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Neo9

Post-DV Collection Attempts on Call Ins

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Interested to get thoughts on the following scenario I am experimenting with:

I receive dunning letter from collection agency.

I use a third-party company faxing service to send DV letter via fax knowing agency will ignore it.  I do this twice over the course of the first three weeks of the 30-day response period to allow them to call repeatedly and engage me on the phone a number of times.  I'm difficult for them to handle on the phone so they actually stop calling me.

I sent certified letter disputing validity of debt on week three.  CA sends me a second letter attempting to collect on debt around same time which crosses in the mail.

I wait again until the certified letter has been received from their office.  I call CA in response to their 2nd letter "to find out why you sent me this letter".  They attempt to collect the alleged debt about 10 times throughout the course of the phone call.

Question:  do their verbal attempts to collect on the alleged debt, without having yet verified it in response to my certified letter, constitute violations of FDCPA despite the fact that I called them? (versus them calling me).  I imagine they should but would be interested in anyone's experience on this.

 

 

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It's technically a violation, but I'm curious how you would quantify damages of them trying to collect a debt you called them about knowing exactly who they are.

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8 minutes ago, Harry Seaward said:
 

It's technically a violation, but I'm curious how you would quantify damages of them trying to collect a debt you called them about knowing exactly who they are.

How does one quantify damages from receiving a letter in the mail from a CA without the CA having validated?  I am genuinely curious to know how that aspect of FDCPA claims are handled.

Technically, I called them to find out why they wrote me this letter.  We discussed on the phone the fact that I had previously disputed their allegations.  The phone rep wasn't interested in doing much but reading their scripts and further attempting to collect.

My understanding from a quick reading of Nolo is that these violations are statutory damages.  Violation of the statute itself is sufficient to collect damages.  Quantifying things like emotional distress or physical damages (from stress-related health issues that can be connected to the violations) is separate and additional to statutory damages.

 

"

Statutory Damages of $1,000

Above and beyond what the consumer might collect for losses related to lost wages, psychological distress, and the like, the FDCPA allows a consumer to recover damages up to $1,000 from the collector. Because the FDCPA says that the consumer can recover “up to $1,000,” the amount awarded could be less.

The court can award these damages if the consumer proves the collector violated the FDCPA, but the consumer does not have to prove that the violation caused any harm. This $1,000 is per lawsuit—not per violation—so if the creditor violates the FDCPA once or multiple times, the consumer still only collects up to $1,000."

 

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16 minutes ago, Neo9 said:

up to $1,000 from the collector.

We had one member that thought he was clever. He ended up with a $1 award for FDCPA and a judgment against him for $50,000 in opposing attorney fees. The courts aren't stupid. 

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41 minutes ago, Harry Seaward said:

We had one member that thought he was clever. He ended up with a $1 award for FDCPA and a judgment against him for $50,000 in opposing attorney fees. The courts aren't stupid. 

Without knowing the details of their case I don't see how that's relevant or constructive.   I can't imagine the courts would determine that making a phone call in response to receiving a letter would be grounds for what you just described.

Would you care to share the details of the aforementioned case?  I tried using the search tool for "$1 award" but nothing resulted.  

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23 minutes ago, Neo9 said:

Would you care to share the details of the aforementioned case?

Similar scam. I believe he disputed, or sent a cease and desist' and would then call and leave an innocent, confused sounding message requesting a call back, at which point he filed his claim. I suspect most of these schemes go up in flames when debt buyer says "you never disputed after the actual 'first' letter we sent."

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28 minutes ago, Goody_Ouchless said:

Similar scam. I believe he disputed, or sent a cease and desist' and would then call and leave an innocent, confused sounding message requesting a call back, at which point he filed his claim. I suspect most of these schemes go up in flames when debt buyer says "you never disputed after the actual 'first' letter we sent."

A dispute letter was sent in response to their first dunning letter.  I am not calling and leaving voice messages requesting a call back.

