American Express / debt collection
On Tuesday, January 20, 2009 I received a letter from American Express dated 1/14/2009 that stated my account is being reviewed for collections. Twenty-four hours later I received a phone call on my work phone from Zwicker and Associates. They identify themselves as an Attorney that has been retained by American Express to file a law suit against me. Of course I told them I would not speak with them while I was at work and hung up. I was confused and shocked and had no idea who these people were! I called American Express and the recording told me to call the 800 number who turned out to be Zwicker and Associates.
I called American Express back and was able to speak with a Human by not entering my account number. Once the person had my information, they refused to speak with me about my account.
I then returned the telephone call to Zwicker and Associates on my first break. I was transferred to a man by the name of Steven Marshall. Mr. Marshall stated that I had to pay him the full amount of 16, 249 plus dollars to settle the account. I explained that I have been making payments, and would like to make good and catch up my account, which was only about a month and a half behind. Mr. Marshall said he would take 10, 000 dollars over the phone and I had to give him a post dated check. I refused due to not having the money and he said if I didn’t give it to him “now” or he would forward my file to begin litigation. I was scared and did not know what to do so I gave him the check for 10, 000 dated 1/29/2009, but I explained I may not be able to come up with the money. I explained that I would probably have to call and cancel the check.
Shortly after ending the phone call I did place a stop payment on the check and contacted my bank’s security office.
I have a rare heart condition and the condition is stress induced and I had to take the rest of the day off from work. I could not function thanks to Mr. Marshall’s threats.
The person I spoke with is Steven Marshall at [protected], ext. 3225.
His E-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
On 1/23/2009 I sent an E-mail to Zwicker and Associates informing them that I had learned of a law in the State of Massachusetts, 940 C.M.R. 7.00, which prevents any Debt Collector from soliciting a post dated check from anyone. When I notified them of this law via E-mail they made a statement I had “re-nigged” on my agreement and they would be pushing a law suit forward quickly against me. Proof of this can be heard on a telephone recording where Mr. Marshall of Zwicker and Associates knowingly spoke on a recorded line. The conversation takes place between Mr. Marshall and Vickie Piontek, who is a nice lady I met on an Internet forum. She is an attorney, but has not been hired to represent me. A copy of the conversation is available on CD.
Also, in the recording Mr. Marshall states that I contacted him by phone to “pull the settlement.” I have not spoken with Mr. Marshall after he coerced me into giving him the post dated check. I sent him an E-mail only; he never had the chance to tell me he would now want the full amount by January 31st. He is lying. Proof of the E-mail is attached.
On 1/25/2009 I sent a Cease and Desist letter to Zwicker and Associates via Fax and Certified Mail with Return Receipt. I requested strict proof of the alleged debt, a copy of the initial contract and payment history as well as a copy of the assignment of the alleged debt. I received the return receipt, but have never received a response to my request. As of 5/11/2009 Zwicker and Associates still has not answered my request.
On 1/26/2009 date I received my first letter dated 1/22/2009 from American Express notifying me that Zwicker and Associates was taking over my case. But, Zwicker and Associates contacted me via the telephone on 1/20/2009.
Staring sometime in March of this year I started receiving calls from an unknown person by the name of “Bonnie” from United Recovery Systems who wanted to speak with me about my “delinquent account, ” as she put it. During the next few days this person called both my parents and in-laws at their residence. The lady calling herself Bonnie told my family I needed to call her in reference to an account that I owed money on and gave a reference number. On 4/1/2009 I received a letter dated 3/13/2009 from a company by the name of United Recovery Systems (from a Mrs. W. White) stating they are a collection agency and needed to pay them $16, 964.53 to settle my American Express Account.
With the knowledge that American Express had hired Zwicker and Associates, I ignored this letter thinking it was a scam. Then on 4/25/2009 I received a letter from American Express which was titled “A Helpful Offer From American Express.” The letter, dated 4/21/2009 stated I could make payment arrangements with United Recovery Systems with a 0.00% interest rate and no fees. However, American Express has not notified me of any information about my status with Zwicker and Associates.???. So, am I now being pursued by two agencies for one debt, who do I pay? American Express, Zwicker and Associates, or United Recovery Systems?
Now, to make this even more interesting I receive another letter from American Express on 5/1/2009, dated 4/24/2009. This letter was titled, “Opportunity to Regain Cardmembership.” This letter actually offered me a new American Express Credit card with an annual fee of $49.00 and a interest rate of 14.99%. All I had to do is contact United Recovery Systems and make payment arrangements and the new card was mine.
Finally, on Thursday, May 7th at 11:29 AM my father, Robert Priest, received a telephone on his personal business line. The caller identified himself as a representative of The Law Offices of Mann Braken [protected]). The caller told my father that they had been retained against me and I needed to pay the entire 16, 000 (plus) balance at once. The caller attempted to solicit a credit card from my father to make a payment. My father told the caller to send their request in writing to me and hung up on them. At 11:56 AM another call came in from a different representative of Mann Braken. My father immediately hung up. A third call came in at 5:25 PM. All three calls were received on an Alltel Cell phone and proof of the incoming calls can be retrieved from Alltel. I can also attempt to obtain a copy of my father’s Alltel statement is needed.
I am not a dead beat and have always made a very good effort to pay my bills on time. This past year or two has become difficult and I even sent American Express two E-mails using their communication system. Of course, now that system cannot be accessed by me.
Also, since this began I have not made any additional payments. I don’t know who to pay. Now more than ever I am confused and scared to talk to anyone. Who do I pay American Express, Zwicker and Associates, United Recovery Systems, Mann Braken, or who?????
I will be at home recovering from Heart Surgery for the next four to six weeks if I can clarify any of the above information. Please, contact me if I can.
Note: I have also filed a complaint/case with the following:
The Federal Trade Commission
Consumer Response Center
600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20580
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
Office of Investor Education and Advocacy
100 F Street, N.E.
Washington, DC [protected]
U.S. Dept. of Treasury
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
Customer Assistance Group
1301 McKinney Street, Suite 3450
Houston, TX [protected]
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Division of Supervision and Consumer Protection
Consumer Response Center
2345 Grand Boulevard, Suite 100
Kansas City, MO 64108
Committee on Banking, Housing, & Urban Affairs
534 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Florida Attorney General’s Office
State of Florida
PL-01, The Capitol
Tallahassee, FL 32399
Florida Division of Financial Services
Office of Financial Regulation
Division of Finance
Consumer Complaint Section
200 E. Gaines Street
Tallahassee, FL [protected]
The Better Business Bureau
4200 Wilson Blvd, Suite 800
Arlington, VA [protected]
(Against Zwicker and Associates, specifically)
Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General
Consumer Complaints and Information
One Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108
State of Massachusetts
Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation
Ten Park Plaza, Suite 5170
Boston, MA 02116
(Against Mann Braken, LLP, specifically)
Georgia Office of the Attorney General
40 Capitol Square, SW
Atlanta, GA 30334
Georgia Governor's Office of Consumer Affairs
2 Martin Luther King, JR. Drive SE, Suite 356
Atlanta, Georgia [protected]
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