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BBB: Beware of quick credit repair offers

Monday, January 12th, 2015

BBB: Beware of quick credit repair offers

Better Business Bureau of Acadiana is warning consumers to beware of companies that falsely promise quick credit repair, often for high fees.

“Local and national companies are claiming to be able to erase bad credit for upfront fees of $250 or more. Some even charge monthly fees after the first fee. The BBB has great concerns about companies in the credit repair industry that make promises they can’t keep,” said Sharane Gott with the agency.

She said nobody can erase bad credit.

“Consumers can have credit reporting errors corrected, but if it is a valid debt, it is reportable. No one can make bad credit scores simply disappear,” Gott said.

She said numerous companies claim they can clean up your credit report so you can obtain a car loan, a home mortgage or even get a job.

“Based on BBB experiences, these companies can’t deliver,” Gott said. “The truth is, no one can legally remove accurate and timely negative information from a credit report.”

Not only are these companies making promises they can’t deliver, she said they are charging a great deal of money for a free service you can do yourself.

“The law does allow you to request a reinvestigation of information in your file that you dispute as inaccurate or incomplete. There is no charge for this. Everything a credit repair clinic can do for you legally, you can do for yourself at little or no cost,” Gott said.

“According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report if you’ve been denied credit within the last 30 days. You can also dispute mistakes or outdated items for free,” Gott said.

She advised people to:

Avoid any company that wants you to pay for credit repair services before they provide any services. It is against the law.

Avoid any credit repair company that will not tell you your legal rights and what you can do yourself for free.

Avoid any credit repair company that tells you not to directly contact a credit reporting company.

Avoid any credit repair company that advises you to dispute all of the information in your credit report.

Avoid any company that tells you it can get rid of most or all the negative credit information in your credit report, even if that information is accurate and current.

Avoid any company that suggests creating a new credit identity or applying for an Employer Identification Number to use instead of your Social Security number. This is illegal, and it leaves consumers open to prosecution for fraud.

“You can improve your credit report, but it takes time, a conscious effort and sticking to a personal debt repayment plan,” Gott said.

To rebuild your credit, she advises starting by establishing credit.

“A good credit history is essential. If you don’t have any credit cards, you might consider opening an account, using it sparingly and paying it off at the end of the month. Someone with no credit cards tends to be regarded as higher risk than someone who has managed credit cards responsibly,” Gott said.

“Consumers are entitled to one free report from each of the three companies, from annualcreditreport.com. It is vital to check these reports for inaccuracies and dispute any errors,” Gott said. “Checking your credit reports does not affect your score.”

People should also pay off their debt rather than move it around, she said. “Shuffling debt around from one line of credit to a new one can be a problem.”

To pay off your debt, she advises paying off the highest balances first. “Though you may be tempted to pay off smaller balances first, paying down a large balance on a particular line of credit may raise your score, because it represents the freeing-up of a larger portion of your available credit,” Gott said.

And finally, don’t hide. “If you are over your head in debt, contact your creditors. If you can start managing your credit and paying on time, your score should increase over time. Seeking assistance from a credit counseling service will not hurt your credit score,” Gott said.

Payday loan collection scam

Friday, January 9th, 2015

Consumer Alert: Scammers Claiming to Represent Advance America Target Illinois ConsumersCompany offers tips for avoiding payday loan and debt collection scams

 

SPARTANBURG, S.C.Jan. 8, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Advance America, a national provider of payday loans and other financial services, has recently become aware of a new wave of scams targeting consumers in Illinois. These scam artists, posing as Advance America representatives to collect money from unsuspecting consumers, are in no way affiliated with the company.

Over the past few weeks, in particular, scammers have contacted Illinois residents claiming that they have been pre-approved for a loan, and then asking them to purchase a prepaid debit card or wire money as a “processing fee” or “good faith deposit.” In other cases, scammers seek to collect on “unpaid” payday loan debt, often threatening arrest or legal action or demanding personal financial information over the phone.