They sent me a second letter, after I had already disputed the alleged debt, so I called them to inquire as to why they sent said letter.

Really interesting to see the people on this forum would deem that a "scam".

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30 minutes ago, Neo9 said:

I can't imagine the courts would determine that making a phone call in response to receiving a letter would be grounds for what you just described.

Right. Of course it wasn't a single letter that caused him to get slapped with opposing's legal fees. My point is the awards on FDCPA cases aren't an automatic $1,000. At some point the court is going to expect you to justify your $1,000 (or whatever) damage claims. It could be a finding the debt collector is liable with a mere $1 judgment in your favor because you intentionally tricked them into violating, and have no real damages.  And that's after opposing has a crack at claiming you sent your letter after the initial 30-day window and a bona fide error defense. FDCPA does allow for fee shifting if it can be shown that you harassed them or acted in bad faith. What you've described is clearly setting them up to catch them in a violation. It's pretty unlikely a court would find they violated and that you acted in bad faith, but it could happen, depending on how you handle yourself going forward. 

You asked if it was a violation, and i said it was. The rest was a cautionary tale. Sorry if you feel it's not relevant, but it is the other side of the same coin you're using to gamble with. 

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13 minutes ago, Neo9 said:

Really interesting to see the people on this forum would deem that a "scam".

The entire purpose of the FDCPA is to protect consumers from unfair and deceptive collection practices. What have they done to you that was unfair and deceptive? 

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Just now, Harry Seaward said:

Right. Of course it wasn't a single letter that caused him to get slapped with opposing's legal fees. My point is the awards on FDCPA cases aren't an automatic $1,000. At some point the court is going to expect you to justify your $1,000 (or whatever) damage claims. It could be a finding the debt collector is liable with a mere $1 judgment in your favor because you intentionally tricked them into violating, and have no real damages.  And that's after opposing has a crack at claiming you sent your letter after the initial 30-day window and a bona fide error defense. FDCPA does allow for fee shifting if it can be shown that you harassed them or acted in bad faith. What you've described is clearly setting them up to catch them in a violation. It's pretty unlikely a court would find they violated and that you acted in bad faith, but it could happen, depending on how you handle yourself going forward. 

You asked if it was a violation, and i said it was. The rest was a cautionary tale. Sorry if you feel it's not relevant, but it is the other side of the same coin you're using to gamble with. 

Your points are valid and understood.  I agree.  Your cautionary tale was also helpful.  It just felt more like a slap-back void any details.  It seems like the guy in that particular case was in fact harassing then, and making multiple phone calls leaving clearly baited messages, in attempt to trick the CA.  If the FDCPA allows for fee-shifting then it sounds like he/she got what they deserved.

I was more interested in determining whether collection attempts on outbound calls to the CA were relevant under statutes.  I understand the way I framed my mode of thought makes it obvious where my intentions were.  It won't be presented in that fashion to the courts.  I have no mercy when it comes to CAs.

Ultimately, when applying the law under the 'least sophisticated consumer' standard, as it's supposed to be applied, it's a case of of a consumer sending written notice twice via facsimile, which although it doesn't afford the same proof of delivery protections as certified mail, is still a very common and accepted legal practice in civil proceedings, which went ignored by the CA (because they are predatory and know they can get away with it).  The company who sent the fax will swear to completeness of the procedure and delivery of the transmission.  

A third dispute letter was sent certified mail, verified as having been received within the 30-day window.  Around the same time, I received a 2nd collection letter, and being very confused, simply called them to find out why they sent me this second letter because I had previously disputed the alleged debt and hadn't received any additional info.  Pretty simple and plenty of good faith shown.

 

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9 minutes ago, Harry Seaward said:

The entire purpose of the FDCPA is to protect consumers from unfair and deceptive collection practices. What have they done to you that was unfair and deceptive? 

