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Legal Help (Pro Bono?) PLEASE! I'm Desperate!

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posted on Dec, 13 2010 @ 07:24 PM
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Hey there! I am just trying my luck at finding an attorney that would work for free. The reason? I am being harassed and intimidated by a debt collector that I owe a mere $500(A lot of $$$ right now for me!). I have tried setting up payment plans and have fell through on my last payment. They didn't seem to like this very much at all! This is where the story begins!

I bought a car about 2 months ago at a sub prime dealership. (They don't check credit). I did not have a down payment to get the car. This should have been my sign to just walk away and save for one! I, being stubborn, did not just walk away. The dealership, desperately wanting to sell a car, fronted the $1000 down payment. I have since paid $500 of the $1000 back to them, on time. Leaving the $500 owed to them.

I am trying to come up with the money. It is a debt and I am obligated to pay it. I 100% understand and recognize this. I am NOT, trying to bail on my obligation. So then what's your point, you may ask?

Well, I am sitting at work, at my desk, and the phone rings. It is the dealership. They ask when they think I can have the money by. I told them the soonest I can have the money is probably this coming Friday. I guess they didn't like that answer, one bit! The MANAGER gets on the phone, I guess they had it on speaker, and begins calling me names and insulting me.

"You know, you are really #$@!!!$ useless! We have cut you a break by fronting the cash for the down payment! If you don't have the cash here in the next ten minutes I am going to keep calling you every ten minutes until you do have it! Also, the next time I see you I am going to smash in your face and break your legs!"

I 100% swear to God that this man said this. I would swear under oath in front of a judge! I was taken back a whole lot! I had to process what this guy had just said to me. I replied very simply: "I am going to be calling the Police! Good Day!" Well, my wife calls shortly after I hung up on them and she tells me they were at the house and left a very snide letter, un-marked (No postage, federal crime?), in the mailbox. They were talking about the money owed and made more threats, legal this time, I think?

The guy lived up to his promise to call every ten minutes! (And then some!) He ends up calling my work, after me telling him to not call work. He ends up calling over a dozen times in a hour. Each message is as fake as fools gold, he is nice and pleasant! Far, from the Mobster that I spoke with minutes ago!

All of this occurs and I end up stopping by the State Police Barracks on my way home with my wife. The COP basically tells me they can't do anything and I should just pay the debt! This is after they have called dozens of times, stopped by MY HOUSE, and make threats! They claimed it was "Hear-Say"! WTF?

I am thinking about getting a lawyer. Do any of you think I have a case for, in the least, harassment or intimidation? I am at my wits end and very afraid.

If it helps: I live in Pennsylvania, Chester County. I'm 27 years old. Have a wife. A Two Year Old Daughter. Oh, and my wife is 4 months pregnant and scared!(She's a stay at home Mom and scared they will come back!) I can provide more information if you need it. Please help guys! I just know this is the write site to ask for help!




posted on Dec, 13 2010 @ 07:29 PM
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I had a debt collector call my place of employment all of the time. I simply told him that I know my rights and if he calls me again I would report him to the Better Business Bureau and file a complaint.
He never called work again.
You need to educate yourself. There are consumer laws that are supposed to prevent this kind of behavior. You can probably take them to court for slander.



posted on Dec, 13 2010 @ 07:30 PM
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reply to post by NeverApologize
 


What the above poster said.
edit on 13-12-2010 by Somehumanbeing because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 13 2010 @ 07:33 PM
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I think you may be onto something. I have since file a complaint with the FTC and BBB. I also hear something about a written letter being sent to them requesting that they stop? "Cease and desist", or something?

Thanks guys!



posted on Dec, 13 2010 @ 07:35 PM
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They can't threaten you like that period! As long as you are paying on the loan even if it's a few bucks, there is nothing they can do about it. I would get the guy for harrasment and threatening bodily harm.



posted on Dec, 13 2010 @ 07:36 PM
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Record everything..phone calls, licences plates, times they call, time they come by your house, take photos of their car etc... seek a lawyer if you can find one for free and keep going back tot he police after every occurence with new evidence. Good luck.



posted on Dec, 13 2010 @ 07:38 PM
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I will be going to bed now. I will check for more posts in the morning! Thanks to all who have replied already, I knew this was the right site!