“Scammers often use the reputation of a legitimate, respected business to con victims out of their money,” said Patrick O’Shaughnessy, president and CEO of Advance America. “Legitimate payday lenders such as Advance America are highly regulated at both the state and federal level and will never use the kind of fraudulent and illegal tactics employed by scam artists.”

Advance America urges consumers to identify the warning signs of financial fraud and follow these tips for avoiding payday loan and debt collection scams. If individuals suspect being scammed, they should report it immediately to local law enforcement and to the lender that the scammer claims to represent. Advance America customers can call 888-310-4238.

Learn the signs of a scam

Federal law strictly regulates how real bill collectors and loan agents can do business. The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) specifically prohibits debt collectors from being abusive, unfair or deceptive in trying to collect a debt. The law specifically says debt collectors cannot threaten consumers with arrest or jail time if they don’t pay their bill. If someone claims you will face criminal prosecution unless you immediately wire them money, it’s almost certainly a scam.

Scammers may also claim that you have been pre-approved for a loan, and then require you to purchase a prepaid debit card or wire money as a “processing fee” or “good faith deposit.” Others may really be identity thieves out to get your personal or financial information.

How to Avoid Scams:

In addition to understanding how lenders and bill collectors can operate, consumers should also take steps to protect themselves, including:

  • Never give personal information such as your Social Security number or bank account information online or over the phone without verifying that you are working with a legitimate lender or bill collector. To verify, call the establishment back using a known number, such as the number listed on your statement or on the back of your credit/debit card.
  • Be suspicious of any email with urgent requests for personal financial information. If an email demands immediate action or makes upsetting or exciting false statements, it’s likely a scam.
  • Verify company licenses when applying for a loan online. Legitimate lenders will display state licenses on their websites to verify that they are full-service, licensed lenders complying with state and federal laws.
  • Never wire money or provide prepaid debit card information to a lender claiming you have been pre-approved for a loan and must make an initial payment as a “show of good faith.”
  • Keep anti-virus, anti-malware, and spam email protection software up to date on all your computing devices.
  • Maintain a record of all outstanding debt, and include lender contact information.
  • Regularly check your bank, credit and debit card statements to ensure there are no unauthorized transactions. Likewise, check your credit report (using Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion) every four months on a rotating basis; credit reports are often one of the first places where signs of identity theft or fraud will appear.
  • If someone approaches you claiming you owe them a debt, demand they provide written proof of the debt as the law requires – especially if it’s for a charge you don’t recognize.

New York Attorney General press release on Encore (Midland Credit/ Midland Funding)

Friday, January 9th, 2015

A.G. Schneiderman Obtains Settlement From Major Debt Buyer Who Filed Thousands Of Time-Barred Debt Collection Actions

Encore Capital Group Inc. Will Vacate More Than 4,500 Improperly Obtained Judgments Totaling Nearly $18 Million; Reform Practices; And Pay $675,000 In Penalties And Costs

Schneiderman: We Will Continue To Pursue Debt Collectors And Lenders Who Improperly Take Advantage Of Courts And Hardworking New Yorkers

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that his office has obtained a settlement from Encore Capital Group, Inc. (“Encore”), a major debt buyer, for bringing improper debt collection actions against thousands of New York consumers. For years, Encore sued New York consumers and obtained uncontested default judgments against consumers who failed to respond to the lawsuits, even though the underlying claims were untimely under New York law. Under the settlement, Encore will seek to vacate more than 4,500 improperly obtained judgments totaling nearly $18 million. Encore will also reform its debt collection practices and pay civil penalties and costs in the amount of $675,000.

“New York has laws in place to ensure no one can prey on consumers, and debt collectors are required to follow those rules,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Today’s settlement ensures that thousands of New Yorkers will see millions in relief from debts that were not enforceable in the first place. We will continue to take action against any company that abuses the power of the court system at the expense of hardworking families.”