It's unfair to continue to confuse me by making repeated statements on the phone that I owe them money, and pressuring me to set up payment arrangements, when they haven't validated or proven they are authorized to collect on the alleged debt.

They confused me by sending a second collection letter, which overshadows my rights to validation, and when I called them on the phone to clarify what this was all about, the aggressive phone rep kept trying to pressure me into paying the debt and continually made unequivocal statements that I have a credit card and have a balance being owed and needed to resolve the matter.  Further overshadowing my rights.  They even verbally acknowledged that I had disputed the debt, and still made attempts to collect.

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2 hours ago, Neo9 said:

I receive dunning letter from collection agency.

Did that letter contain a notice informing you that you have 30 days to dispute the debt?   

If you don’t mind, could you please post a copy of that letter with your personal information redacted?

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It's been a good, long while since I've seen it, but consumers have reported harassing phone calls at all hours of the day and night, been threatened with going to jail and have been fired from their job because debt collectors showed up and made a scene. I personally believe those people are what Congress had in mind when they drafted the FDCPA. 

I'm trying to not be too hard on you, but saying your rights were violated following a trojan horse attack is a slap in the face to consumers that found themselves in the scenarios i described above. 

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1 hour ago, BV80 said:

Did that letter contain a notice informing you that you have 30 days to dispute the debt?   

If you don’t mind, could you please post a copy of that letter with your personal information redacted?

You're referring to the initial dunning letter or the second letter?   I believe the initial letter did contain the standard disclosure.  I'll have to dig it up.

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55 minutes ago, Harry Seaward said:

It's been a good, long while since I've seen it, but consumers have reported harassing phone calls at all hours of the day and night, been threatened with going to jail and have been fired from their job because debt collectors showed up and made a scene. I personally believe those people are what Congress had in mind when they drafted the FDCPA. 

I'm trying to not be too hard on you, but saying your rights were violated following a trojan horse attack is a slap in the face to consumers that found themselves in the scenarios i described above. 

I believe the laws were crafted to provide statutory damages when violated.  A violation is a violation.  The scenarios you describe don't fall under "statutory damages".  Those would be physical, emotional, or job-related damages, which the provisions provide for *in addition* to statutory damages.

Of course, case law supports the claim.  You're really speaking to the spirit of the law with what you say -- which really doesn't exist these days in any industry or scenario.  The FDCPA and any state laws modeled after it aren't designed exclusively for the scenarios you described and handle simple failures to validate before continuing collection activity or calling past certain hours of the day.   The ones you've described are the most egregious and extreme, and usually result in 5-figure settlements.   Attempting to collect a debt without validating it is a violation.  Plenty of collections attorneys take these cases and win.  Nor is it a slap in the face to people who have endured more extreme scenarios.  We're all in the same boat.  Some people get it worse then others, and they have stronger cases that yield higher settlements.  Some states even provide for $1,000 per violation.

If they choose not to validate after receiving a dispute, and continue to collect, that's misleading and overshadowing to an unsophisticated consumer.  It's my right under the law to have the debt validated before further collection activity transpires.  By definition, they've violated my rights as provided by law.  Your logic seems a bit flawed to suggest that I am somehow "slapping in the face" people who have been violated much harder.  

The spirit of the forum has changed a lot in the last 10 years.  Nowadays it seems like a few older members beating up on newbies and trying to dissuade anyone who doesn't have a no-brainer slam-dunk case to give up or give-in.   I hear from some old members all the good progress is made back-channeling and not in the actual forum these days because of it.  I imagine someone bought the website from the original owner a while back and use it for other purposes now based on what I'm seeing.

I just read another thread on method of verification where you were quite rude and mean to some guy simply because he was overly-verbose and excessive in his writings to the credit bureaus in requesting the method of verification for an account, a person clearly under stress and needing guidance, not to be made to feel shame or inadequate.

Really sad to see.

 

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4 hours ago, Neo9 said:

CA sends me a second letter attempting to collect on debt around same time which crosses in the mail.

