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Michael Stephen Agruss

Michael Agruss’s Answers

85 total


  • Do I have to pay what they want?

    I have a 8,000 dollar medical bill with no insurance. I've offered to pay 100. dollars a month .That is all I can afford. They want me to pay 300.dollars. Can they make me pay that amount?

    Michael’s Answer

    You're in a tough spot. Although they cannot make you pay $300 per month, they can sue you and attempt to collect the full amount at once. If you do not pay a debt, a creditor or its debt collector generally may sue you to collect. If they win, the court will enter a judgment against you. The judgment states the amount of money you owe, and allows the creditor or collector to get a garnishment order against you, directing a third party, like your bank, to turn over funds from your account to pay the debt. Wage garnishment happens when your employer withholds part of your pay check to pay your debts. Your wages usually can be garnished only as the result of a court order.

    Usually, hospitals and doctors are reasonable with payment plans. Maybe offer them $200 a month. I would reach an agreement with a monthly payment plan, and stick to it, to avoid a lawsuit.

    Please let me know if you have any further questions.

    www.agrusslawfirm.com

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  • Should I sue a collection agency for third party disclosure

    A collection agency sent my husband an email about a debt that I supposedly owed. The email contained the amount I owed to whom i owed and account numbers.

    Michael’s Answer

    A debt collector who is unable to locate a consumer may ask a third party for the consumer's home address, telephone number, and place of employment. In other words, a debt collector may contact a third party to dertemine the consumer's location information. The debt collector must give his or her name and must state that he or she is confirming or correcting information about the consumer's location. Under no circumstances may the debt collector disclose the fact that the consumer owes a debt. Additionally, no third party may be contacted more than once unless the collector believes that the information from the first contact was wrong or incomplete and that the third party has since received better information.

    However, your husband is not considered a third party under the FDCPA. The FDCPA defines a consumer as any natural person obligated or allegedly obligated to pay any debt. The term consumer includes a consumer's spouse. Therefore, you do not have a claim against the collection agency based on a third-party disclosure.

    Did the e-mail inform your husband that the communication was from a debt collector?

    www.agrusslawfirm.com

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  • Did the debt collector violate FDCPA and Rosenthal act?

    I have obtained a judgment on a personal injury claim, I assigned a debt collector to collect the judgment, the debt collector stated in his initial letter to the defendant the following: “This is an attempt to collect a debt by a debt collector, ...

    Michael’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    The main issue here is whether or not a judgment on a personal injury claim is a debt under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The FDCPA covers personal, family, and household debts. For example, money you owe on a personal credit card, an auto loan, a medical bill, or a utility bill. The FDCPA does not cover debts you incurred to run a business, or debts regarding unpaid taxes, or traffic tickets. The term debt means any obligation or alleged obligation of a consumer to pay money arising out of a transaction primarily for personal, family, or household purposes. A judgment is also considered debt under the FDCPA. However, tort subrogation claims are not considered debts under the FDCPA. Therefore, judgments arising from personal injury claims also would not be considered debts under the FDCPA. But, the collection letter many have triggered the FDCPA by stating, “This is an attempt to collect a debt by a debt collector, and any information obtained will be used for that purpose.”

    Please let me know if you have any further questions. www.agrusslawfirm.com

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  • Hi, i took the apt out for my ex. He got evicted & now i have $4600 in credit collections,all left on me to take care of.

    My ex credit is very bad. Out of desperation,i took out an apt for him preferably since he had no where to live,so then he asked for me to live with him as well,i said ok. Now he lost his job & i went on vacation,came back to find out we were bein...

    Michael’s Answer

    If you owe the debt, you should try to reach a settlement agreement with the whomever has the account now (the apartment complex or the collection agency). Debt settlement is an approach to debt reduction in which the debtor and creditor agree on a reduced balance that will be considered payment in full. Debt settlement is the process of negotiating with creditors to reduce overall debts in exchange for a lump-sum payment.

    I have built relationships with credit card companies and collection agencies and can often times come to a settlement agreement quicker and at a more favorable rate than a debtor acting on their own. Please let me know if you need further assistance.

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  • How do I get a collection agency to stop harrasing me after paying the ballance in full?

    I'va paid the ballance, called the collection agency and faxed CC statements as proof of payment to both collection agency & debtor yet still recieve letters threatening my credit if I don't pay again.

    Michael’s Answer

    You shoud send letters, certified mail return receipt, to both the collection agency and to the original creditor with proof of payment. You should also request both parties to stop contacting you. If the collection agency continues to communicate with you, you will have a claim under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The FDCPA has been around for almost 35 years. The FDCPA is a federal law that applies to every state. In other words, everyone is protected by the FDCPA. The FDCPA is essentially a laundry list of what debt collects can and cannot do while collecting a debt, as well as things debt collectors must do while collecting a debt. A debt collector who fails to comply with any provision of the FDCPA is responsible for any actual damages sustained, punitive damages, and statutory damages up to $1,000.00. Plus, the FDCPA has a fee-shift provision. This means, the collection agency pays your attorney’s fees and costs.

