Woman Loses Home Over $68 Dental Bill

Maybe there are no more debtors’ prisons, but that doesn’t mean your life can’t be screwed up by unscrupulous collection agencies.

Sonya Capri Ramos says her Salt Lake City home was sold out from under her in 1996 to pay a collections agency seeking payment for dental work performed on one of Ramos’s daughters. And despite the fact that she had made three years of payments on a $51,000 mortgage, the title changed hands for just $1,550 at a sheriff’s auction.

The bill blew up to $950 from legal and collection fees, and in 1996 she was sued by a collection agency named North American Recovery. She didn’t contest the lawsuit—she claims she was never notified—and the judge ordered that some of her non-exempt real property should be sold to pay off the debt. “But because the real estate at stake was Ramos’s home, which by law is considered ‘indivisible,’ the title to the entire property was sold at auction,” to a company called Jarmaccc Properties—which has refused to give her back the title, even after she paid them the $1,550 through a bankruptcy restructuring in 1998.

“Woman Loses Home Over $68 Dental Bill” [ABC News]
(Photo: Getty Images)

Comments

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  1. Sasha_Pie says:

    Scary. I’m going to call my dentist today and make sure i don’t owe them anything.

  2. AMERICA!

    FUCK YEAH!

  3. pmathews says:

    So getting her title back is like pulling teeth huh…

    Sorry, I had to.

  4. tripnman says:

    Hopefully the tooth fairy will hook me up so I can keep my house! This is just sad…

  5. Daniels says:

    Cue the “well she should have paid it even though she didn’t know about it” folks.

  6. hypnotik_jello says:

    So she lost her home and still owes money on the mortgage? You’d think the mortgage company would have intervened?

  7. xthexlanternx says:

    This is a situation where you hope someone does the right thing and gives her home back to her, but apparently in this huge chain of events, not one single person stepped up and did the right thing. Man, the world is going downhill.

  8. The Porkchop Express says:

    That’s all there is to the story? really?

    There has to be more, this has to at least make a bit more sense somehow.

  9. evslin says:

    @Daniels: Ok, I’m not trying to be snarky, but:

    Ramos said she paid for part of the treatment, but not all of it — a $68 bill remained.

    Ramos said she had “all intentions” to pay the bill, but didn’t. “I wish I would have borrowed money to pay it at the time,” she said wistfully.

    Yes, it’s fucked up that she would lose her house over this, but it sounds like she at least knew about the initial $68, if nothing else.

    Lesson learned – make sure you know what you owe, pay your debts, ask for help if you need to, but don’t expect them to magically go away on their own.

  10. mindshadow says:

    Wow. Totally didn’t know your house could be sold out from under you for unpaid debt.

  11. celticgina says:

    Ok, I’m not usually a blame the vicitm kind of gal, BUT….

    She had no idea??

    There was NO communication from the collection agency???

    She paid them back 2YEARS after the house was sold and she’s surprised the person who bought the lien woulnd’t give up a claim?

    The bank who owns the mortgage, and therfore is first in line said NOTHING?

    Really…..?

  12. AstroPig7 says:

    Can’t the sale of the home be declared illegal if she wasn’t properly served?

  13. bohemian says:

    @mindshadow: For an unpaid debt of such a small amount. WTF is up with the fees. They turned $68 into $1500? That sounds shady.

    Credit reports and collections are largely unregulated by the government, they seem to be the new prime real estate for some very questionable players.

  14. parad0x360 says:

    @celticgina: I can believe it. Sprint sent something to collections once on me that I did not owe. They never sent me a bill in the interim either so one day I get home to a letter. I disputed the charge and didnt hear a thing…12 months later I get another collections letter from a new company and again I disputed the charges.