By your own admission when you sent the certified letter it crossed with their second letter.  They had no way of knowing the certified letter was en route when then mailed theirs. That gives them a bona-fide error defense.

4 minutes ago, Neo9 said:

If they choose not to validate after receiving a dispute, and continue to collect, that's misleading and overshadowing to an unsophisticated consumer.

YOU are not an unsophisticated consumer.  By your own admission you used a third party service to fax the response HOPING they would ignore it and you have no proof they received it.  So they can claim it was never sent.  Then you intentionally called them to bait them into further violations.  When you intentionally under take actions that are meant to bait a collection agency into violating the law in the hopes that they pay you money not to protect your rights it isn't a scam it is just disgusting and should be illegal.

7 minutes ago, Neo9 said:

By definition, they've violated my rights as provided by law.  Your logic seems a bit flawed to suggest that I am somehow "slapping in the face" people who have been violated much harder.  

What you and ilk like you don't consider is that filing a frivolous lawsuit based on your veiled attempts at forcing a violation to simply get money not to protect your rights erodes the rights of consumers who were violated.  Enough claims like yours will lead lawmakers to water down the laws in order to stop them.  We have seen it from a former member who like you thought it was a game and was all over forums bragging about it.  Their site no longer exists and at least 2 years before it shut down their "hero" disappeared from public commentary after he lost his case in Federal court and got slapped with the other side's fees and costs to the tune of almost $60k.  Worse he set a precedent showing there are consumers like you perverting the law for profit not to protect consumer rights.

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4 hours ago, Neo9 said:

third-party company faxing service 

Please define the above.

4 hours ago, Neo9 said:

knowing agency will ignore it. 

How do you know they will ignore it?

29 minutes ago, Neo9 said:

You're referring to the initial dunning letter or the second letter?   I believe the initial letter did contain the standard disclosure.  I'll have to dig it up.

Was your letter sent within 30 days after receiving that initial notice?i

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1 hour ago, Clydesmom said:

By your own admission when you sent the certified letter it crossed with their second letter.  They had no way of knowing the certified letter was en route when then mailed theirs. That gives them a bona-fide error defense.

YOU are not an unsophisticated consumer.  By your own admission you used a third party service to fax the response HOPING they would ignore it and you have no proof they received it.  So they can claim it was never sent.  Then you intentionally called them to bait them into further violations.  When you intentionally under take actions that are meant to bait a collection agency into violating the law in the hopes that they pay you money not to protect your rights it isn't a scam it is just disgusting and should be illegal.

What you and ilk like you don't consider is that filing a frivolous lawsuit based on your veiled attempts at forcing a violation to simply get money not to protect your rights erodes the rights of consumers who were violated.  Enough claims like yours will lead lawmakers to water down the laws in order to stop them.  We have seen it from a former member who like you thought it was a game and was all over forums bragging about it.  Their site no longer exists and at least 2 years before it shut down their "hero" disappeared from public commentary after he lost his case in Federal court and got slapped with the other side's fees and costs to the tune of almost $60k.  Worse he set a precedent showing there are consumers like you perverting the law for profit not to protect consumer rights.

I was just thinking "when will Clydesmom come in with a bunch of factually incorrect, irrelevant remarks to try and smash another thread."  Right on queue.

"By your own admission when you sent the certified letter it crossed with their second letter.  They had no way of knowing the certified letter was en route when then mailed theirs. That gives them a bona-fide error defense."

WRONG.  I never claimed their second letter to be a violation.  Why don't you try reading the thread one more time.  This time, more carefully.  More importantly, they had already received verbal dispute on the phone in addition to two successful fax transmissions during normal business hours.  You're a real advocate for the collection agencies, almost like an amateur collection agency attorney, really arguing to excuse them from their legal obligations to validate.

"YOU are not an unsophisticated consumer."

