Debt Collectors Have Been Using Robo-Signers For Years

For all the attention being paid robo-signing foreclosure mills, you’d think people would be more interested in the guys who basically invented the business of mass-production affidavits: debt collectors.

The affidavits swear that they have personally gone through the debtor records and checked out all the entries. It’s a labor-intensive task when you do it right, but these guys sign one every 13 seconds. The affidavits are then used to sue debtors, who may in turn feel they have no choice but to pay, even if the debt isn’t valid.

If you find yourself being sued by a debt collector, contact a consumer lawyer. It doesn’t have to cost much and since these debt collector records are often based on a house of cards, they often prevail.

Debt Collectors Face a Hazard: Writer’s Cramp [NYT]
Robo-Signers at Debt Buyer Firms Overwhelm Courts [Caveat Emptor]

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  1. Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

    Debtorboards.com FTW.

  2. deathbecomesme says:

    My gf is being harrased by a collection agency. Its an old debt from an apt complex she moved out of about a year a half ago. We went to try and get an apt together but they refused because they said we owed another property money. She filled out all the paper work required when she informed them she was moving out but they never notified her of any fees from the clean up. We didnt find out till we tried to get another lease. They are charging her for things that she had no control over. Like some “water pan” that rotted out in the ac and it started to leak water in the rr floor. We notified them each time it would leak and all they would do is come and empty some big bowl they put up there to catch the water. So they never really repaired it, just put a temp fix. They no longer own the apt complex and Im not sure how to fight or dispute this. Any ideas?

    • Bativac says:

      Something similar happened to me once, after moving out of an apartment. I was not consumer-savvy and unaware of the time frames and deadlines and legalities surrounding debt collections.

      My advice is to do what I did and call their bluff, since at this point (a year and a half) you are way past the timeframe to demand proof, etc. What I did was I sent a certified letter demanding proof of the money that is owed and advised them that in the absence of said proof, no payments would be forthcoming, and to demand that they cease attempting to collect on such a debt. It worked, in my case, and they dropped it and it has never shown up on any credit reports (this was over 4 years ago).

      But I am definitely not a lawyer. All I can say is document everything in writing and don’t pay those bastards unless and until you have exhausted every avenue and are unable to get anywhere.

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        I’m dealing with the same thing right now; I think one of the things is perhaps a zombie debt. I sent a certified / return receipt letter asking for an itemized statement for my records. And I’m going to call the original creditor on one thing and see if they’ll take payments from me in the interim. I’ll just tell them the collection agency tacked something on there and I don’t want to work with them.

    • Marlin says:

      As said above…

      Debtorboards.com

    • Pax says:

      Talk to someone from the LEgal Aid Society in the area of the original apartment.

      Often, things liek that are rigorously covered by landlord-tenant laws.

      For example, in Massachusetts, the landlord has precisely 30 days time in which to conduct an inspection and provide you with a notarised list of damages, in order to charge you even one CENT for it.

      Caveat: IANAL.

    • KennyS says:

      Send a letter with a return reciept. Keep it simple:
      Send me proof of the debt.
      Send me proof that you are authorized to collect this debt.
      Send me proof that you are licensed to collect debts in NY.
      Stop calling me.

      No additional information, i.e. “I’ll pay you when you send…”, etc.

  3. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    These bastards piss me off. I was clearing my credit report from wrong information not long ago, and one of the “creditors” claimed to “verify” an overdue account that they can’t prove I owe, because I do not owe it. I challenged it again and they “verified” it again. I don’t believe they showed the reporting agencies any proof I owed the debt, and if they claimed to have proof, it can only have been forged. I’ll check out debtorboards when I get a chance (but I’m on a quick break in training ATM…). What’s a good way to get these “creditors” to back off?

    • BannedInBrittan says:

      use a method of verification attack on the bureaus along with a FCRA section 609 attack.

    • Jasen says:

      If what you’re saying is that the account is not yours at all, as in they’re putting someone else’s account in your name, go file a police report for identity theft. Send them a copy. They’re required by law to stop trying to collect the debt and remove it from your credit at that point.

  4. u1itn0w2day says:

    This is what happens when you don’t worry about those pesky little things called details. These practices have been aloud to continue because the sheeple out there assumed that’s how foreclosure should go. Throw in some political an legal maneuvers/lobby-wala: recipe for disaster.

