trolling the boards.   I actually represent 2 plaintiffs in FDCPA actions where we received discovery and one of the questions asks about online posting activity on this and similar boards.   That's 2 cases where they normally would have paid before filing an answer.

 I am not sure what you mean by "That's 2 cases where they normally would have paid before filing an answer." Do you mean they normally would have settled? 

Why do you think they feel posts here would help them? 

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24 minutes ago, Cliff2009 said:

 I am not sure what you mean by "That's 2 cases where they normally would have paid before filing an answer." Do you mean they normally would have settled? 

Why do you think they feel posts here would help them? 

There is a name I will not mention that bragged about posting here and he/she had an epic loss on his/her FDCPA case, mostly because of the posts.   Yes, the two cases I reference would have settled before that case and I find some of the smaller debt collectors are now fishing to see if they can mitigate their payout with forum posts.   I am not sure why these 2 cases were picked except that the defendant is a smaller debt collector.

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1 minute ago, neweuquol said:

There is a name I will not mention that bragged about posting here and he/she had an epic loss on his/her FDCPA case, mostly because of the posts.   Yes, the two cases I reference would have settled before that case and I find some of the smaller debt collectors are now fishing to see if they can mitigate their payout with forum posts.   I am not sure why these 2 cases were picked except that the defendant is a smaller debt collector.

Do you have a recommendation for posting here, how much information, redacted etc? 

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Just now, Cliff2009 said:

Do you have a recommendation for posting here, how much information, redacted etc? 

I would stay away from post like that person posted (crass, bragging, etc.)  While I think posting about the status of the litigation in general is sometimes a bad idea, it's not terrible just to give general information on what is going on, advice on how to proceed (if you do not have a lawyer).

If you know who I am talking about, you know what I am advising to avoid.

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pre-[guys name i will not mention], I would file a FDCPA action on behalf of a client and fax it to the debt collector informing them of the suit and that a request to waive service was forth coming.  I would usually get a call within a day or 2, either asking for a communication from them or a reference number so they can find the account or a request to settle,

The debt collectors are not really mounting a defense in all cases but the number of cases seem to be increasing where in a case where a DC would have normally paid $2,500 to $3,000 to settle a case "pre-answer" they are now hiring counsel and settling at slightly larger amounts to fish for a case they can mount a defense on and possibly win to get good case law.

The case involving the person I will not name is excellent case law for DCs now that really hurt the general rule that you cannot attack the character of a FDCPA plaintiff. 

As an attorney, I asked my represented clients not to post at all until the case is over.   I understand a pro se litigant needs help though.

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1 minute ago, Jking57 said:

Yeah well I feel sorry for these so-called attorneys for DCs that have to resort to coming here for strategy :rolleyes:

Honestly, it was never a lucrative tactic before but now there is a case that says you can be forced to pay the attorney's fees of a DC in a FDCPA action where the jury finds the DC committed a FDCPA violation if you are in "bad faith."     

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10 minutes ago, neweuquol said:
 

Honestly, it was never a lucrative tactic before but now there is a case that says you can be forced to pay the attorney's fees of a DC in a FDCPA action where the jury finds the DC committed a FDCPA violation if you are in "bad faith."     

As much as I value this forum and the many members here, this thread always bothered me in this regard, waaay too much personal info asked for...

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7 minutes ago, Jking57 said:

As much as I value this forum and the many members here, this thread always bothered me in this regard, waaay too much personal info asked for...

While I think the request for the amount and county should probably be deleted, the rest if fine.  Most JDBs file multiple suits on the same day in the same court using the same boilerplate complaints.   Unless a poster uploads the complaint and doesn't redact identifying information, JDBs probably would not be able to identify the poster.

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Personally, if I received such as question about my online activities in a FDCPA, my first thing would be to object to it is overly broad and not likely to lead to discoverable material. Simply put, they cannot paint a brush on all persons online based on the actions of 1. To me, that is fishing, especially if they have no proof that my online activities had anything to do with the suit.

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7 minutes ago, WhoCares1000 said:

Personally, if I received such as question about my online activities in a FDCPA, my first thing would be to object to it is overly broad and not likely to lead to discoverable material. Simply put, they cannot paint a brush on all persons online based on the actions of 1. To me, that is fishing, especially if they have no proof that my online activities had anything to do with the suit.

You can object but the standard for discovery is not whether the information is relevant.   The standard for discovery is "reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of relevant evidence" which is a really low standard to begin with.  Thanks to one person, a DC can argue at a Motion to Compel hearing that your posting history could lead to the discovery of evidence of your "bad faith" in bringing the FDCPA action.   Since the case I am referring to involved a case where the plaintiff actually won but still has to pay $33,000 in attorney's fees and costs because of his "bad faith," I would expect the court to require disclosure of usernames and handles so that the defendant can search for public postings.   Yes, it is a fishing expedition and something that probably is not allowed 3 or 4 years ago.

To be honest, I think in most cases I could keep the postings out of evidence at trial (except for impeachment purposes) but I think they can still get the handles and usernames in the discovery phase.   All because of one plaintiff in one suit who should have taken his $5,000 and run with it instead of going on some personal mission.   It's not fair and I have not yet had to deal with it but I think in the coming years, it will be a regular discovery requests that I object to and probably have to answer after an order from the court.   

That one person changed FDCPA litigation forever.

Edited by neweuquol
Typo
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I think I know who you're talking about. Didn't that case also change what was supposed to be strict liability into something else? Clear violation but can't give you $1,000? Would you suggest maybe adding a signature line that says something like"JDBs really perform a useful purpose to society. I would never think of suing one unless I felt it was absolutely necessary"? That can come out in discovery as well.

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8 minutes ago, CCRP626 said:

I think I know who you're talking about. Didn't that case also change what was supposed to be strict liability into something else? Clear violation but can't give you $1,000?

That was a case of clear liability.   The jury not awarding his damages was wrong but it was caused by his/her attitude and forum postings so the courts excused something that should have been reversed and remedied in post trial motions, even if it was to give him $1.   If the postings on creditor forums is accurate and he/she refused to accept $5,000.00 I really do not know what to say about that because that is a reasonable settlement offer.   

I was hoping his case would get buried and it still might.  A case that a consumer's rights can be violated, get no damages, and be required to pay attorney's fees of the offending creditor because of "bad faith" is just horrible for consumers.   I am hoping courts recognize that was a unique case with a unique plaintiff and treat like it should be treated, as a case that should not be followed because of its bizarre facts (and plaintiff).

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5 hours ago, Jking57 said:

As much as I value this forum and the many members here, this thread always bothered me in this regard, waaay too much personal info asked for

Too many times someone has come here six months after answering without revealing it and 30 posts into a thread a bunch of time has been wasted.

5 hours ago, BV80 said:

While I think the request for the amount and county should probably be deleted, the rest if fine.

Useful info, just round the amounts. Need to know which court, small claims and such to help find rules. County comes in handy when finding forms or other info for posters.

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