Suttell and Associates: How to deal with them?
Around the first of the year my girlfriend received a letter from Suttell & Associates indicating that they were collecting ~$1000 relating a Capital One credit card. We were unaware of any debt.
- Within 30 days she sent Suttell & Associates a debt validation letter requesting validation of the debt.
- In response they sent her 2 credit card statements indicating a balance due of ~$600 and behind 5 and 6 payments. I did notice on the 2 past due statements that they were being sent to an old apartment number in the same apartment complex (I suspect my girlfriend forgot to update her apartment number when she changed apartments so never received the notices). The past due statements were approx 1 year old. This balance, along with interest led to the ~$1000 owed. This is all the validation they sent. They failed to provide other key information requested, specifically they did not document or show that the statute of limitations had not expired and they did not provide any documentation indicating that she agreed to pay what they say she owed and was obligated to pay the debt. I have no idea what they are required to send but presumably this would the credit card application (at a minimum) an preferably a statement showing the charges that led to the balance and some proof she authorized the charges (she only had a $500 limit on the card). I don't believe it is sufficient for them to just send a past due statement.
- A week later she was "served" with papers indicating a lawsuit would be filed if she did not respond with a "defense" within 20 days.
- We sent Suttell & Associates another letter pointing out they had neglected to provide adequate debt validation, we highlighted the missing items, and again requested adequate validation of the debt. We told them we could not reply with a "defense" in anything but hypothetical terms until they properly validated the debt. We told them we had tried to contact Capital One, but that Capital One told us we needed to contact the collection agency and that the collection agency was required to provide us with all documentation.
- A month later we recieved some documents in the mail from Suttell & Associates indicating a lawsuit had been filed and included a court date, etc.
- Yesterday we recieved another set of documents confirming the court date. Also, what we found interesting was they provided additional documents in the court documents (no mention that this was in response to our request for debt validation) showing an application for a credit card. HOWEVER, this was someone else's application, not my girlfriend's application. I assume they sent this by mistake. It also included this other person's credit card balance and final statement. Also, in the court documents they indicate we had not responsed to their summons. This is a flat out lie as we have a return receipt for both letters that we sent Suttell & Associates requesting validation of the debt so we know they received the letters.
- We called Suttell & Associates and asked why they had not sent us the debt validation we had requested. They forwarded us to the voice mail of someone in their "legal department". We left a message but they have not responded.
What concerns me about this process is that Suttell & Associates appears to be ignoring all of our requests so that they can pad their fees. We are finding this very frustrating as we simply want validation of the debt. We have no idea how a credit card with a $500 limit has ballooned to a balance of $1000+ and growing. If we legally owe it we will pay, but it seems very unreasonable for a debt collector not to sent us any real information to validate the debt. We tried to call capital one to find out what charges led to the $600 past due (that would really help us know if there were fraudulent charges that led to the balance as we thought it was paid off) and they refused to provide any information, telling us that we had to get the information from the collection agency.
A side note, my cousin (my father's sister's son) is actually the CEO of capital one. He is a very busy guy and I have only spoken to him a few times but I am tempted to contact him about this and let him know how ridiculous this process has been and how much time we have wasted trying to figure out what is going on relating to a card with a tiny $500 limit that has ballooned into a balance of $1750 now that Suttell & Associates is padding the bill with all these unreasonable fees now that they have filed suit.
Do you all have any suggestions? I am wondering if we should contact the Washington State Attorney General as Suttell & Associates seems to be in violation of fdcpa.