I was contacted by Javitch, Block and Rathbone by letter on March 23, 2009.
It said that they represent the above creditors concerning the balance due, which was placed with us (the law firm)for collection and such other action as necessary to protect our client's interests.
It goes on to state that "although we are a law firm, at this time, no attorney has evaluated your case, or made any recommendations regarding the validity of the creditors claims, or personally reviewed the circumstances of your account. To discuss this matter, please contact: (it then says the name of the person who suposedly wrote the letter, and his number which is different from the lawfirms number at the top of the letter. I tried to do a reverse search on this other number, and was not able to get any info on it at all. I found this to be strange, since this was a number to a law office.
After his name, the letter went on to say this:
"unless you, within 30 days after receipt of this letter, dispute the validity of this debt, or any portion thereof, the debt will be assumed to be valid by us. If you notify us in writing within the 30 day period, or any portion thereof, is disputed, we will obtain verification of the debt and a copy of such verification will be mailed to you by us. Upon your written request within the 30 day period, we will provide you with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current creditor. We as a debt collector are attempting to collect a debt and any information obtained will be used for that purpose. (this by the way, is NOT the correct mini miranda stated by the FDCPA to be used on all debt collection letters. it is only a portion of it) The letter is then signed again by Javitch Block and Rathbone.
I called the number at the top of the letter on March 26 and when someone answered all they said was "hold'. I then waited for about 5 minutes to nothing, except for a beep now and then. I knew then I was being recorded and they were waiting for me to say something that they could use to get more info on me. So I hung up. I tried the number (1-866-781-7900) 3 more times and the same thing happened. Someone said "Hold" and then silence, except for the beeps. So the fourth time after the "Hold", I waited until the first beep and I said I know you just have me on mute and are waiting for me to say something. Lo and behold, a lady came on the line and asked for my social security number. I told her I will not give that but I have a name of who I need to talk to. She transfered me to him, and he came on the line and said his name and asked me to hold. I couldnt belive it. He was doing the same thing, putting me on mute. So I started saying things like, I hear the beeps. I know this guy has me on mute and he is listening to see if I say anything about the so called debt that he can use. Again, lo and behold, he says how can I help you? I told him about the letter and he said he needed my SSN. I refused and gave him the file number on the letter. He then told me I needed to pay the balance. I told him I dont know anything about this, I never got anything from Midland Funding, and I wanted validation on this balance. I told him that if this was mine, then I knew that the balance was wrong as all the other collection agencies kept changing the balance due, and the date of last payment to keep it on my credit report. I also told him that my only source of income is social security, and that it is protected from any garnishments or judgement. He not only said back to me that he knows about the income exemption, but that the original creditor was notorious for putting fraudulent charges on the account. But he also kept saying that I had to pay it or they would take me to court and takke my money when they won. I told him I was recording the conversation. He said "you didnt tell me you were doing that." I said well if you can then I can. We both continued to talk about how I have to pay this, me saying I wont because it is not mine and him saying they will make me in court. He never asked me to stop taping, but since Ohio is not a 2 party state in reference to recording phone calls and he was in Ohio also, the only approval I needed to tape was me. I approved it. But I have more proof that I will be able to use the tape in court as evidence is the fact that once he knew I was taping, he never asked me to stop. Thier letter is a violation of the FDCPA law as it does not state the mini miranda in full, and it does not state that it is not necessary to put in a verification request in writing. I also have the tape to prove that they now know my only income is social security and therefore exempt from judgement and garnishments, and they said they are taking me to court anyways. When the judge hears this, he will not be happy that this law firm wasted his or her time with a case that they knew beforehand they should not have brought in the first place.
Also, I have done alot of research on this law firm and they have been countersued many times for violations of the FDCPA. They try really hard to get the case dismissed using the same desenses. They say it was a "bona fide error" and they did not know the dependants only income was social security when they garnished and had the person's bank account frozen. They say that they are "immune" from being in violation of the FDCPA because they are not debt collectors themselves, but merely the attorney hired to do the case. They have been proven in a court of appeals many times to be debt collectors as they have litigated hundreds, if not thousands of collection cases and they are retained on a contingency basis for Midland Funding LLC and many other debt buyers and collection agencies. So they CAN be sued for violations under the FDCPA and are not "immune". They will try just about every defense they can think of to win their case against the person they just tried to sue for the debt buyer's so called account using fraudulent affidavits and paperwork that is NOT the original and they cannot validate anything they have. I am waiting for them to send or give me a summons to court. But then, the research I have says that Javitch block and Rathbone get ALOT of default judgements in court because the plaintiff never shows up for the hearing. And I saw alot of court cases against JB&R because the person they got the judgement on never knew they were being sued until they found their bank accounts frozen and then contacted the attorney's office, or the court office. Alot of people never get the summons, and the law office wins the court case by default because the person they are suing does not show up. Of course, they want it that way. If the person does not show up, JB&R wins with no work at all, and all they have to do is file the paperwork with the court to get the garnishment started. I hope in a way they do that to me because then I will file for a "traverse hearing for improper service of summons." They will have to prove they sent the summons. But then I dont. If they get a default judgment, I will have them at my mercy, but I will also have no money to pay my rent, bills, food, ect. I will have to wait for the judge to reverse the judgement to get my bank account unfrozen and that can take a long time. With no money. I cant afford that. I am just hoping that when they take me to court, I have enough time to find a attorney that I can afford. I was able to get a attorney for my social security case and it was free, as I had no income at the time except for 115 dollars a month that I got from jobs and family services at the time. It was a community legal office and they were awesome to me. I am sure that they have a consumer attorney or two that I can use to represent me. And with the evidence I have against them, plus the fact that they do not have anything other than a few lines off a computer paper as to the so called debt, and a affidavit from the debt buyer that I am sure is bogus, I will be able to go right back after them when the judge dismisses my case. If anyone else has dealt with Javitch Block and Rathbone, I would like to hear from you . Tell your story here! Debt buyers and their attorneys are making old, time barred and out of statute debt a billion dollar a year business and it is getting bigger every month. The court system is clogged with these buyers filing suit after suit after suit every day. The federal government is starting to hear more and more about this, but as of yet have not done too much about it. They rely on the FDCPA and state codes to help the consumer, but the fact is that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will not help an individual. They will only take on class action suits and that is only after they watch the collection agency for a long time, and get the evidence that they are doing something that is against the federal law, and maybe then they will sue. But it is the Federal Trade Commission suing them, not the regular consumer. We have to fight for ourselves now. No one else is going to. I actually had an attorney agree to file a FDCPA violation suit 2 years ago on United Collections Bureau, but then 2 months after I hired them and was told I had a great case because I had recorded the person at UCB, they told me that they were dropping the case because there was no precedent in the state of Ohio against debt collection agencys. I was so mad, I told them "and there never will be if you keep backing down." They still dropped the case. For all I know, the collection agency paid them off. I dont know, but that told me that consumers are on thier own, and the collection agencies know it. They go after all types of people, scare and threaten them to pay when they themselves know they have no right to collect the debt at all, as it is out of statute to collect on. They hope the consumer does not know their rights. They bank on it. Well, THIS consumer does, and I am gonna hit em where it hurts. Money.
But as alot of collections agencies will say, right out. They would rather pay out on court cases they lose than go by the law that protects the consumer. They make way too much money breaking the law to stop!