    Please let me know if you have any further questions or concerns. www.agrusslawfirm.com

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  • Question about debt collection letter from attorney

    I received a collection letter from law firm "John E. Jones and Associates" in Georgia. The amount they claim I owe is wrong, so I do have to verify that. This is on attorney letterhead, but it is not signed and states "At this time no lawyer a...

    Michael’s Answer

    There are mixed oppinions throughout the country on the issue of whether or not the language, "at this time no lawyer at this firm has personally reviewed the particular circumstances of your account," is deceptive. I litigated this issue in CA and lost. However, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, in Lesher v. Mitchell N. Kay, recently upheld a decision that held this type of languag is deceptive.

    I would be more concerned that the letter does not accurately reflect the amount of money you owe. One important section of the FDCPA is section 1692g, which deals with validating debts. Section 1692g states, “[w]ithin five days after the initial communication with a consumer in connection with the collection of any debt, a debt collector shall…send the consumer a written notice containing” the following information: (1) the amount of the debt, (2) the name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed, (3) a statement that the consumer has 30 days to dispute the debt, otherwise the debt will be assumed to be valid, (4) a statement about what the collector will produce if the consumer disputes the debt within 30 days, and (5) a statement that the debt collector will provide the consumer with the name and address of the original creditor, if it is different than the current creditor. In other words, the 1692g Notice Letter contains important information about the debt and about the consumer’s rights. Therefore, consumers should read this letter carefully.

    If a consumer receives a 1692g Notice Letter from a debt collector, the consumer has 30 days to dispute the debt and to obtain additional information the debt from the collector. Therefore, consumers should always respond to 1692g Notice Letters in order to obtain complete and accurate information about the underlying debt. Furthermore, it is crucial to dispute the debt within the 30-day window, too, if the consumer does not owe the debt. Once a consumer requests validation of the debt or disputes the debt, the debtor collector must stop all collection activities until the debtor collector provides verification of the debt to the consumer. Therefore, the consumer will have some momentary relief from the telephone calls and the letters while the collector gathers and provides verification of the debt. More importantly, however, the debt collector will be forced the validate the debt before continuing with collection efforts.

    In summary, consumers should carefully read the 1692g Notice Letter and exercise their the right to validation and right to dispute the debt. That way, consumers will be educated before determining how to attempt to resolve the debt at issue.

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  • Can they issue a warrant for arrest for a payday loan in Michigan?

    A phone number in California called me yesterday about a payday loan not paid. I never took out a payday loan. When I asked where they are calling from and how much it was they wouldn't tell me and then Hung up on me. I called back and they answer...

    Michael’s Answer

    It's a scam. No legitimate collection agency would make these kind of threats. You should ignore the calls, file a complaint at www.FTC.gov, and ask your phone company to block the number. Do not give any of your personal information to the collector.

    Most of the scams I've seen deal with people that have taken out payday loans in the past. If you have any other questions or concerns, please let me know.

    www.agrusslawfirm.com

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  • If a credit card company (Target National Bank) has charged off an account, can they still sue the debtor?

    The debt (over $5,000) was charged off in January 2012. The debtor has received letters from a law firm (CIR Law offices) offering a reduced settlement. Last letter from law firm was dated 3/5/12. Debtor sent a debt validation letter to law firm ...

    Michael’s Answer

    I agree with all of my colleagues. I'm familiar with CIR's practices and I know one of CIR's in-house attorneys. CIR will likely litigate this case through judgment. Therefore, if you owe the debt, I suggest that you try to settle it with CIR. Also, respond to the lawsuit, either personally or through your lawyer, by the date specified in the court papers to preserve your rights. Once again, do not ignore a lawsuit.

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  • SBM ASSOCIATES LLC.

    I recieved a call today from a Mr. Willis from SBM ASSOCIATES LLS. out of Atlanta Georgia, in regards to a payday loan i took out on the internet in 2010. He had obtained my ss#, DL# and place of employment he said through a background check. He a...

    Michael’s Answer

    It's a scam. No legitimate collection agency would treat you like this. You should ignore the calls, file a complaint at www.FTC.gov, and ask your phone company to block the number. Do not give any of your personal information to the collector. Most of the scams I've seen deal with people that have taken out payday loans in the past. If you have any other questions or concerns, please let me know.

    www.agrusslawfirm.com

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  • I'm recieving threatening phone calls stating that there will be a warrant for my arrest for an unpaid payday loan from 5 years

    Can that really happen? I have no job and no assets. The gentleman who called me told me good luck and that there would be a warrant issued for my arrest.

    Michael’s Answer

    It's a scam. No legitimate collection agency will threaten you with a warrant. You should ignore the calls, file a complaint at www.FTC.gov, and ask your phone company to block the number. Do not give any of your personal information to the collector.

    Most of the scams I've seen deal with people that have taken out payday loans in the past. If you have any other questions or concerns, please let me know.

    www.agrusslawfirm.com

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