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Collection letter from law firm reviewed as VERY aggressive

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I am in Oregon. My DH passed away last spring and since then I am living on SSA. It is not much. I have rent, electric, food, all the normal expenses, but there is no money left to pay my credit card expenses that were accrued before his passing. I have not used the cards since he passed, and have written to all of the creditors explaining the situation. I have very few assets, and my car is a 2002 and not worth much.

 

So today I received a collection letter from a WA law firm reported online to be very aggressive and perhaps unscrupulous. One writer even said that they had been able to take their car in a judgment! I live 90 miles from anywhere and cannot be without my one vehicle.

 

I spoke to the only BK attorney I know about a possible Chap 7, but I'm not sure that's the way to go. He wants $1900 to file for me.

 

I am just at a loss about how to proceed. If anyone can offer any information, guidance, options, etc., I'd would be so appreciative.

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Who is the law firm? Who is reviewing them online - an unknown and upset reviewer or is this through a website such as this one where the reviews are aggregated and a more accurate picture is portrayed?

Did the attorney go over your debts vs assets with you? Based on what info you have provided and barring student or government debt, it sounds like you may be close to judgement proof. Why are you disinclined to the attorney's advice [assuming he/she provided a summation of what course you are advised to take]?

Edited by insolent1

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I am in Oregon. My DH passed away last spring and since then I am living on SSA. It is not much. I have rent, electric, food, all the normal expenses, but there is no money left to pay my credit card expenses that were accrued before his passing. I have not used the cards since he passed, and have written to all of the creditors explaining the situation. I have very few assets, and my car is a 2002 and not worth much.

 

So today I received a collection letter from a WA law firm reported online to be very aggressive and perhaps unscrupulous. One writer even said that they had been able to take their car in a judgment! I live 90 miles from anywhere and cannot be without my one vehicle.

 

I spoke to the only BK attorney I know about a possible Chap 7, but I'm not sure that's the way to go. He wants $1900 to file for me.

 

I am just at a loss about how to proceed. If anyone can offer any information, guidance, options, etc., I'd would be so appreciative.

 

They can't take your car away from you. They can't take your house away from you. These are scare tactics. The only thing they can do is put liens on things. If the things are never sold, they don't ever collect. That's if they can get a judgement. I would consult an attorney. You might not even need to file BK

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If there was a review on a website that said a collector took their car, it's a fake review by a collector. Unless the collector was the financing company for the car and the payments were late and then its called a repo. Once you own your car, you own it until you do sign away the title. Nobody can force you to do that in America.

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Who is the law firm? Who is reviewing them online - an unknown and upset reviewer or is this through a website such as this one where the reviews are aggregated and a more accurate picture is portrayed?

 

Did the attorney go over your debts vs assets with you? Based on what info you have provided and barring student or government debt, it sounds like you may be close to judgement proof. Why are you disinclined to the attorney's advice [assuming he/she provided a summation of what course you are advised to take]?

 

 

Suttell and Hammer is the firm. I saw the reviews on a website like this, dedicated to bk and collections. I have no student or government debt. The bk attorney and I have been communicating via email (he once handled a bk for someone close to me) and he actually knows my situation. He did not advise a course of action. I

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I am in Oregon. My DH passed away last spring and since then I am living on SSA. It is not much. I have rent, electric, food, all the normal expenses, but there is no money left to pay my credit card expenses that were accrued before his passing. I have not used the cards since he passed, and have written to all of the creditors explaining the situation. I have very few assets, and my car is a 2002 and not worth much.

 

So today I received a collection letter from a WA law firm reported online to be very aggressive and perhaps unscrupulous. One writer even said that they had been able to take their car in a judgment! I live 90 miles from anywhere and cannot be without my one vehicle.

 

I spoke to the only BK attorney I know about a possible Chap 7, but I'm not sure that's the way to go. He wants $1900 to file for me.

 

I am just at a loss about how to proceed. If anyone can offer any information, guidance, options, etc., I'd would be so appreciative.

