Stop Credit Harassment

Disclaimer: Difference between Harassment and Collection

If you legitimately owe a debt, and your creditor is simply making a reminder call, that is not harassment. Harassment is when your mail and voice-mail are inundated with correspondence demanding payments, leaving condescending remarks, calls to work, calls at home before 8 am or after 9 pm, etc. If you really owe a debt, I encourage you to make arrangements to pay to the best of your ability. If you are in a hard place, don't ignore creditors, explain to them - in writing - your situation.

Here's to living debt free!

Stop Credit Collectors in their Tracks

"Not again," I think as I open a letter addressed from another self-named law firm. A quick read of the letter reveals yet another collection firm has bought a very old file. A file which had been defeated in court over eighteen months ago. Thankfully, I have accessible to me, within a few keystrokes, letters and law references to stop these guys before they dare file it in court. The verbage of my letter forewarns the collector: I know the law, or am atleast familiar enough with federal and state legislations to protect my assets and credit history. Dare they pursue the case further? Not unless they are willing to incur a federally mandated $1,000 fine, payable to me, per contact incident -- whether contact is made by phone or mail.

A law firm sued my husband a couple of years ago in attempt to collect a debt that he did not legally owe. At the time, we could not afford legal counsel, so I hit the search engines: www.google.com, www.yahoo.com, www.dogpile.com, etc. I researched "debt collection", "lawsuit", "what are my rights for old debt", "statute of limitations", and more. Hours and hours of research were spent. Phone calls to friends who have legal experience. The results? Beautiful. Effective.

We were hit with a lawsuit one day, and about two weeks later, a letter informing of us of their intent to sue came from another firm on a separate debt. I successfully composed a legally effective letter with legislative reference that sent the counselors running with their tails between their legs. Chances are, if you're being bombarded with collections-calls or letters, or have a debt that keeps circulating from one agency to another, you could use this letter. [If your file has already gone to court, I encourage you to check out my blog updates, as I will post my formal court-submitted answer that caused the Plaintiff to withdraw their complaint.]

I am not encouraging you not to seek legal counsel, but if you do not have the resources, as I did not, this letter proved effective. Feel free to copy and paste, replacing the fictitious account numbers with your own:

*****************************************************************************************************

July 6, 2010

Law Offices of

Smith & Smith, P.C.

P.O. Box 1715

Anytown, AL 12321

Re: Creditor: LLC Assignee of Credit Card/Associates

Balance Due: $17, 851.82

Account No. 1234567891234567

Your File No. 12-AB345C


Sir or Madam:

In second response to your notice dated 06-29-2010 and received in my hand 07-06-2010:

You are in receipt of notice under the authority of The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act regarding your file12-AB345C or account 1234567891234567. It is not now, nor has it ever been my intention to avoid paying any obligation that I lawfully owe. In order that I can make arrangements to pay an obligation which I may owe, please document and verify the “debt” by complying in good faith with this request for validation and notice that I dispute part of, or all of the alleged debt.


1. Please furnish a copy of the original promissory note and/or contract

redacting my social security number to prevent identify theft and state

under penalty of perjury that your client named above is the holder in due

course of the promissory note and/or contract and will produce the original

for my own and a judge’s inspection should there be a trial to contest these

matters.

  1. Please furnish a copy of the original promissory note and/or contract with my

original signature to prevent identity theft and state under penalty of perjury

that your client named above is the holder in due course of the promissory note

and/or contract and will produce the original for my own and a judge’s inspection

should there be a trial to contest these matters.


3. Please produce the account and general ledger statement showing the full

accounting of the alleged obligation that you are now attempting to collect.

4. Please identify by name and address all persons, corporations,

associations, or any other parties having an interest in legal proceedings

regarding the alleged debt.

5. Furthermore, please provide the following:

a) What the money you say I owe is for;

b) Explain and show me how you calculated what you say I owe;

c) Provide me with copies of any papers that show I agree to pay what you say I owe;

d) Provide a verification or copy of any judgment if applicable;

e) Identify the original creditor;

f) Prove the Statute of Limitations has not expired on this account;

g) Show me that you are licensed to collect in my state;

h) Provide me with your license numbers and Registered Agent

6. Please verify under penalty of perjury, that as a debt collector, you

have not purchased evidence of debt and are proceeding with collection

p.2, 1st Response Account xxxx xxxx xxxx 4567

activity in the name of the original maker of the note or contract.

7. Please verify under penalty of perjury that you know and understand that

certain clauses in a contract of adhesion, such as a so-called forum

selection clause, are unenforceable unless the party to whom the contract is

extended could have rejected the clause without impunity.

8. Please provide verification from the stated creditor that you are

authorized to act for them.

9. Please verify that you know and understand that contacting me again after

receipt of this notice without providing procedurally proper validation of

the debt constitutes the use of interstate communications in a scheme of

fraud by advancing a writing, which you know is false with the intention

that others rely on the written communication to their detriment.

