Debt Collection A to Z: A is for Asset Recovery


The “Car Law A to Z” seemed to be so popular that I thought I would do the same for debt collection.  Practically everyone incurs some type of debt be it a credit card, vehicle loan, mortgage, personal loan, or something else.  When you borrow money and obligate yourself to pay it back you do have certain rights under state and federal law.  There seem to be many myths floating around regarding some of these rights and even obligations when dealing with debts.  Over the course of the coming weeks I hope to educate the reader and provide reliable information that can be of real value.  If you have questions, suggestions, or comments feel free to reply.  brief info for your briefcase

A is for asset recovery which is merely a fancy term for repossession.  Click here for more details on repossession and the relevant law.

If you have questions about asset recovery or repossession be sure to have as many of the following information/materials available before contacting me:

  • Bill of Sale a/k/a Buyer’s Order
  • Retail installment sales contract a/k/a finance contract
  • Receipts or proof of all vehicle payments made by you
  • Security agreement (typically gives seller and/or lender the right to repossess vehicle if breach of contract occurs)
  • Any certificates of repossession
  • Correspondence or notices from seller or lender regarding potential deficiencies or breach of contract by you
  • Documentation of seller or lender’s usage of a GPS tracking and/or shutdown device on the vehicle

Then you should contact me for a free consultation to discuss your situation.

Tips for Summer Sanity


July is almost over and that means the end of summer is near.  Whether you base it on the return of children to school or college or even the approach of Labor Day, the days of summer are winding up.  Be sure to enjoy the rest of yours and here are some tips on how to do so with minimal legal interference (hopefully):  summer fun and safety

  1. Go a bit easier on that gas pedal when driving and don’t “drive dirty”….here’s why
  2. When going to a game watch the field of play and your surroundings…..here’s why.  Not convinced?  Read this
  3. Deconstruct those you may ask to perform construction work for you….here’s why
  4. Contemplate and cover the details when renting that vehicle….here’s why

I wish you many good times and memories, safe travels, and all the best as we all try to grab what is left of summer 2014.

 

 

Publication of Debtors = Problems for Creditor


Publishing a list of deadbeats may seem like a cool and effective means of collecting debts but it could get the publisher(s) in big legal trouble.  I recently resolved a case involving a homeowner who was part of the Olde Vineyard Homeowners Association.  For several months over a multi-year period OVHOA and/or the former property management group, Lowder Property Management, published a list of homeowners who were allegedly delinquent on HOA dues and other assessments.  I contended the publishing of the list–which was done via posting on the property and via e-mail to the HOA members and via U.S mail to the HOA members–violated the North Carolina Debt Collection Act. After much wrangling and finger-pointing between the HOA and the former property manager the case was resolved in my client’s favor.

Though this case is settled it got me wondering about whether any of the other Olde Vineyard HOA members even realized the publication of the deadbeat list violated North Carolina (and possibly federal) law.  I would hope no other homeowners associations or similar groups in North Carolina are or were employing this “shaming the debtor” method of collection.  This is serious business. If you or anyone you know is a victim of this practice it is imperative to consult an attorney and have a consultation about the situation and any available legal remedies.

Georgia Court Calls Baseball Rule a Foul Ball


In Atlanta, a 6-year girl was seriously injured when she was struck by a ball fouled off by a player on the Atlanta Braves team during a May 30, 2010 game.  Her parents sued the Atlanta Braves and the team moved to dismiss the lawsuit.  The Georgia Court of Appeals refused to dismiss the lawsuit and, in so doing, opted against application of the “baseball rule” which shields teams and stadium operators from liability due to injuries to persons who are seated or situated in unprotected areas of the stadium so long as they provide seating behind a screen-protected home plate.  The appellate court affirmed the trial court’s ruling that the “baseball rule” is not the law in Georgia.

Click here for a previous blog post on liability of stadiums and teams for injuries at sporting events in North Carolina.  I am headed to a Washington Nationals game this Saturday evening and I hope you and all others who attend games and events have fun and remain safe.

Help Me Help You: A Checklist


Thank you again for those of you who have consulted with me on legal matters and/or referred someone to me for a consultation.  Time is valuable and in an effort to maximize the time set aside for a legal consultation I have created a list of documents and items needed for review in certain cases.  Please review the following and share with your family, friends, and colleagues.  Thanks in advance for sharing and I look forward to serving you in the future.

Warranty issues or Vehicle problems

  • Bill of Sale a/k/a Buyer’s Order
  • Retail installment sales contract a/k/a finance contract
  • Damage Disclosure Statement
  • Odometer Disclosure Statement
  • Buyer’s Guide window sticker
  • “We Owe” or similar documentation of any post-purchase vehicle work/modifications to be performed by seller
  • All other documents you received from seller at time of purchase
  • Advertisements or Internet listings about the specific vehicle you purchased
  • Work orders, service tickets, and other documentation of work performed on vehicle
  • Receipts for any payments for work performed on vehicle
  • Warranty agreements and vehicle service agreements
  • Vehicle owner’s manual and warranty booklet (applicable in case of a vehicle you purchased new a/k/a as first titled owner)
  • Completed Vehicle Problem Log

 

Failure to Disclose Vehicle Damage

  • Bill of Sale a/k/a Buyer’s Order
  • Retail installment sales contract a/k/a finance contract
  • Damage Disclosure Statement
  • Buyer’s Guide window sticker
  • All other documents you received from seller at time of purchase
  • Certified North Carolina DMV vehicle title history (or title history from another state if appropriate)
  • Documentation of previous vehicle damage (ex: repair invoice, repair estimate)
  • Accident/incident report(s)
  • CarFax or Autocheck report on vehicle

