BrotherAviation

Phoenix Financial - New Agency Collecting Old Debt

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I recently received a letter from Phoenix Financial Services notifying me on their intent to collect on some old medical debt. The accounts were previously handled by a different collections agency, and I noticed that out of the blue the accounts dropped from my credit report I check weekly. I also noticed that my FICO score provided by my Discover card went up 90+ points after the collections fell off my report. The date of service for each of the debts listed in the letter range from 05/20/2011 to 07/08/2011. I live in the state of Florida and here the statute of limitations is either 4 or 5 years (through my research I've encountered both numbers). According to the letter, I have 30 days to request a validation of the debt in writing. My question is regarding the statute of limitations. What date is used determine the age of the debt for the purposes of qualifying whether it is in or outside of the statute of limitations. I know I have at least another 2 years for this debt to fall off from my credit report on its own, however, within that time frame I would like to have my credit be as polished as possible. I would be open to negotiating with the new agency before they report to the CRAs, but I would like to see where I stand on the statute of limitations issue for the purposes of bargaining power. Thank you in advance for your help.   

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25 minutes ago, BrotherAviation said:

My question is regarding the statute of limitations. What date is used determine the age of the debt for the purposes of qualifying whether it is in or outside of the statute of limitations.

For medical debt:  the date you received the care.  When did you see the provider?

26 minutes ago, BrotherAviation said:

I would be open to negotiating with the new agency before they report to the CRAs, but I would like to see where I stand on the statute of limitations issue for the purposes of bargaining power.

Figure out when you received the care.  The SOL on this since there is a written financial guarantee patients sign would be 5 years for a suit.  Once you are certain the SOL for suit is expired then you know how much bargaining leverage you have.

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2 minutes ago, Clydesmom said:

For medical debt:  the date you received the care.  When did you see the provider?

Figure out when you received the care.  The SOL on this since there is a written financial guarantee patients sign would be 5 years for a suit.  Once you are certain the SOL for suit is expired then you know how much bargaining leverage you have.

Clydesmom! Thank you for sharing your knowledge with me once again. There are a total of 6 charges outlined in the letter with different dates of service. I don't recall exactly when I saw these providers but the range they each fall in 05/2011-07/2011 makes sense. The latest date listed is 07/08/2011 which would make that 5 years 7 months and 11 days old, and the ones in the previous two months even older. I read somewhere about a 90 day period until they actually become delinquent, and a subsequent 180 day period until they can be reported to the CRAs. Does that influence the statute of limitations consideration at all or is it only the date the service was provided as you mentioned in your reply? 

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20 hours ago, BrotherAviation said:

I read somewhere about a 90 day period until they actually become delinquent, and a subsequent 180 day period until they can be reported to the CRAs.

Payment is actually due when the care/service is rendered.  Now if the provider chooses to wait for insurance or bill the patient that does not change the date of care.  Even if by some stretch of legal theory it was due 90 days later then in October of 2016 the SOL still expired to file a suit without it being an FDCPA violation by the CA if they file as an assignee.

The new FICO rules state that medical debt cannot be reported for 180 days after the care was rendered in order to give insurance enough time to handle the claim and for the patient to appeal if needed any denials or under payments.

20 hours ago, BrotherAviation said:

Does that influence the statute of limitations consideration at all or is it only the date the service was provided as you mentioned in your reply? 

In my opinion the 180 day delay in reporting has ZERO affect on the SOL and even if they started counting after 90 days the SOL is still expired based on the last date in July.

I would DV them and see what they send and then shortly after send a cease and desist.  If they continue collection efforts or sue then you have a gold plated FDCPA violation against them and can sue them.

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6 minutes ago, Clydesmom said:

Payment is actually due when the care/service is rendered.  Now if the provider chooses to wait for insurance or bill the patient that does not change the date of care.  Even if by some stretch of legal theory it was due 90 days later then in October of 2016 the SOL still expired to file a suit without it being an FDCPA violation by the CA if they file as an assignee.

The new FICO rules state that medical debt cannot be reported for 180 days after the care was rendered in order to give insurance enough time to handle the claim and for the patient to appeal if needed any denials or under payments.

In my opinion the 180 day delay in reporting has ZERO affect on the SOL and even if they started counting after 90 days the SOL is still expired based on the last date in July.

I would DV them and see what they send and then shortly after send a cease and desist.  If they continue collection efforts or sue then you have a gold plated FDCPA violation against them and can sue them.

What does DV stand for? Debt validation? Would requesting that trigger an acknowledgement of the debt, thereby resetting the SOL clock? 

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7 minutes ago, BrotherAviation said:

What does DV stand for? Debt validation? Would requesting that trigger an acknowledgement of the debt, thereby resetting the SOL clock? 

DV - Debt validation.

No.  Requesting validation does not acknowledge the debt or reset the SOL.   You simply state that you dispute the referenced account and request validation.

 

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9 minutes ago, BrotherAviation said:
 

I found this DV letter template and it looks very thorough. Is this acceptable or are there any other recommended templates? 

http://usacreditlawyer.com/debt-collection/rights/Sample-Debt-Validation-Letter.pdf

That letter is overdone and incorrect.  It requests documentation that is not required for validation.  In addition, it's not the consumer's job to inform debt collectors about the law.  If debt collectors don't know the law, that's their problem.