Your failure to respond within thirty (30) days of the verified receipt of this original letter with the information requested will establish that you were sending false statements via U.S. mail with the intent that Law Offices of Smith & Smith, P.C., and others rely on that false information to the detriment of Law Offices of Smith & Smith, P.C. Your silence will also be admission that your "notice" was merely a scheme involving intimidation, deception, mail fraud and enticement to coerce involved parties to commit an act creating a legal disability where none exists.

At this time I will also inform you that if your offices have reported invalidated information to any of the three major Credit Bureau’s (Equifax, Experian or TransUnion) this action might constitute fraud under both Federal and State laws. Due to this fact, if any negative mark is found on any of my credit reports by your company or the company that you represent I will not hesitate in bringing legal action against you for the following:

Violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act

Violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

Defamation of Character

If your offices are able to provide the proper documentation as requested in the above Declaration, I will require at least 30 days to investigate this information and during such time all collection activity must cease and desist.

Also during this validation period, if any action is taken which could be considered detrimental to any of my credit reports, I will consult with my legal counsel for suit. This includes any information to a credit reporting repository that could be inaccurate or invalidated or verifying an account as accurate when in fact there is no provided proof that it is.

If your offices fail to respond to this validation request within 30 days from the date of your receipt, all references to this account must be deleted and completely removed from my credit file and a copy of such deletion request shall be sent to me immediately.

I would also like to request, in writing, that no telephone contact be made by your offices to my home or to my place of employment. If your offices attempt telephone communication with me, including but not limited to computer generated calls and calls or correspondence sent to or with any third parties, it will be considered harassment and I will have o choice but to file suit. All future communications with me MUST in writing and sent to the address noted in this letter by USPS.

p.3, 1st Response Account xxxx xxxx xxxx 4567

It would be advisable that you assure that your records are in order before I am forced to take legal action. This is an attempt to correct your records, any information obtained shall be used for that purpose.

Please be advised that Fair Debt Collection Protection Act Section 809 (b), states that when an alleged debtor requests validation/verification of debt, all collection activities, including phone calls and letters, must cease until said verification/validation of debt is provided by debt collector.

There is a $1000 fine for each occurrence.

Until you can provide me with requested documentation, I expect you to uphold the law and cease all communication with me, except for remitting the incurred fines.


Regards,

Jane Doe

Cc: file

************************************************************************************

To read the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act in its entirety, please visit:
www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre27.pdf

To view statute of limitations for each state, please visit:
http://www.fair-debt-collection.com/SOL-by-State.html

Statistics show that over 90% of recipients of such letters fail to respond demanding the collector to produce proof that the agency has the legal right to collect. The agencies exploit ignorance of the average consumer. Most people simply deny the debt without demanding proof. A simple denial usually will not prevent the agency from pursuing a legal complaint. But evidence of familiarity of consumer rights and the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act stops collection agencies in their tracks.

I take great pleasure as I replace the old law firm name with the new potential Plantiff. I print the letter, review. A wave of satisfaction washes over me as I fold the letter, insert it in the envelope and place postage in the upper right corner. But, wait. I'd better send it certified mail, return receipt. Why? Because if they contact me again -- in any form -- without providing ALL of the requested documentation (and it is a LOT) -- they have to pay me $1,000 for each incidence of contact. Go ahead, contact me again, I dare you. ;)

Give Heed to State Interpretations: A Forewarning

One thing to consider is how "account" definitions vary from state to state. Althought the Fair Credit Act defines credit cards as "open accounts", some states (AL for example) allow silver tongued lawyers to re-categorize these accounts erroneously, simply because one facet (not all of the definitive characteristics) of the definition of "written account" is applicable to ANY account with writing, they'll slap a 6 or 10 year statute of limitations on it rather than the 3 year open-account limit. I know this from experience! I had tried to help someone with methods that proved successful in FL & GA... but the guy lost his case in AL because of the illogical legal practises of AL.

I plan to write Alabama state legislators requesting an update of the outdated law (or atleast restricting its execution to conventional application), which was penned prior to the era of credit cards. For example, they give bankruptcy homestead exemption up to a whopping $5,000 or 120 acres.... hmmm... that sounds balanced in conventional rate exchange, right? NOT. Sound like the original legislators actually intended to protect homeowners who hit hard times... but, alas, as much of our legislation's orignal intent has fated... current judicial interpretation doesn't give a "flying flip" about original intent. How sad and unfortunate for this and future generations... but that's enough about that!

I wish you well in your endeavors!

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Comments 3 comments

cto8768 6 years ago

Great blog! Very, very informative and useful...wish I had this info when I was being wrongfully harassed for a debt I didn't owe. Great writing, too!


BDazzler profile image

BDazzler 6 years ago from Gulf Coast, USA

Wow, cool stuff. You got a new fan!


Jeff 6 years ago

This is useful. I will use these tips to fight a wrongful suit. Thank you.

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