  15. Asvetic says:

    According to the article… the $68 bill from 1995, ballooned to $950 in 1996…right there is your problem, how the hell does $68 turn into $950 in less than 12 months? Legal fees apparently. How much time did this collection agency give before they sued? How much interest did it accumulate before legal notice was given to pay? The real kicker is that instead of putting a lien on the property for the money, they somehow auctioned off the title, how they even were able to do that has to be illegal.

  16. Shadowman615 says:

    @evslin: Lesson learned? Really? Of course she should have paid what she owed, but, some people are in a position where they have to pick and choose what bills they can pay. I’m not defending spending more than you have or anything like that.
    But nobody should ever lose a house that’s up-to-date on the mortgage payment because of an entirely unrelated bill for less than one-hundredth of a percent of the house’s total value. That’s completely outrageous. She chose to keep the mortgage up-to-date over the dental bill, so it sounds like she had her priorities straight.

  17. kallawm says:

    Something else is going on here, this should be fairly easy to take care of. You go to court and say “your honor, I never received notice.” The Judge should then say to the debt collector “please present your proof of service.” The debt collector says “I ain’t got it” or they show it to the Judge.

    I think she needs to go to Judge Judy. Judge Judy knows about this stuff. :)

    But, I also must ask…. why did it take so long to pay off $68? At my brokest moments, I could eventually scrounge up that much.

  18. DirectAnon says:

    How the f— did this happen? What kind of country have we become?

  19. hi says:

    @Lo-Pan: There’s a link to the actual story below the post: [abcnews.go.com]

  20. darkrose says:

    I didn’t think this was possible. It might not even be legal. Wouldn’t the other company who bought the “title” really be just a leinholder?

    Don’t they need to post notice of auction signs or whatever on the property?

  21. henrygates says:

    “Can’t the sale of the home be declared illegal if she wasn’t properly served?”

    Based on what people have told me that have been in situations like this (nothing this horrible) you don’t actually have to be served. I thought so to, but then I keep hearing about lawyers who serve the debtor at a random or previous address, claim they made every attempt at contact, and win by default.

  22. Toof_75_75 says:

    I wish I’d have known…I’d have bought it!

  23. vdragonmpc says:

    How was a collection agency able to secure a title to a house that wasnt owned by her? The bank holds the title until it is paid off the deed (equity) should have been greater than the debt. This doesnt make sense and I would be at the Dentist’s house with suitcases until it was fixed.

    How could such a small debt cause home seizure?

  24. BigElectricCat says:

    We’re not getting the whole picture here, I think.

    Assuming she owed the debt and was non-responsive, who the hell gets a lien on a house over a thousand-dollar debt? Why not just garnish her wages or attach her bank account and be done with it?

  25. henrygates says:

    Oh, and after all their failed efforts to find the person, they magically have your correct address and employment information when they walk across the hall to file for wage garnishment.

  26. EricaKane says:

    Story says that sheriff got service on her on the original complaint. Good luck trying to argue you didn’t get service on multiple occassions..espcially in 1998 she claims she didn’t get service of something but yet specifically declared bankruptcy to get her home back..hmmm..

  27. Pro-Pain says:

    THIS is why people KILL other people. I would justify this by the way.

  28. juiceboxonfire says:

    And this is why I don’t go to the dentist.

    [[grins to show empty mouth except for two rotten and crooked teeth.]]

  29. kallawm says:

    Oooh, I just read the full story. If the sheriff’s office screwed up the legal description she MIGHT be able to go back and argue that that link in the chain of title is null and void and work from there.

    IANAL, I just work for one. ;)

  30. kallawm says:

    @vdragonmpc: I think some of the issue here is that she keeps calling it a “mortgage” but describes it as a “loan.” The state “loaned” her money, but doesn’t actually hold the title to the house. The house is just collateral.

    I could be wrong….

  31. CharlieInSeattle says:

    I believe her when she says she never got notice. I had a collection agency sue me once, and the only notice I got was a notice of default from the court. So I did research, they claimed they had served me with the paperwork on a certain date and time. Problem being, I wasn’t even home, and I had witnesses to the fact, because I was at a company picnic. So I wrote the judge, with all my proof. Let’s just say this company didn’t get a dime.