WRONG.  The law states that all matters must be evaluated using the "least sophisticated consumer" standard.  This means all claims must be evaluated as if the interaction was transpiring with an unsophisticated consumer .  You really shouldn't even be offering people advice on this forum if you are ignorant to that point of the law.

"By your own admission you used a third party service to fax the response HOPING they would ignore it and you have no proof they received it.  So they can claim it was never sent. "

WRONG.  First off, this point is irrelevant to the question I posed about the verbal attempts to collect on most recent phone call.  Nonetheless, the company is executing a sworn affidavit attesting to the completion of the transmission, not once but twice, during normal business hours.  A facsimile technician will attest to the fact that, if a completed transmission is indicated on the senders' side, it was received by the recipient  -- especially during business hours.  Depositions will further pose questions to prove this.  Ultimately, it has no real relevance to the thread and was just part of the timeline, but serves to point out once again, you are wrong. 

"Then you intentionally called them to bait them into further violations."
WRONG.  I called them to find out why they sent me this second letter because I still hadn't received any of the requested information in response to the first one.  Their response to my call is their responsibility.

"When you intentionally under take actions that are meant to bait a collection agency into violating the law in the hopes that they pay you money not to protect your rights it isn't a scam it is just disgusting and should be illegal."
Wow.  You sound like a real debt collector/banking advocate.  Maybe you should take a look at the disgusting, predatory business practices these companies have levied against the American people for decades.  Or, maybe you're on someones' payroll?  The laws are written this way to protect the unsophisticated consumer, but only sophisticated people are capable of enforcing them, and if its common practice for a company like the one in question, they should be punished.  Who said anything about doing it to collect money?  You know what they say about people who assume!

"What you and ilk like you don't consider is that filing a frivolous lawsuit based on your veiled attempts at forcing a violation to simply get money not to protect your rights erodes the rights of consumers who were violated.  Enough claims like yours will lead lawmakers to water down the laws in order to stop them.  We have seen it from a former member who like you thought it was a game and was all over forums bragging about it.  Their site no longer exists and at least 2 years before it shut down their "hero" disappeared from public commentary after he lost his case in Federal court and got slapped with the other side's fees and costs to the tune of almost $60k.  Worse he set a precedent showing there are consumers like you perverting the law for profit not to protect consumer rights."
>> You couldn't be more off -base or irrational. Way to waste a bunch of time building an argument around fallacious assumptions.  Obviously, you don't understand the definition of "frivolous".   Multiple, documented attempts to request validation of a debt, and multiple documented failures to continue attempting to collect while overshadowing a consumers' rights wouldn't be considered frivolous.  I'll report back after I win.

More importantly:  imagine if they just followed the law, and after receiving a dispute, stopped attempting to collect on alleged debts until they validated?  Imagine if they actually behaved responsibly, and made proper notations on an account, such that if a consumer called in to ask about second letter, they just followed the law and didn't try and pressure them into paying an un-validated alleged debt?  

What you should consider disgusting is their continued aversion toward the law and consumer rights simply because they can afford to pay out lawsuits on violations due to the fact that they make more revenue violating the law then they do getting called out for it.  THAT'S WHAT'S DISGUSTING.

AND SO IS YOUR SHAMEFUL ATTEMPT TO DEFEND PREDATORY PRACTICES.

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59 minutes ago, Neo9 said:

You're really speaking to the spirit of the law with what you say -- which really doesn't exist these days in any industry or scenario.

It's making a come-back, as evidenced by more and more jurisdictions giving a nod to adoptive business records doctrine and handing down $1 judgment awards. 

Anyway, I'm sure you see where i come down in these kinds of tactics. Is clear that I'm not going to charge your mind any more than you'll change mine. Best of luck. 

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54 minutes ago, BV80 said:

Please define the above.

How do you know they will ignore it?

Was your letter sent within 30 days after receiving that initial notice?i

Yes, of course it was.

I knew they would ignore it because collection agencies are vile, parasitic organizations that only follow the law if they think there will be documented evidence proving they violated.  They never acknowledge faxes.