Encore is a debt buyer that purchases unpaid consumer debts such as credit card debts from the original creditor or from other debt buyers at deeply discounted prices. Encore’s subsidiaries, which include Midland Credit Management, then attempt to collect on the debt. Through its subsidiaries, Encore is one of the most active debt collection plaintiffs in New York State, filing tens of thousands of debt collection actions each year.

It is unlawful for a debt collector to bring suit against a consumer when the claims are outside of the applicable statute of limitations. Under New York law, in order for an action to be timely filed, it must be commenced not only within New York’s statute of limitations, but also within the statute of limitations of the state where the cause of action accrued, if other than New York. In debt collection actions, a cause of action accrues where the original creditor of the debt resides. For example, while New York’s statute of limitations to collect on a debt is generally six years, if the original creditor on the debt was located in Delaware, which has a three-year statute of limitations, the shorter statute of limitations would govern the action.

The Attorney General’s investigation found that, despite the clear requirements of New York law, Encore brought debt collection claims that were untimely under the statutes of limitations where the causes of action accrued. Because most consumers fail to respond when they are sued by a debt collector, Encore obtained default judgments in its favor based on these time-barred claims.

In addition to seeking to vacate more than 4,500 improperly obtained judgments and paying $675,000 in civil penalties and costs, Encore has agreed to several important reforms of its current practices in New York. These include:

  • Disclosing in written or oral communication about a debt that is outside the statute of limitations that the company will not sue to collect on the debt.
  • Disclosing in written or oral communications about a debt that is outside the date for reporting the debt provided for by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act that, because of the age of the debt, the company will not report the debt to any credit reporting agency.
  • Alleging certain information relevant to the statute of limitations in any debt collection complaint, such as the name of the original creditor and the date of the consumer’s last payment on the debt.

In addition to filing time-barred debt collection actions, Encore was also engaged in a practice that is often referred to as “robosigning”: Encore employees signed hundreds of affidavits submitted in support of debt collection actions each day without reviewing the affidavits and without possessing personal knowledge, as alleged in the affidavits, about the claimed debts and the amounts owed. The settlement requires Encore to institute reforms to ensure that “robosigning” does not occur and to ensure that all sworn statements filed in debt collection actions are reviewed prior to execution.

This settlement is a part of the Attorney General’s continuing efforts to combat unlawful and abusive debt collection activity. In May 2014, Attorney General Schneiderman obtained settlements from two major debt buyers, Portfolio Recovery Associates and Sherman Financial Group, who filed time-barred debt collection cases. Those settlements resulted in the vacature of more than 3,000 improperly obtained judgments. More information on those settlements is available here.

In addition, in September 2014, New York’s Court System adopted a comprehensive set of reforms related to consumer debt collection actions that incorporate many of the recommendations of the Attorney General’s Office. More information on those reforms is available here.

Consumers facing default judgments arising from debt collection actions brought by Encore or its subsidiaries (including Midland Credit Management) who believe that the default judgment was improperly obtained because the claim was time-barred should contact the Attorney General’s Office within ninety days. Such judgments may be eligible for vacature pursuant to the settlement.

This case was handled by Special Counsel Carolyn Fast, Special Assistant Attorney General Stephen Mindell, and Bureau Chief Jane Azia, all of the Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau, and Executive Deputy Attorney General for Economic Justice Karla Sanchez.

*  *  *

There is no reason to believe that Encore’s practices in Illinois and elsewhere differed materially from those in New York.

Midland Credit/ Midland Funding

Friday, January 9th, 2015

 

Debt Buyer Faces Fine and Loss of Thousands of Court Judgments

In courtrooms across New York State, lawsuits poured in by the hundreds as if manufactured on an assembly line. Some included generic testimony, others relied on bogus affidavits, churned out so rapidly that they were seldom viewed for accuracy.

