Thursday, June 21, 2018

Fighting Collections - They Are All Fraudulent!

I'm going to warn you right from the start that this is going to be a fairly long post. But I believe it will be an easy read and you will learn some very important information. Some of it may seem unbelievable but I assure you that it is true. Look, I've been doing this for over 31 years now. I can prove what I'm saying and I have proven it in court for quite a few of my lawsuit clients.  So grab your munchies and something to drink and let's start class!

It amazes me that people pay collection companies when they really don't owe the debt. Maybe they feel they have a moral obligation or they are stressed out and think paying them is the only way to make them go away. Maybe they've been convinced that they owe it and no one has taught them the truth about collections. Maybe it's a combination of the above, or all of the above, or some other reason that makes sense to them. Almost no reason makes sense to me.

Talking about collections with me makes me just go off, spewing out one fact after another and sometimes I get so riled up I get potty mouth. Yep, I do blow it occasionally when it comes to collections. Their fraudulent behavior and bullying, harassment, lies and stubbornness sometimes sets me off.  I'm going to teach you about collections today and I promise I will try my hardest to keep my words clean so as to not offend anyone or put bad language in front of youngsters that may read this.

Let's start from the beginning and we'll assume the original account is a credit card account, (but this scenario applies to most types of collection accounts including medical, utilities, insurance, cable/telecommunication accounts as well).

When you are approved for a credit card account, you are given plastic and a credit limit. When you spend using that card, the bank/card issuer convinces you that they lent you money/credit limit for you to spend. But that's not the truth. Banks are not allowed to lend money from their assets nor their depositors' assets.  It's also completely illegal to lend credit.  So now that you know that banks can't lend money or credit, what are they lending you?  The answer is NOTHING! 

What actually happens is that credit card agreement with your signature becomes a negotiable instrument. Your signature gives it energy and value. Title 12 instructs banks to treat negotiable instruments as cash. In accounting, a bank treats it as "cash equivalent" and that means that YOU FUNDED THE ACCOUNT!  The instrument has your signature on it. You own it. But they NEVER disclose that to you. You are actually making a loan to the bank but they trick you and convince you that they lent you something, totally ignoring that you were the one lending something.

Let's skip over to contract law for a moment. In order for a contract to be valid, there are 4 main elements, in addition to being bilateral - meaning 2 signatures, 1 from each party. The 4 essential elements are Offer, Acceptance (you have these two in your contracts), FULL DISCLOSURE, and EQUAL RISK. Your credit card account contract is missing the last 2 essential elements for a valid contract.

To have full disclosure, they would need to inform and advise and disclose to you that YOU are the one who is funding the account. They would have to disclose to you that the account is going to be insured in case of asset loss for the bank's favor and that you will be paying the insurance premium for that asset loss insurance (known as "credit default swap"), and get your written consent to the amount of the premium. They would need to disclose that they will most likely only service the account and transfer "ownership" to a special purpose vehicle such as an asset backed trust. They would need to disclose that this is securitization and that by separating the payment stream from the note, the contract is void. 

To have equal risk, both parties must have something to lose. What do the banks have to lose? They don't lend anything. They are insured against loss, they sell it and transfer it, they get tax credits. WHAT DO THEY HAVE TO LOSE? The only thing I can think of is insane amounts of illegal profits that they really aren't entitled to. But really that doesn't fit either because they insure everything! They can't lose!  Anyhow, I hope I've explained why the banks don't really have a valid contract.

Now, moving on to the creation of collection accounts and the fraudulent nature of them. 

You have your credit card account and you're using it and paying it regularly and consistently and then something happens that causes you to be late. You get hit with fees. You catch it up and use and pay and use and pay but you get to a point where you just can't keep up with the payments and you default on your agreement. The account gets further and further behind. So you try to work something out with them but still you can't keep up.

Let's say you asked me to try to talk to them about the account. So I call them up and say that I want to discuss account number  1234XXXX, and see what can be done to save the account and get back on track.  They ask me if I am Mary Doe and I tell them, no, I'm Shannon, Mary's friend, or sister, or whatever. They will then tell me that they cannot discuss the account with me or anyone except Mary unless she has given specific authorization or a Power of Attorney to speak with them on her behalf.  This is important to understand. They CANNOT share any information about Mary's account with me or ANY PERSON (corporations are also defined as a "person") without a request, agreement, authorization, or Power of Attorney specifically naming that person as authorized to communicate and receive her account information. THIS IS IMPORTANT!

Well Mary can't catch up the account and at 180 days, the bank needs to remove it from their books and they charge it off.  But wait! Remember that they insured that account in case of loss due to default or other credit/asset loss?  They never tell you this but at approximately 90 days, they are allowed to file an insurance claim for that asset loss. The insurance company then issues a check for the amount of loss they claim they will or have incurred. The account is now PAID OFF IN FULL.  Remember who paid the insurance premium?  That's right, it was you - whether you knew it or not you were charged the premium and you paid it. Or maybe I should say your negotiable instrument paid it. 

