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Michael Stephen Agruss

Michael Agruss’s Answers

85 total


  • Are there any consumer protection lawyers in or around St. Clair County that work pro bono?

    I have a problem with a collection agency. They called my house and revealed a bunch of information about the debt to my mom without my permission. They also threatened that the sheriff was coming to my house to pick me up if I did not pay the deb...

    Michael’s Answer

    Assuming the underlying debt is consumer debt, it sure sounds like the collection agency has violated 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. Therefore, if you hired an attorney and pursued an FDCPA claim, you would not have to pay any attorney's fees and costs.

    If you have any other questions, feel free to contact me at www.agrusslawfirm.com

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  • Debt collector sounds like he's from india and I think its a scam he keeps harrasing me at work I file a compliant with the FTC

    He wants me to make my payment as a money gram and wants me to fax them my id is it a scam please help!!!!!!!! :(

    Michael’s Answer

    It's a scam. No legitimate collection agency will ask you to wire them money. 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.

    I suspect you took a payday loan in the past few years. 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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  • Payday loan from 4 years ago

    I took out a payday loan back in 2008. It was one of those deals where I took out a few hundred dollars, paid it back, took out a few more - the endless bad cycle. All in all I borrowed $1600 and paid back just shy of $2300. Now this week bot...

    Michael’s Answer

    It's likely a scam. No legitimate collection agency would make these kinds of threats to your family members. 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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  • Debt collector keeps harrasing me at work I told him to stop calling me & file a compliant already but they call still

    please help!

    Michael’s Answer

    Your situation deals with section 1692c(a)(3) of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). That is, a debt collector may not communicate with you regarding a debt at your place of employment if the debt collector knows or has reason to know that your employer prohibits you from receiving such calls at work.

    Have you told the collector to stop calling you at work? If so, and the collector continues to call you at work, then the collector has violated the FDCPA. If a debt collector fails to comply with any provision of the FDCPA, the debt collector is legally responsible to the consumer for statutory damages up to $1,000.00. Additionally, The collection agency pays your attorney’s fees and costs. The FDCPA has a fee-shift provision. This means, the collection agency pays your attorney’s fees and costs.

    Which collection agency is harassing you at work?

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  • Can a collection agency continue to call for payment when a Stipulation for Conditional Entry of Judgement is being followed?

    I agreed to a Stipulation For Conditional Entry Of Judgement and have not missed a payment but the collection agency continues to call each month for payment. I received a call this morning from them asking when a payment will be made but per the ...

    Michael’s Answer

    Yes, you can get the calls to stop if you send the collection agency a cease and desist letter. However, you then run the risk of the collection agency sending your account to another collection agency, or possibly getting sued on the account. If you've reached a settlement agreement with the collection agency, and you are making timely payments, I would deal with the one call per month. Plus, one call per month reminding you to make payment is better than missing payment and having judgment entered against you.

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  • I received a 1099-c form from a collection agency for a bank loan from july 2000. Last year I 'settled' the debt.

    If the collection agency #1 agrees to a reduced amount to 'forgive' the debt, why did collection agency #2 send me a cancellation of debt for the full amount originally owed. I failed to pay the original loan due to a foreclosure. :(

    Michael’s Answer

    You should send letters, certified mail return receipt, to both collection agencies explaining the situation. You should also provide all of this information (letters, proof of payment, etc.) to the person that handles your taxes.

    What are the names of the collections involved?

    www.agrusslawfirm.com

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  • Are original creditors held liable for debt collection violations of the agencies they hire?

    I defaulted on a credit card last year, and the bank authorized a collection agency to get their money. The agency made a few FDCPA and Rosenthal violations (California), so I threatened to counter-sue. Then the bank transferred it to another agen...

    Michael’s Answer

    Generally speaking, no. FDCPA liability is not imputed to the original creditor unless both the original creditor and collection agency are debt collectors within the meaning of the statute. In re Cooper, 253 B.R. 286, 291 (Bankr. N.D. Fla. 2000).

    However, because you live in California, you are entitled to additional protection from first-party creditors. Although the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) applies to every state, not all states provide its residents additional protection from collectors like California provides its residents under the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (Rosenthal Act). In other words, California residents are protected under two laws, both the federal law (FDCPA) and the state law (the Rosenthal Act). The most important distinction between the FDCPA and the Rosenthal Act is the fact that the Rosenthal Act allows protection from first-party creditors. That is, credit card companies cannot harass debtors while attempting to collect debts.

    The legislative intent behind the Rosenthal Act is quite clear. Section 1788.1 of The Rosenthal Act states, “The Legislature makes the following findings: (1) The banking and credit system and grantors of credit to consumers are dependent upon the collection of just and owing debts. Unfair or deceptive collection practices undermine the public confidence which is essential to the continued functioning of the banking and credit system and sound extensions of credit to consumers. (2) There is need to ensure that debt collectors and debtors exercise their responsibilities to one another with fairness, honesty and due regard for the rights of the other.”

    Although most of the cases I handle are debt collection harassment cases against third-party collection agencies, the Rosenthal Act is a valuable second layer of protection provided to California residents because first-party creditors can be some of the most aggressive collectors out there. This is most likely the case because very few states give its residents protection from first-party creditors. In other words, credit card companies’ collection departments may operate under the assumption that the FDCPA does not apply to them, so collection efforts may be a little more aggressive. Although this assumption is correct regarding the FDCPA, credit card companies should be careful when collecting debts from residents in California.

    www.agrusslawfirm.com

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  • Have a debt collector harassing me at work still even when i tell them to stop also he says his name is peter brown but the guy

    Clearly sounds from India i m willing to pay it off but he wants me to go to Walmart and do it as a money gram payment is it a scam?

    Michael’s Answer

    It's a scam. No legitimate collection agency will ask you to wire them money. 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.

    I suspect you took a payday loan in the past few years. 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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  • Can i sue NRS debt collection?

    i DONT owe them anything. They are saying my husband owes them and for the past month we have tried to get paperwork on this so calles account. They called him while he was working threatening him with a felony and a few other things and told him ...

    Michael’s Answer

    Do you and/or your husband owe the debt? If not, you should dispute the debt and request validation.

    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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  • Debt collector guy wants me to fax him my id & wants me to send the payment as a money gram payment is it a scam?

    Told him i m willing to pay but not right away he said no i want my money now & they keep harrsing me at work

    Michael’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    It's a scam. No legitimate collection agency will ask you to send them a copy of your ID or ask you to wire them money. 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.

    I suspect you took a payday loan in the past few years. 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

    See question