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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Began practicing law in 1992
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Can a collection company charge interest on a debt in the

Customer Question

Can a collection company charge interest on a debt in the state of Oregon, and is it legal for them to not send any kind of statement or bill to the debtor?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Also, I can only answer the questions you specifically ask and based on the facts that you give so please be sure that you ask the questions you want to ask and provide all necessary facts.

Yes, unless the original debt specifically stated that no interest would be charged then interest can be charged.

As to whether they can not send any kind of statement or bill, I'm not sure what you mean, can you explain?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I was never aware of this debt until after the creditor (medical provider) sent me to collections. Didn't hear anything from the collection company until a couple years after it had been sent to collections. After I recieved the first notification from the collection company I called them and asked what it was pertaining to. Did all the correct things... sent a dispute in writing asking for proof of the debt. Recieved a print out from the collection company - not on the creditors' letterhead. When I asked for further documentation I never got a response back. Then I was served with court papers stating a judgement was being filed against me. So, again, I called the collection company and asked what was going on. They stated that if I didn't make payment arrangements that they would be persuing this judgement. I told them I had still been waiting for documentation. Made the payment arrangments because they said if I didn't they would file the judgement with the court. I have been paying every month on time to this company and just recently pulled my credit report and found that they had filed the judgement. All this time I have NEVER recieved any kind of statement from the collector showing balance or any other kind of documentation. I have called and requested this be sent to me each month and they told me they don't do that. So my question is "can they do that, or do they need to provide me with some kind of statement with my balance on it?"
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Also, I can only answer the questions you specifically ask and based on the facts that you give so please be sure that you ask the questions you want to ask and provide all necessary facts.

First, federal law (the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) requires that the collection agency "verify the debt" but not that they provide documentation, which is a common misunderstanding. Verification can be as simple as them calling the original creditor on the telephone and asking "Does this person owe this debt?" When the original creditor answers "yes" then the debt has been verified.

There is nothing in the law that automatically requires them to provide any type of written documentation of the debt. Where that would come into play is that if you were sued you would argue that interest didn't begin running until they did provide something to prove you owed the debt and the exact amount. You would want to send them your request for this, in writing, as soon as you could.

If you have not been sued yet they have to go through the lawsuit process before they can get a judgment and often collection agencies can be beaten because they don't have the right paperwork to prove you owe the debt. There is a very good, inexpensive ebook on handling these situations at http://www.lessonsinlaw.com/the-guerrilla-guides-to-the-law/the-guerrilla-guide-to-how-to-fight-a-debt-collection-lawsuit/

That book also discusses the discovery procedures you use to find out whether they have the documents to prove you owe the debt.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
if they haven't actually sued me can they even file a judgement on me?
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

No, not until they file a lawsuit and go through all of those procedures. Although the collection agencies often lie about what they can do, there is no state in the US which allows for a company just to get a judgment for a consumer debt without filing lawsuit.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
howcome on my credit report it shows that I have a judgement against me from them? Is this something I can fight? I have never recieved any kind of legal documentation from them other than the paperwork saying there was a judgement being filed against me?
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

I have no idea. All I can guess is that they sued you and claimed they served you with the papers when they did not. You would have to look at the original file folder in the clerk of courts office to see what happened.

If you were never served then you can have a lawyer file a Motion to Vacate Judgment (or file one yourself) and ask the court to order the judgment to be vacated based on a lack fo due process due to no service.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Where do I get the paperwork for this to file? Do I need to go to the court first and ask to see the documents on this?
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

You can look online and see if you can find forms, most attorneys don't use forms they draft their own documents from scratch. However, before you file anything you need to go through the court's file to see if you can figure out what happened.

You want to strongly consider hiring a lawyer to at least file the motion to vacate judgment. Your chances of having a judge grant the request are probably 10 times better if a lawyer file it than if you file it yourself. If the judge grants the motion then you can represent yourself in the case.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Do you have any idea of what this would cost me? This whole judgement thing is keeping my fiance and I from buying a home so this is very disruptive and I have done everything that the collection company has asked me to do. So it is really frustrating. If I did get an attorney do they check the court records or do I still do that?
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

No idea. It varies tremendously from one area of the country to another and at this point we're just guessing as to what might have happened.

If you're going to get an attorney they will handle checking the records and everything else. If it's not a service issue then it will take an attorney to spot what happened (although there has to be some problem with service if you weren't served, but there could be more than that).

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The only paperwork I was ever served was the paperwork stating a judgement was being filed. That is all I have ever recieved. Guess thats why I'm so confused because at that point I was already making payments to them. I guess I need to look into getting an attorney.
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

That would be the best step, particularly if it is going to mean the difference between getting a home or not.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
If they find that the judgement was not filed correctly or whatever can they have the remaining balance on the collection be removed as well or do I still need to pay that regardless of the outcome? Would you know that?
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

It would remove any part of the judgment, including interest. It doesn't mean you don't owe the money (or that you do), just that the judgment is no longer valid.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok. Fair enough. I appreciate your help in answering my questions. Looks like I need to see if I can find an attorney that I can afford to help me out with this. Do you feel that I have a case? Is it worth getting an attorney?
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

Most of these collection agencies DO NOT do things correctly and normally attorneys can get the judgments reversed/vacated. In addition, they rarely are able to prove what they have to prove to recover if it is an actual trial.

If the amount of the judgment is over $2000 then you should look into an attorney and at least look at prices. The attorney may even be able to make a claim for attorney's fees for bad faith if they lied about service on you.

If your question has been answered then I'd offer my best wishes to you and ask that you please not forget to leave a Positive Rating so I receive credit for my work.

Of course, please feel free to ask any follow up questions in this thread.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Wonderful. Thank you very much. You have been very helpful and I appreciate the time you took to help me. Have a great afternoon.
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

You're very welcome!

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