Asset Acceptance Ripoff extortion Warren Internet
The Asset Acceptance LLC Story:
Monday February 7, 2005 I came home from work and had a letter from a company called Asset Acceptance LLC. It was a letter informing me that I was in collection to them for $314.36. I thought this was really odd since I had just gotten a mortgage back in August. At that time, my mortgage broker and myself went over my credit report several times. We cleaned it up and I paid off some additional debt, but this figure of $314.36 was nowhere on that report.
The next morning while at work, I decided to call this company to find out about this collection letter. My first thought was that I had been a victimn of identity theft, but I knew I needed to speak to someone before jumping to conclusions.
February 8, 2005 at 9:58am:
I called and was transferred to a man named Jack Earle. I quietly and calmly explained to Mr. Earle that I was unfamiliar with this particular debt and asked for more information. At all times throughout the conversation (and a subsequent one several hours later), Mr. Earle was loud, rude, and obnoxious. He yelled at me, ridiculed me and tried to make me feel foolish. Apparently this company believes that instilling fear and anger in a customer is the best way to get paid. How wrong they are. Anyway,I explained to Mr. Earle that I believed that this debt was not mine. He asked me if I was Laura B. Gorman, I said I was. He then recited my social security number and asked if it was mine, again, I said it was. He then said yeah, you thought this was identity fraud didn't you? Well it isn't, and you owe us $314.36. I asked him what company I owed this to, he said it was from an Associates Mastercard/Visa from 1993. I explained to him as best I could (although it's difficult o get a word in edgewise when dealing with Mr. Earle) that I had paid this debt many, many years ago. He then got very loud and rude and told me that he didn't care how old the debt was, the most important thing was that I owed the debt. I explained to him that if in fact the debt was mine I would happily pay it and pay it in full, but that I would need verification of this debt before I went about writing random checks to random people at random companies for a 15 year old debt that I believed had been padioff many, many years ago. Mr. Earle did not like that response and loudly told me to just pay the bill Laura, you know you owe it he then wanted me to write him a check for $300 or I was wasting his time, at that point, I have to admit, I laughed at him. Mr. Earle was being ridiculous and we both knew it. However, Mr. Earle did not find the humor in the situation whatsoever and said well you know what? Thanks for calling in because now I have your work number, he then repeated that I was wasting his time and hung up on me.
Immediately after his phone call I went on line and did some research. I found that according to the FDCPA, AAL is required to provide me with validation of this debt. Meaning that they must show me where and how this debt came to them. It was further stated that I can request this information of them over the phone or in writing. I also looked in Statute of Limitations and found out some interesting things. Firstly, SOL only covers lawsuits, not debt collections, but if forced to go to court, this would be helpful information. I then set about finding out the SOL for Massachusetts where the debt originated; it is 6 years. Rhode Island where I currently live; 10 years. And lastly, Michigan where Mr. Earle was calling from; 6 years. I also set about trying to prove that I had paid this debt.
I had several things in my favor, the least of which being that I got a mortgage through a reputable, established loan company (Sallie Mae) just this past August. The second thing was that I request my credit reports every 3 months from each of the three credit bureaus, so I KNOW my credit history. While at my desk, looking aroudn on-line for any helpful information, my phone rang, and thus began Jack Earle's harassment of me.
It was precisely 11:41 am. I answered the phone by stating my full name, I heard a pause and then Jack Earle's familiar loud voice screamed Hey LAURA I FOUND OUT WHERE YOU WORK-AND THAT'S GREAT BECAUSE THAT IS JUST ONE PIECE OF THE PUZZLE. NOW I CAN TRACK YOU DOWN ANYWHERE. (please note that I work for a major university and if you know my first or last name, you can look me up right on-line, hardly the move of genius, it's not like I'm trying to hide!) Mr. Earle then went on to loudly proclaim that he's very good at what he does and he WILL get this money from me. Told me that instead of arguing over the amount of time that has passed I need to just pay the bill. I explained to him that I had already paid the bill and that I would be happy to prove that to a lawyer a judge, but not him. He told me that if this was paid in full it was my burden to prove it, I explained that it was not my problem and he told me that he was going to aggressively pursue this debt and ruin my credit if I didn't write him a check for the $300.00. He then told me that I was wasting his time and hung up on me. Again.
That night I went home and combed over my credit reports from the last year. It was good news and bad news: there was no mention anywhere of this credit card or this collection company. So it's good in that it shows that it's not on my credit report but what's bad about that is that it doesn't show that it's paid...and it doesn't show if it wasn't paid either. So it's really anyone's guess what judge would say. However, being an educated consumer, I knew that I had some rights. The idea that a company can just call you up out of the blue some 15 years after a debt was incurred and demand payment is absoltuely beyond my comprehension. I think that the fact that I paid it is almost irrelevant, to me the insult lies in that they can harrass and come after you at any time for any thing and it's somehow legal? So like I said, I went over my credit reports and found nothing to indicate anything either way.
No phone call from Mr. Earle on Wednesday, February 9th.
Thursday, February 10, 2005 I mailed Mr. Earle a certified letter asking him to please provide validation of the debt in accordance with the FDCPA. I further asked that he no longer call me at work and to communicate with me only through the mail.
It is now February 18, 2005 and I have not heard from him yet. However, I have followed all the rules: I wrote to them within the 30 days and am hoping that this resolves itself as I am trying to buy another home.
I have no idea how this is all going ot unfold, but I will say this, if I owe this money, I will pay it immediately. However, I will not allow ANYONE to call my work, scream at me and demand cash from me or they are going to ruin me. To me this sounds a lot like blackmail and I believe in my heart that no judge in the world is going to stand for the harrassment and extortion of a decent human being. This company is disgraceful and the people that work at this company should be ashamed of themselves. It's one thing to be a debt collector, it's quite another to be a mean, nasty person to a perfect stranger.
The bottom line is that I am ready to go to court if need be. I have no intention of letting these creeps steamroll over me because they think they can. Not going to happen.
And that is my Asset Acceptance LLC story. I know there are more out there!
Providence, Rhode IslandU.S.A.