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Advice on how to handle collection debt in Ohio

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Background:

I attended Lakeland College in 2008 in Willoughby, Ohio and I do I owe the college the balance of $945.45 for tutution. The account has been sent to from the Ohio State Attorney General’s Office to for collection and currently the law firm is stating that I owe around $1600. I recently (3 months ago) dealt with this law firm as I just paid in full a balance $2700.00 from another College (Cleveland State University) that was sent to them from the Attorney Generals Office. The original balance that I owed Cleveland State was $2100 the remaining $600+ I just chalked up to late fees/charges/collection cost, etc.

Questions:

I intend on paying this debt but my concerns are:

• The State Attorney General in Ohio has claimed a previous balance of $322 refund from my state tax in 2008 and I have been leaving messages with them in an attempt to determine where and when this money was applied to any of my previously balances, because I never saw this money applied to the Cleveland State nor Lakeland College account. So I want to verify that my balance is correct before sending out payment. How should I handle this since the State Attorney’s Office refuses to answer/return phone calls?

• I sent a debt validation letter to the law twice notifying them to provide me with the following information:
1. Agreement with your client that authorizes you to collect on this alleged debt.
2. Agreement that bears signature of the alleged debtor where he promises to pay the original creditor.
3. Complete payment history on this account, to prove that the amount you wish to collect is accurate.

• The law firm finally provided my with a copy of the agreement that bears my signature and the amount due to the college but there was no notification/agreement listed on these form that mentions any fee or penalties expect for a $50 late fee penalty from the college. The law firm never provided me any documentation containing the breakdown of fees proving that I owe an additional $600 (penalty, interest rate, etc) which I assume is higher now since it’s been a month or so since I last received any updates from this law firm.
My concern is that I feel the law firm is just making up random fees; I received a letter from them on June 14, stating that I owe $1,575.89 and on July 15 I received a letter stating that I owe $1,496.55. (the balance the next month is less, doesn’t make any sense to me.)

Also I received a signature required notice in the mail from the USPS and it’s obviously from this law firm and before I respond to them I wanted to get some advice on the best way to handle this.

Finally when I search the civil records online in Willoughby Hills, OH I did notice the that is a case open under my name but there is not a date nor judge listed as of yet, the docket is as follows:

Date
8/3/2011 Complaint LAKELAND COMMUNITY COLLEGE C/O STATE OF OHIO COLLECTIONS ENFORCEMENT vs. Claim Amount: $945.45 Court Costs Interest Rate: 4 Term: Year Begin Date: 7/28/2011 End Date: Principal Sum Amount: 945.45 Lump Sum Amount: 0 Interest Rate: 0 Term: Year Begin Date: End Date: Principal Sum Amount: 554 Lump Sum Amount: 0 Action:
COMPLAINT FILED FOR MONEY DAMAGES W/ EXHIBITS Claim Status: Filed
8/25/2011 Service Item: Summons Participant: Date Issued: 8/25/2011 Type: Certified Mail Cert. Mailer #: 7010 1670 0000 6768 4089 Tracking #: Date Returned: Current Status: Issued Perfected: Date Perfected: Served Upon: Remarks:

Any advice would be greatly appreciated on how I should proceed.

Thanks.




Go the court clerk office and dig out the truth mate. If you are not able to contact the State Attorney General office, then it is better to contact Lakeland College directly. As far as tax refund is concerned, contact Ohio department of taxation.

Sub: #1 posted on Wed, 09/07/2011 - 16:45

nandydiana nandydiana

(Posts: 114 | Credits: 89.87)

The state AG is not going to respond to you....they placed the account with a Weiner law firm who you were directed to contact.

The school can easily verify they received the tax offset.

When you enroll in a school, you agree to the policies contained in the student handbook. Since you attended a public school, you pay the cost of collection be up to 50% of your balance plus any applicable interest. The law firm does not make up the balance or apply fees willy nilly...they are hired under contract and the fees are specific.

Pay the account before they get a judgement against you.

Sub: #2 posted on Wed, 09/07/2011 - 17:16

SOAPLADY SOAPLADY
Moderators Cum Industry Expert
(Posts: 17209 | Credits: 4746.14)

I figured as much but something feels so shady as this company. For example, when I paid the previous balance to Cleveland State off; the balance that they claimed was due was $2700'ish but I knew that was going to be more since I paid them 32 days after my letter from them. (They never disclosed what interest rate they were charging me for the balance.)
I checked my balance at school and I have a credit of $150 in my account, which I assumed was for overpayment and then 15 days later it vanishes when record it ever existed.
Maybe it's just that fact I am really fond of lawyers, but all dealings with Wiener law firm never felt right.
I'll check with the school first and contact the law firm law to remit payment. I probably won't be able to pay the balance in full by this week, how do I handle paying them half now and half in

Sub: #3 posted on Wed, 09/07/2011 - 17:43

lennethrists lennethrists

(Posts: 2 | Credits: 1.67)

Hi,

I really don't think 30 days is going to make much of a difference when you pay your debts in two installments. However, you can just cross check with the law firm about your decision to make the payments in 2 installments and whether they would be charging you any fees. It is better that you get the information and clarification in written so that they can't charge anything later.

Sub: #4 posted on Thu, 09/08/2011 - 18:20

scarlett.brooks13 scarlett.brooks13

(Posts: 46 | Credits: 8.53)

30 days can make a huge difference. It is up to the law firm and the collection matrix they are following as to whether or not they choose to wait.

Sub: #5 posted on Sat, 09/10/2011 - 20:43

lizabethwolin lizabethwolin

(Posts: 12 | Credits: 2.7)

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