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Suttell and Associates: How to deal with them?

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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.

[quote]Anyway...she is being sued. She needs to worry more about preparing a defense and less about fdcpa violations. If they did violate then she can answer the suit with counterclaims but from your post, I don't see a violation. Cap1 keeps excellent records and very rarely sells off bad debt while still w/in SOL. If the statements they sent were on Cap1's letterhead and not Suttell's, then their validation falls w/in FDCPA standards. [/quote]

I beg to differ with you, Cap1 does NOT always keep excellent records, and I can vouch for that. :D

Sub: #11 posted on Mon, 06/23/2008 - 07:21

Shazzers Shazzers
Moderators Cum Industry Expert
(Posts: 17345 | Credits: )

I too once had a collection placed by Suttell and Associates and yes they are a law firm who represents several different creditors. As I went to their office to pay off my account in person, I noticed many attorney awards they had won which to me is a reputable firm. I agree, you need to worry more about a defense rather than fdcpa violations because you are wasting precious time. They are going after a judgment so they can have a secured interest rate within the court and have the power to garnish you. I dealt with several people over there but specifically someone named Robert who was very helpful and kind. If you get someone nasty, I would refer you to talk to him (if he is still there)

Sub: #12 posted on Sat, 09/06/2008 - 00:15


Suttell and Associates is not in good favor with me. I was in a car accident , fell into some debt knowingly but knew things would get better. When I was healed and finally able to work I received a court summons on my door step that had been left in the rain all day. I did all I could to get the papers ready,and then faxed them in to the lawyers office.. I called them and was told to get a lawyer,, nothing I sent them seemed to matter at all. Now what can I do,, I'll lose my job if I can't get gas for my car by Monday ,, I all ready paid my bills and sent them out,, and theres nothing for food now. This is not a simple matter with me,, it endangers my family if something bad happens. If they would have said hey we need to get this paid now I would have worked it out with them,,but they won't communicate in a normal manner and I have no way to get answers over the weekend. I'm really mad and upset and I won't say aloud what I think of these debt collectors/ lawyers.
Any one have any suggestions on what we can do to keep this from escalating to the point that we lose everything? I didn't even think that this kind of thing could happen like this,,I always pay my debts,, why did we get the chopping block instead of a negotiated settlement agreement?
Just the last thing to mention,, be sure if they get a hook on you, Make sure you keep some cash on hand,,don't get caught in this dilemma like we did.
Best of luck to you

Sub: #13 posted on Sat, 11/29/2008 - 19:03


I to am being sued by an attorney representing Capital One. if you have already been served a summons (the twenty day letter) then yes, this law office is suing you. The attorney office hassling me also sent copies of credit card statements. I spoke to a consumer law attorney and he told me that they have already validated the debt and I needed to either pay it in full or offer a settlement. Your gf needs to check into this and make sure what is going on because if it is ignored they can win a default judgement against you.

Sub: #14 posted on Sat, 11/29/2008 - 19:24


I am a Washington attorney who deals with Suttell and Associates
on a regular basis. If you do not file an answer with the court within 20 days, Suttell will obtain a default judgment and garnish your wages and/or bank account.
You have to file the answer with the court to avoid the default judgment.
Talking to Suttell and sending them requests will do you no good. It is not considered an "answer" by the legal sense of the term.
You need to answer the allegations in the legal complaint and file it with the court.
Do it on notebook paper or toillet paper if you must. Just do it.

Sub: #15 posted on Wed, 01/07/2009 - 15:31


If Suttell is not licensed in WA to act as a collection agency, then RCW 19.16.260 says that they are not allowed pursue a lawsuit other that a default judgement. How come Suttell is not required to license?

Sub: #16 posted on Mon, 02/09/2009 - 09:47


Where does it say they are not required to be licensed, I do not understand your question.

What the law does say is that if you file an answer they must prove they are licensed, if they can't the case will be thrown out. If you fail to answer the summons and they get a default judgment against you then they do not have to provide documentation that they are licensed.

Sub: #17 posted on Mon, 02/09/2009 - 10:25

pokertramp pokertramp

(Posts: 512 | Credits: )

Po kertramp, good answer. Your reasoning is sound.

Do you know of any Washington State cases that have been thrown out because the collections attorney was not licensed? I would like to read some case law as an example. Thanks.

Sub: #18 posted on Wed, 02/18/2009 - 14:56


Pokrtramp, Thank you for all of your answers.

I was wondering if you know of any cases Washington State cases that have been thrown out because the collection attorney was not licensed. I would like to read some case law for examples. Thanks

Sub: #19 posted on Wed, 02/18/2009 - 15:12


They are not a reputable firm. They make many mistakes and have had class action lawsuits filed against them. There are several cases against them.

Sub: #20 posted on Tue, 03/03/2009 - 14:23


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