Sound familiar? The same problems that dogged the foreclosure of homes — and prompted public outcry and a multibillion-dollar settlement by some of the nation’s biggest banks — are increasingly showing up in the practices of large buyers of bad consumer debt.

The companies, which buy huge swaths of soured bills from lenders for pennies on the dollar, are deluging the courts with shoddy lawsuits, according to a review of debt collection lawsuits along with interviews with state judges and prosecutors.

As part of an effort to stamp out such practices, New York’s state attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, was expected to reach a settlement on Friday with a debt buyer, the Encore Capital Group, over concerns that the company filed thousands of flawed debt collection lawsuits against state residents, according to several people briefed on the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The settlement, which requires Encore to pay a $675,000 penalty and vacate more than 4,500 court judgments against borrowers — is part of a broader push by state and federal authorities to root out questionable debt collection practices that can stymie vulnerable borrowers just as they are trying to dig out from the financial crisis.

“We are pleased to have addressed and resolved the attorney general’s concerns in a manner that supports consumers’ interests,” said Lisa Margolin-Feher, a spokeswoman for Encore Capital, adding that the company was committed to “treating consumers fairly and with respect.” That commitment, she said, was demonstrated when it created “the industry’s first consumer bill of rights.”

The action against Encore Capital, which is based in San Diego, is the latest in a series of enforcement actions Mr. Schneiderman has brought against debt buyers. In May, he reached agreements with two other large buyers of stale consumer debts, the PRA Group in Norfolk, Va., and the Sherman Financial Group, based in New York. Under those deals, the companies agreed to nullify judgments, valued at more than $16 million, against New York residents.

Together, the settlements take aim at the booming world of buying consumer debt, an industry that scoops up billions of dollars in long-overdue credit card bills, auto loans and other debt from lenders. The sums are vast. Between 2006 and 2009, the top nine debt buyers purchased 90 million consumer accounts valued at about $143 billion, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

Photo

State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman of New York has reached a settlement with the Encore Capital Group.

State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman of New York has reached a settlement with the Encore Capital Group.Credit Carlo Allegri/Reuters

While the total amount of bad debt has shrunk as the financial crisis recedes, one in seven adults in the United States is being pursued by debt collectors, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

To obtain payments on some of that debt, buyers like Encore Capital often turn to the courts in a practice that some state authorities say effectively turns the civil court system into a debt collection arm. In New York State alone, according to a tally by Mr. Schneiderman’s office, Encore Capital and its subsidiaries filed more than 239,000 lawsuits from 2007 to 2012.

Encore Capital collected $564.7 million in legal collections in 2013, according to a regulatory filing, up more than 49 percent from those in 2011. The PRA Group brought in roughly $80.2 million through legal collections in the last three months of 2013, up roughly 22 percent from a year earlier, according to a regulatory filing.

Some of those lawsuits deluging the courts are marred by errors, according to the interviews. A review by The New York Times of court records shows that some lawsuits include fabricated credit card statements created years after borrowers stopped paying their bills.

The concerns about erroneous documents recall those that arose after the 2008 mortgage crisis, when banks were accused of robo-signing — a process of producing similar documents by the hundreds without reviewing them for accuracy.

But unlike mortgage foreclosure lawsuits, consumer debt collection cases often play out far from public view, consumer lawyers say, because borrowers seldom show up in court to contest the suits.

As a result, an estimated 95 percent of debt collection lawsuits result in default judgments against borrowers, an automatic victory for the debt buyers that enables them to garnishee consumers’ wages or freeze bank accounts.

While some consumers deny that they owe money at all, more commonly, state authorities say, borrowers have fallen behind on their bills but dispute the size of the debts that they owe.

The problems, state prosecutors say, trace to the way that the debts change hands. When debt buyers purchase bundles of bad loans from lenders, they often receive scant information about the accounts. Critical information, like original account statements or payment histories, are sometimes missing entirely.