  32. Erwos says:

    Whenever I read stories like these, I always wonder “what aren’t we being told?” Not saying the woman here is at fault, but there are a lot of holes in the story.

  33. SuffolkHouse says:

    AMERICA ROCKS!

    Nazi’s 1 — Consumer 0

  34. AstroPig7 says:

    @Erwos: That might be because the end result is unbelievably stupid. Whether or not she was properly served by the sheriff, the sale of her house to pay such a relatively small debt is absurd. I think the only information that could make this more sensible is if more was involved in the initial debt than the article describes.

  35. Me - now with more humidity says:

    vdragon: Wrong. The lender holds a mortgage, trust deed, whatever the particular state calls it. Title is a separate issue. I can transfer title to my home into a trust, an LLC, or to my wife. But I’m still responsible for the mortgage, which is secured by an interest in the house.

  36. DrGirlfriend says:

    @celticgina: I believe it. I had a late fee from a local library a few years ago, which I paid off the very day I got the bill. It was not from a collection agency, it was from the library, and it was the very first bill they sent. I paid it over the phone so I know they got it. Years later, I see a collection on my credit report for that very bill. No letters from any collection agency or anything – had I known, I would have called them right-quick to straighten them out. At this point, with it on my credit report, all I could do was get a letter from the library stating that I did indeed pay and put a note on my credit report to that effect.

  37. quail says:

    Texas has or once had a homestead act, which kept your house from being taken due to unpaid debts and/or bankruptcy. I know it got watered down when there was a push to allow people to borrow against the “equity” in their homes. Does anyone know if any state prevents the taking of a house when mortgage and tax payments are current?

  38. EricaKane says:

    @DrGirlfriend: You need to read the FCRA and the FDCPA. There is more than you can do that just getting a note.

  39. heavylee-again says:

    The collection agency didn’t arrange for the house’s sale at auction. When the collection agency’s court case went to trial and the defendant wasn’t there, the plaintiff wins by default. Yes, the judge should have ordered garnished wages or forced bank account withdrawl, but apparently chose to force the money be taken from the real estate equity. I agree that only something as serious as mortgage foreclosure should be able to result in losing one’s home.

    Collection agencies are often extremely shady operators. Always communicate with them in writing and keep everything in a file for a couple years after it appears to be resolved.

  40. graymulligan says:

    Keep in mind many mortgage/real property laws are legistlated at the state level. Utah isn’t exactly a model state on many things, property laws being one item where they’re very different from other states.

    Without seeing the specific legislation that covers this sort of thing, it would be impossible to speculate.

    On a different note though…how the hell did the title of the house only sell for 1500 bucks? How crappy is this house that she’s paid 50k in mortgage payments on? Noone offered 2 grand? Sounds odd to me.

  41. humphrmi says:

    My dentist is my father in law. If he takes the house, we (me, my wife, and our three kids) all move in with him. I don’t see this happening anytime in my future.

    I kind of wonder why they didn’t just garnish her wages, unless she doesn’t make any…

    @quail: Depends on the state. This lady is in Utah, so I doubt Texas law applies to her. In my state (Illinois – equally unapplicable to her) a judge can give a litigant a lien on the debtors house, but can’t force it’s sale unless everyone is represented (including the primary lienholder). A lien in this case basically means that the debtor can’t refinance or sell until they satisfy the debt.

  42. bsalamon says:

    Why am I the first person to bring up
    Pennoyer v. Neff?

  43. Sugarless says:

    I love that the president of the collection agency, David Saxton, wouldn’t respond to ABC news.
    I hope enough people contact (davesaxton@north-american-recovery.com) him and he 1) returns this woman’s house and 2) takes an ethics course.

