Debt collector has COPY of signed contract, Bill of Sale, Agreement & Assumption Agreement witb no account number or borrower name (although there is an attached list of account numbers, 1 of which they put my name beside, but is not titled Appendix A, etc., like a spreadsheet), and an affidavit of claim from the collector, statement of account on the DC letterhead, but no proof that the charge off date or last payment date was provided by the OC. I believe this information was obtained from OC report to credit bureau. No additional documents, even though I have requested them.(Stated that they are still waiting on them from OC). No payment history, proof of amount owed, etc. Have gone to mediation. I refused to settle. Do I have a good case?
Hi. Well, whether you have a good case cannot be answered on the internet, there are too many missing facts and I can't see the documents. You used some abbreviations and abbreviated thoughts, but here is my take on your issue.
Debt collectors are required by state and federal law to provide proof that the debt they are trying to collect from you is (1) your debt, and (2) owed (that is not paid or not due). When you ask for proof of the debt, the debt collector is required to provide enough information to you to support these items.
Copies are allowed in court as if they are the originals if a witness identifies them as the business records.
Whether you have a good case depends upon the proof you have and the proof they have. They have to go first, and unless they make their case, you can ask for a dismissal before you even have to put on evidence.
Finally, right now in the US there is an industry called 'debt mining'. This is where a guy goes to a Bank, and says "sell me all the debt you have that you can't collect, even the stuff which you wrote off and the stuff that is beyond the statute of limitations for collection." The buyer pays pennies on the hundred/thousand of dollars. The buyer then starts demanding payment. Even if someone knows that they don't owe this claim for $3000, they might agree to pay $100 just to get the guy off the phone. The company just made $99.94 or so on the deal!
The statute of limitations for collecting a debt runs from the Later Of: the date the debt was due, or the last payment. That is why a collector on a bad debt will often ask for a "good faith" payment of $10, that will revive a blown statute of limitations and make a debt good again.
Finally, on the other side there is lots of crazy stuff on the internet or from "guru's" who "teach" ways to supposedly not pay debts owed because the collector can't prove the debt. Most of this stuff is simply wrong, or will get you in more trouble than the original debt, E.G.: I had a call one time from someone who paid $5000 for a "course" to learn how not pay legitimate credit card debts. The fellow who called was in court trying to explain how he had the hot tub, but didn't owe the cc charge.
Those are the basics. You should buy an hour of an attorney's time to go over your documents, the other side's papers and your specific facts so that you have a clear idea where you stand. And whether fighting or settlement makes sense.
Some attorneys sell unbundled legal services where you pay for just what you need and can afford. For example, some attorneys will give you an hour or two at a set price to review your issue and give you advice based on the law, prepare letters for you to sign, or sell the paperwork for the court filings; then you can proceed on your own, but knowing that your paperwork is correct and having a road map as to how to proceed. Or who will attend a hearing for a flat fee. Neighborhood Law Office is a law firm offering unbundled legal services.
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It is impossible to tell from these limited facts whether or not you have a good case. This appears to be a case of a debt buyer filing suit. Often, the debt buyer has trouble getting sufficient supporting documents in order to win its case. However, there are plenty of times they eventually do get the necessary documents. In the end, you need to ask yourself whether you actually signed the contract in question and used the goods or services in question and whether you paid for the same. This will help you know whether the supporting documents will eventually show up or not.
Joshua P. Friedman received his juris doctorate from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles and his bachelor of arts from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a licensed attorney specializing in collections and judgment enforcement. He has been named a Super Lawyers Rising Star for the past 3 years by Los Angeles Magazine. Josh lectures regularly on issues relating to collections and judgment enforcement, including local bar associations and for National Business Institute (NBI) for continuing legal education credit. Josh currently also serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the California Creditors Bar Association and Vice President of the California Association of Judgment Professionals.
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Although the above response is believed to be accurate, it should not be relied upon as any type of legal advice because the information provided is incomplete. It is intended to educate the reader and a more definite answer should be based on a consultation with a lawyer. No attorney client relation is formed with me without a written contract.
Joshua P. Friedman
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