Category Archives: Debt Collection

Robo-Signing Suit Brought By Minnesota AG

Attorney General Lori Swanson of Minnesota has alleged in a new suit that Midland Funding LLC created false, unreliable affidavits as proof of consumer debt.

The Minnesota Attorney General went to court seeking an injunction against the large Midland Funding debt collection agency that would put an end to the company’s practice of “robo-signing” court affidavits which, she alleges, has resulted in false and deceptive lawsuits being filed against consumers across the nation.

Midland Funding LLC, is a San Diego based company that purchases aged consumer debt from credit card and other credit issuers.  The company has acknowledged  that its employees in St. Cloud, Minnesota, have wrongly signed affidavits falsely stating they had proof of a consumer’s debts.  These affidavits were then used by Midland as a basis for filing collections lawsuits against people who had already cleared their debt and others whose names were similar to the actual debtors.

You can read more on this at the Minnesota Star Tribune in a comprehensive article by David Schaffer.

 

Debt Collectors Banned From Facebook

A federal judge in Florida recently issued an order prohibiting a debt collection company from contacting a woman through her social media accounts in an attempt to collect on debt, specifically naming Facebook, as it appeared that Mark One Financial LLC of Jacksonville, Fla., had been contacting the plaintiff’s friends and family.

Judge Baird ordered Mark One Financial to refrain from contacting the woman’s family or friends.  The order is part of a lawsuit that Melanie Beacham filed last August against the debt collection agency who were attempting to collect on a $326 auto debt.

The plaintiff’s attorney, Bill Howard said that he had been approached by almost a dozen additional potential clients because debt collectors have taken to tracking down and harassing debtors through their social media accounts.  Mr. Howard called it “…the beginning of an epidemic”.

Florida has consumer protection laws that include the prohibition of activity that would be considered harassment.  For additional information please go to The Washington Post article here.

Extortion Scam

The Oregon Department of Justice has received several complaints regarding phony debt collection calls.

http://www.cccsso.org/News.asp?NewsID=4. Scam artists pose as debt collectors or law enforcement officers calling about an outstanding debt from an online payday loan. They frequently use fake phone numbers and official sounding business names. They also do their research. Some Oregonians have been tricked into paying nonexistent debt because the scam artist knew personal information about them, including their Social Security number, home address, e-mail, and names of family and personal references.

Attorneys in various states (even consumer advocates) have also recently reported that fake collection calls have been made in their names, without their knowledge or permission. This is identity theft. If you get collection calls from anyone claiming to a be a California attorney, best to check under the “attorney Search” section with the state bar http://www.calbar.ca.gov/ and confirm not only that the attorney’s name is registered but that the phone number and address matches with the address listed on the bar web site.

Debt Collection Law Suits Engulf Courts

Many debt buyers do not have the evidence to prove their claims in court if they are challenged.  Consumers are frequently being sued for inflated amounts or for debts they do not owe and should consider hiring a lawyer to defend themselves from unscrupulous collectors.

This recent article in the New York Times about the problems of huge numbers of debt lawsuits being filed in courthouses all over the country.  The collection companies buy the debts for mere pennies on the dollar but often really have nothing but electronic data and no live  witnesses to prove their claims.  The debt collectors hope to make money on those cases where people are frightened by the often intimidating collector, or give up and do not even question the debt.  Many times the claims being filed are for monthly late charges and over limit fees and inflated interest charges charged on top of the late and over limit fees themselves.

As a consumer advocate and attorney I have extensive experience in successfully defending consumers against debt lawsuits filed in Southern California courts.  If you need legal assistance I can be contacted at 661-771-2281.

Aurora Harris
Attorney at Law

Some Judges Are Now Skeptical About Debt Collectors’ Claims

This article in the New York Times provides an interesting look at what is happening in the debt collection industry during these tough economic times.  Some consumer groups are claiming that the courts, and Judges, have become little more than extensions of the debt collection industry.

But, judges appear to be growing far more skeptical of the many claims made by debt collectors.

Don’t Be Mowed Down By A Debt Lawsuit !

Act Quckly and File an Answer to Set As Aside a Surprising Default Judgment

You can be sued whether or not you owe someone money.  Worse yet, you can have a default judgment against you whether or not you have received notice.  These types of default judgments happen all the time and you  need to act quickly.  Whether someone is trying to sue you or that a judgment has been taken against you, a quick response is necessary.

As a general rule the law will NOT protect people that “sleep” on their rights. If you do not fight a wrongful judgment or suit promptly – when you do find out about the judgment or suit – you may be considered legally bound to a debt that you never owned in the first place, or worse yet, a lawsuit of which you were totally unaware.

It is your responsibility to be vigilant. Consumer lawyers are noticing that there are a number of crooked process servers and unscrupulous bill collectors.  Together with their overly aggressive lawyers, these unscrupulous bill collectors and unconscionable process servers are out there looking for easy cash and they may be trying to get it from you!

Just because you did not incur any debt does not mean that some has not been raised on your behalf.  Albeit illegal, someone may have stolen your identity or your name and incurred debt on your behalf.  Without appropriate action, you could end up being held responsible for someone else’s debt if you do not fight it.

Even if you do owe some money to a creditor, the interest rate and charges could have ballooned unconscionably.  There are a number of valid legal defenses which may be available to you if you contest the claim.

Do not just sleep on your rights !

Many debt buyers do not have the necessary paperwork to prove their claim in court.  As an  experienced consumer advocate with more than 30 years experience defending people with debt problems I can help you defend yourself in court.  Often, I can get the case dismissed without the necessity of ever going to court as a fee rate you can afford.

The debt buyer business is ugly and thriving in these tough economic times.  Read this interesting article in the New York Times.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/23/us/23sfdebt.html