Legal Question in Credit and Debt Law in California

In 1998, we had a Discover credit card with @ $7000 of debt we could not pay. A judgment was filed in 2000 for $9741 which we did not know about. A few years later, we received a letter from a debt collector who met us outside of court before they were going to have the court start to attach assets to pay the debt. We agreed to pay $250/mo. and did so faithfully. We paid $3550 to them, and then they sold the debt to Mann Bracken. We continued to pay them, totaling another $4950. In May of this year, I found out Mann Bracken went BK in Jan. - Apparently they kept taking my checks. I stopped making payment, thinking it was over. Later, CIR in San Diego said they picked up the debt. I had received their letter I thought was a credit collector trying to pull something on us. The debt they said was now over $13,000! but they would settle for $6000. The next month(Sept.) I got the same settlement letter- the amount was now $21,000! Then we get a copy of a lien they filed against us for that amount. I called them and talked to one of their lawyers. She would not give me any specifics of the debt, or fees, interest, etc and said the burden of proof was on me, not her and said she would give me no information! I asked why the debt grew from 13k to 21k in 1 month and she said there were fees in extending the judgment, but again would not give me any info at all. $7000 in fees??? I believe there HAS to be some violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices act! I NEED HELP!! Is their any way to get this debt cancelled and get the lien taken off? PLEASE PLEASE HELP US.

Also, in California I read that the interest is 10%- Is that 10% per year??

Asked on 11/12/10, 8:40 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

George Shers Law Offices of Georges H. Shers
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In California, judgments bear a n iterest rate of 10% simple interest. That means that on a $10,000 debt, the interest is $1,000 a year. If the judgment is renewed, then the principal sum becomes the total amount due on the date of renewal. So after ten years the $10,000 debt would be $20,000 and each year after the renewal it would be $2,000 per year in interest. but if the judgment in not renewed within the ten year period of time it becomes unenforceable.

Either on-line or by going down to teh Court where the judgment was originally entered, see if it was renewed within that ten year period of time. Making any payments on the judgment does not extend the ten years [it does extend the time to sue on the underlying debt]. If no renewal was timely made, write the attorney that the judgment is unenforceable, which she should know, that she is trying to take advantage of you, and that your are reporting the collection agency to the appropriate state agency [I am not sure which entit regulates them], and will find out from the State Bar if her behavior justifies a complaint.

Look up the bankruptcy records of Mann Bracken and see if anyone did legally buy your debt from them. If not, then there is no debt. they would have had to file a document showing all their assets, and if your debt is not on the list then no one could have bought your debt. All creditors stand in the shoes of the prior creditor; any defense that exists against the first exists against all the next.

They are limited to the items of recovery listed in the judgment. There probably is no award of attorney fees or any costs of recovery. In ten years the total debt doubles to about $19,482 less the $8,500 you have paid, so the remaining debt should be about $10,982, plus any accumulated interest [so $13,000 might be accurate]. They have to show how they come up with the figures they have; that is not your burden because you do not know what they are charging for.

The lawyer you spoke to is either a liar or stupid or both. Do not bother speaking with her again, go over her head to her supervisor or the head attorney in the office. Check the state bar records to see if she actually is an attorney; if she calls herself an attorney but is not, report her to the State Bar for practicing law without a license. Demand that the lien against your home be removed or you will file for slander of title.

If the above does not resolve all the problems, either post a question as to what problems still exist or give me a call at (510) 441-2684 and we can speak for 10-15 minutes at no charge to you.

[not proof read]

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11/17/10, 10:05 pm

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