    • GearheadGeek says:

      can’t… help… myself. Making fun of people who don’t worry about the details and using “aloud” for “allowed” and “wala” for “voila” in the same post is just TOO funny.

      • u1itn0w2day says:

        You’re right. I goofed on a free post made in minutes. If I am making a deal worth hundreds of thousands of dollars I’d be reading and rereading it for days.

    • slim150 says:

      WALA LMAO LRN2SPL

  5. Skellbasher says:

    I did IT work for a very bad collection agency in Buffalo about 7 years ago through my employer at the time. They setup a separate company for the express purpose of manufacturing affidavits to collect debt they had purchased for pennies on the dollar. They did tons of other shady crap too, like setup offices in Canada because they thought if they called from there, they could skirt FDCPA rules. Shady outfit, still in business though. They keep name changing and jumping one step ahead of the NYAG.

  6. hypochondriac says:

    Can’t you jail/fine the people signing the affidavits? If you can’t go after them for criminal charges what about civil? Use FDCPA to go after the company and sue the guy making the signatures in civil court

  7. DrLumen says:

    I had a collection company try that a few years ago. They sent me a verification letter with one line saying I, Wanda Bluemoon (something like that) have verified the amount and you owe $XXX. Signed by Wanda Bluemoon. They then threw a fake North Carolina notary stamp on it with her notarizing her own signature.

    I was compiling FDCPA claims against them at the time. I wrote them back that it was not acceptable and quoted parts of the FDCPA and various other legal case decisions. I was hoping they would try to sue me so I could make some $$$ money off those clowns. But, they backed off and showed the debt in dispute until it fell off a few months later (7yr SOL). Haven’t heard from them since.

    I don’t know about debtorboards but there is some good info out on the ‘net about credit repair. I was using artofcredit.com at that time but they have since closed down.

  8. Riroon13 says:

    I scared the hell out of a junk debt collector (D. Michael Dendy) last year. He tried to sue me for $7000; by the time I got through research, I had him for $16k in FCRA and FDCPA violations.

    One violation did deal with a robosigner. The Attorney/ agency owner had a ‘collection agent’ in another state produce and sign off on a document that was then notarized by his wife in my state (LA).

    I contacted the Sec’y of state in the alleged collection agent’s home state report that no one by the name given on the signature was licensed as a collection agent in his state.

    I then noted in my defense that the document was signed in another state (TN, I believe. Possibly CO. Dendy used a lot of aliases — another argument I made) but then supposedly witnessed and notarized by Dendy’s wife in Louisiana. She was not a licensed notary anywhere but in La.

    I also asked for proof (plane ticket, etc) that the two women were in the same room at the same time in the same state.

    A week before the trial, he calls me personally to drop the case. I really wanted to go foreward with my suit, but because I almost had a mini-nervous breakdown during the Summary Judgement phase (which he lost, also, obviously), I took as my reward the fact that one of the biggest, sleaziest junk debt collectors around (check ripoffreport, etc) called me personally and begged for me not to pull the trigger.

    I still have the signed ‘motion to dismiss with prejudice’ document framed on my wall.

    IANAL, but damn, it felt good to bring one down!

  9. yuber says:

    My gf is being called by a collection agency over a doctor bill. The only problem is the doctors office said the treatment would have no charge and she has an email from them stating this to back it up. The doctor’s office after doing the treatment sent her a bill for it, she called them and they stated they would fix the issue. It is now 6 months later and a debt collection company has repeatedly called her dad and her saying one of them has to pay the bill.
    Everytime they ask them on the phone to verify the debt they just hang up and call back the next day.
    What can she do to get this resolved? Does it all fall back on the doctors office or what?
    Thanks

    • KennyS says:

      Is she a minor? If not her father can teel them to xxx.
      Send a letter with a return reciept. Keep it simple:
      Send me proof of the debt.
      Send me proof that you are authorized to collect this debt.
      Send me proof that you are licensed to collect debts in NY.
      Stop calling me.

    • Firethorn says:

      1. Tell them not to call, that all communication is to be written.
      2. Dispute the charge with the credit agencies.
      3. Keep that email safe like gold.
      4. Tell them that you will not communicate with them anymore until they’ve verified that the debt is valid.

    • Jasen says:

      In the end, yes, the doctor’s office is the one who screwed this up, they need to fix it. I would start by writing some harsh letters to them detailing what the problem is, dates, etc.

    • yuber says:

      Thanks