 

They can't take your car away from you. They can't take your house away from you. These are scare tactics. The only thing they can do is put liens on things. If the things are never sold, they don't ever collect. That's if they can get a judgement. I would consult an attorney. You might not even need to file BK

 

The car is the only thing of any real value that I own. As I said, my income is very limited and SSA, as I understand, is free from levy. I guess I am pretty much judgment proof, but just not sure what will happen if I don't respond to these aggressive guys. Will I have to go to court?

If there was a review on a website that said a collector took their car, it's a fake review by a collector. Unless the collector was the financing company for the car and the payments were late and then its called a repo. Once you own your car, you own it until you do sign away the title. Nobody can force you to do that in America.

Thank you for this! That is the one thing that really worries me.

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I mean personally I would block their calls because that's all they can do is call and write letters. If you're judgement proof, you can literally ignore everything. Stay off the phone, if they get too aggressive hit em with a cease and desist letter and if they try to serve you ignore it. Judgement proof is judgement proof and there's no debtors jail. But like I said, that's just what I would do. An attorney would know best but you also have to realize they make money off of bankruptcies and sometimes its just better to let accounts go and then repair your credit afterwards.

Edited by TheChosenOne

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I mean personally I would block their calls because that's all they can do is call and write letters. If you're judgement proof, you can literally ignore everything. Stay off the phone, if they get too aggressive hit em with a cease and desist letter and if they try to serve you ignore it. Judgement proof is judgement proof and there's no debtors jail. But like I said, that's just what I would do. An attorney would know best but you also have to realize they make money off of bankruptcies and sometimes its just better to let accounts go and then repair your credit afterwards.

I absolutely do not answer ANY collections calls, and have been doing that from the beginning. If they try to serve me, how will that happen? And if I am served, I should just not respond? I experienced another collection situation with several creditors several, several years ago, and did just as you said, ignored the letters, etc. But I have never been served.

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I mean personally I would block their calls because that's all they can do is call and write letters. If you're judgement proof, you can literally ignore everything. Stay off the phone, if they get too aggressive hit em with a cease and desist letter and if they try to serve you ignore it. Judgement proof is judgement proof and there's no debtors jail. But like I said, that's just what I would do. An attorney would know best but you also have to realize they make money off of bankruptcies and sometimes its just better to let accounts go and then repair your credit afterwards.

I absolutely do not answer ANY collections calls, and have been doing that from the beginning. If they try to serve me, how will that happen? And if I am served, I should just not respond? I experienced another collection situation with several creditors several, several years ago, and did just as you said, ignored the letters, etc. But I have never been served.

 

All it is, is for a certain price your local sheriff offers a service where he goes around and knocks on the door to try and get people to open up and accept the letter. Sometimes it won't even be an officer it will be a random person. I would invest in a peep hole for your door if you can't afford a camera system. Even if the sheriff sees you in the window, he can't bust through your door to serve you its just a service they offer for revenue. It's supposed to be intimidating, kinda like when a repo man comes at night. I've ignored a sheriff trying to serve me before. He gives up after a few attempts. If they get a default judgement, they usually don't take the time to try and put a lien on anything unless you own property which you don't. Honestly, just try to laugh it off and if you're ever unsure about legality of anything, a lot of lawyers will tell you over the phone for free what to do.

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I mean personally I would block their calls because that's all they can do is call and write letters. If you're judgement proof, you can literally ignore everything. Stay off the phone, if they get too aggressive hit em with a cease and desist letter and if they try to serve you ignore it. Judgement proof is judgement proof and there's no debtors jail. But like I said, that's just what I would do. An attorney would know best but you also have to realize they make money off of bankruptcies and sometimes its just better to let accounts go and then repair your credit afterwards.

I absolutely do not answer ANY collections calls, and have been doing that from the beginning. If they try to serve me, how will that happen? And if I am served, I should just not respond? I experienced another collection situation with several creditors several, several years ago, and did just as you said, ignored the letters, etc. But I have never been served.

