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Michael Stephen Agruss

Michael Agruss’s Answers

85 total

  • I received a call from Vanderbilt & associates regarding a phone debt from 2004.

    Per above--they stated that this is due to my non-response to a letter I never received. They will stop action if I pay. The FL office of Financial regulation states they do not have a license--the company is using one under a different name (B...

    Michael’s Answer

    If you do not know if you owe the debt, you should send Vanderbilt & Associates a letter requesting validation (V&A's contact information is below).

    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.

    Vanderbilt & Associates
    Post Office Box 570347
    Orlando, FL 32857
    Telephone: (888) 342-0623
    Facsimile: (800-518-9063


    Phone: (888) 342-0623
    Fax: (800) 518-90635732
    Old Cheney Hwy, Orlando, FL 32807-3525

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    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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  • I have a default judgement from a credit card that's 4 years old now, got a letter from the 3rd. party debt collector saying

    they can come for the purchases made from the card no matter how small the value if I don't pay, can they do that? I don't even remember what I bought from 5 years ago.

    Michael’s Answer

    Do you owe the debt? What’s your ultimate goal? Are you interested in settling the debt? What collection agency has the account now?

    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.

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  • What do i need to do for a company that is calling me 12 times a day.

    Im getting herassing phone calls from the same company. they call me 12 times a day. ive told them im on a limited income and cant pay the 500 down they say I need to pay to stop the phone calls. I know i owe the money but this is ridicolous.

    Michael’s Answer

    If the company calling you is a collection agency, as opposed to an original creditor, and the company is calling you about a consumer debt, then you are protected by the Fair Debt Protection Practices Act. The FDCPA is a federal law that applies to every state. In other words, everyone is protected by the FDCPA. Its purposes are to eliminate abusive practices in the collection of consumer debts, to promote fair debt collection, and to provide consumers with an avenue for disputing and obtaining validation of debt information in order to ensure the information's accuracy. The FDCPA creates guidelines under which debt collectors may conduct business, defines rights of consumers involved with debt collectors, and prescribes penalties and remedies for violations of 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.

    Who is calling you 12 times a day?

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  • A debt collector is trying to collect on a repo auto that happen in 1998

    then been calling and sending letter demanding the money.

    Michael’s Answer

    Who is the collection agency? Is the collection agency attempting to collect the deficiency balance or a judgment? How much money does the collection agency claim you owe?

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  • What options do I have if any with a debt I believe is erroneous?

    Had to take a test every month for several months for my doctor. He sent me to a lab, had test done, almost one month later right before I was to get tested again, I got a letter from my insurance carrier saying they wouldn't pay and I owed $637 t...

    Michael’s Answer

    If your insurance company refuses to pay the bill, your next step should be to negotiate some sort of settlement with the lab and/or the collection agency. You should send the lab and the collection agencies letters explaining your situation. You will likely have more room to negotiate with the collection agency than the lab. However, the lab would probably be more likely to accept monthly payments without tacking on additional fees and costs.

    What collection agency has your account? 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. I may be able to provide you more assistance.

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  • Collection agency never contacted me but reported debt to credit buraus

    Noticed on my credit report that collection agency reporting debt of 10300 ( original charge off from original creditor from 2009 was 5600). I would like to offer settlement amount to the collection agency . what would be reasonable settlement whi...

    Michael’s Answer

    It depends on the collection agency involved. A junk debt buyer will have more room to negotiate than a collection agency collecting on behalf of the original creditor, because the junk debt buyer actually owns the account. For example, Portfolio Recovery Associates (PRA) is a junk debt buyer. PRA may settle a debt for 10%-25% of the total amount due because PRA bought the debt for pennies on the dollar and has control to settle the debt for any amount. On the other hand, Global Credit & Collection (GC&C), a third-party debt collector (not a junk debt buyer), may only have authority to settle a debt for 50%, because GC&C does not own the account. Another factor to consider is whether or not the debt is within the statute of limitations. In other words, can the collector still sue you on the account? If so, the collector will have more leverage when discussing settlement with you.

    Who is the collection involved with your account?

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  • I owe several organizations, I have been paying but am not able to pay on a regular basis because of health issues.

    When I do pay they will not send me a statement of what I have paid. So I could possible keep paying without ever paying them off.

    Michael’s Answer

    You should send each collection agency a letter, certified mail return receipt, and ask for a payment history. After you know your current balance, you will be in a better position to determine if a lump-sum settlement is an option for you. 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 consumer acting on their own. Therefore, if you have any further questions regarding collection agencies and debt settlement, please let me know.

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  • Can I use a General Denial form ? ( California)

    A collection agency, on behalf of Bank One is suing me for $4000-credit card debt. I was advised on your forum to file the General Denial ( I don't recognize the debt). My understanding is I can do it only if less than $1000 and if not being sue...

    Michael’s Answer

    If you do not recognize the debt, you should dispute it immediately. Is the debt on your credit report? Which law firm is suing?

    To dispute credit report errors, you should:

    1. Get a free copy of your credit report

    2. Write a letter to all three of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Tell the credit reporting companies what information is incorrect in your credit report. Include documents that support your position. State the facts and exactly why you dispute the information, and request that the inaccuracy be removed or corrected. It is also helpful to enclose a copy of your credit report with your dispute and circle the items that are incorrect. Your dispute letter should include your: (1) full legal name, (2) date of birth, (3) social security number, (4) current mailing address, and (5) a copy of your driver’s license.

    3. Mail your dispute letter and supporting documents certified mail return receipt to the following three credit reporting agencies:

    P.O. Box 9556
    Allen, TX 75013

    P.O. Box 740241
    Atlanta, GA 30374-0241

    Trans Union Consumer Relations
    P.O. Box 2000
    Chester, PA 19022-2000

    4. Write a letter to the original creditor (e.g. credit card company, hospital, utility company) or other information provider that you dispute an item in your credit report. Most providers specify an address for disputes. Provide the original creditor or other information provider the exact same information you provided above in number 2.

    5. Wait about 30 days from the date the credit reporting companies and original creditor receive your dispute letter. In other words, wait about 30 days from the date on the return receipt you receive back from the credit report company. After the credit reporting company investigates your dispute, the credit reporting company must give you the results of their investigation in writing.

    6. If the credit reporting agency does not correct the inaccurate information in your credit report, contact Agruss Law Firm, LLC, for further help.

    *Keep copies of your letter and supporting documents to all three credit reporting agencies, and to the original creditor or other information provider.

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  • In regard to consumer debt and being sued.......

    I was advised by a previous attorney that if I simply wrote a note stating thet I " refused to pay the debt " that would prohibit the agency/law firm from filing suit. Is this true ? and how would I word it?

    Michael’s Answer

    You question deals with section 1692c(c) of the FDCPA. If you notify a debt collector in writing that you refuse to pay the debt, then the debt collector cannot communicate with you further, except in three limited circumstances. Therefore, telling a collector that you refuse to pay will not prevent legal action. In fact, sometimes telling a collector that you refuse to pay, or sending a collector a cease and desist letter, will trigger a lawsuit.

    Depending on the collection agency, the amount of the debt, and your financial situation, I may be able to give you further advice about resolving the debt. 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.

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