Cya tomorrow!



posted on Dec, 13 2010 @ 07:53 PM
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Try contacting your state's Attorney General's office if you can't afford legal counsel. Explain the situation and wait and see. I've done this before with a problem I had with an online business and they handled it fairly quickly and I even would up having things resolved in my favor. Worth a try...

edit on 13-12-2010 by FlyingJadeDragon because: edit for content



posted on Dec, 13 2010 @ 07:55 PM
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reply to post by NeverApologize
 


You need to send them a letter stating that they are only to contact you via mail, and then give them the address for which to contact you. You must send this letter via certified mail, return reciept. Keep a copy of the letter plus the green post office card with their signature acknowledging reciept of it. Document everything. Next time they call (if they have not gotten the letter, or are ignoring it) inform them that you will be recording all phone conversations. Connect a mic to your PC, download a program that can record audio and put them on speaker and record the convo. Most likely they will hang up as soon as mention recording.

I've been there and done that. Good luck to you. Stay positive. Send them $10 a week if thats all you can do, and document everything. Dates, times, names, who said what, etc.



posted on Dec, 13 2010 @ 08:11 PM
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Bottom line is you owe them $500.00 and all they want is their money as per your agreement of which you recinded. Pay up this Friday...that's if they don't find the car, clamp it and have it towed away beforehand. Make sure you get a receipt for your last payment.



posted on Dec, 13 2010 @ 08:12 PM
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If the assholes visit your home again, I suggest that you have a gun to threaten them with. They're on your property and they can be shot if they try anything.



posted on Dec, 13 2010 @ 08:12 PM
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If the assholes visit your home again, I suggest that you have a gun to threaten them with. They're on your property and they can be shot if they try anything.



posted on Dec, 13 2010 @ 08:13 PM
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If it's any help, their was a segment on harassing phone calls by collectors on Clark Howard. According to him, it's illegal for collector's to call you at work or threaten you in any way. You may want to check out his site

www.clarkhoward.com...

He does have an advice tab on his site. Maybe drop him a line about your dilemma. Hope this helps, good luck.



posted on Dec, 13 2010 @ 08:13 PM
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Heres some advice, granted I used to do collections in Canada, 3rd party - credit cards/social services/bell and many many more.

Collection agencys are only allowed to make contact with you 3 times a week by law. If they call more then 3 times and actually speak to you, report them to the BBB and they will be in huge #.

Collection agencys can call any number in the world they think they might be able to get a message to you, they are only not allowed to disclose the reason of there call to whom ever they speak with if it is not you.

If you ask for there fax number and fax them a cease and desist letter stating a REAL address they can send you mail simple state:

I am aware that i owe $____ to _____. This is a Cease and Desist letter to formally notifiy ____(collection agency) to cease all further communications other then by registered mail to my home address:
___
___
___


After you send this they are not allowed by law to contact you in any other form other then registered mail and only to the address you have gave to them. Hope this helps a bit.



posted on Dec, 13 2010 @ 08:13 PM
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Originally posted by NeverApologize


You could most definitely get a court case win worth thousands of dollars if you really put your mind to it as per federal laws. Its absolutely vital that you record the phone conversations to do that. Get a phone recorder and record the conversations. You are entitled to $1,000 for each and every harassing phone call they make.

Your local police are absolutely disgusting human beings clearly, who have no interest in protecting you. Why? Because you are poor. They'd rather go around collecting ticket fees from people with money. I'm helping you out and I'm not even getting paid to do that, showing just what horrible people they are.

Forget about a lawyer, you don't need one and you can't afford one.

Your attitude seems okay, but I question what you said on the phone to lead the manager to call you repeatedly. You've got to stand up firm for yourself when these people call you whereas it sounds like you were sounding weak and apologetic. There are certain bullies who I quite frankly HATE who take joy in picking on people who are less than 100% confident.