To fill those gulfs, some debt buyers produce affidavits that assert the accuracy of the outstanding debt. In a 2009 deposition, an employee of a large debt-buying company testified to signing roughly 2,000 affidavits a day.

Such hastily prepared documents are pervasive, prosecutors say. In the investigation against Encore, for example, Mr. Schneiderman’s office found that employees signed affidavits without ensuring that the information was accurate. Wielding those affidavits, Encore won judgments against New York residents, according to settlement documents reviewed by The Times.

Poring over thousands of lawsuits, Mr. Schneiderman’s office also unearthed cases where Encore Capital sued borrowers for debts that exceeded the statute of limitations. A patchwork of state laws imposes statutes of limitations, typically between three and seven years, that outline how long debt collectors have to file suit against consumers.

As part of its settlement, Encore Capital agreed to reform its collection practices, including alerting consumers about the statute of limitations governing debts.

FTC: Child ID Theft 50 Times Higher Than Adult

Saturday, January 3rd, 2015

FTC: Child ID Theft 50 Times Higher Than Adult

CBS News

CBS News

(CBS News) — Between working two jobs and raising four kids, one with severe ADHD, Neala Elsworth didn’t think things could get more complicated — until her childrens’ insurance claims were unexpectedly denied.

“They told me three out of four of my kids have another insurance,” she explained.

Elsworth soon discovered someone else was using her kids’ Social Security numbers to get benefits in another state, an all too common form of child ID theft.

“The rate of child ID theft is about 50 times higher than it is for adults,” says Ken Abbe of the Federal Trade Commission.

Abbe cites a Carnegie Mellon report that found one out of 10 children studied had someone else using their Social Security number. It’s something parents don’t often discover until their kids get credit card applications, collection notices, letters from the IRS or, worse, when they’re denied a student loan.

“Parents should check every three to four years to see if their child has a credit report, but especially check when the child turns 16,” Abbe recommends.

He explains that should provide plenty of time to clean up compromised credit before they turn 18. Until then, kids shouldn’t have a credit report at all.

To check, you can submit a request in writing to all three credit bureaus.

An overlooked way to lower monthly student debt payments

Saturday, January 3rd, 2015

An overlooked way to lower monthly student debt payments

An overlooked way to lower monthly student debt payments

By the time Wayne Tibak graduated from college this spring, he had more than $118,000 in student debt. Then came the monthly payments, $1,700 due every month. Tibak started working two jobs, one during the day at Home Depot and another at night at Wal-Mart. But it wasn’t nearly enough to make the math add up.

So he turned to Google, typing “student loan payments” into the search bar. That’s when Tibak discovered a government program he’d never heard of — one that lets borrowers cap their monthly loan payments depending on how much income they’re earning.

The White House has enacted broad initiatives to give students more options for repaying their loans. Yet only 14 percent of Americans with federal student debt are enrolled in government plans that allow them to lower their payments if they’re not making enough money to cover them, according to the Department of Education.

The plans are designed to prevent borrowers like Tibak from defaulting on their loans, a problem faced by about 20 percent of people repaying college debt. The trouble is that many of these borrowers are unaware of their repayment options. And even those in the know are often confused by the myriad choices, terms and paperwork.

“There is no question that we need better information, better loan counseling, outreach after people enter repayment to make sure that borrowers know their options,” said Lauren Asher, president of the Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS), an education nonprofit. “And those options need to be improved.”

With national student debt approaching $1.3 trilion and many young graduates struggling to find jobs that pay enough to cover their monthly payments, these flexible repayment plans are critical.

The Obama administration, meanwhile, is redoubling its efforts to get the word out about these repayment plans. But some worry that the efforts may not be enough to reach those who most need the help.

“The White House needs to be convening all of the different agencies that work on student loans, and saying how do we all collectively get the word out?”said Chris Hicks, an organizer for Jobs With Justice’s Debt-Free Future campaign. “There’s got to be an expectation of better service [while borrowers are still in school], where before you graduate they say, ‘If you’re not sure what your job is going to be, there is something called income-based repayment.’ “

Understanding the options

The government has allowed borrowers to repay amounts based on their income for the last 20 years, but the Obama administration expanded the number of options and eligibility.