That insurance payoff happened at approximately 90 days of default. Remember I told you that the banks charge off the account at 180 days? That charged off amount is the balance they report to the credit bureaus, or an amount near the amount of the charged off amount. IT'S A HUGE LIE!  The account was paid off by insurance that YOU paid for. The balance is $0! They charged off NOTHING! Scam! Fraud! Lies! Schemers!  Your credit reports should ALWAYS show the charged off account has a $0 balance. Oh heck no! It shouldn't even be a charge off. You paid off that account in full at approximately 90 days of default. And that's not even taking into consideration that you funded the stinking account in the first place so you never really were in default and didn't even need insurance to pay it off. I swear! Now you know why I get so worked up. But oh, it doesn't end there.

When they do their charge off of the account, next they recoup some more money by filing a Profit and Loss on their taxes. This allows them to take a deduction or receive a credit for that asset loss.  Funny how they conveniently forget that they never lent a dime, never lost a dime, actually made money (from your payments and insurance payouts), and still benefit from the P&L. You'll see that P&L on your credit reports quite often under "Account Status." 

Now that they've squeezed out as much money for that account as possible for the time being, they use the credit reports to try to extort that fake balance out of you. Some people fall for it and you will see a Paid Charge Off on the credit reports. Many times people pay them because of the threat of being sued. Oh the greed of the banks!  

Banks don't always hold onto charged off accounts. Sometimes they crunch the numbers and figure that it's more beneficial to sell off the charged off accounts. This is where the 3rd party collection company enters the picture. They usually bundle up a lot of charged off accounts and sell them as debt portfolios.  Then "debt buyers" purchase them. I really hate the title of "Debt Buyers." They don't buy debt, they buy YOUR INFORMATION.

Now please recall the little scenario of me trying to talk to the bank on Mary's behalf. Do you remember why they wouldn't talk to me or anyone else about her account?  They, by law, cannot share any information with any person without Mary's consent. They can't share info or communicate or negotiate without her authorization or a Power of Attorney, or an agreement such as a company stepping in and paying off the account  for which she would have contracted to now pay them. An example of this would be similar or the same as a refinance.

When banks sell off their portfolios of charged off accounts to a 3rd party collection company or misnamed "debt buyer," they are selling the account information only, because remember, the account has not only been paid off by insurance, but also charged off and received tax credits. But, they NEVER contact the account holders and get their consent to share that information  with any other party. They do it behind your back! They do it without your consent and without your knowledge.

I declare that this is collusion between banks and collection companies to perpetrate identity theft on account holders.  Collection companies get these accounts, create new accounts that you know nothing about then send you a bill claiming you owe them. Wait!  Where's the contract? Contract law requires a valid bilateral agreement between you and another party. It requires offer and acceptance. When dealing with a collection company, there is No upfront offer and acceptance. There is no full disclosure - they ALL know that the true account balance is $0 and I've confirmed that with a broker for debt portfolios. They KNOW! Lastly, it's obvious that there is NO EQUAL  RISK! It is impossible to have a valid contract with these debt collectors. It is also highly likely that collection accounts are insured as well. I'd guess that I'm about 95% sure of it.

WHAT A HUGE SCAM ON CONSUMERS! GRRRR!  I know some of you are feeling what I feel when discussing this huge fraud on consumers. It's an outrage!  It's intentional and willful and corrupt.

I'm not advocating not paying your bills because it all starts off with a failure to disclose, no real lending, no truly valid contract, etc. I believe that in this society, you have to play the credit game in order to achieve the American dream of home ownership and purchasing cars, or personal loans, renting a place to live or renting a car, turning on utilities, getting insurance, getting a cell phone, or whatever. You need good credit to obtain additional credit or financing for major purchases. I'm just  wanting you to be aware and awake. I just want you to understand about collections and learn to fight back. I don't ever advise anyone to pay a collection account though. It's all a sham. 

Demand validation of these collectors. Demand they produce a valid contract. Demand they produce a signed authorization. They shouldn't be on your credit report for any reason but since they are, they certainly should not be there without an authorization to collect information and make communications about you and an alleged account. They can NEVER truly validate. There is no valid contract and there is no POA or signed authorization. They've never lent anything to you. They are not named on original contracts with original creditors so they don't even qualify to subrogate/substitute themselves on to a contract. They have no interest to protect. They haven't been aggrieved and are not entitled to seek redress. 

I hope you've learned a lot from this post. I hope it gets you fired up to fight back. I hope the information helps you to see success against these 3rd party collectors to get them off your credit reports and out of your lives! 

If you have collection accounts that you need off your credit reports and you don't want to take on the fight alone, contact me because I love my work. I love fighting to get these thugs off your reports and out of your lives. 

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Using the Section 609 Credit Repair Process

This is a subject that I have wanted to write about for some time now.  Many of you have heard about this method to repair your credit. Probably some of you have done it.  I'm not a big fan. I heard a lot of reports about people who have used it.  There have been some that have experienced success with this method and most of those were people who used it way back when it first came out.  I have heard of many more people that have used it and not had near the results they were expecting or were assured that they would have.  I too have used the method a couple of times for my clients but had to go back to using the methods I have used successfully for over 3 decades.

