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Thread: Jetman needs some legal advice

  1. #1

    Jetman needs some legal advice

    if anybody can help, i'd really appreciate it. i have been getting letters from collection agencies since back in the summer. this is obviously a case of mistaken identity with somebody with the same name as mine. they even sent a sheriff to my house to deliver a letter to me saying i was being sued for $800. i sent the letter back to the court system saying they had the wrong person. basically i have been just throwng the letters away and even changed my telephone number to a unlisted number to stop the calls because i knew it wasn't me but now it seems that this isn't going to go away and the recent letters say i failed to dispute this within 30 days so now i have to pay and this letter is signed by a judge! can you believe this crap? i'm not sure what to do. any suggestions would be appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by jetman in indy
    if anybody can help, i'd really appreciate it. i have been getting letters from collection agencies since back in the summer. this is obviously a case of mistaken identity with somebody with the same name as mine. they even sent a sheriff to my house to deliver a letter to me saying i was being sued for $800. i sent the letter back to the court system saying they had the wrong person. basically i have been just throwng the letters away and even changed my telephone number to a unlisted number to stop the calls because i knew it wasn't me but now it seems that this isn't going to go away and the recent letters say i failed to dispute this within 30 days so now i have to pay and this letter is signed by a judge! can you believe this crap? i'm not sure what to do. any suggestions would be appreciated.
    Go to court or talk to the Judge. You'll need legal documentation that this was an error.

  3. #3
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    make sure you are not a victim of identity theft

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    The crappy thing about all this is that you have to do the work...

    Here is the process...

    Take the most recent collection letter you received from the collection agency.

    Respond with a letter citing the Fair Debt Collection Act...

    Tell them (in writing) that you require "Proof of indebtedness" and that you demand all contact and collection efforts cease immediately.

    Also cite the Fair Credit Reporting Act that any reporting of this debt to your credit report by ANY of the 3 reporting agencies must be removed and no new reporting is permitted.

    Get your credit report from all three agencies and make sure there are NO ENTRIES regarding this debt. If so, dispute them as inaccurate IMMEDIATELY. You dispute is the the "debt is not yours."

    Further, you may need to make sure you are not a victim of identity theft. You can call the police and ask to file a report for identity theft. Copy the 3 credit reporting agencies AND your bank(s) with the police report.

    They then have 30 days to provide you with PROOF that it is you that owes the debt.

    If they don't respond within the 30 days, they are obligated to "cancel" the debt (as it pertains to you) and they are required to permanently delete any entries to your credit report.

    If they do respond, dispute the claims as they defined it. Again, they will have 30 days to respond to your dispute.

    There are many resources on the web with sample dispute letter and the process. DONT IGNORE THE LETTERS - EVEN IF YOU KNOW ITS NOT YOU. It will be a process that can take MONTHS to fix.

    Do everything in writing with the collector and send ALL correspondence with certified mail / return receipt.

  5. #5
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    When you ignore a legal summons and complaint you do so at your own peril. A default judgment will be entered against you and that is probably what happened here. That default judgment has the same legal effect that a judgment entered against you after a full trial would have. In other words, the person who sued you can use it to attach your wages, sieze your bank account or car or put a lien against your house.

    If there is a judgment against you, what you need to do is go to the Court that issued the judgment and file a "Motion to Vacate Default Judgment" and ask the Clerk's office how you can get it on for hearing. In the motion papers, you need to explain that you are not a lawyer and you didn't have one and you did not understand that you needed to answer and that because it wasn't you they were looking for you thought it would just go away. Then, you need to attach written proof that it was not you.

    In most jurisdictions, you need to show: (1) "excusable neglect" for not answering the complaint within the allotted time (in this case, you were not a lawyer and you did not understand the document); and (2) that you have "meritorious defenses," or, in this case, that they got the wrong guy.

    If you really want to clean this up, hire a lawyer, but try to negotiate the price in advance. This is not intended to be legal advice, only some practical tips on how to approach this problem. If you want real legal advice, consult with a lawyer.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by JetFanTransplant
    The crappy thing about all this is that you have to do the work...

    Here is the process...

    Take the most recent collection letter you received from the collection agency.

    Respond with a letter citing the Fair Debt Collection Act...

    Tell them (in writing) that you require "Proof of indebtedness" and that you demand all contact and collection efforts cease immediately.

    Also cite the Fair Credit Reporting Act that any reporting of this debt to your credit report by ANY of the 3 reporting agencies must be removed and no new reporting is permitted.

    Get your credit report from all three agencies and make sure there are NO ENTRIES regarding this debt. If so, dispute them as inaccurate IMMEDIATELY. You dispute is the the "debt is not yours."

    Further, you may need to make sure you are not a victim of identity theft. You can call the police and ask to file a report for identity theft. Copy the 3 credit reporting agencies AND your bank(s) with the police report.

    They then have 30 days to provide you with PROOF that it is you that owes the debt.

    If they don't respond within the 30 days, they are obligated to "cancel" the debt (as it pertains to you) and they are required to permanently delete any entries to your credit report.

    If they do respond, dispute the claims as they defined it. Again, they will have 30 days to respond to your dispute.