Lets say I'm the one getting the phone call:
Dealer: You owe me money, little punk.
Civil Challenger: If you want to talk about this, you are going to speak to me with respect, people who disrespect others are terrible people. I went to the police because of your harassment and they told me there is nothing wrong with harassment. But they are wrong... its both immoral and illegal. Can we have a civilized conversation?
Dealer: Look, stop making excuses, when will you pay the money?
Civil Challenger: I'm going to tell you this once and once only. My bank balance is $150, and I'll be using that whole money for food because I need food to live and I'd rather stay alive and eat than pay you $150 and die. However, you are second on my priority list. Thats very high on my list of twelve items, so you are lucky to be that high of a priority. I'll be paying you what I can out of my check this Friday.
Dealer: No, I need it now.
Civil Challenger: Well you can call me all day long and be rude and disrespectful all day long. I'll spend all day long reaming on your filthy disgusting attitude if you so wish to harass like that. It would be nice if you weren't such a bully but I can deal with it and I'll expect an apology after your money has been paid to you.
Dealer: No, I need it now.
CivilChallenger: This conversation is over. Call me back in 10 minutes so I can put in you your place, bully. But just keep in mind what you are doing to me is both immoral and against federal law.
(click)

Personally I tend to get carried away and swear at people in this situation, which is why I'm a lot better in writing than in person, but its important for you not to do that. Forcefully assert yourself but politely and the calls will likely go away. In fact I admit I went back and toned down the conversation I just wrote



posted on Dec, 13 2010 @ 08:40 PM
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Originally posted by Night Star
They can't threaten you like that period! As long as you are paying on the loan even if it's a few bucks, there is nothing they can do about it. I would get the guy for harrasment and threatening bodily harm.


I believe what Night Star says is true. I knew a guy who owed an astronomical hospital bill. For years, he sent $5 a month (as his brother, a lawyer, told him to do as it was perfectly legit.) According to the brother/lawyer, as long as you are paying SOMETHING, you're untouchable. They didn't make you sign a paper about interest on what you owe, did they? If not, they may be angry at themselves and not you because they know you are in the driver's seat (literally and figuratively!)



posted on Dec, 13 2010 @ 10:19 PM
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reply to post by new_here
 

This is all from a UK perspective, but some of it might apply to the US

My friends business went bust and she couldn't afford to pay of her credit card debt, The bank was phoning the house twice a day threatening to take her to court and to call in debt collectors so I did some online research.

First I got her to contact the bank and inform them that their calls were considered harassment in UK law and from now on she would only respond to written communications.

Then we had the bank freeze the account as they were adding charges for each payment she missed and the debt was getting bigger and bigger, I can;t remember exactly what we said to do this but it wasn;t hard

Then I got her to ask the bank to send her a copy of the original credit agreement, sometimes your original credit agreement can be judged to be unenforceable if it is filled incorrectly, even if thats not the case it gets them off your bank while they find it.

Then she made a formal offer to the bank to pay back a certain amount each month, she had to fill in a form with her income and outgoings and make an offer as to what she could afford. That offer was accepted and the bank left her alone

After about a year of that situation the bank contacted her offering to write the entire debt off for a lump sum payment, again I can;t remember exactly how much it was but it was about equivalent to the amount of money she owed minus all of the years of interest, bank charges, fines etc and I think it was less then 1/5th of the debt.

She managed to scrape the lump sum together by selling her stuff and with some other help from friends and things and now she is completely debt free.



posted on Dec, 13 2010 @ 11:05 PM
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One thing you should know is that in some states, you have to tell the other person that the phone conversation is being recorded. If it's as bad as you say, I recommend recording the next time.



posted on Dec, 13 2010 @ 11:10 PM
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Originally posted by new_here

Originally posted by Night Star
They can't threaten you like that period! As long as you are paying on the loan even if it's a few bucks, there is nothing they can do about it. I would get the guy for harrasment and threatening bodily harm.


I believe what Night Star says is true. I knew a guy who owed an astronomical hospital bill. For years, he sent $5 a month (as his brother, a lawyer, told him to do as it was perfectly legit.) According to the brother/lawyer, as long as you are paying SOMETHING, you're untouchable. They didn't make you sign a paper about interest on what you owe, did they? If not, they may be angry at themselves and not you because they know you are in the driver's seat (literally and figuratively!)

That's might be true.



posted on Dec, 13 2010 @ 11:30 PM
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My husband and I went through a collection agency many years ago when owing thousands of dollars when we had no medical coverage. It is indeed true. As long as you pay something they can't touch you. And it is against the law for them to harrass you. We were never threatened like you. The fact they threatened bodily harm to you is of concern and they should be locked up for that!!!!



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