Wrongful Repossession

  • Bill of Sale a/k/a Buyer’s Order
  • Retail installment sales contract a/k/a finance contract
  • Receipts or proof of all vehicle payments made by you
  • Security agreement (typically gives seller and/or lender the right to repossess vehicle if breach of contract occurs)
  • Any certificates of repossession
  • Correspondence or notices from seller or lender regarding potential deficiencies or breach of contract by you
  • Documentation of seller or lender’s usage of a GPS tracking and/or shutdown device on the vehicle

Personal Injury

  • Accident report/crash report or exchange of information sheet
  • Copy of any automobile insurance policies covering you or your vehicle
  • Any medical bills, records, receipts, or other documentation you have related to your treatment
  • Names and contact information for all medical and healthcare providers you have seen and are currently scheduled to see
  • Any letters or correspondence received from any insurance company (auto, health, life, etc.) related to the accident/incident
  • Any pictures of your injuries
  • Any pictures of the damage to your vehicle or any of the vehicles involved in the incident
  • Any pictures of the scene of the accident/incident
  • Names and contact information for any witnesses to the accident/incident
  • If you have lost wages due to your injury, provide 3-4 pay stubs for the period immediately before the accident/incident AND at least 2 pay stubs for the periods after your return to work (if you have returned to work)

 

Debt Collection Problems

  • Name of the creditor or collector who has contacted you as well as the nature of the account(s) and account number(s) on which collection is being sought
  • Copy of all letters, emails, faxes, and other correspondence you have received from the creditor and/or any persons seeking to collect on the debt
  • Copy of all letters, emails, faxes, and other correspondence you have sent to the creditor and/or any persons seeking to collect on the debt
  • Statements, account histories, and other documentation you have regarding the account on which collection is being sought
  • Copies of any checks, money orders, or other proof of your payments made on the account
  • Copy of your credit report from any of the three major credit reporting agencies (for a free copy visit www.annualcreditreport.com)
  • Copy of all repayment agreements, settlement agreements, forgiveness letters, and other documentation of modifications made to your debt or debt repayment
  • IF YOU HAVE BEEN SUED: Copy of all complaints, summonses, motions, notices, affidavits, judgments, and other court documents you have received in your case
  • Recordings or records of any harassing phone calls or other threatening communications you have received

Crank Calls for Cash: Are You Next?


This story is disappointing and also disturbing.  A senior woman in Davidson County has been receiving somewhat anonymous phone calls from persons seeking to collect on a debt.  As usually occurs, the callers fail to provide their names or the name of their company and/or the original creditor.  Instead the callers make threats and engage in shakedown tactics designed to “scare” money out of people.

In this case the woman went to the local Clerk of Court—an unusual thing but perhaps a good idea–and the Clerk called the persons who had been harassing this poor woman.  And the Clerk got stonewalled as well…..go figure.

So if you find yourself in this situation what can you do?  First, when you get a phone call try to get the following information from the caller:  person’s name, name and address of company/agency from which he is calling, name of original creditor, account number, and alleged amount due.  If the person refuses to provide this information or gives you a runaround this is a sign the caller is seeking to scam you.  Think about it:  what legitimate company has any problem providing this information to you if they really expect you to make payment?

If you have received numerous phone calls of a harassing nature and the calls seem to be excessive in number you may have a claim for damages under applicable debt collection laws.  Debt collection is an area of the law that requires a bit of study and attention to detail.  If you have a question or issue regarding debt collection, do not go it alone.  Contact an attorney who specifically handles debt collection cases.

Road Warrior for Justice


People often ask me where I will go to handle cases or where I have been.  Here is a list of the places in which I have either handled cases or had clients:

Cities:  Ahoskie, Asheboro, Boiling Springs, Burlington, Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Cherryville, Comfort, Durham, Eden, Forest City, Gastonia, Graham, Greensboro, Greenville, Hamlet, Hickory, Hiddenite, High Point, Hillsborough, Hubert, Huntersville, Jamestown, Lawndale, Kernersville, Kinston, Knightdale, La Grange, Laurinburg, Lexington, Lincolnton, Lumberton, Maiden, Manteo, Marion, Morehead City, Mooresville, Morrisville, Nashville, New Bern, Newton, Pelham, Raleigh, Reidsville, Rockingham, Rocky Mount, Rutherfordton, Salisbury, Shelby, Snow Hill, Statesville, Tarboro, Taylorsville, Thomasville, Trenton, Trinity, Wadesboro, Wilmington, Wilson, Winston-Salem, and Zebulon.

Counties:   Guilford, Forsyth, Randolph, Davidson, Alamance, Alexander, Cabarrus, Iredell, Rowan, Mecklenburg, Wake, Nash, Edgecombe, Chatham, Orange, Durham, Catawba, Gaston, Craven, Cleveland, Lincoln, Lenoir, Jones, Pitt, Richmond, Rockingham, Wilson, Cumberland, Wayne, and New Hanover.

States:  Arizona, California, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

If you do not see your city, town, or state listed, do not let that stop you from contacting me.  Needless to say I am unable to handle all types of cases in all places but it does not hurt to ask.  Even if I am unable to assist you I may be able to refer you to an attorney or other appropriate professional in the area.

Thank you for your ongoing support and I look forward to serving you.

Helping You Help Others: A Professional Invitation


Referrals are the sincerest compliment for professionals and businesses.  I appreciate all referrals that you and others have provided over the years and look forward to the opportunity to help others.

I have been practicing almost 18 years and am quite humbled that (more…)

Do You Have One Ticket Too Many?


For many the holiday weekend is now over.  For those of you who are still vacationing or otherwise away, consider yourself fortunate.  I hope all of you had good fun, some good food and drink, and (more…)