fitzee210

"...escalated collection efforts." What should be my next step?

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Thank you to those who are taking the time to read and respond to this.

I live in Texas. Debt amount is $722.02 for breaking an apartment rental lease, but in reality, the actual debt amount is $95 less - the agency tacked on a fee. I originally owed $1027.02 and sent 4 $100 money orders but didn't for several months as money became tight.

Basically I'm at about month 5 of receiving calls, emails, and letters from a debt collector. I received a letter dated May 10, 2019 and am seeking advice on my next move.

"If we do not receive the balance due on your account immediately, we will continue....fully utilize all...statutes governing debt collection practices. Should it become necessary for the original holder of the debt to seek legal remedies against you for the above stated account the debt holder shall not only seek the entire balance in accordance with the original contract due, but also any legally applicable prejudgement and post judgement interest, court costs, and attorney's fees, which totaled together could be considerably more than the original balance due.

Mail your balance today to prevent further proceedings or contact us...if you're unable to pay the entire amount due. Failure to bring immediate resolution to this matter will result in escalated collection efforts."

Knowing this above and today is 5/23/19, 2 weeks after the letter, what should I do next? Thank you for your help!

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Have you ever sent a DV letter, disputing the debt?  That's what I would do.

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2 minutes ago, nobk4me said:

Have you ever sent a DV letter, disputing the debt?  That's what I would do.

Based upon the information provided by the OP, the 30-day window to request validation has passed.  He could send a DV, but the  collection agency could continue collection efforts without responding.

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Have you considered doing this? 

1 hour ago, fitzee210 said:

contact us...if you're unable to pay the entire amount due

 

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2 hours ago, fitzee210 said:

"If we do not receive the balance due on your account immediately, we will continue....fully utilize all...statutes governing debt collection practices. Should it become necessary for the original holder of the debt to seek legal remedies against you for the above stated account the debt holder shall not only seek the entire balance in accordance with the original contract due, but also any legally applicable prejudgement and post judgement interest, court costs, and attorney's fees, which totaled together could be considerably more than the original balance due.

Mail your balance today to prevent further proceedings or contact us...if you're unable to pay the entire amount due. Failure to bring immediate resolution to this matter will result in escalated collection efforts."

Do collection agencies think this kind of language is going to provoke a response?  If they didn't use such intimidating language, if they didn't sound like total pricks, the lucky recipient of one of these letters would be more likely to contact them to work things out.

If you don't contact them, the fees will likely go up.  They may also file in court which would also increase the amount they're seeking.

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6 minutes ago, LaneBlane said:

If they didn't use such intimidating language, if they didn't sound like total pricks, the lucky recipient of one of these letters would be more likely to contact them to work things out.

Fear of consequences appears to be the only thing that elicits a response, these days.

 

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8 minutes ago, LaneBlane said:

Do collection agencies think this kind of language is going to provoke a response?  If they didn't use such intimidating language, if they didn't sound like total pricks, the lucky recipient of one of these letters would be more likely to contact them to work things out.

If you don't contact them, the fees will likely go up.  They may also file in court which would also increase the amount they're seeking.

That language is usually used after multiple attempts to elicit payment.  

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4 minutes ago, Goody_Ouchless said:

Fear of consequences appears to be the only thing that elicits a response, these days.

 

Even a fear of consequences can fall on deaf ears.  If someone doesn't have any money at their disposal, and they feel they're helpless, the response is often to do nothing.

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3 minutes ago, BV80 said:

That language is usually used after multiple attempts to elicit payment.  

I wouldn't want to see what the next one looks like!

If someone opened a collection agency that focused on being kind, understanding, and accepting a reasonable amount of money, they'd probably end up doing alright.   That would be like asking the U.S. Government to be efficient and fiscally responsible.

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1 minute ago, LaneBlane said:

I wouldn't want to see what the next one looks like!

If someone opened a collection agency that focused on being kind, understanding, and accepting a reasonable amount of money, they'd probably end up doing alright.   That would be like asking the U.S. Government to be efficient and fiscally responsible.

Well, warnings and consequences are pretty much a part of life.  

At work, one can only mess up so many times and receive so many warnings before he is fired.   You can only get so many traffic tickets before you may lose your license.  

In the past, when I received collection letters, they were always nice for a while.  Eventually, however, the language became changed and became more stern.  That’s just like any other part of life.

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7 hours ago, BV80 said:

Based upon the information provided by the OP, the 30-day window to request validation has passed.  He could send a DV, but the  collection agency could continue collection efforts without responding.

Not in Texas.  Texas is one of the few states that has a strong consumer option on this.  As long as the OP invokes the Texas Finance Code section 392 in his DV letter they are required to cease collection efforts until they do respond under Texas law.  I would send the DV letter doing just that ASAP.

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Thank y'all so much for the feedback! After the reply from Clydesmom, I did some research regarding letter templates for Texas Finance Code section 392 (also reading the entire code) and found a template that I plan to use.

I've scrubbed my credit reports in the past so I am familiar with that process, but I have only had 1 actually proceed with a lawsuit and I fear that may be where this is going.

Your thoughts on this template?

 

YOUR NAME YOUR ADDRESS YOUR TOWN TX 7XXXX-XXXX


COLLECTION AGENCY CA ADDRESS CA TOWN, XX 987654


February 25, 2014


via certified mail


Re: Reference #: XXXXXXX


Dear COLLECTION AGENCY:


I dispute the validity of this entire debt. I request validation of this debt per Texas Finance Code. I have disputed this debt with the credit reporting agencies and you continue to validate it without providing the information I have requested. Please note Transunion, Experian, and Equifax are bonded in the state of Texas and are required to comply with Texas Finance Code if you fail to meet code requirements.


Delete this tradeline if you do not have sufficient time to complete an investigation to validate this debt in 30 days according to Sec. 392.202 (d)(1)


For the purpose of validation provide me with:

  • The name and address of the original creditor
  • The original date of default or non-payment of the debt with original creditor
  • The date the debt was transferred from the original creditor to the third party debt collector
  • The original balance
  • The current balance
  • Any fees added by your agency. Sec. 392.303 (a)(2)
  • Texas Surety bond information as required by Sec. 392.101

 

I am invoking Texas Finance Code 392.202 CORRECTION OF THIRD-PARTY DEBT COLLECTOR'S OR CREDIT BUREAU'S FILES.

I request immediate notification by mail if this alleged debt is sold or transerred per Sec. 392.301 (a)(4)

Please reply with your response vis US MAIL.

Please note I am fully prepared to pursue my rights for the harm this innacuracy has done to me. Sec. 392.403. CIVIL REMEDIES. (a) A person may sue for:     

(1) injunctive relief to prevent or restrain a violation of this          chapter; and     

(2) actual damages sustained as a result of a violation of this           chapter.

     Sincerely,
     Me

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Do not use any templates from the internet for this. They are usually wrong in what you can ask for and most JDBs ignore them because they can. You want to keep the request short, simple, and sweet. For example:

"Dear JDB,
I dispute this debt and am requesting validation under Texas Finance Code Section 392.

Sincerely.

Alleged Debtor"

That is all you need. Nothing more.

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On 5/24/2019 at 11:11 AM, WhoCares1000 said:

Do not use any templates from the internet for this. They are usually wrong in what you can ask for and most JDBs ignore them because they can. You want to keep the request short, simple, and sweet. For example:

"Dear JDB,
I dispute this debt and am requesting validation under Texas Finance Code Section 392.

Sincerely.

Alleged Debtor"

That is all you need. Nothing more.

Thank you. I thought it seemed rather excessive.

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