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    Edelman, Combs, Latturner, & Goodwin, LLC

    20 South Clark Street
    Suite 1500
    Chicago, IL 60603

    info@edcombs.com
    Phone: 312-739-4200
    Fax: 312-419-0379


    E-mail Us  |  Chicago Law Office

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    Archive

    American Coradius

    Monday, December 22nd, 2014

    Please contact us if American Coradius has attempted to collect a debt from you.

    The repo man now hunts on social media

    Monday, December 22nd, 2014

    Automotive News of December 20, 2014, an industry publication, reports that social media searches are being used to find people who have defaulted on their auto loans, as a way to track down vehicles earmarked for repossession.   Skip tracers search Facebook and other social media sites to find debtors and vehicles.

     

    Debt collectors who “friend” someone on Facebook to find where they are, or otherwise engage in deception, may   violate the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.  41220/RETAIL/312229991&template=printart

    CACH, CACV

    Sunday, December 21st, 2014

    Please contact us if you have received a collection letter from CACH or CACV  in Illinois, Indiana or Wisconsin.

    Facts about collection lawsuits

    Sunday, December 21st, 2014

    Facts about collection lawsuits:

    1. You are entitled to get properly notified of the lawsuit, which means service of process in strict accordance with state law. We can determine whether or not you have been properly and legally notified of any lawsuit against you.

    2. You are entitled to a hearing before a judge and, if you wish, a jury before a credit card company can get a judgment against you through the courts. You do not have to settle your case with the collection attorney on the terms they dictate.

    3. Most collection lawsuits result in judgment against the consumer because the consumer defaults, which means not showing up in court or filing papers as required. It is worth your while to show up and demand your day in court. It is also worth your while to hire us to do this for you.

    4. You have the right to demand proof of standing from anyone other than the original creditor. If the debt collector is different from the original creditor, you are entitled to see a chain of ownership that establishes whether the debt collector owns the right to sue on the debt. Otherwise, you might pay this collector off and then be sued later by another creditor who claims to own the debt.

    5. You are entitled to proof of the debt. Many if not most debt buyers do not have evidence that you owe the money. Debt buyers count on your defaulting in order to win. Once they have a default judgment, they will try to garnish your wages and bank accounts.

    6. You are entitled to proof of the amount of the debt. Some debt collectors add unauthorized interest to their claims. Others simply cannot prove what they claim is due.

    7. If you are sued by a debt buyer, the question is not whether you might owe money to someone, but whether you owe the amount claimed to the debt buyer suing you. Never assume that you owe someone money just because they are demanding money from you. We have had cases where the same debt was supposedly sold to two different buyers, or where a debt was settled and the “balance” then sold.

    8. Many collection cases are based on hearsay and other material that does not comply with applicable rules of evidence.

    9. You are entitled to the benefit of the statute of limitations. Illinois statutes of limitation are two years for bad check penalties, three years for checks, four years for the sale of goods (automobiles, furniture, natural gas), five years for contracts not wholly in writing (credit cards, nonelective medical debt), and ten years for other contracts wholly in writing; these are usually measured from default or last payment.

    We defend many types of collection lawsuits for a modest fee.

     

    A dozen things that debt collectors are not allowed to do

    Thursday, December 18th, 2014

    A dozen things that debt collectors are not allowed to do with respect to consumer debts.  Debt collectors include collection agencies, collection lawyers, and debt buyers.

    1. Inform third parties that a debt is owed.  This includes leaving voicemail messages on a voicemail or answering machine that is used by someone other than the debtor or the debtor’s husband or wife.

    2. Contact a consumer after they are notified they are represented by an attorney. (This is one of the benefits of hiring an attorney to deal with debt collectors.)

    3. Contact a consumer at their place of employment when the collector is informed that the employer prohibits such communications.

    4. Continue to contact a consumer after the consumer has notified them in writing to stop all communications or that the refuse to pay. Note that a consumer does not have a legal right to  instruct  a debt collector to contact them only in writing, but that either oral or written instructions not to use automated equipment or a recorded v0ice to call a cell phone are legally  effective.

    5. Falsely represent that they are affiliated with the United States, state, or local government.

    6. Threaten you with jail if you don’t pay your debt.

    7. Threaten you with any other action they are not legally entitled to perform or don’t intend to perform.

    8. Misrepresent that they are an attorney.

    9. Fail to tell you in any communication they are attempting to collect a debt or that they are debt collectors.  This includes voicemail messages.