    It is one thing to owe a bill of $68 dollars or even include the legal fees, but to take her house?!

  44. dmuth says:

    Who is this “Jarmaccc Properties”? A Google search on them doesn’t turn up anything, not even an official website.

    But if they’re Utah-based, I think it might be a good idea for the locals to do a little protest outside of their primary place of business. Nothing illegal, of course–merely a gathering of concerned citizens who feel a civic duty to inform the public about how Jarmaccc Properties does business.

  45. heavylee-again says:

    @CreoleSugar: I love that the president of the collection agency, David Saxton, wouldn’t respond to ABC news.
    I hope enough people contact (davesaxton@north-american-recovery.com) him and he 1) returns this woman’s house and 2) takes an ethics course.

    It is one thing to owe a bill of $68 dollars or even include the legal fees, but to take her house?!

    This happened in 1996. Aside from the fact that the collections agency never owned her house (they just collected their money from the proceeds of the sale), you think it’s a worthwhile idea for the Consumerist community to bombard the CEO with email? What exactly would you like us to say?
    “Please go tell the current owners of the home, who probably bought it in a fair way, to leave and give it back to the woman who owned it in 1996. Thank you.”

    Suggesting to him to take an ethics course is another moot point. If he was the CEO in 1996 and still is today, he’s probably not interested in ethics.

  46. Shannon says:

    I’m scared to even buy a house these days, I think I’ll just rent for the rest of my life.

  47. heavylee-again says:

    @dmuth: Who is this “Jarmaccc Properties”? A Google search on them doesn’t turn up anything, not even an official website.

    I went to http://www.utah.gov and was able to find a complete record of the company and who the LLC’s registrant is. I am choosing not to post the info though.

  48. Sugarless says:

    What exactly would you like us to say?” I’d like you to keep quiet. Thanks!

    My point is that the collection agency could have sought other ways to get the money – like wage garnishment. Why go to the extreme and allow it to result in this woman (and her children) losing their home.
    And as for the CEO’s interest in ethics are you saying that people don’t ever change?

    That once an asshat always an asshat?

  49. mbd says:

    Something does not sound right. While it is certainly possible that the collection agency lied to the court about notifing her of the action, before a sheriff’s sale took place, the sheriff’s office directly would have given her 30 days notice of the auction. This is the point where she needed a lawyer. She probably ignored the sheriff’s sale notice and then found herself without recourse because the window to challenge this has expired.

    This all dates back to 10 years ago. I would be curious as to the final outcome.

  50. spanky says:

    @CharlieInSeattle: Me too, buddy. I was sued for a debt that wasn’t mine, and had a default judgment entered against me without being notified. The first I heard about it was when it showed up on my credit report.

    Fortunately, I was able to prove pretty definitively that a) it wasn’t my debt, and b) I wasn’t served. Had the circumstances been even a little bit different, I could easily have been on the hook for that.

    Anyone who really thinks something like this is implausible has just been lucky so far.

  51. Lolotehe says:

    bsalamon: International Shoe v. Washington changed the territorial analysis done in Pennoyer v. Neff. Generally, the “minimum contacts test” is now used whereas Pennoyer is not.

  52. snoop-blog says:

    This is when it’s handy to be an active member of the crips.

  53. Pylon83 says:

    @bsalamon:
    How is Pennoyer applicable? First off, it’s no longer good law. Second, the judge determined she WAS served. I’m not seeing any connection at all to Pennoyer. Good try though.

  54. tikuahote says:

    Um, that was TEN years ago. Why is it making news today?? (and yes, always pay your dentist!)

  55. The Porkchop Express says:

    @hi: I don’t mean in the article. I mean there has to be something all the sources are missing. Just too much over too little.

