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Diversified Collection Services / taking tax refund

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DCS took my tax refund last year and are trying to do it again this year. I would gladly pay my student loan back if I was able to afford it. I have a documented chronic disease and have been on chemotherapy for over 2 years. I am still working, but my health care expenses are 50% of my gross income which is less than $18, 000 per year. I also take care of a drug addicted 19 year old daughter in which I had to take out a personal loan for in order to pay for her 30 day court ordered drug rehab which was over $10, 0000.
I lost my car and am borrowing a friends vehicle to get to work. If they take my tax refund this year I will not be able to get a car or get to work. I work for a real estate company and have to have a car. It is a requirement of the job position. So, if they take my tax refund I will lose my job which in tuen will make it impossible for me to pay my rent. Are they so ruthless that they would harass to the point of someone being unemployed, homeless, etc.? I find it especially hipocritical when under the new stimulas plan that thousands of lawyers have been waived their financial debt connected to their law school student loans. An attorney should be able to pay them back, especially considering that without their student loan assistance they wouldn't have their high paying job.What does it take to stop this company from their means of tormenting and harassing hard working people? It has to stop. Their actions are causing me incredible stress at a time when my health and the economic situation are enough to deal with. Tracy Berry [protected]


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A  26th of Feb, 2009 by 
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Ms. Stacy Freeman
PO Box 9057
Pleasanton CA 94566-9057
1-800-866-5317-extension 3649

RE: Account number 90408751890
Past due VA State Taxes in the amount of $3, 091.46 for FY2000

Dear Stacy:

As per our telephone conversation yesterday, February 24, 2009, I reviewed my tax returns and while I only have actual copies dating back to 2002, I have sent for the IRS transcripts for 2000 and 2001 in accordance with the H&R Block files submitted. I do confirm that due to loss of my business in 2000, I owed VA state taxes. My 2001 tax returns were a big disappointment since they were e-filed and the IRS paid the state taxes owed for the first time, sending me less than $100 thus ruining my annul trip to the beach. I was also refunded $130 from the state of VA in 2002, which is a clear indication that the only year I ever owed taxes in my life was paid off. Since 2003, with the internet capabilities I have filed and have copies of all my tax returns.

Luckily IRS keeps records for 10 years despite the fact that the tax payer is only required to keep state records for 4 years. Whew, I just made it in the nick of time, plus since the e-file was started in 2001, I am sure it is so much easier to keep computer records besides all that giant bulky paper work they had to store and juggle around the IRS offices.

During my research for almost a decade old tax records, I had the opportunity to do some research on you personally and DCS as a company. Your presentation yesterday was excellent and you actually had my credit card in hand ready to make installment payments on a bill I did not owe, after loosing my job due to the Lehman Brother’s curse, and despite negotiations to get my mortgage rate reduced due to severe hardship. You lost me when you had to have 3 personal references before approving the payment arrangements. Do you know how many people die a year and no one knows them or even claims their body? Everyone has a credit reference or two but not all have three personal references, especially in a country where people leave jobs at an avg. of 2.5 years and move across country or just a few miles away and loose touch without a common thread like a job. I have lived in my condo for over 3 years and I still don’t know my neighbors; I did read up on your illegal techniques to find out if someone was still alive. Having little old ladies slipping notes under unknown neighbors’ doors-WOW!

Last year this time, to be exact, February 2008, you were one of the top performers of Starfish Home in Ventura WOW! I would hire you in a second to cold call properties for concierge services to get my company started! I have trained leasing agents for over a decade and you definitely have a special skill with closing a phone deal. In addition, while you were doing a great job, CDS has had more complaints filed at the BBB than cases they could settle. Just for fun, 113 cases regarding improper billings alone; I am sure you are aware of the rest of the laws suits and that CDS is not approved by BBB and not even an Inc.

While we had our chat yesterday, you were not aware that your initial letter dated February 19, 2009 arrived via mail a few hours before you started calling and not leaving messages. I would leave a polite message and ask for a call back instead of constant ringing The FDCPA has strict guidelines for fair credit dept collections to include rights of recipient to respond. A letter dated February 19, 2009 that gives you until March 1, 2009 to validate debt and date stamped February 23, 2009, with an urgent call from you stating that payment is due now and you have to make payment arrangements before tomorrow February 26, 2009 or assets/wages will be debited, are consistent proof of strong arming a debtor, not to mention an innocent person whose dept is not yet validated or ever will be, since it is inaccurate.

This is your job and you have the right make certain calls and send correspondence within guidelines. You must send tax collection notices certified [the IRS does], have accounts readily verified [unless planning on willful fraud], and allow the full 30 days as inconspicuously written on the back of your notice. Your letter alone with the record of calls placed to my home and cell yesterday, has already violated FDCPA laws and regulations. It is not my job to explain FDCPA regulations, but we do live in America, not all dept is actual, we are innocent until proven guilty; we don’t behead or stone to death without proof in this country; that I know off?!? Did something change since 2001?