 

All it is, is for a certain price your local sheriff offers a service where he goes around and knocks on the door to try and get people to open up and accept the letter. Sometimes it won't even be an officer it will be a random person. I would invest in a peep hole for your door if you can't afford a camera system. Even if the sheriff sees you in the window, he can't bust through your door to serve you its just a service they offer for revenue. It's supposed to be intimidating, kinda like when a repo man comes at night. I've ignored a sheriff trying to serve me before. He gives up after a few attempts. If they get a default judgement, they usually don't take the time to try and put a lien on anything unless you own property which you don't. Honestly, just try to laugh it off and if you're ever unsure about legality of anything, a lot of lawyers will tell you over the phone for free what to do.

 

Thank you for this information. If the server catches me off guard and is able to serve me, then what?

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Much depends on the State the service occurs in. In my State, the process server needs only to put in on the front door of your residence [after a number of attempts to serve] or on the ground near you. They do not need you to physically accept it. Here, if a deputy sheriff gets involved, it is usually a writ of replevin and that is a Court order seizing property pending a hearing. There is no avoiding that one and interference or attempts to prevent the seizure are a violation of the criminal code.

If you are served, contact an attorney and get an expert opinion as to what your best course is.

Please understand that most here are not attorneys and those that are cannot give a considered legal opinion regarding your specifics. Contact the attorney you spoke to about bankruptcy and get legal consultation and opinion as to the possible merits and drawbacks of your case.

Edited by insolent1

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I am in Oregon. My DH passed away last spring and since then I am living on SSA. It is not much. I have rent, electric, food, all the normal expenses, but there is no money left to pay my credit card expenses that were accrued before his passing. I have not used the cards since he passed, and have written to all of the creditors explaining the situation. I have very few assets, and my car is a 2002 and not worth much.

 

So today I received a collection letter from a WA law firm reported online to be very aggressive and perhaps unscrupulous. One writer even said that they had been able to take their car in a judgment! I live 90 miles from anywhere and cannot be without my one vehicle.

 

I spoke to the only BK attorney I know about a possible Chap 7, but I'm not sure that's the way to go. He wants $1900 to file for me.

 

I am just at a loss about how to proceed. If anyone can offer any information, guidance, options, etc., I'd would be so appreciative.

 

First I am sorry for your loss.

 

Next: do not panic. No matter how aggressive the law firm is they cannot touch your SSA. PERIOD. They cannot even levy it out of your bank account. The bank is required to not freeze funds they know come from an exempt source. Up to 2 months worth of benefits are exempt from levy in the account. DO NOT put any other money in that account. SSA only.

 

As for the car. Here is the reality of being able to seize a car: their is great expense involved in doing so. First they have to get an order from the court to seize it (and that is after they sue you, have a judgment and do a debtor's exam). Once they have an order to seize a vehicle there is towing, storage, and notifying you of the cost to redeem it based on the judgment. If the consumer does not redeem the vehicle then it gets auctioned off. Then there are auction fees possibly another hauling fee if it is sent to auction and not a sheriffs sale. Then there is the state exemption you are legally entitle to out of the proceeds of the sale. So for a creditor to go to all that expense and trouble it is typically for a high dollar value vehicle or one with sufficient equity to cover the expenses, judgment and exemption. A 16 year old car is worth at best $2-3k (unless you are driving a used Lamborghini or something!) so I highly doubt they would consider seizing your car.

 

Wait until about 27 days after the date of that letter and send a DV letter to the law firm. That buys you another 30 days or so until they respond. If they sue come back here and there are ways to fight them off without losing your mind. Take a deep breath. This will be okay.

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Much depends on the State the service occurs in. In my State, the process server needs only to put in on the front door of your residence [after a number of attempts to serve] or on the ground near you. They do not need you to physically accept it. Here, if a deputy sheriff gets involved, it is usually a writ of replevin and that is a Court order seizing property pending a hearing. There is no avoiding that one and interference or attempts to prevent the seizure are a violation of the criminal code.

 

If you are served, contact an attorney and get an expert opinion as to what your best course is.

 

Please understand that most here are not attorneys and those that are cannot give a considered legal opinion regarding your specifics. Contact the attorney you spoke to about bankruptcy and get legal consultation and opinion as to the possible merits and drawbacks of your case.

