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Part 1

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Protecting Your Credit

3D Cover of Part 1: Protecting Your CreditYou will find more information here than you ever thought was available – so much that businesses and legislators want to keep it from consumers. Here is the Table of Contents included in this 265-page section:


  • How Did We Get Here?
    • The American Attitude
      • Housing Bubble
      • Fannie and Freddie
    • The Bubble Burst and Rate Adjustments Came Due
  • So, Here We Are!


Chapter One: Credit Card Companies — Not Your Friends

  • They Look and Act Like Friends
  • This Is Not Free Money!
  • How Credit Card Companies Really Make Their Money
    • Interest Rates and Charges
    • Dirty Tricks in Billing
    • Unscrupulous But Legal Offers
    • Big Balances and Minimum Payments
  • Where Are the Feds?


Chapter Two: Third Party Collection Agencies — Watch Out!

  • Who Are They?
    • Original Creditors
    • Third Party Collection Agencies
    • Attorneys
  • Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
    • To Whom Does the FDCPA Not Apply?
  • Unscrupulous Collectors
    • Your Fear
    • States Statute of Limitation on Debt
      • When Does the Statute of Limitation “Start” Begin?
      • Restarting the Statute of Limitation
    • Certified Mail and Signature Required
    • Re-Aging Accounts
    • Bankruptcy Debt Collections
    • Debt Not Yours
    • Clearing Credit Reports and Putting Back On
    • Invoking Arbitration
    • Not Licensed in Your State
    • The Latest Collection Scam
  • Be Proactive
    • Complain
    • Settlements
      • Settling
      • Reasons Not to Settle
      • Think Twice
    • Handling Phone Calls from Creditors
      • Hardcore Rules
      • Keep a Record
    • Put It in Writing
      • Validation of Ownership
      • Housing Bubble Fiasco Fraud
      • Robo-Signing for Credit Card Paperwork
      • Fraudulent Account Sales
      • How This Helps You
      • Only One Document Accepted
      • The Process
      • Validation – First Request
      • Validation – Second Request
      • Validation – Third and Final Request
      • Requested Information Is Provided


Chapter Three: Medical Debt

  • Financial Assistance
  • Itemized Bills
  • Who Pays?
  • Possible Court Defenses
  • Third Party Collection Agencies


Chapter Four: The Court System and Attorneys

  • Truth Versus Justice
  • Attorneys – Alien Beings
    • Respect in Court
    • Attorney Versus Lawyer
    • The Title Esquire
    • Why They Charge So Much
    • How They Charge
    • The Attorney “God Complex”
  • Why Depositions Are Cancelled and Court Appearances Rescheduled
  • Conclusion


Chapter Five: Lawsuits — You Can Win!

  • Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Guidelines
  • Small Claims Court – What Is It?
  • Attorney’s Court Filing Starts the Legal Process
    • Attorney Letter of Intent
    • The Court Filing
  • Defendant’s Response
    • 20 Days to Respond
      • Do Not Ignore the Filing
      • Counterclaim
    • Research to Do Immediately
    • Clerk of Court Letter
    • Appearance and Answer Form
    • Affidavit of Property Exempt
    • Sheriff’s Letter
    • Defendant’s Response Mailing
      • Your File Folder
      • Clerk of Court Mailing
      • Plaintiff’s Attorney Mailing
      • Sheriff’s Mailing
      • U.S. Post Office
    • Court Date
    • The Hearing
      • Prepare Ahead
      • At Court
      • Hardcore Rules
    • Did You Win?
    • If You Lose
      • Judgment Facts
      • Garnishments
      • Filing an Appeal
  • District Court – Consumer Debt Cases
    • The Court Filing
    • Defendant’s Response Filing
    • Take Note
    • Plaintiff’s Attorney Counter-Response
    • Defendant’s Second Response
    • Interrogatories, Production and Admissions
    • Defendant’s Answers and Third Response
    • The Outcome
    • In Conclusion