Unless, DCS tries to defraud a large number of tax payers who owed 2000 taxes and in accordance with the 2001 e-file the IRS paid their outstanding state balances before issuing a refund if any. Many can be fooled into actually paying for funds they do not owe. They will have an honest recollection of dept owed, once reminded a decade later and feel threatened, or just tired. While I do not have 3 personal friends I do have some acquaintances in the real estate market and some pretty cool internet connections; just for the innocent. I was shocked to hear how many people were sent the same type of letters for past due taxes for 2000 paid by e-file in 2001 by the IRS to the state. I would give you my number to date, but that would not be as much fun as spending my day researching a bogus bill over twice the amount owed to the state of VA in 2000 paid in full in 2001 by the IRS. I am sure DCS has the number they attempted to defraud and so will the BBB and FDCPA regarding actual cases and attempts at defrauding innocent victims.

This is not personally against you, you were great, doing your job and almost had me, just pushed it a little too far and lost the sale. This letter serves as a response to your letter dated February 19, 2009 as a dispute of dept. All further correspondence will be in writing via email, fax or regular mail.

I bill $75.00 per hour for consulting services and I suggest you verify your dept and send an apology letter for needlessly wasting my time!

Anita Kernacs
D  3rd of Jun, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
Did you even read what you wrote before hitting the "Submit" button? This is the most immature, unprofessional letter I have ever seen, and I guarantee that if you did send it to DCS, it's hanging on a wall as a joke. No one would take this seriously.

What was the point you were trying to make? The fact that your annual beach trip was ruined because you had to have your unpaid taxes forcably deducted instead of paying them? That you don't know THREE PEOPLE on this entire planet that would vouch for you as a reference? Or that you don't know the difference between federal (IRS) or state (VA) taxes? If you charged clients $75 an hour as a consultant, you better start kicking out some refunds. I wouldn't hire you to consult on a second graders homework.

