Asset Acceptance LLC

Asset Acceptance, LLC is a leading purchaser and collector of charged-off consumer debt. It is one of the oldest and largest debt buyers, opening its doors in 1962, and listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. Asset Acceptance typically buys debt on a “forward flow basis”, which means that a commitment is made to a bank or other credit card issuer, to make a series of scheduled purchases at defined intervals over time. These purchases may consist of thousands of accounts for prices in the tens of millions of dollars.

Asset Acceptance, located in New York, uses several California law firms to collect its debt in California. Most of Asset’s debt collection lawsuits, however, are filed by Fulton, Friedman & Gullace, a New York firm with a (small) satellite office in Concord, CA. Asset Accepetance will also use other law firms on occasion such as Brewer & Brewer, Gordon & Wong, and the Legal Recovery Law Offices of Mark Walsh. Of these, the first two are located in northern CA, while the Walsh law office is in San Diego. The location of the Plaintiff and its attorneys is significant factor driving settlement in debt collection lawsuits. Getting to a courthouse for trial costs time and money – especially for a New York based company such as Asset Acceptance. It simply cannot afford to send employees to CA to testify in every one of its hundreds, perhaps thousands, of CA cases each year. Thus, as trial approaches, Asset Acceptance becomes particularly amendable to a favorable settlement. In some instances, particularly smaller case, Asset’s attorneys will dismiss rather than go to trial.

To learn how we can help you against Asset Acceptance,LLC please click on one of the links at the top of the page. You can also feel free to call us toll free at (877)551-0210 for a free consultation, or you can provide your contact information to the right and we will contact you.

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Persolve, LLC

Persolve LLC is a debt buyer located in Chatsworth, CA which purchases defaulted credit card debt to collect for its own account. In a given case, Persolve may be a first-in-line debt buyer, meaning it has purchased the debt directly from the credit card issuing bank (original creditor), or, it may be a secondary debt buyer, purchasing previously sold accounts from other debt buyers. Persolve frequently purchases debt from debt buyer Riverwalk Holdings.

To prevail in court, Persolve must prove every link in the “chain of title”. More specifically, Persolve must establish with admissible evidence that every prior owner held valid title to the debt when it sold the debt to the next “buyer” in the chain. By law, this requires testimony from each prior owner of the debt. I’ve never seen this happen. Think of it this way: What’s the likelihood that a company – especially a bank – dedicated to solely to making money, will send an employee to a trial in California, to testify in a case in which the company has no financial interest whatsoever? Thus, the more links in the chain, the more difficult it is for Persolve to prove its case.

As a result, when faced with a defense attorney who has experience trying collection cases, Persolve will settle favorably as trial approaches. Why settle at all, if Persolve can’t prove its case? Good question. Settlement eliminates risk. And there is always risk. There is an old saying: “Even the best case has a 50-50 chance of losing”. In credit card collection cases, the major risk is that you draw a judge who disregards the law…totally. That is – the outcome is a foregone conclusion. There are plenty of these judges around. Get a good judge you can win, get a bad one….forget about it.

Persolve has an in-house legal department which handles all its collection lawsuits. The “department” consisted of two attorneys, one of whom has recently left the company. Its legal staff is overloaded with cases and understaffed. Persolve simply cannot try all its cases, so it focuses on getting default judgments and trying cases against consumers who represent themselves.

To learn how we can help you against Persolve, LLC please click on one of the links at the top of the page. You can also feel free to call us toll free at (877)551-0210 for a free consultation, or you can provide your contact information to the right and we will contact you.

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Midland Funding, LLC

Midland Funding LLC is a debt buyer based in San Diego which operates as a subsidiary of Midland Portfolio Services, Inc. Midland Credit Management is the debt servicing arm of Midland Funding, and sends collection letters on delinquent accounts prior to Midland Funding LLC (Midland) filing suit.

Midland uses several debt collection law firms in California to file its debt collection lawsuits (do its dirty work), including: Bleier & Cox, Brachfeld Law Group, CIR Law Offices, Fulton, Friedman & Gullace, Hunt & Henriques and Legal Recovery Law Office of Mark Walsh. Midland also employs an in-house legal department. Why Midland assigns cases to one entity or another is unclear, but there is no noticeable affect on case outcomes. When opposed by an attorney who knows how to try a debt defense case, Midland will typically settle its cases before trial on terms which are favorable to the consumer, regardless of whether the case is filed by its in-house lawyers or sent to outside counsel. Also, some of the attorneys handling Midland cases have been known to dismiss smaller cases shortly before trial.