My first problem with this method is that it is only disputing with the credit bureaus. When you are going after 3rd party collections, I believe you need to protect yourself with validation demands so that you have it in place in case the collector decides to sue you.  If you have demanded validation, they cannot sue unless they have validated - a task they cannot actually and lawfully succeed at because they do not have first-hand knowledge, they have no contract, and they do not have your permission to collect information and make communications about you and the alleged account.  They have to get that authorization from you, in writing.

This method, the Section 609 method is bureau disputing only.  It is based on a good concept that requires the credit reporting agencies to prove  the verification they claim. This is a task that they NEVER do. They don't have the ability to do because they don't conduct reasonable investigations, they don't collect the documents to support the information furnished, they don't get authentic verification because verification requires sworn testimony (affidavit) accompanied with that supporting documentation. All they have is hearsay, which the courts have deemed as incompetent and inadmissible.

So, here is how it works:

You write a letter to each bureau telling them to provide the documents used to verify or that validate the following accounts.  You  are demanding that the send you the verifiable proof (copy of the original contract between the furnisher and you) that the FCRA requires them to have in your file. The word "file" is very important because they try to convince you that a "file" is the same thing as a credit report, but it is not.

Next, most templates have a table that has the furnisher name (creditor/collector) then the account number, then the dispute says "unverified account" in the final box of the table. One of the requirements under both Section 609 and 611 requires that information that is incomplete, inaccurate, or unverifiable be corrected or deleted. So, just above the table you tell them provide the proof for each account within 30 days or delete it as required by law.

The bottom of the letter tells them to remove all promotional non-account related inquiries and to suppress your information from promotional services - in other words, opting out.  After that is the signature though some variations of this credit repair process has you get each letter notarized.

So that is the method.  There are letters 2, 3 and 4.  Each letter is basically the same, but the language in each consecutive letter gets stronger. The second letter tells them that it's the 2nd written request and they claim to have verified but didn't provide any documentation. You are demanding they provide you the documentation along with the name, title, contact information with the persons who they spoke to or communicated with in their "re-investigation" in order to prove to you that an actual reasonable investigation was done and they acquired the documentation proving the account was verified.

The letter reminds them again that they are required to delete unverified accounts and if they cannot provide that documentation, then it is not verified and must be removed according to Sections 609 and 611.  It also reminds them of their civil liability (meaning you have the right to sue them) under FCRA  617 for willful negligence.

Once again the 3 column table is there with creditor/collection company name, account number and unverified account. You of course remove any accounts that have been removed from the report from the first dispute.

Round 3, letter 3. Almost the exact same as round 2 letter but it says it's the 3rd written request and then above the table you demand that they send the documentation or delete immediately. Again you make sure that you don't dispute any of the accounts that were removed from the first and second disputes.

Round 4. This letter is again slightly different.  It has a header on it that says its a Notice of Pending Litigation Seeking Relief and Monetary Damages pursuant to FCRA Sections 616 and 617. It calls them out for not investigating, not providing documents, falsely claiming the accounts are verified but never sending the proof.  It tells them the 3 previous letters they received disputing the items will be used as exhibits and evidence if they proceed to litigation as will the credit reports showing they have been disputed and claimed to verify.  

This 4th letter is definitely notarized. Also, with each round of disputes you are expected to provide copies of your ID and SS card.  I'm not big on that at all but for this process, it's recommended.  You don't want to give the CRA's any loophole for not doing their job and following the law.

So, that is the process.  I however think that you need to send validation letters to collectors and proof of claim letters to original creditors. You need to demand that they provide you with the documents used to supposedly verify the information that the furnished to the credit bureaus. You let them know that a response letter that provides a summary of the account is NOT verification, is NOT validation, is hearsay and it will be rejected because you agree with the courts that hearsay is incompetent and inadmissible.

In my follow up letters to these collectors and creditors, I call them out for not sending certified copies of original documents, sending a slew of billing statements that are NOT proof of a full accounting, not sending proof of how the account was funded and where those funds came from, proof that the account is still within the statute of limitations, proof of license and bonding to collect in the consumer's state, proof of a Power of Attorney document or written authorization showing that consumer gave their consent to collect information and make communications about the alleged account, and proof that the 3rd party collector was specifically named on any original contract showing they are entitled to collect by having an interest to protect.

I like to write bureau letters that do include Section 609, but I use many other sections of the FCRA, federal acts, code of federal regulations, case law, state statutes, UCC, and other legal ammunition.  I don't like relying on just 1 main section of the FCRA.  I do the same thing with my direct to creditor/collector letters. Demanding proof of claim or validation is important to protect yourself and including laws and the above legal ammunition, proper wording is important to see a higher rate of success in your credit repair journey.

I hope you will find this information helpful.  If you are in need of credit repair assistance and don't feel like taking it on yourself, please contact me at futurefico@gmail.com. I may be able to assist you.