  56. chrisjames says:

    She knew about the $68 and intentionally didn’t pay it. Where did that $68 come from when she paid the rest of the bill? Denied insurance claims or just a partial payment? A year later and the debt has increased to almost $1000. She claims no one told her. The courts rule that the money, now $1550 after additional costs, can be collected from her house, and the sheriff (or someone) decides the whole house will go. That’s getting weirder, but she again says no one told her. It gets sold at auction, Jarmaccc (are three c’s necessary?) takes the title, but she still is making payments on the “loan/mortgage.” She, yet again, claims no one told her.

    It’s not until two years later that she finds out about this. Strange that in that same year, Jarmaccc instructed her to leave the house, but she claims no one told her of that either. She also claims that at that time she structured a bankruptcy deal to buy the title back from Jarmaccc, she paid the money to them, but didn’t receive a title. Huh?! Then a full six years later, she makes another move on the title. Six years after giving $1550 for nothing in return?

    Even if each step can be explained away, that’s a chain of events worthy of Intelligent Design. There’s so much more not being said, probably on both sides of this dispute.

  57. eben56 says:

    I found the documents from her court case.
    [www.morelaw.com]
    (second one down)

    Apparently the court agreed with her and awarded her house back to her. It was then overturned on appeal because of a technicality.. A staute of limitatons thing.

  58. Pylon83 says:

    @eben56:
    Statute of limitations isn’t really a “Technicality” in the sense of “they used the wrong form.” That’s a pretty big deal because it probably entirely forecloses any opportunity to get her house back.

  59. BigElectricCat says:

    @henrygates: “Oh, and after all their failed efforts to find the person, they magically have your correct address and employment information when they walk across the hall to file for wage garnishment.”

    They clearly didn’t fail to find out where she lived.

  60. Edge23 says:

    There is something missing from her story. I don’t her.

    Lesson: Don’t lie and pay your bills.

  61. eben56 says:

    @Pylon83:
    I only used the term technicality in that basicly the court did rule that her house was taken illegally, (For all the “somethings fishy” crowd), but that she is up s$%t creek anyway because of the time frame.

  62. maztec says:

    They should have taken other assets before the home. For example – the TV.

    Something is wrong with the story. It could be her, it could be the credit agency, it could be the dentist, it could be her lawyer [probably her lawyer].

    This is not illegal, but there is something wrong with the story.

  63. maztec says:

    - Not to mention what type of title does the buyer have? I doubt it is fee simple.

  64. dugn says:

    There’s got to be more to this story than is posted.

    That said, the state of Georgia has (or at least ‘had’ in the 80’s) tough laws about bounced checks. As a teenager, I first went to jail (yes, real pound-you-in-the-ass jail) for a bounced $32 check to a used auto parts place. Nice.

    Sure, it’s worse that she lost her house. But state-by-state, there are some pretty harsh laws for debts. Watch out!

  65. Pylon83 says:

    @eben56:
    The Trial court ruled that it was taken illegally. The Appeals court did not. They didn’t address the issue. They simply reversed on Statute of Limitations grounds.

  66. hypnotik_jello says:

    @maztec: Why is there something wrong with the story? Having a hard time believing that fucked up things like this can happen in the world?

  67. SonicMan says:

    This is one reason to always keep your home title under two names.

  68. TechnoDestructo says:

    @EricaKane:
    The sale happened in 1996. She found out about it in 1998, or so she claims. At least, the first indisputable incidents where she had to have known happened in 1998. The month isn’t stated, but there was plenty of time for her to file for bankruptcy AFTER that during that year.

    So what exactly is so fishy about that?

  69. chrisjames says:

    @eben56: Okay, some of the facts from that ruling contradict the claims made in the ABC article. I’m making a poor journalism call. I’m still suspicious about her claims to have never received notice from, by my count, four separate entities regarding the issue, and six years is way too damned long to wait.

  70. Angryrider says:

    Great, another story for Universal Healthcare…
    This really does sound effed up.

  71. coren says:

    @EricaKane: She declared bankruptcy when the bank told her she didn’t own the property she was taking a loan out against.