To learn how we can help you against Midland Funding please click on one of the links at the top of the page. You can also feel free to call us toll free at (877)551-0210 for a free consultation, or you can provide your contact information to the right and we will contact you.

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Bleier & Cox is a debt collection law firm in Encino CA. Their primary clients are Capital One Bank and Discover Bank. Occasionally they will represent FIA Card Services, the account servicing arm of Bank of America, and debt-buyer Midland Funding LLC.

Bleier & Cox is a very capable law firm. While clients have complained about the tactics of their non-lawyer debt collectors, the attorneys at Bleier & Cox are tough but reasonable. They push cases to trial against defendants who represent themselves, as well as against attorneys who lack experience defending credit card cases. Also, Bleier & Cox will use Summary Judgment procedures in an effort to win cases early, without a trial.

We know Bleier & Cox from opposing them over the years and have achieved excellent results. If you have been sued by Bleier & Cox, we can help. To learn how, please fill out the form to the right and we will contact you, or call us at 877-551-0210 for a FREE consultation and case review.

We’ll go over your options and the consultation is free. So call now.

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Legal Recovery Law Offices of Mark Walsh (LRLO)

The Legal Recovery Law Offices of Mark D. Walsh, located in San Diego, is one of the larger debt collection law firms in California. The two major clients of Legal Recovery Law Offices are original creditor Capital One Bank and debt buyer Equable Ascent Financial Services. LRLO also represents debt buyers Midland Funding, Palisades Collections and Portfolio Recovery Services. Legal Recovery Law Offices was once unlikely to take cases to trial due to the unavailablity of their client’s witnesses. That is, LRLO’s clients would not produce a witness for trial which is necessary to prevail. This has changed, however, especially in their Capital One cases. Capital One now makes witnesses available, and as a result, LRLO is more aggressive in settlement negotiations, and are now willing to try these cases if necessary.

To learn how we can help you with your Legal Recovery Law Office case, click on one of the links at the top of the page, or call us toll free at 877-551-0210 for a FREE consultation.

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Hunt & Henriques

Hunt & Henriques is one of the largest debt collection law firms in California. It is also the principle debt collection attorney for Citibank in the state. Located in San Jose, Hunt & Henriques also represents original creditors Capital One Bank, Daimler Chrysler Financial Services (DCFS) and Discover Bank; and, debt buyers Portfolio Recovery Associates and Midland Funding, LLC. While I have heard complaints about the non-attorney debt collectors employed by Hunt & Henriques, I have found their trial lawyers to be capable and reasonable.

Due to their large caseload, Hunt and Henriques is always willing to talk settlement. Principle attorney Michael Hunt once summed it up this way: “Bill, if I had to try all my cases, I’d go broke.”

While Hunt & Henriques will settle its Citibank cases and DCFS cases, it will also take these cases to trial. Citibank has a team of witnesses available to testify in California, and DCFS has offices in the state and will also have a witness at trial. Discover, however, is less willing to produce a witness, so more favorable settlements may be available in these cases.

Debt Buyer Portfolio Recovery Associates from New York typically will not send a witness to trial, so favorable settlements are available here as well. Hunt & Henriques has been known to walk away from – dismiss – its low-value Midland Funding cases, rather than try them.

To see how we can help you with your Hunt & Henriques case, click on one of the links at the top of the page or call us at 877-551-0210 for a FREE consultation.

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Fulton, Freidman & Gullace, LLP

We know Fulton Freidman & Gullace.

Fulton, Frediman & Gullace, LLP is a debt collection law firm which originated in New York, and now has an office in Concord, California. Fulton Freidman’s principle client is Asset Acceptance LLC, a large, publicly traded (NASDQ) debt buyer – also from New York.

Fulton Freidman’s Concord office is relatively small. Their chief California counsel is Hallie Zimmerman whom I have known for many years through the debt defense wars. Hallie is a very sharp attorney, but she is also very reasonable. Her case load is quite, and consequently, in order to manage the amount of work which comes across her desk, she has been amendable, at least with this Law Firm, to settlement on terms, which have been favorable to our clients. It’s really quite simple, Fulton Freidman’s west coast office does not have enough staff to prepare for trial and try all the cases they have, so as the trial date approaches, I have found this law firm eager to settle.

To learn how we can help you with your Fulton Frediman/Asset Acceptance case, click on one of the links at the top of the page, or call us toll free at 877-551-0210 for a FREE consultation.