Chapter Six: The Big Three — Credit Reporting Agencies

  • Who Are They?
  • Get Your Reports
  • Fair Credit Reporting Act
    • Notation Time Periods
    • What Cannot Be Reported
    • Other Reported Information
    • Statute of Limitation Laws and Reporting
  • Clean Up Your Reports
    • Normal Dispute Process
    • Preventative Measures
    • Review of Credit Reports
    • Use the Letter Validation Process
    • File a Dispute
    • CRA Entry Still Not Removed
    • Account Re-Aging Dispute Process
    • Handling Fraudulent Entries
    • Helpful Software
  • Credit Scores
    • What Is FICO?
    • FICO’s Impact on You!
      • Payment History – 35%
      • Outstanding Credit Balances – 30%
      • Length of Credit History – 15%
      • Type of Credit Used – 10%
      • New Credit – 10%
    • What It Means to You
    • Improve It
      • Payment History – 35%
      • Outstanding Credit Balances – 30%
      • Length of Credit History – 15%
      • Type of Credit Used – 10%
      • New Credit – 10%
      • Some Last Thoughts
      • Debt Consolidation
      • Bankruptcy


Appendix A: Important Contact Information

  • Complaints about Credit Card Companies
    • State Complaint Departments (aka Attorney General’s Consumer Protection)
    • State Representatives
    • Federal Trade Commission – Banking Regulators
    • Comptroller of the Currency
    • Better Business Bureau
  • Licensed to Do Business in States
    • Small Business Administration
    • All-in-One Web Site for Searches
  • Information on Small Claims & District Courts
    • State Bar Associations
    • State Legal Aid Societies
  • More Information
    • All Experts
    • Free Annual Credit Reports
    • Fair Debt Collections Practices Act Information
    • Prescreened Credit & Insurance Offers OPT OUT
    • State Codes
    • State Statutes of Limitation on Debt
  • Credit Reporting Agencies
    • Equifax
    • Experian
    • Innovis
    • PRBC
    • TransUnion
  • Attorneys – Locating for Contingency & Pro Bono
    • National Association of Consumer Advocates
    • States Legal Aid Societies
  • Credit Counselors – Locating
    • National Foundation for Credit Counseling
    • Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies
    • Better Business Bureau
    • Attorneys General’s Consumer Protection


Appendix B: Sample – Difficult District Court Filing and Responses

  • Difficult Court Case
  • The Court Filing
  • Defendant’s Response
    • Explanation of the Defendant’s Response
      • No Definitive Address – Item #1
      • Validity of the Filed Affidavit – Item #2
      • Creditor Not Licensed in Florida – Item #3
      • Requested Discovery
  • Plaintiff’s Attorney Counter-Response
  • Defendant’s Second Response
  • The Outcome


Testimonial (Complete)

When I awoke to a knock at the door by a man serving me with papers notifying me that I was being sued, I was in shock. What the heck do I do? How do I respond? I am self-employed and the economy has been harsh over the past few years. I am struggling to make ends meet, so how was I to afford an attorney to help me with this on top of everything else. 

I called Patricia to let her know what was going on. She helped one of my cousins with a legal situation. She explained if I did nothing, which is what the attorneys hoped I would do, they’d get an easy judgment against me and take the money they were seeking. But the weight of the claim was on them to prove that I owed the money and not on me. That gave me some relief. 

After our responses, eventually I received a regular sized envelope. My initial reaction to seeing the attorney’s return address was ‘great now what’.  I opened the envelope to read the most beautiful words ever, “Voluntary Dismissal”.  They had dropped the lawsuit. HALLELUJAH!!!

I was doing the happy dance and couldn’t call Patricia fast enough with the great news!  I am more than overjoyed by the help that Patricia provided. Her research discovered discrepancies and their use of attempted intimidation. I had many sleepless nights stressing from this and am just so glad it’s over.

E.V., Florida

Copyright 2013, Patricia Hawke

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