Here's my letter.

Date

BrotherAviation
Address

Debt Collector's Name
Address

RE:  Acct. #XXXXXXXXXXXX

To whom it may concern:

I dispute the above-referenced account and request validation.

BrotherAviation

Whenever I send a DV, I always include a copy of the collection letter with it.

Be sure to send the letter by certified mail, return receipt requested.   If you receive the green card back (meaning they signed for the letter), be sure to keep that card in a safe place.

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16 minutes ago, BrotherAviation said:

I found this DV letter template and it looks very thorough. Is this acceptable or are there any other recommended templates? 

http://usacreditlawyer.com/debt-collection/rights/Sample-Debt-Validation-Letter.pdf

What @BV80said.  That stupid letter needs to be wiped from the face of the Earth yet it persists in its existence.  SIGH.  All sending that letter does is tell them you can cut and paste from the internet and use Google.  Send the simple one that he suggested.

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12 hours ago, debtzapper said:

And for good measure, type or block print your name.  Do not sign in your regular handwriting.

I had an attorney a few years ago want me to sign any letter I sent a creditor for proper evidence in court.  A very long time ago I read that there may have been a collector using scanned copies of a signature to create fake letters, but I have not seen that and only heard about it over 6 years ago from this website.  Since working with that attorney several years ago, I simply sign my letters as normal.

If I am worried about my signature being stolen, a couple times I have created a form of watermark by typing in very small (but readable) font what my letter is, then I sign my name over the top of it.  For instance, I typed in the signature spot in one letter:

Dispute letter dated xx/xx/2017
Certified Mail # XXX-XXX-XXX-XXX

Then I signed my name over the top of those 2 small lines.    I only did this twice when sending letters to known collectors who were on the fine line of being scams.  Most of the time, I think the whole signature issue is much ado about nothing.

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2 hours ago, fisthardcheese said:

I had an attorney a few years ago want me to sign any letter I sent a creditor for proper evidence in court.  A very long time ago I read that there may have been a collector using scanned copies of a signature to create fake letters, but I have not seen that and only heard about it over 6 years ago from this website.  Since working with that attorney several years ago, I simply sign my letters as normal.

If I am worried about my signature being stolen, a couple times I have created a form of watermark by typing in very small (but readable) font what my letter is, then I sign my name over the top of it.  For instance, I typed in the signature spot in one letter:

Dispute letter dated xx/xx/2017
Certified Mail # XXX-XXX-XXX-XXX

Then I signed my name over the top of those 2 small lines.    I only did this twice when sending letters to known collectors who were on the fine line of being scams.  Most of the time, I think the whole signature issue is much ado about nothing.

I understand the suggestion made by @debtzapper.   Some people might want to follow that suggestion because it would give them peace of mind.

However, I also agree with you.   The better-known JDBs who sue don't have to forge signatures because most of their money comes from default judgments.

 

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@BrotherAviation

Keep in mind that the collection agency (CA) can take as long as it chooses to validate, but it cannot continue collection efforts until it validates.  The agency can also choose to stop collecting all together.  In that event, it would not have to validate at all.

If it chooses to validate, it cannot simply send a letter that merely repeats what has been claimed in the first (initial communication) letter.   In one thread a year or so ago, a poster claimed that because a DV response would have the same information as the initial communication, then the initial communication could validate the debt.  :shock:  Needless to say, that's incorrect.

The DV response must include something to support the CA's claim.  For instance, a credit card statement showing the name of the OC, your name, and the amount claimed would suffice.

 

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45 minutes ago, BrotherAviation said:

I sent out the letter on the 27th of Feb. Thank you all for your help and advice. Should I take advantage of my temporarily improved credit score to get one or two new credit cards? 

Why do you need more credit cards?

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52 minutes ago, BrotherAviation said:

I figured it would be a good opportunity to increase my overall credit limit.

 I'm thinking that would depend on your current credit situation. Do you have debts that are within the SOL on which you cannot pay? 

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1 minute ago, BV80 said:

 I'm thinking that would depend on your current credit situation. Do you have debts that are within the SOL on which you cannot pay? 

Aside from the debts associated with this original post, which total to a little over $5,000 and are all outside the SOL, I only have one more for $85 that only shows up on my Experian report. I believe that one is also outside the SOL. All these accounts have been healthcare related and I don't have any other negative marks on my report.   

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Do you already have a credit card in good standing?  If you do, sometimes you can call them and get a small limit increase without a new credit pull.  That could be a better option to build your credit rather than having a couple new inquiries hit your reports at this time.

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1 hour ago, BrotherAviation said:

What happens now?

Possibly nothing at all.  The FDCPA requires they cease collection efforts until they validate.  They can choose not to respond to your DV and simply stop collecting.  They might pass it off to another agency in which case you have to start the process all over again.

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On 4/2/2017 at 11:07 AM, BrotherAviation said:

Hello, everyone. Today marks the 30th day since they received my DV letter sent via certified mail. I've yet to get back anything from them since it was delivered. What happens now?

Nothing happens.  You just keep an eye on things to see if they violate consumer laws or if they respond with validation at some point.

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