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1 minute ago, Harry Seaward said:

It's making a come-back, as evidenced by more and more jurisdictions giving a nod to adoptive business records doctrine and handing down $1 judgment awards. 

Anyway, I'm sure you see where i come down in these kinds of tactics. Is clear that I'm not going to charge your mind any more than you'll change mine. Best of luck. 

Thanks - I respect your viewpoints.

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13 hours ago, Neo9 said:

I was just thinking "when will Clydesmom come in with a bunch of factually incorrect, irrelevant remarks to try and smash another thread."  Right on queue.

Which begs the question which professional dead beat poster who has been banned in the past has created a new account to return and spew their garbage?  For someone who is supposedly "new" to the forum you certainly are very familiar with the regulars here.

There is no point in even discussing anything with you.  You are only interested in those who will agree with you, patting you on the back telling you how wonderful you are.  Fortunately the courts are wise to your frivolous tactics now and we can only hope you get slapped like coltfan did.  You deserve it.

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6 hours ago, Clydesmom said:

Which begs the question which professional dead beat poster who has been banned in the past has created a new account to return and spew their garbage?  For someone who is supposedly "new" to the forum you certainly are very familiar with the regulars here.

There is no point in even discussing anything with you.  You are only interested in those who will agree with you, patting you on the back telling you how wonderful you are.  Fortunately the courts are wise to your frivolous tactics now and we can only hope you get slapped like coltfan did.  You deserve it.

There you go again, making yourself look even more foolish.  I used to post here back in 2008-2009 under the username QM07 or something similar.  I'll look it up.  One of the older members here helped me defend Pro Se in a case brought against me by Citibank, and successfully had the case dismissed.

I'm entirely interested in open discourse with those who disagree.  Which is why I engaged other members, like Harry Seaward, and told him I respect his opinions and viewpoints on the matter and onboarded some of his recommendations.

I just prefer to interact with people who's comments are based in fact and who have properly read my thread.  Your comments, however, showed a complete neglect to comprehend the facts I outlined and your comments were more based on emotions and defending predatory collection agency practices.

Notice how you completely failed to address any of my counterpoints?  It's because you can't.  You have no legs to stand on, so instead, you disregard our debate and move on to attempting to accuse me of being someone who was banned from the forum previously to relieve yourself of having to address the very valid points I've raised about your motivations as well as your lack of factual basis.

This account also isn't that new.  I've been following the forums again for 10 months now  and have been posting various questions and topics for discussion, all of which are new observations based on the current state of affairs, and have been really worth considering (including electronic dunning letters via e-mail, which is a new trend). It's become very obvious you're more interested in convincing people to give up or give in then to defend themselves.   And you're definitely not about fighting back against predators, that's for sure.

It's OK.  I know how people, like yourself, who's identity is invested in being a "regular" member of the forum can get when they are challenged.  Can't handle it -- so you devolve the debate into something unrelated to the topic at hand.

I would be interested for you to actually respond to the very important points I raised about your erroneous assumptions and false claims.  Of course, you can't.  You're one of those people who aren't into logical debate.  You're the only only interested in being agreed with.  You like to make declarations and state your opinion, and then retreat when challenged.  I've seen it from you in every thread.   Except most of the posters who come here for help aren't equipped or experienced enough to counteract your intimidation and discouragement.  They never learned the things this forum used to teach before it was taken over by different interests.

It is really interesting to see that you don't believe debt collectors should have to enforce policies and stop collecting debts after they've received disputes.  And, to actually validate the fees and charges they are attempting to collect.  You essentially advocate for collectors not to have to follow the FDCPA at all, except in the most extreme scenarios of abuse.  Really, really sad.

 

 

 

 

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Assuming you have proof of your very first faxed DV letter, I am not sure why you are even worrying about all of the other details.  Anything - calls and letters - that came after that is an FDCPA violation. Period.

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