I received a letter from Mandarich Law group , its a notice of intention to sue and incur court costs. Its from a debt collector for the amount of $ 5224.84. My last payment was in 2/10/2016. I live in CA.I was not able to continue making payments, I keep ignoring the previous letters and calls.
I spoke to them today(1/22/2018) and the lady I spoke too stated that they are only allowed to offer me one option for a settlement , which is to pay around $4179 in payments. And if I want to counter their offer. i will need to send them my pay subs,bank statements , any paperwork of economic hardship in order for them to approve my offer. I dont feel safe sharing and sending that information to them . I told them I will be able to pay , 40% off the original debt. But they denied my offer.
I told them I will need time to rethink and will call them back..
What could the best possible step ?
First of all, please DO NOT send Mandarich Law Group sensitive information such as pay stubs or bank statements. The people that "negotiate" settlements for this firm are not lawyers and are basically sitting behind a desk raking in money and information about debtors by taking a (fake) hard line through threats and intimidation. In this type of situation if they don't reach a settlement they come out of the "negotiation" with a wealth of information about the person, that could be used later against that person.
Yes you may be sued, but if you are you could hire an attorney for far less than this demand, and from there you would probably get a 70% to 90% reduction in the amount that you would have to pay to Mandarich's client. There are some good collection defense attorneys in Orange County who might even defeat the case altogether. So don't be intimidated.
File a bankruptcy case if you have a lot of debts and can't keep up, but not just for this one debt. If you still want to settle, keep negotiating but reject this high demand and statements that "this is the only option." It's not. They are in business to collect money from people whose incomes fluctuate or who fell behind on credit card payments. So they prefer voluntary payments over suing and possibly getting nothing in the lawsuit after the debtor files bankruptcy or hires an attorney to defend the lawsuit.
If you still want to settle, offer to pay only as much as you can realistically afford. For example I might offer $1,000 over 10 months or $1200 over 12 months.
This answer is for general information purposes only and is not legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is intended or formed by the posting of this answer. Law Office of Lisa J. Espada * San Francisco, CA *
Mandarich is notorious for abusing consumers, so watch out for them. Keep in mind there are other powerful federal laws that govern the conduct of debt collectors and creditors, and you could be entitled to recovery if Mandarich violates laws while trying to get you to pay. Debt collectors and collection law firms are bound to comply with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA"), and they are prohibited from engaging in abusive or harassing debt collection activities. If you believe Mandarich violated your rights, I recommend you contact an experienced consumer protection attorney to discuss your case. Most consumer protection attorneys do not charge for their services.
Please note my answer does not constitute legal advice, and you should not rely on it in your decision making. 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. My answer does not create an attorney-client relationship, and you are advised to contact an attorney to obtain legal advice before taking or refraining from taking any action with respect to the above.
Depending on your overall financial situation, Bankruptcy may be right for you. An experienced CA Bankruptcy attorney will be able to determine which type of Bankruptcy is the correct one for you. Use AVVO's Find a Lawyer tool to select a qualified attorney. Good luck. THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE! YOU NEED TO SPEAK TO AN ATTORNEY WHO IS LICENSED IN YOUR STATE FOR LEGAL ADVICE. This is merely suggestions for you to think about in discussing your situation with the local attorney.
If you found this Answer helpful, please mark it as "Best Answer" Please be advised that the answer above is only general in nature cannot be construed as legal advice, given that not enough facts are known. It is your responsibility to retain a lawyer to analyze the facts specific to your particular situation in order to give you specific advice. Specific answers will require cognizance of all pertinent facts about your case. Any answers offered on Avvo are of a general nature only, and are not meant to create an attorney-client relationship.
Consult with a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney in your area to determine if paying the debt or declaring bankruptcy is the best remedy. $4,179 is still $4,179 and it may be better for you to put that money towards a retirement account or savings for your children's college.
Especially if there are other financial issues in your life that bankruptcy may be the perfect remedy to get you off to a fresh start.
Representation Note: If you have not signed a contract of representation, Christiansen Law Offices does not represent you, and this email does not contain any legal advice for you. NOTICE: We are a federally designated Debt Relief Agency under the United States Bankruptcy Laws. We assist people with finding solutions to their debt problems,including filing petitions for relief under the Bankruptcy Code.
Do not run right out and file bankruptcy. That is the last resort. I have been handling these cases for over 13 years and can tell you that they are highly settleable. The problem is you are talking to a bill collector who has no settlement authority. If you retain a debt settlement attorney they will be able to talk to the attorney who has more discretionary authority often times.
Keep in mind that if they sue and obtain a judgment it will include interest, court costs and attorney fees.
As Bankruptcy attorneys, naturally we tend to think about filing BK and wiping these debts out of your life. If this is your only debt, then Bankruptcy is not your best option. Mandarich is notorious for hardball collection, and what others have said is true. They can settle for far less than what you have been offered. They need their client's approval. They are given certain discretion at the initial collector, and that is usually about 70%. This collector want to be a hero and get around 80% without having to speak to a manager to get greater authority. He/she is lying to you. Period. You have far more bargaining power, and it may lie in the way they have attempted to collect the debt.
In the future, please do not ignore collection letters. They are the ammunition consumer debt attorneys need. If you ignore and lose them, you lose ammunition. Also, never give them the keys to your job, your bank, and your ability to repay. If you are sued, you have greatly simplified their ability to levy on your bank account, garnish your wages, etc... Tell them you will not give them personal information. Offer them 20 or 25% of the debt, "Take it or leave it." Tell them you have to borrow it from family or friends If you tell them you can make larger payments, you are telling them that you make pretty good money to garnish your wages or savings that can be levied from a bank. May not be true, but they will act on impressions. Since they have no idea what you earn, where you work or where you bank, suing for that amount of money is less likely. However, if you have had the same account since your last payment, you will have to get a NEW BANK, not just a different account at the same bank. Once you make your offer, tell them to think about it, and do it quickly. Take charge of the call. You have the money they need. You set the terms.
Again, dealing with a single collector this way is not appropriate if you have a lot more debt. Bankruptcy is usually far superior to debt settlement if you have a lot of debt. Also, you should always try to settle your largest debt first. Otherwise, you will waste money if you cannot get a large debt settled for favorable terms after settling smaller debts.
Many BK attorneys understand debt collection and settlement, so get a free consultation with a local BK attorney so you can understand all of your options. Be prepared for anything that may come your way. I recommend an in-office, face-to-face consult with a real attorney, not a paralegal in a law office. Ask if you will be speaking to the attorney. If you are taken seriously as a client, you deserve a consult with a serious, local attorney. Take care!
Please understand that my answer assumes certain things that may not be true. You should seek competent, local counsel to get the full story and to seek expert advice. I cannot be certain that my answer is correct, and neither should you, based on the limited information you have provided. I ask many questions of my clients before I render a final opinion, so this answer is merely a general guideline to follow. Please seek competent counsel to help you right away!
A good debt resolution specialist will be able to negotiate a better deal than you can by yourself. The other option, as indicated, is bankruptcy. Consult with a California Lawyer.
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