  72. darkrose says:

    So based on the appeal documentation:

    March 28, 1996: Property sold to this sleazy property management place.
    May 14, 1998: Sleazy property management place sends eviction notice.

    Then basically nothing until 2004. May 1 2008, appeal granted. So this saga has been going on for 12 years total.

    I don’t know about utah laws, but I’m pretty sure something could be done with relation to squatter’s rights for living for 12 years in a house she technically didn’t own.

  73. EricaKane says:

    I read that link with the case. What the story doesn’t tell you is that she filed for bankruptcy in 1998 and in 2003 it was dismissed because she didn’t pay those bills earlier. And she had listed as a creditor, Jarmacc.

    I feel bad for this woman, but she had notice of at least the sale and could have redeemed back in 98. She then filed bankruptcy.

  74. FLConsumer says:

    I’d love to know the true story as well, but this is still a scary story. Whatever happened to owning personal property?

    Times like this make me glad I have everything set up in complex tax shelters and partnerships without my name directly on it.

  75. Pylon83 says:

    @darkrose:
    You’re talking about Adverse Possession. It’s a very high burden to meet, and the period is usually longer than 12 years. Depends on the state though.

  76. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    @heavylee-again:
    You won’t post the Jarmaccc details, but I will, it’s public info:
    JARMACCC PROPERTIES, L.L.C.
    10 W BROADWAY NO 800
    Salt Lake City, UT 84101
    Registered Agent: RALPH C PETTY [same address]
    Phone: (801) 220-0900
    Toll Free: (866) 975-0900
    Fax: (801) 220-0907

    Petty is a lawyer & has a website [www.ralphpettylaw.com]

  77. SexierThanJesus says:

    @Edge23: What a valuable lesson….don’t skip out on a $68 bill, or we’ll take your house. What ever happened to “let the punishment fit the crime”?

  78. vancedecker says:

    yes, I agree with some of the other posters. This cannot be the entire story.

    There is always an appeal process. Did she even try to go to court?

    Something is missing in this story.

  79. Concerned_Citizen says:

    There is no way someone paying a mortgage is going to let their house be sold over 950 dollars(or 68 dollars if you want to get technical as the extra fees are completely crap). Common sense dictates she was not notified. And unless they can prove she was, I don’t believe it for a second. And by prove, I want something signed by her or her own admission that she knew. An obscure sign posted on her property or a newspaper ad doesn’t mean crap. How can you sell someone’s home without documenting the notification?

  80. MightyCow says:

    Collection agencies in this country need some severe regulation. I’ve had a company threaten to ruin my credit and sue me over a debt I didn’t owe. I had to get the state attorney general involved to get them to drop the “case.”

  81. Edge23 says:

    @SexierThanJesus: She had more than enough time to pay her debt.

    The ‘punishment’ is fair.

    She is a liar now going to the media to play the victim card.

  82. Luftvier says:

    It’s not unscrupulous. It’s totally legal and oftentimes on of the only ways to enforce payment of bills.

    This woman ignored the bill when she should have paid it. When she got the legal notices, she ignored them instead of paying the bill or hiring an attorney. Tough noogies. That is what happens when you ignore liens and legal summons.

    Yes, this is sucky for her. Also, it was entirely her fault.

  83. Silversmok3 says:

    Regardless of the circumstances, it looks like this lady got F-ed out of her home. Once the deed changes hands, game over.

    Knowing collection agencies, the agents failed to send any notification of the debt to her , or the legal preceedings thereof, and took her home clean and legal.

    She probably found all this out FROM her bank(We transferred the deed to XXX….) , when its too late to do anything about it. Truly sad.

  84. Buran says:

    @tikuahote: Because the court decision is from this month.

    Their weasel excuse was “you waited too long”. Uh… that doesn’t get her her house back and she’s still screwed.

  85. William Hook says:

    @Voyou_Charmant: Amen.