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Mandarich Law Group

Mandarich Law Group is the principle collection law firm for debt buyer CACH, LLC. CACH, a subsidiary of Square Two Financial, is located in Colorado, and is Mandarich’s only client. Mandarich Law Group’s main office is in Woodland Hills, CA, but it also has an office in Oakland to handle cases in Northern California. To the best of my knowledge, there are currently three to four attorneys in the Woodland Hills office – there’s a high turnover – and one attorney in the Oakland office. This level of staffing is not sufficient to handle Mandarich’s total caseload as aggressively as they would like. More on this later.

Even so, Mandarich Law Group is one of the more aggressive collection law firms in California and will push its cases toward trial. CACH, it’s sole client, has a team of three or four travelling witnesses who appear at trial and attempt to prove damages – that you owe them money – using monthly statements from the original creditor. The law, as it now stands, requires testimony from the original creditor, not the debt buyer – CACH – to allow these monthly credit card statements into evidence. In my experience, Original Creditors never make these witnesses available. So by rights Mandarich should lose at trial. Nevertheless, judges with an anti-consumer bias don’t constrain themselves by the law, and will allow Mandarich to prevail even with this fatal weakness in their case. Get a judge who applies the law with Mandarich, you should win. Get a judge who doesn’t…forget about it.

There is good news however. As noted above, Mandarich Law Group has too many cases. It doesn’t have the staff to try cases which they can settle, nor does CACH have enough witnesses for every trial. Thus, a few days before trial, Mandarich will typically settle favorably to the consumer.

To learn how we can help you with your Mandarich Law Group/CACH, click on one of the links at the top of the page, or call us toll free at 877-551-0210 for a FREE consultation.

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Can A Debt Collector Have me Arrested?

No. But I am surprised at how many people don’t know this. People call me scared stiff that they’re just one step ahead of the jailer for not paying credit card bills. Debt collectors don’t help, here.

A woman called recently after a debt collector told her: “I have a warrant for your arrest. Your social security number is Blah-Blah-Blah. Correct?” It was and it all sounded so official. “If you don’t pay this debt by Friday, I’m going to send somebody out there for you!”

Nice piece of work. Imagine doing that for a living.

You should know this about credit card debts: They are civil matters, not criminal. Arrests happen when crimes are committed, not when you stop making monthly credit card payments. We abolished debtor’s prison in the United States more than two weeks ago, in a very bi-partisan effort. More like 200 years ago.

So, there is no warrant out for your arrest. Nobody is coming to the house to pick you up. (Although a process server may drop by to give you a copy of a summons and complaint, but that’s different) You are simply not going to jail, and anyone who says otherwise is violating the law.

There’s a saying about threats that you might keep in mind. “A threat is only as good as your reaction to it.” Think about that for a second. It’s true.

So the next time a debt collector threatens you, don’t buy it. Instead try thinking about it this way: $$$ Ka’ching $$$$. Thank you very much.

And call me pronto. They have just violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and you have rights.

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I’ve Been Sued on the Moon ! …….almost

I get calls from residents of Southern California who have been sued over credit card debt in the northern part of the state. And, I get calls from Northern Californians who are sued in Southern California. I also get calls from aliens – folks in other states, that is – who are being sued here, sometimes thousands of miles from where they live. All ask the same question: Can they do that ?

The answer is…as always from a lawyer….it depends.

Here’s why:

Under California law, a debtor can be sued in one of two places: (1) the county where the debtor lives or works at the time of the lawsuit; or, (2) the county where the agreement for credit was entered into – that is, where you lived when you obtained your card. So, if you live up north, you can be sued down south; and, if you live down south you can be sued up north; and, if you don’t live here at all, you can still be sued here – depending upon where you lived when you got your credit card.

Suing a consumer in any other place is a violation of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the California Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. (Lawyers are exempt under the state act; and banks are exempt under the federal act. Debt buyers can be sued under both acts.)

Regardless of where you are sued, you must be served where you live or work at the time the lawsuit is filed.

Some folks mistakenly assume that if they are sued in a distant county – or state – the lawsuit is invalid, and do nothing when they are served. This results in a default judgment against them. This complicates things. But now, you know better.

If you are sued in a far away county, you will now not ignore the lawsuit. If you opened your credit card account there and later moved away, it’s likely the suit is properly filed. Whenever you become aware of such a lawsuit, you should respond – that is, file an Answer at the court, and mail a copy to opposing counsel; or, better yet, retain an experienced debt defense attorney to represent you. Even if you have not been properly served, you should act to avoid a default judgment.

So, here’s the moral of the story: (1) never ignore a lawsuit just because it is filed in a distant court; and (2) when you move, notify the credit card companies of the change of address.

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