    10. Attempt to collect any amount not authorized by a legally-enforceable agreement. For example, attempts to enforce usurious internet payday loans made by unlicensed lenders violate this prohibition.

    11. Accept or solicit a check dated more than 5 days in advance without providing 3 business days written notice of intent to deposit it.

    12. Fail to send a “debt validation notice” within 5 days of the initial communication. The notice must accurately state:

    a. the amount of the debt,

    b. the name of the creditor to whom the debt is currently owed,

    c. that you have the right to dispute the debt,

    d. that if you dispute the debt in writing within 30 days verification will be provided, and

    e. that you have the right to receive the name and address of the original creditor if not the same as the current creditor.

    United Recovery Systems, LP

    Thursday, December 18th, 2014

    Please contact us if United Recovery Systems has attempted to collect a debt from you within the last year.

    Cymetrix / Healthcare Recovery Solutions

    Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

    Please contact us if Cymetrix/ Healthcare Recovery Solutions is attempting to collect a debt from you.

    AllianceOne Receivables Managment

    Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

    Please contact us if AllianceOne Receivables Management is trying to collect money from you.

    Firstsource Advantage

    Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

    Please contact us if Firstsource Advantage is trying to collect money from you.

    CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU SPOTLIGHTS CONCERNS WITH MEDICAL DEBT COLLECTION AND REPORTING

    Thursday, December 11th, 2014

    CFPB to Require Credit Reporting Agencies to Regularly Report on Consumer Disputes

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a report that found medical debt has a significant impact on consumer credit, as 43 million Americans have overdue medical debt on their credit reports. The CFPB is concerned that the systems for incurring, collecting, and reporting medical debt can create difficult challenges for consumers. To better address these challenges, the CFPB is announcing that the major consumer reporting agencies will be required to provide regular accuracy reports to the Bureau on how disputes from consumers are being handled.

    “It’s hard for consumers to navigate the medical debt maze and come out with a clean credit report on the other side,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “The CFPB is taking action to improve credit report accuracy. Getting medical care should not make your credit report sick.”

    The medical debt study can be found at: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201412_cfpb_reports_consumer-credit-medical-and-non-medical-collections.pdf

    Medical debt is incurred differently than other unpaid bills, such as unpaid phone or utility bills. Medical debt can result from an event that is unpredictable and costly, such as an accident or sudden illness. In addition, consumers are often temporarily responsible for the whole bill until insurance works it out. Consumers can also become responsible for medical debt because of billing issues between medical providers and insurers. Complaints to the CFPB indicate that many consumers do not even know they owe medical debt until they get a call from the collections agency or they discover it on their credit report.

    If a medical bill goes unpaid after a certain amount of time, the medical provider may hand over the account to a third-party debt collector. The majority of collections items that end up on consumers’ credit reports are furnished to the credit reporting agencies by third-party debt collectors. When a collection item ends up on a consumer’s credit report, it decreases the consumer’s credit score. These scores play an important role in the lives of American consumers because most lenders decide to grant credit and set interest rates based on them. A collection item generally can stay on a report for up to seven years.

    Today’s CFPB study draws on sources such as information from credit reporting companies, consumer complaints to the Bureau, and interviews with debt collection agencies, healthcare providers, and observers of healthcare billing and payment processes. Among the findings:

    • Half of all overdue debt on credit reports is from medical debt: A staggering 52 percent of all debt on credit reports is from medical expenses. When a debt is past due, a collector may report the consumer’s account to a credit reporting agency. On the consumer’s report, this item would appear as an account in collections, resulting in a credit score drop.
    • One out of five credit reports contains overdue medical debt: Today’s study found that one out of five credit reports contain medical debt in collections. This means that 43 million Americans have unpaid medical debt adversely affecting their credit report.
    • 15 million consumers have only medical debt on their credit reports: Seven percent of all consumers have medical debt and no other collection items on their reports. These 15 million consumers tend to be more reliable bill payers than consumers with other types of collections on their credit reports. They are much more likely to be consumers who normally meet their debt obligations.
    • Average reported medical debt is $579: The average unpaid, non-medical collections item on a credit report is $1,000; the median is $366. Unpaid medical collections are smaller, with an average of $579 and a median of $207. These figures contrast with the much larger amounts that are due on credit cards or student loans that are seriously delinquent. Such accounts average several thousand dollars.

