* The Angie Ingram Boogie--Angie Ingram is the chief lawyer at Ingram and Associates, a Birmingham debt-collection firm that joined forces with NCO to repeatedly violate the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) in an effort to collect an alleged debt involving your humble blogger and an American Express card. Mrs. Schnauzer and I filed a federal lawsuit, which is ongoing, alleging FDCPA violations and other claims. In the course of the litigation, Ingram admitted that they had no documents from American Express that showed I even had an AMEX card, much less that I owed a debt on one. I tape recorded conversations with Ingram representatives, providing irrefutable proof of FDCPA violations, fraud, and other wrongs. But Ingram/NCO, with the help of Birmingham lawyers Wayne Morse and Laura Nettles, have pulled all sorts of shenanigans in an effort to beat a case that can't be beaten--at least under the actual law, with an ethical judge. Here is just one example:
Under the FDCPA, debt collectors are required to send written notice, letting an alleged debtor know about his rights under the law--including the right to receive details about the debt in question. Failure to send such a document--known as a "mini Miranda" notice in the debt-collection trade--is a violation of the FDCPA. In answers to interrogatories in our case, Angie Ingram stated under oath that her firm sent me a "mini Miranda" notice on July 9, 2007, two days before they talked via phone with my wife and three days before they talked with me.
There's a slight problem with Ingram's sworn statement: It almost certainly is not true. I tape recorded my conversations with the two Ingram representatives on July 12, 2007, and neither of them mentioned having sent the "mini Miranda" notice. In fact, they never mentioned the written-notification requirement at all. That's why I sound baffled at times during the recordings; I was being told I owed a sizable debt, but I had received nothing to that effect in writing. The first time I had heard about the alleged problem was in these phone calls. Under the law, that's not how it's supposed to work. (By the way, we soon will be presenting these recordings here at Legal Schnauzer, so readers can get an up-close sense of the unlawful stunts some debt collectors will pull.)
We did not tape record my wife's conversation with an Ingram representative on July 11, mainly because we weren't expecting the call and we had received nothing in the mail indicating we had an issue over an AMEX card. But Mrs Schnauzer later testified in a deposition about her conversation with Ingram representative Tracy Mize. Here is what Mrs. S. said, under oath, when asked to describe the call:
Well, let's see. I was trying to think. She did say that it was a courtesy call, that it had been recently forwarded from American Express to their office. And she admitted, she said, 'We haven't sent a letter out yet.' We're going to--we're going to do that, is what she said, you know, from them, something in writing.
Both my wife and I testified that we never received the "mini Miranda" notice. But the law only requires that the notice be sent, not that it be received. At the deposition, Angie Ingram produced a copy of a letter, dated July 9, 2007, that she said had been sent to us on that date. Was she telling the truth?
Well, clearly anyone at her firm could have produced the letter after the fact and dated it to come before the phone calls to us. A review of computer files at the Ingram law firm would reveal when the letter actually was written, but we have been consistently stonewalled on discovery so far.
What about other evidence? In conversations with me on July 12, two different Ingram representatives never mentioned that a "mini Miranda" notice had been prepared or sent. In a conversation on July 11, according to uncontroverted sworn testimony from my wife, Ingram representative Tracy Mize said such a notice had not been sent.
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