    There are many resources on the web with sample dispute letter and the process. DONT IGNORE THE LETTERS - EVEN IF YOU KNOW ITS NOT YOU. It will be a process that can take MONTHS to fix.

    Do everything in writing with the collector and send ALL correspondence with certified mail / return receipt.
    wow you are good

  7. #7
    there are form letters of what jetfantransplant was talking about all over the internet - just type the phrases into google, like "form letters to credit agencies" and a bunch of things will come up. also, what rijetfan was talking about is on the internet as well - the forms for motions to vacate default judgment, etc are also available, and the clerk at the courthouse will help you with any questions. just type in "new jersey motion to vaste default judgment" or whatever state you are in and the forms sould be available through the court websites. you could also just go down and talk to the clerk - they have everything you need

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by RIJetFan
    When you ignore a legal summons and complaint you do so at your own peril. A default judgment will be entered against you and that is probably what happened here. That default judgment has the same legal effect that a judgment entered against you after a full trial would have. In other words, the person who sued you can use it to attach your wages, sieze your bank account or car or put a lien against your house.

    If there is a judgment against you, what you need to do is go to the Court that issued the judgment and file a "Motion to Vacate Default Judgment" and ask the Clerk's office how you can get it on for hearing. In the motion papers, you need to explain that you are not a lawyer and you didn't have one and you did not understand that you needed to answer and that because it wasn't you they were looking for you thought it would just go away. Then, you need to attach written proof that it was not you.

    In most jurisdictions, you need to show: (1) "excusable neglect" for not answering the complaint within the allotted time (in this case, you were not a lawyer and you did not understand the document); and (2) that you have "meritorious defenses," or, in this case, that they got the wrong guy.

    If you really want to clean this up, hire a lawyer, but try to negotiate the price in advance. This is not intended to be legal advice, only some practical tips on how to approach this problem. If you want real legal advice, consult with a lawyer.
    thanks man i really appreciate your reply as well as all of the other replys. it seems that since i did not respond within 30 days that the judge has already awarded judgement. the lady on the phone (civil court) said i needed to get a lawyer to appeal this. this whole thing is UNBELIEVABLE! i have done nothing wrong and now i'm still going to have to spend money and time on this. by the way, how do i attach written proof that it is not me? all i know is it is a credit card that this person used. the papers on the judgemant only show the last four digits. so what do i show them as far as written proof?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jetman in indy
    thanks man i really appreciate your reply as well as all of the other replys. it seems that since i did not respond within 30 days that the judge has already awarded judgement. the lady on the phone (civil court) said i needed to get a lawyer to appeal this. this whole thing is UNBELIEVABLE! i have done nothing wrong and now i'm still going to have to spend money and time on this. by the way, how do i attach written proof that it is not me? all i know is it is a credit card that this person used. the papers on the judgemant only show the last four digits. so what do i show them as far as written proof?
    When you demand (in writing) proof of indebtedness they MUST provide you with a copy of the sales receipt. This will have a couple of things on it to help you:

    A: Full name on the credit card
    B: Location of the Charge
    C: Transaction Number that can be used to ID actual card holder, number
    D: Time and Location of Transaction, etc. etc.

    99% of the time, these types of problems occur because some dill-hole data entry clerk at a collection agency transposed a couple of numbers (your social, most likely) and then the crap-storm follows.

    It took me almost a year to erase a debt brought on due to this very reason, for a $15 parking ticket that was issued to some other person/car. The debt had escalated to over $1000 due to the "late fees" and "collection fees."

  10. #10
    It's probably best to get an attorney. That will cost though but I doubt it will be too expensive since it doesn't seem to be that complicated and is a case of mistaken identity.

    I am a litigation paralegal. If you don't want to get an attorney, respond to the attorney who is sending you the notices in writing and tell him that he has the wrong person.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by jetman in indy
    thanks man i really appreciate your reply as well as all of the other replys. it seems that since i did not respond within 30 days that the judge has already awarded judgement. the lady on the phone (civil court) said i needed to get a lawyer to appeal this. this whole thing is UNBELIEVABLE! i have done nothing wrong and now i'm still going to have to spend money and time on this. by the way, how do i attach written proof that it is not me? all i know is it is a credit card that this person used. the papers on the judgemant only show the last four digits. so what do i show them as far as written proof?
    YOU DO NOT NEED A LAWYER. they have the burden of proof to prove it is you. since you did not show up, they did not need to prove anything to the judge - just your name and the debt. go to the court clerk and get a motion to vacate defualt judgment and fill it out. you will be appearing pro se, which means you are your own atorney. fill out the motion papers explaining it is mistaken identity. then at the court date, the credit people will have to prove that the debt is yours. i suggest getting a motor vehicle abstract since that will prove all of your prior adresses. when the addresses don;t match up to what the credit people have, and you swear under oath that it is not you, you will win. going to the courthouse and being polite to the old ladies is the way to go - get the forms and do the work. you have exra work because it is at judgment phase, but hiring a lawyer is silly and unnecessary - this is something you can handle yourself easily and is routinely done every day in these courts

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by timman19
    It's probably best to get an attorney. That will cost though but I doubt it will be too expensive since it doesn't seem to be that complicated and is a case of mistaken identity.

