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First, with regard to the collection agency. if Westgate's claim is not valid, which it is not, then the collection agency's claim has no validity. So. send them a certified, return receipt requested letter explaining why you do not owe this debt and demand they immediately cease and desist all further efforts to contact you and/or anyone else to collect this debt. Inform them that any efforts to do otherwise will constitute a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and that you will report each and every violation to the Federal Trade Commission. Each violation carries at least a $1,000 fine. Also let them know that should they file any negative credit report, you will be filing a defamation suit against them for both your actual and punitive damages
. In my experience, the fine under the Federal Act and the threat of the defamation should be an end to these collection efforts.
With regard to Westgate, you want to raise the stakes on them. Send them a certified, return receipt requested letter detailing the history and demand they release any and all liens against your property and contact the collection agency regarding their mistake. Inform them that if they do not comply with your demand within a short specified period of time, you will have no choice but to file a suit for your damages. BUT, be sure to specifically mention that you will be filing this claim not only as a breach of contract case, but also as fraud and deceptive trade practice causes of action, which will entitle you not only to your damages, but also an additional amount equal to multiple times your actual damages as punitive damages. Also, let them know you will be contacting the state attorney general's office and the FTC regarding their deceptive trade practices. That should provide plenty of incentive to comply with your demands; but, if it does not, file your suit and contact the government agencies. Even if you have to file the suit, that's likely all you will need do. In my experience, they will settle this without a hearing rather than risk punitive damages and the fraud and/or deceptive trade practice judgments being on the record.
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