Author Topic: Debtors Prisons On The Rise  (Read 2526 times)

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Offline Bezron

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Re: Debtors Prisons On The Rise
« Reply #15 on: April 26, 2012, 06:47:13 am »

It sounds like you probably work for one of the more reputable collection agencies.  As you should know, however, there are quite a few agencies that are popping up that are very predatory.  These generally are the ones that buy zombie debt for pennies on the dollar, etc.  In some cases, they will then sue the debtor, but not serve the papers correctly.  So, the debtor doesn't show up to court, the judge gets pissed and issues a contempt fine.  Debtor doesn't know about it, judge issues a warrant and BAM! jail.

That must surely be illegal? I don't know about specific American laws, but here court papers have to be served by an official of the court and must be done in person. Just mailing the summons is not legal, although registered mail that must be signed for I believe is ok. Also, the serving of papers is done by the courts not the agency.
Similarly one should be able to appeal the contempt of court ruling based on never receiving the court papers, of which there should be a paper trail because in order for them to be successfully served surely the person in question must sign for receipt.

If actions like these are legal in America, it really makes me weep for your country. 

Here in the US the debt collector's lawyers mail out the court papers they received when they set a court date. They also send the papers after you lose if you didn't show. They can manipulate crap like that, and it's fairly difficult to prove they did since the only way to show would be some recordable info. If a letter came when it was too late and post marked as such, then you'll most likely get an extension, but no letter or evidence and it's your word against their's
What happened to Bezron was more likely due to the date of the debt. After a certain amount of time (in Michigan it's seven years) collectors cannot open a case on a debt.

It was actually all of the above.  The agency specifically mailed the letter in such a way that I would not be able to attend the hearing.  The post mark on the postage was approximately 2 weeks prior, but the dating on the Registered portion showed only 2 days prior (Registered Mail takes a minimum of 4 days to go through the system, since it has to be logged at every step).  I actually got the paperwork 3 days after the court date, and the officer showed up at my door 2 days after that.  Since I was at my registered address and we talked about when I actually got the papers, the officer gave me a recognizance bond on the spot, an appear date, and advice to hire a lawyer.  When we got to court, my lawyer went through the facts and presented the Registered trail.  The judge was so pissed at the agency for trying to game the system that he actually asked us what we wanted to do.  My lawyer immediately said we wanted the debt voided and as many counts of collections violations as the judge felt were appropriate.  He agreed to one, which is $1000.  Cost to me? the lawyer took $200 for his time (about 3 hours), and I got the rest.

The kicker?  the original debtor was a small GTE phone affiliate that no longer existed (Ameritech bought the lines and service area, but apparently not the debts) from a telephone bill I had run up when I got my first apartment at 17.  I was 26 when the matter was settled.  IL law is 7 years for debtor suits, generally, but the debt doesn't go away.  You just can't be sued for it or reported on it (this played into the judge's decision).

Offline DasFuchs

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Re: Debtors Prisons On The Rise
« Reply #16 on: April 26, 2012, 02:27:16 pm »
Yeah, the happy deal with debt collectors is these shady ones buy up debt. Whether the original company exists or not doesn't matter, it's now the collector's and they want that 200 bucks for the likely 50 they paid to buy it.
It's like a legal system get rich quick scheme until the law decided that they're nothing but a bunch of manipulative scumbags.
Hell, i had one serve papers personally once, and he claimed he had legal right to take whatever he wanted. Odd that when I offered he came up with every excuse known to man to not take the stuff and demanded some form of financial payment. that's the point I demanded the local cops be here to make sure it was legit. He left before they showed. They mailed me the property lien papers shortly after
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