 

 

Thank you, I will take your advice.

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I am in Oregon. My DH passed away last spring and since then I am living on SSA. It is not much. I have rent, electric, food, all the normal expenses, but there is no money left to pay my credit card expenses that were accrued before his passing. I have not used the cards since he passed, and have written to all of the creditors explaining the situation. I have very few assets, and my car is a 2002 and not worth much.

 

So today I received a collection letter from a WA law firm reported online to be very aggressive and perhaps unscrupulous. One writer even said that they had been able to take their car in a judgment! I live 90 miles from anywhere and cannot be without my one vehicle.

 

I spoke to the only BK attorney I know about a possible Chap 7, but I'm not sure that's the way to go. He wants $1900 to file for me.

 

I am just at a loss about how to proceed. If anyone can offer any information, guidance, options, etc., I'd would be so appreciative.

 

First I am sorry for your loss.

 

Next: do not panic. No matter how aggressive the law firm is they cannot touch your SSA. PERIOD. They cannot even levy it out of your bank account. The bank is required to not freeze funds they know come from an exempt source. Up to 2 months worth of benefits are exempt from levy in the account. DO NOT put any other money in that account. SSA only.

 

As for the car. Here is the reality of being able to seize a car: their is great expense involved in doing so. First they have to get an order from the court to seize it (and that is after they sue you, have a judgment and do a debtor's exam). Once they have an order to seize a vehicle there is towing, storage, and notifying you of the cost to redeem it based on the judgment. If the consumer does not redeem the vehicle then it gets auctioned off. Then there are auction fees possibly another hauling fee if it is sent to auction and not a sheriffs sale. Then there is the state exemption you are legally entitle to out of the proceeds of the sale. So for a creditor to go to all that expense and trouble it is typically for a high dollar value vehicle or one with sufficient equity to cover the expenses, judgment and exemption. A 16 year old car is worth at best $2-3k (unless you are driving a used Lamborghini or something!) so I highly doubt they would consider seizing your car.

 

Wait until about 27 days after the date of that letter and send a DV letter to the law firm. That buys you another 30 days or so until they respond. If they sue come back here and there are ways to fight them off without losing your mind. Take a deep breath. This will be okay.

 

Thank you for this information. I have been going a little nuts the last day, but I am trying to tell myself to take a breath, wait a few days, and then go forward. I have had to learn to be very, very frugal the last months, and I have a little bit over the 2 months SSA in that account, but all of the monies there are SSA. Are you saying anything over 2x the monthly SSA can be frozen?

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I know I've been away from creditboards for awhile but is it not moderated anymore? Theres tons of bad advice being given by collectors these days on here.

 

I have extensive experience with debts much larger than what you owe, or what they say you owe, and no creditor has gone through the trouble of anything beyond a judgement. That's the protocol. We're not talking a rich person here, we're talking somebody on SSI with a $2k car. Chances are, they're not even going to put a lien your car. We don't even know if you're liable for your husband's debt. Do NOT listen to people on here telling you they will take your car. I've helped many people in your position. It's just not going to happen.

 

A little disappointed at what these forums have become... bad advice and worst case never going to happen scenarios all over the place. Get real.

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if a deputy sheriff gets involved, it is usually a writ of replevin and that is a Court order seizing property pending a hearing. There is no avoiding that one and interference or attempts to prevent the seizure are a violation of the criminal code.

 

 

 

 

 

That's an outright lie. The fact that the sheriff deputy is serving it means absolutely nothing. It's a service they offer. Call them up and ask. They have nothing to do with anything civil. There is civil and there is criminal. Please stop trying to scare debtors on this site by trying to mix the 2. There is no debtors jail. No boogey man gonna take your car. It's just high school drop out sitting in a cubical with a long list of debtors they're trying to scare into paying them money.

Edited by TheChosenOne

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I know I've been away from creditboards for awhile but is it not moderated anymore? Theres tons of bad advice being given by collectors these days on here.

