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A Collection Agency is calling me on behalf of a debt that I have already settled with another company. Why??

San Diego, CA |

The other night I received a call from some man from an agency he did not specify, I later called the number to see who it was it was from Regent Assets Management Services. He was looking for me, he had my address, and was talking about a debt I had with U.S. bank about 2-3 years ago. I had settled this with another collections agency and have proof that I paid it off. I got my credit reports today and it says on them that i have 0 collections claims against me. This man on the phone slightly threatened that if I don't get back to them in less than a week they will have their "attorneys" call me. I did not give him any information. I told him I have already taken care of this. What steps do I need to take? I have not received any letters only this one phone call.

Help! Need Advice.

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

I think you're best off not calling them again or taking their calls again. if you get something in writing, respond with your own letter demanding verification of the debt, and send it by certified mail-return receipt requested, so you can prove receipt. Put in your letter the day and time they called you and when you spoke with them, and that you informed them that this debt has been paid in full. State that if they continue to contact you, you'll sue them for violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Add as cc's to the letter the Federal Trade Commission and the Attorney General, and report this company to them by sending them a clopy of your letter.

Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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Posted

Once contacted by the debt collection agency you can simply send them a letter via Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested stating that you "dispute the debt" and that you "refuse to pay" the debt. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the debt collector will be barred from contacting you again (telephone calls and dunning letters) once it receives this letter.

This strategy will not stop a lawsuit if one is filed with the court, but a debt collector is not likely to sue you to collect a disputed debt.

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Posted

I agree with both previous answers.

You will need to consult with a consumer protection lawyer locally.

1. Start keeping a detailed log of all calls and letters and a paper file of all information. Because persistent violations of the FDPCA are punishable by statutory fines and attorney’s fees under federal law, but you need hard evidence.

2. Make a written demand that all further communications from creditors is in writing under 15 USC 1692 (c).
The letter should also contain a dispute of the validity of the charges and include a demand for a complete accounting with signatures, and all contents of the file.
The creditor then has 30 days to reply and they may not take any action until you have been sent the validation. Bear in mind that this may be motivation for the collector to work your account when the file comes to them from the original creditor with new information.

3. Do not give them any personal information because that is how collectors decide on which accounts to recommend suing.

4. If you are going to make payments use money orders and not personal checks or “check by phone” because if they find a bank account the collector will be more likely recommend a lawsuit the their legal department.

5. All collections are negotiable; the original creditor has given up and is losing up to 50% on the face value already either by splitting any return or selling at a huge discount. In addition, the costs of a lawsuit although discounted still are a factor in the decision to settle with you.

If you are going to settle mark the check “settled-in-full” at the very top back of the check and include a letter explaining you are offering a settlement, keep copies of everything.

6. Get written confirmation of any payment plan the agency will accept before making a payment.

7. Specify in writing all payments will be applied to principle first.

If your debt is with the government like the IRS or a State agency or for Child Support the rules will be different and you will need a local lawyer.

I do not practice in your state and you will need to consult with a local lawyer for additional protection under your state law.

I have pasted a link to the FDPCA to help you with your federal rights;

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre27.pdf

You should read the FDPCA from the link above and become informed about your rights; this will help you and your lawyer.

I hope this information and generic advice is helpful.

Good Luck

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Posted

Collectors keep lousy records, so sometimes a debt that has already been settled is sold to another collector. If you also keep lousy records, the first collector gets paid twice (once by you, once by the buyer the first collector defrauded), and the second collector may successfully collect from you (or sue you and get a judgment) and nobody is the wiser.

If the second collector (the one contacting you now) gets the word (from you in letter form now, or in the form of an answer with an affirmative defense when you get sued by them), they may be thwarted from collecting from you, and they may go back against the first collector who defrauded them.

The foregoing assumes that when you paid the first collector you adequately documented that the settlement was full and final ... sometimes debtors fail to do that, and the collector is legitimately able to sell to another collector the amount of discount the debtor received when the case "settled" (but really didn't get settled) the first time.

Subsequent collectors like Regent are often "Buffalo-type" bottomfeeders whose stock-in-trade are lies and harassment. They learned their trade in Buffalo NY or from a collector whose M.O. descends from there. They have no intention or capability of suing, although they may falsely claim to be an attorney, or they may actually rent an attorney's letterhead for intimidation purposes. All bark, no bite.

Another type of subsequent collector is one who can and will sue (often they are owned by an attorney or law firm). A little bark and then they bite.

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