    I am a litigation paralegal. If you don't want to get an attorney, respond to the attorney who is sending you the notices in writing and tell him that he has the wrong person.
    writing to the attorny after the judgement phase does nothing for you. he needs to first vacate the judgement. then the crdit people will try to refile the complaint - at that point if you can prove to the other atty that it is no you, they may drop it. if not, you have to do it in front of the judge. if it is obvious that it is not you and easily provable using MV abstratcts, you could even try to get you fees and costs from the credit people for filing a frivolous claim

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by oh well okay
    YOU DO NOT NEED A LAWYER. they have the burden of proof to prove it is you. since you did not show up, they did not need to prove anything to the judge - just your name and the debt. go to the court clerk and get a motion to vacate defualt judgment and fill it out. you will be appearing pro se, which means you are your own atorney. fill out the motion papers explaining it is mistaken identity. then at the court date, the credit people will have to prove that the debt is yours. i suggest getting a motor vehicle abstract since that will prove all of your prior adresses. when the addresses don;t match up to what the credit people have, and you swear under oath that it is not you, you will win. going to the courthouse and being polite to the old ladies is the way to go - get the forms and do the work. you have exra work because it is at judgment phase, but hiring a lawyer is silly and unnecessary - this is something you can handle yourself easily and is routinely done every day in these courts
    Respectfully, I would never call it "silly" to hire a lawyer to handle a matter like this. But if you understand all of the directions set out above, maybe you can handle it yourself. But in my experience, pro se litigants can sometimes get short shrift in the court system, because so many of them (not all) are nuts.

    As far as proof, an affidavit in which you swear that it is not your social security number or that you never had an account with them or that you didn't live at the address on the account. If you can back up those statements with copies of a social security card (with most of the numbers blacked out except the ones that they have listed) or a copy of a driver's license with a different address or any other document like that that you can think of. An affidavit has to be notarized by a notary public.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by oh well okay
    writing to the attorny after the judgement phase does nothing for you. he needs to first vacate the judgement. then the crdit people will try to refile the complaint - at that point if you can prove to the other atty that it is no you, they may drop it. if not, you have to do it in front of the judge. if it is obvious that it is not you and easily provable using MV abstratcts, you could even try to get you fees and costs from the credit people for filing a frivolous claim
    wow, that is immpressive! however the clerk and i have already talked at length on the phone with her really giving me a hard time for not doing anything when i had the chance. now she's suggesting i get a lawyer. but i definately do not want to spend money on a lawyer if i can do it myself. but i really want to make sure i have enough documents in front of a judge to get this dismissed. i like the idea of the dmv records of my previous addresses and anything else you might think of.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by RIJetFan
    Respectfully, I would never call it "silly" to hire a lawyer to handle a matter like this. But if you understand all of the directions set out above, maybe you can handle it yourself. But in my experience, pro se litigants can sometimes get short shrift in the court system, because so many of them (not all) are nuts.

    As far as proof, an affidavit in which you swear that it is not your social security number or that you never had an account with them or that you didn't live at the address on the account. If you can back up those statements with copies of a social security card (with most of the numbers blacked out except the ones that they have listed) or a copy of a driver's license with a different address or any other document like that that you can think of. An affidavit has to be notarized by a notary public.
    we can agree to disagree - most people get lawyers because they are unfamiliar with the court system. this is not some criminal case - seems very cut and dried - the social security number and dmv abstract should be all the proof he needs. it is a total waste to hand someone a few hundred bucks to do something you can do for yourself. courts will walk a pro se litigant through the process and give them a lot more deference. you wear a suit, you act polite, etc. don't call on the phone - you have to go down to the courthouse to gt these civil servants off their dead ass to help you. be overtly polite because they deal with sh!theads all day. in most states you do not need an affadvait - you can use a certification which states your points (again samples are provided), but it would be paragrapgh 1: a claim was filed by blah blah agains me on this date allegeing____________. 2. I am not the person/mistaked identity blah blah. 3. attachd please find DMV recods, copy of ss card, etc. then at he botom you write:"i hereby certify that the foregoing statements by me are true to the best of my knowledge. I am awrae that if any of the foregoing is willfully false, I am subjct to punishment" - that avoids the notary.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by oh well okay
    writing to the attorny after the judgement phase does nothing for you. he needs to first vacate the judgement. then the crdit people will try to refile the complaint - at that point if you can prove to the other atty that it is no you, they may drop it. if not, you have to do it in front of the judge. if it is obvious that it is not you and easily provable using MV abstratcts, you could even try to get you fees and costs from the credit people for filing a frivolous claim
    I could have an effect as the attorney was made aware that he may have the wrong person and has a duty to investigate. If he does not and proceeds to enforce the judgment against the wrong person, he could be sanctioned or later held liable for someone's attorneys fees.

    Most of these collection lawyers are a joke and get a portion of monies that are recovered. They don't waste their time if they think there is nothing to collect or if they have the wrong person.

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