 

I have extensive experience with debts much larger than what you owe, or what they say you owe, and no creditor has gone through the trouble of anything beyond a judgement. That's the protocol. We're not talking a rich person here, we're talking somebody on SSI with a $2k car. Chances are, they're not even going to put a lien your car. We don't even know if you're liable for your husband's debt. Do NOT listen to people on here telling you they will take your car. I've helped many people in your position. It's just not going to happen.

 

A little disappointed at what these forums have become... bad advice and worst case never going to happen scenarios all over the place. Get real.

I just checked an online auto value site, and my vehicle is valued at least $2000 less than what is owed to this creditor. With what you have said here, my worry has decreased a bit. I thank you for taking the time to reply about this.

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First and foremost I am sorry for your loss.

2nd BREATH!!!

3rd threatening you is a scare tactic because 1 they think your an uninformed consumer and 2 they already know you have been through a lot.

 

1st action you should take is to send them a debt validation letter. They have to prove you are liable for his debt.

 

When you get a validation from them come back and post it here.

 

Op do you live in a community property state?

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First and foremost I am sorry for your loss.

2nd BREATH!!!

3rd threatening you is a scare tactic because 1 they think your an uninformed consumer and 2 they already know you have been through a lot.

 

1st action you should take is to send them a debt validation letter. They have to prove you are liable for his debt.

 

When you get a validation from them come back and post it here.

 

Op do you live in a community property state?

First, this is my debt, not my husband's. Second, Oregon is NOT a community property state.

I know I've been away from creditboards for awhile but is it not moderated anymore? Theres tons of bad advice being given by collectors these days on here.

 

I have extensive experience with debts much larger than what you owe, or what they say you owe, and no creditor has gone through the trouble of anything beyond a judgement. That's the protocol. We're not talking a rich person here, we're talking somebody on SSI with a $2k car. Chances are, they're not even going to put a lien your car. We don't even know if you're liable for your husband's debt. Do NOT listen to people on here telling you they will take your car. I've helped many people in your position. It's just not going to happen.

 

A little disappointed at what these forums have become... bad advice and worst case never going to happen scenarios all over the place. Get real.

This is not my husband's debt, it is mine.

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Hello , again sorry for your loss. First never ignore a collection letter, especially one that could possibly turn into a judgement. Before sufficient advice can be given we need to know "What state are you in"? "Who is the Original Creditor"? "What is the Date of First Delinquency"? Just for starters. Is this reporting on your credit reports and if so, "Who Is Reporting"? Next send the collection agency a DV Letter within the 30 day period as one poster suggested and if it is past the 30 days no worries send it anyway. Relax they won't take your car. Report all activity here and you will find great help. Just make sure when you send the DV that you dispute with credit bureaus first CMRR (wait until CRA's sign for CMRR letter and then mail your DV letter CMRR to CA. Don't fall for the scare tactics, you are in good hands here.

 

Good Luck !!!!!!

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Hello , again sorry for your loss. First never ignore a collection letter, especially one that could possibly turn into a judgement. Before sufficient advice can be given we need to know "What state are you in"? "Who is the Original Creditor"? "What is the Date of First Delinquency"? Just for starters. Is this reporting on your credit reports and if so, "Who Is Reporting"? Next send the collection agency a DV Letter within the 30 day period as one poster suggested and if it is past the 30 days no worries send it anyway. Relax they won't take your car. Report all activity here and you will find great help. Just make sure when you send the DV that you dispute with credit bureaus first CMRR (wait until CRA's sign for CMRR letter and then mail your DV letter CMRR to CA. Don't fall for the scare tactics, you are in good hands here.

 

Good Luck !!!!!!

Sorry, I'm not up on all the abbreviations, but I will check that out tomorrow. I am in Oregon, the original creditor is Discover, and I'm not sure on the date of first delinquency. I have not pulled a credit report since this all started because I was trying to stay under the radar. I am sure it is reporting on the credit report, I would guess Discover is reporting. I do know that Discover recently closed the account.

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To clarify, the debt I am speaking of is only mine, not my husband's. Sorry I did not make that clear earlier.

I'm so sorry I misunderstood your post.

I went into defense mode.

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