Once a debt ( that's D-E-B-T, not D-E-P-T) is turned over for collection, the agency has every right to speak with you once a day every day until the debt is paid. If you chose not to answer your phone, that's your problem, we can call you hourly trying to reach you, as long as it's between 8am and 9pm. It's not illegal and does not violate the FDCPA. Once the debtor receives the written notice (which DOES NOT need to be certified, we are private businesses not government agencies), they have 30 days to respond IN WRITING to dispute. Once that WRITTEN notice is received, collection activities are put on hold until the dispute is resolved, which, by the way, is usually in the collection agency's favor. If you don't respond IN WRITING, guess what...you acknowledge that debt as yours whether it is or not. Too bad, so sad, you will be the one paying. And guess what - that IS in the FDCPA.
D  8th of Feb, 2010 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
Suzy re-check your F.D.C.P.A, and you will surely find that you are allowed 1 and only 1 call daily between the hours of 8am and 9pm, for the specified time zone. If you do not get an answer, you are still legally allowed 1 call. Now if you take it upon your self to call again you could open your company for a possible claim, also you are allowed to leave 1 and only 1 message daily on any machine. I may be guessing but you seemed to take offence with Stacey Freeman's letter. Are you aware that the average consumer has a business knowledge comparable to that of a 5th grader? That other than credit card debt, most people incur debt due to life changing situations. Such things as large medical bills, foreclosures, student loans, and some tax debt to name a few. Certainly we all should be responsible for expenses we incur and in the 20+ years I have been a collector, I have learned that no matter how great I think my skills are, I CAN'T MAKE A PERSON PAY IF THEY DON'T WANT TO!!! Secondly there is a better than even chance that no one has taken time to just listen to that person or the circumstances that have occurred. If I call a person and immediately begin with "slamming" them, you know brow beating them, pressuring them, threatening them with legal action that not only am I not prepared to take, nor in all probability going to take I put them on the defensive. Now I am sure there have been times that these tactics have worked, but I believe they are unnecessarily stressful for the debtor as well as myself. I developed a style where I call a debtor and if I can get them talking mention their debt and always ask how it came about. I cannot tell you the wealth of information I get and the relief that debtor feels because some one finally listened. Instead of demanding payment I help them to see how they can fit this debt repayment into the budget no matter what that budget maybe. The point is to take an antagonistic attitude makes something relatively easy difficult. I have worked with collectors who immediately and routinely label debtor as a dead beat. Who become the voice of doom over the phone and no matter how we describe it mistreat people, you may know the type, who have a flare for office theatrics, raising their voices, rudely hanging up on debtor, just plain being A__ H____. Owing a debt doesn't make you a bad person, it makes you someone who owes a bill and can't see a way out. Good effective collectors help people see a way out. Personally I feel when you respond the way you did it makes a industry already under attack appear particularly ruthless and low class. I wonder how you will respond if something changes in your life and you incur debt. I have been on my present job since March 2007 and last month was the first month I did not have the top total. My last job was collecting defaulted auto loans from people who had marginal credit to begin with that were set up in loans that were set to default from day one. I was there from 1999 to 2005. I was the top collector my whole time there and 22 months in a row exceeded 200%of goal. So remember debtors are people too, treat them as such and 2/3 of them will pay!!..P. S you can pan my spelling if you like, don't need to spell to collect big $$$$$
N  20th of Feb, 2010 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I don't understand how DCS still intercepts your tax refund after you have payment plans set up with them and pay diligently without fail! As hard as times are, why is it that NO ONE seems to care that services like this are putting the poor people in even worse shape!!! I could see if you didn't have a payment plan or wasn't paying like you should be but that's NOT the case.
What's REALLY wrong with this picture!!! Something has to be done!!!
A  24th of Mar, 2010 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I totally agree Caroline Earnest. I rec'd a phone call Dec 08 from a DCS rep (I dont remember her name), but she was really rude. She told me that since I defaulted on my SBA Disaster loan from Hurricane Katrina, I had to pay the full amount of the loan, plus interest in 2 days. Of course, I had no means of getting that amount of money. I then asked her if there was a payment plan I could do. She then told me she would get back with me. About 2 days went by and she called me back. The terms for the payment plan was outrageous. The terms included a downpayment of $7500 and monthly payments of $398. That was the lowest term agreement. I told her that there was no way I could come up with that money. She then told me I needed to borrow that money from family and friends or sell my house or car. Being as though myself and all of my family and my friends lost everything or close to everything during Hurricane Katrina I was left with the rep telling me that my paycheck will be garnished. At this point I had no choice. However, I was never told that my income tax refund would be taken also. I will admit that I did default on my loan (due to economic downfalls and my husband losing his job), I dont think DCS has the right to speak to anyone in such a rude manner. As a result, 15% of my paycheck is being garnsished as well as my tax refund. Times are even harder now than they were a year ago. My new rep at DCS is Jaime Pena, Ive left her a couple of messages and sent emails, but I have not received a response...well I take that back. I did receive paperwork in the mail, but I do not understand it at all and have been trying to call her so she can explain it to me. I think you should be given a choice for the repayment of your debt. Such as: take your income tax refund or garnish your wages. In my case both are being done.
A  17th of Sep, 2010 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I agree with Caroline Earnest, It happen to me with Huracan Charley in 2004, after FEMA sent me a letter explaining to me that I was not elegible to received help, due to my Home Insurance, they did deposit money in the account, I was confused since my Home Insurance went to bankcrupt and the Goverment institution took over my case. I thought that the money was part of my Insurance, later I found out it was from FEMA. After 4 yrs. DCS sent me letters and phone calls constantly, demanding me to take a loan, borrow money from family, and the procedure was the same as Caroline, after I set up a payment plan, they were not satisfied with this, until now they taking over everything, I have not stop making my payments but this in not enough for them, my taxes are gone for 3 yrs. The worse is after I agreed to send a monthly payment...boom! They charged me a Huge Interest rate. Well I know my story is similar to thousands and thousands that agreed with these Institution terms. I wish I had the opportunity to talk to someone that can understand our situation. THEY have made the mistake and now WERE paying for it!!!
A  17th of May, 2011 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I just went to DCS's website and now I understand why the "recovery specialist" I spoke with had difficulty understanding what I was attempting to communicate to him. And please note...I called them they did not call me. I had to get their number from the student loan corporation.

We are always looking for top-flight candidates; all positions require:

* High School Diploma or GED
* Free of defaulted student loans, state or federal liens
* Strong negotiation and communication skills
* Enthusiasm and a great work ethic

Experience in accounting, finance, or banking; debt collection; investigative skills; skip tracing; call center operations; sales; or loan servicing is especially relevant.

Current openings include:

Recovery Specialists
Education Recovery Specialists focus on defaulted student loans and individuals who have fallen out of payment programs. The work entails skip tracing to locate the person, initial contact to present options, negotiating appropriate and follow-through to completion. Minimum requirements:

* 2+ years general work experience dealing with people. Related experience could include debt collection, investigation skills, skip tracing, call center background, sales, loan servicing, finance or banking.
* Solid negotiation and communication skills; ability to stay calm and control the conversation
* Internally motivated and goal driven: this is a commission and performance based environment
* Previous collections experience a plus

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