Plans vary based on the type of federal loan, and only loans provided by the government are eligible.

One of the most widely available plans is what’s known as the income-based repayment (IBR) program, which covers new and older loans. It caps payments to about 15 percent of your income and forgives any balance that exists after 25 years. The calculation is based on your discretionary income, or whatever you earn above 150 percent of the federal poverty line ($17,505 for a single person).

If you make $30,000, for instance, your discretionary income would be $12,495. That means your monthly loan payments would initially be capped at $156.18. You have to update your financial information every year, so the more you make the more you will pay.

After his Google search and a subsequent post seeking advice on Reddit, Tibak asked his loan servicer, Navient, about the repayment options available to him. The company told him he was eligible to have his federal loan payments lowered from $976 a month to $105 a month through IBR.

Since Navient also manages his private loans, the company was able to lower those payments from $725 a month to a little under $400 a month by reducing the interest and extending the years of repayment.

While borrowers can directly apply online for the plan offering the lowest payment, they can also enroll through their student loan servicers, the middlemen who collect payments.

In the past year, there has been a significant increase in the number of borrowers able to peg their monthly payments to their incomes. The percentage of people enrolled in such programs at the end of September increased 64 percent from the same time a year earlier, according to the Department of Education.

A pathway out of debt

Tibak is relieved to have a path for tackling his loans. But the road out of his debt isn’t simple.

While in school, he did an unpaid internship with New Jersey governor Chris Christie’s re-election campaign. To fit that into his schedule, Tibak cut back his hours at Home Depot and used credit cards to cover expenses. As result, he racked up $8,000 in credit card debt.

But the real burden is still the money Tibak owes for his education.

There were no scholarships or grants. Tibak’s family could only afford to lend him $3,000, so every semester he took out loans to finish a bachelor’s in political science.

It took Tibak six years to graduate Ramapo College, a small public school in New Jersey. He took some time off, but mostly he had trouble carrying a full course load while working.

“Being so far in debt has put a huge burden on me and it has honestly made me feel miserable,” Tibak said. “I’m 28 and still live at home. I want to pay off my loans in five years, which means I’ll either remain living at home or work two or more jobs.”

Because student loan payments are now pegged to his income, Tibak could spend many more years paying off his loans. Ten years is the standard repayment for federal loans, but the type of plan that Tibak is on doubles the timeline, forcing borrowers to pay more in interest over the life of the loan. If he spends the full 25 years repaying his loan under the plan, Tibak could pay an additional $41,000 in interest.

Every year Tibak will have to submit paperwork proving, among other things, his income to continue benefiting from the program.

Advocates say the government could make the program much simpler so that more graduates can benefit. A new report from the New America Foundation argues that the government should automatically enroll borrowers in an income-driven plan and withhold payments from their paychecks, much like Social Security taxes. Both steps would dramatically reduce defaults and delinquency while keeping payments affordable, said the report.

“We don’t ask people to write and send in monthly checks for their income taxes or Social Security-why should student loans be any different?” said Alexander Holt, a policy analyst at New America, which co-authored the report with Young Invincibles and the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrator. “Those who can pay back have a small amount deducted from their paycheck, and for those who can’t afford to repay, there’s no payment due, no paperwork and no debt collectors.”

Putting that sort of system in place, however, could present some substantial challenges. The government would have to find a way to overcome the lag time that exists in reporting individual income or run the risk of putting borrowers who lose their jobs in a pinch. And withholding could become complicated if the borrower has multiple jobs or is a contractor, said Asher of TICAS, which published its own paper on automatic enrollment.

“It takes away choice about how you want to make your payment and what that payment is going to be,” she said. “There is no one-size-fits-all approach to repayment.”