    Medical Debt Consumer Challenges

    While the CFPB has previously reported on the general problems it has found with debt collection and its impact on credit reports, today’s report found that medical debt amplifies many of these issues. The CFPB is concerned the complex processes by which medical bills are incurred, collected by a wide range of debt collectors, and reported to credit reporting agencies can create challenges for consumers. Specifically, these challenges include:

    • Confusing process of incurring medical debt: The medical billing process can be confusing for consumers. From one medical treatment or incident – a trip to the hospital, a treatment for an illness – there can be multiple bills from multiple providers. The costs can depend on whether the consumer has insurance, what insurance covers, and whether the provider is within the insurer’s network. The consumer’s obligation also can vary based upon whether the consumer has reached an annual cap on the amount required to pay out-of-pocket. As a result, consumers might not know how much medical debt they are responsible for paying.
    • Haphazard system for reporting overdue medical debt: Unlike many other industries, there is no standard practice on when overdue medical debt is sent to a debt collector or reported to credit reporting agencies. Consumers may have little insight into how a medical debt might wind up on their credit report. The time between when a provider sends the first bill to a patient and when it ultimately ends up on a credit report can differ dramatically. Some providers send the unpaid bill to a collections agency as soon as 30 days after billing, while other providers may wait up to 180 days. These variations mean that medical debt collection items on a credit report that appear similar can reflect very different things about a borrower’s creditworthiness.
    • Opaque practice of collecting debt by “parking” it on credit reports: It is not uncommon for debt collectors to “park” medical debts on credit reports as a way to get consumers to pay. This means debt collectors may not notify the consumer that they have an overdue debt or give them an opportunity to pay it before it goes on the credit report. Some collectors deploy this tactic to avoid going through the expense or hassle of contacting consumers. Consumers may discover the debt on their reports, worry about it, then contact the collector and pay it. In some cases these debts are paid by insurers once they have processed the claims, but consumers may already have been harmed.

    New Accountability for Accurate Credit Reports

    Today’s report lays out the ways in which the system of collecting and reporting medical debt introduces multiple points at which error and consumer harm can occur. These errors can also be found in any information source furnished to the credit reporting agencies. A top priority for the CFPB is to hold all players in the credit reporting market accountable for ensuring the accuracy of data in credit reports. This applies to the furnishers of the information, to the credit bureaus, and to the creditors which often both furnish information and use credit reports.

    As part of that effort, today the CFPB announced that it will be requiring major credit reporting companies to provide regular accuracy reports to the Bureau as part of ongoing examinations. The reports will highlight key risk areas for consumers, including disputes filed with the credit reporting agencies. Some of the metrics in the accuracy report will include:

    • Furnishers with the most overall disputes: If a credit reporting company continuously experiences an outsized number of consumer disputes about information from a particular furnisher, the CFPB expects the credit reporting agency to investigate, identify if there is a problem, and take appropriate action.
    • Industries with the most disputes: The credit reporting agencies will have to list the top industries they are reporting on, the volume of information received from those industries, and the total number of disputes generated by those industries.
    • Furnishers with particularly high disputes relative to their industry peers: For each industry named, the credit reporting agency must also name the top furnishers with the largest number of consumer disputes.

    A sample accuracy report is available at: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201412_cfpb_sample-accuracy-report.pdf

    Today the CFPB is also releasing consumer tips on how to deal with medical debt, both before it gets on a credit report and after. The advisory says consumers should ask for an itemized bill and review each item on the bill to see if it is for a service that they received. Consumers should act quickly to resolve or dispute the medical bills that they receive. If consumers need to dispute a bill, they should send a written notice and include a copy of all relevant documents, such as records from doctors’ offices or credit card statements.

    The advisory can be found at: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201412_cfpb-7-ways-to-keep-medical-debt-in-check.pdf

    In May of this year, the CFPB released a research report that found consumers’ credit scores may be overly penalized for medical debt that goes into collections and shows up on their credit report. According to that study, credit scoring models may underestimate the creditworthiness of consumers who owe medical debt in collections. The scoring models also may not be crediting consumers who repay medical debt that has gone to collections. That report can be found at: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201405_cfpb_report_data-point_medical-debt-credit-scores.pdf

    The Bureau’s interactive online tool, Ask CFPB, contains questions and answers related to the topics of debt collection and credit reports. The CFPB accepts consumer complaints about both.