  86. Breach says:

    Sounds like this has to be illegal for them to do over a $68 bill.

    Granted, for a $51,000 mortgage it couldn’t have been much of a house…

  87. humbop says:

    When you live by the predatory Capitalistic sword, you die by the predatory Capitalistic sword. Wake up, America. We’re becoming cogs in the International Corporate machine because so many idiots vote Republican seemingly unaware that they are seen as profit fodder in the eyes of GOP, nothing else.

    National security? Family values? Come on, folks, coporate profits is the only thing that matters in the US. Oh, let the markets decide. Competition is good. No government intervention in business. Citizens, stop buying this bullcrap. Who gets more tax cuts and government handouts than big business? Who stifles competition more than big business?

    You gun-totin’, bible-thumpin’, xenophobic, anti-book-learnin’ illiterate morons who vote Republican are getting played by the GOP.

    It’s a wonder more people haven’t lost their homes for an unpaid dental bill.

    Freedom and individual liberty is dead. Long live The Machine.

  88. coren says:

    @EricaKane: You mean the 1998 bankruptcy filing she initiated upon discovering someone else owned her house? Someone else, like, say, the creditor she had listed? Oh, yeah, I suppose that’d make sense, wouldn’t it?

  89. chatterboxwriting says:

    I think we’re missing a lot of information here. The Consumerist article says that the judge ordered that some of her non-exempt real property should be sold to pay off the debt. Now, it’s been a while since I worked as a bankruptcy paralegal, so things very well may have changed, but under federal exemption guidelines, a person’s homestead was considered to be “exempt.” Non-exempt real property would be something like a vacation home. So if the judge ordered the sale of *non-exempt* property and they sold her home, then we’re either missing information or something went terribly wrong.

  90. Concerned_Citizen says:

    Click here to send an email to the asshole through a web form on his website.
    [www.ralphpettylaw.com]

  91. bwcbwc says:

    This sounds like a variation on a title scam on the part of the collections agency. Basically, there is probably a form signed by “her” that releases the agency to transfer title or to auction the exempt property.

  92. -J- says:

    Outside of probably not hearing the full story. If we did hear it, here is my major problem with the precedent this sets.

    I have a random collection agency after me for the last 7 years for a debt that I never owed. I contest it, it’s passed to someone else. Quickly I realized that even I could, as a business, say someone owed me money. They contest the charge and I simply sell it to a collection agency for 50-100% of the amount I claimed is owed, only documentation I need is an invoice and 50-90 days of non-payment. Then that person, by my hand, joins credit hell. There are no real safe laws governing my sending out random charges claiming services rendered, not getting a payment after a period of them contesting the charges and then selling it to a credit agency.

    I think this sets in place a HUGE security hole if this is all true for us in America.

    That $200 charge comes from a company I never had dealings with, yet after 15 different collections companies it has ballooned to over $1500 and they don’t have record of what it was originally. I happen to have it, yet legally the originator of the charge claimed has no further responsibility over it because of the nature of the collections company it was sold to.

    I have even gone ahead and paid this debt 2 times and yet it still floats around as if I owe it.

    I can’t believe how sick things are getting here in the USA.

  93. strathmeyer says:

    @-J-: “I have even gone ahead and paid this debt 2 times and yet it still floats around as if I owe it.”

    I don’t think the problem here is not you.

  94. CynicLawyer says:

    This case is taught in many first-years property classes in law school as a good example of a bad holding. Technically, a creditor could docket a judgement fior as little as $1 against a debtor’s real property and force a sale of the debtor’s home (which the purchaser would buy subject to any underlying mortgage). That being said, most judges would consider such a remedy both unjust and extraordinary and would not permit the foreclosure. Why this particular judge allowed it is the subject of speculation, but the conventional wisdom in 1996 was that an appeals court would overturn it and instruct the trial court to craft another–more reasonable–remedy.