Meanwhile, Tibak is slowly trying to pay off his debt with his lower monthly payments.

“I have finally started moving forward the best I can,” Tibak said. “I don’t want to live in debt my entire life. And I won’t. Bad times don’t last forever.”

Washington Post

Copyright © 2015, Chicago Tribune

American Coradius

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Please contact us if American Coradius has attempted to collect a debt from you.

The repo man now hunts on social media

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

The repo man now hunts on social media

  RSS feed  Automotive News | December 20, 2014 – 12:01 am EST

LAS VEGAS — Social media is used for more than just keeping up with friends.

It’s also being used to find people who have defaulted on their auto loans, as a way to track down vehicles earmarked for repossession. Art Sookazian, vice president of special services at the Los Angeles Federal Credit Union, said he knows of skip-trace companies and investigators that specialize in finding people with delinquent accounts by scouring Facebook and other social media sites. He said his credit union does not use social media for that purpose because it blocks access to those sites to prevent employees from being “distracted.” But a lot of companies in the business of tracking down people and cars do, he said.

 

Art Sookazian
“Finding people in today’s market is really not that tough.”

 

“Finding people in today’s market is really not that tough,” Sookazian said on the sidelines of a panel discussion at Auto Remarketing magazine’s Used Car Week event here last month. The discussion was about the state of the auto finance industry. “People post where the wedding is, where the reception is, and how we took a trip. You’ll see a lot of interesting information on these public websites,” he said. But even if social sleuthing is legal, some common social media practices, such as “friending” someone on Facebook to find a person’s whereabouts, could be perceived as deceptive and violate the Federal Trade Commission Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, he cautioned. But Sookazian added: “Look, there is public information out there, and it can be used to ascertain location.” PRINTED FROM: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20141220/RETAIL/312229991&template=printart

CACH, CACV

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

Please contact us if you have received a collection letter from CACH or CACV  in Illinois, Indiana or Wisconsin.

Facts about collection lawsuits

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

Facts about collection lawsuits:

1. You are entitled to get properly notified of the lawsuit, which means service of process in strict accordance with state law. We can determine whether or not you have been properly and legally notified of any lawsuit against you.

2. You are entitled to a hearing before a judge and, if you wish, a jury before a credit card company can get a judgment against you through the courts. You do not have to settle your case with the collection attorney on the terms they dictate.

3. Most collection lawsuits result in judgment against the consumer because the consumer defaults, which means not showing up in court or filing papers as required. It is worth your while to show up and demand your day in court. It is also worth your while to hire us to do this for you.

4. You have the right to demand proof of standing from anyone other than the original creditor. If the debt collector is different from the original creditor, you are entitled to see a chain of ownership that establishes whether the debt collector owns the right to sue on the debt. Otherwise, you might pay this collector off and then be sued later by another creditor who claims to own the debt.

5. You are entitled to proof of the debt. Many if not most debt buyers do not have evidence that you owe the money. Debt buyers count on your defaulting in order to win. Once they have a default judgment, they will try to garnish your wages and bank accounts.

6. You are entitled to proof of the amount of the debt. Some debt collectors add unauthorized interest to their claims. Others simply cannot prove what they claim is due.

7. If you are sued by a debt buyer, the question is not whether you might owe money to someone, but whether you owe the amount claimed to the debt buyer suing you. Never assume that you owe someone money just because they are demanding money from you. We have had cases where the same debt was supposedly sold to two different buyers, or where a debt was settled and the “balance” then sold.

8. Many collection cases are based on hearsay and other material that does not comply with applicable rules of evidence.

9. You are entitled to the benefit of the statute of limitations. Illinois statutes of limitation are two years for bad check penalties, three years for checks, four years for the sale of goods (automobiles, furniture, natural gas), five years for contracts not wholly in writing (credit cards, nonelective medical debt), and ten years for other contracts wholly in writing; these are usually measured from default or last payment.

We defend many types of collection lawsuits for a modest fee.