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shurmust
shurmust, Criminal Justice Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 165
Experience:  I have completed over fifty jury trials in the last three years and teach part-time at a local state college.
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My conundrum is quite lengthy. Please forgive my wordiness

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My conundrum is quite lengthy. Please forgive my wordiness but I thought more details were better than none in this case.

My husband was called one day from a company he never gave his number to.

They told him that he "won" magazines and to get them he would have to buy 5 other magazines at a discounted rate to get the "free" ones. He says that they recorded him answering "yes" to some questions. When tried to answer "no" or would say anything other than "yes", they would tell him he had to answer "yes".

He soon received a lot more magazines than he agreed to, along with a bill for $1400. When he tried to cancel the magazines they told him that he couldn't and that to get out of the contract he had (supposedly) entered into, it would cost him $800.
They strong-armed him into making a payment via credit (debit) card. When they charged his acoc**t they did so for more money and more often then he authorized. He had his debit card cancelled but they didn't stop their tactics.

At one point this year he started getting calls from a guy implying that he was some sort of attorney and that he needed to talk to my husband about an urgent matter. We ignored his calls and voicemails and he disappeared.

Here we are, 4 years after the call that started this chaos and he got a collections notice today from an "Empire Collections Authorities" that clearly does not have the wording on it telling us how we can dispute this ridiculous debt. The wording in the notice is very unprofessional and has scare tactics implying that their "client" wants to file suit against my husband. This is not only the FIRST time we have ever gotten a notice from this particular company, but the name of the original creditor is never the company that tries to get us to pay on this debt. In addition to that, there are 2 accounts with the collections company. My husband says that after the first call offering him "free" stuff, he got called again and somehow got roped into more scam charges.

We live in Louisiana which I know honors a verbal agreement as being legally binding, but can it really be enforced because all my husband said was "yes" to something that he was deceived about and I know that voice recordings can be altered. He signed NOTHING and we were wondering if we should not only have an attorney (or we could) send a cease and desist letter, but also file complaints against the collections company but the original creditor as well? Is he legally bound to this debt or should we pass it off as simple strong arm tactics by a scammer, hoping they could scare us into paying? Or should we send a dispute letter to this joke of a credit collections company asking them to prove, in writing, where/when my husband signed any contract? We checked his credit reports and none of this "debt" is on any of them.

shurmust :

Great question! No, at this point he is not legally obligated.

shurmust :

You are correct, send them a certified letter and make sure you highlight that you are disputing the debt. Pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act you are revoking any prior consent to contact or communicate with your husband, spouse or anyone including third parties to collect the debt.

shurmust :

From the sounds of the letter, you may be inclined to staturoy damages under the FDCPA for not properly notifying you of the debt and the language that was used. Additionally, save all messages that are left on your home phone or cell phone.

shurmust :

These are critical. You should go to the National Association of Consumer Advocates website and look up a local lawyer in your city/state to represent you on a contingency basis. That means, you do not pay, unless they collect. I can assure you this will get them to stop calling you.

shurmust :

This tactic is very common in debt collection company. Frankly, if they called your cellphone you may be entitled to $500-$1500.00 a phone call, even if you never answered the phone. This is all found out in discoveyr.

shurmust :

Make sure you save the letter as well.

Customer:

All we have is voicemails and/or missed calls from a man who never said who he was with, only that he had an "urgent matter" to discuss with my husband. I can more than likely get the phone records from our cell provider, proving that the particular phone number of this mystery man called.

shurmust :

Perfect. Make sure you save them and provide them to your lawyer. You want to look up a plaintiff's lawyer who specializes in TCPA or FDCPA claims.

shurmust :

They will take care of everything for you from there.

shurmust :

Of course they say it is "urgent" because if they tell you it is a debt colector, which they must legally, you would never call them back. They know this, that is why they break the law and there are damages available to you.

Customer:

Thank you! That was one of the best legal answers I have heard in a while -- no "legalese" to translate! And the fact that I can stick it to them for being scum and making us worry? Icing on the cake! Thanks again!

shurmust :

Do two things, go to the NACA website that I said would be helpful and look up a local attorney who specializes in FDCPA and TCPA claims. Also, do not delete your phone calls and take copious notes when they call. Do not answer the phone when they call, let them leave a message.

shurmust :

If I could, I would represent you, but the rules prohibit me from doing so. :)

shurmust :

Make sure you find a lawyer to help you on a contingency basis.

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