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  1. #1
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    Nov 2010
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    Default Can a Collection Agency Try to Collect a "Debt" if I Wrote "Paid in Full" on a Bill

    My question involves collection proceedings in the State of: Colorado

    Hi,

    Just curious if anyone knows about the recent multi-state, multi-million dollar settlement with Direct TV? They have been found among many other issues to have deceptive business practices, etc. We have had the same problems with them as most everyone else you read about on the internet.

    Here is my question. Do I still need to file a formal complaint with the CO Attorney General's office or is my account considered closed legally? Meaning we wrote paid in full for the service we used through the date we used it and returned the material. They want 190.00 for cancellation (early termination of a made up contract), but they cashed our check?

    The AGO said to still register for the class action suit settlement, but I think we are covered, since they cashed our check that said account -----, paid in full. What do you think?

  2. #2
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    Jan 2006
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    35,831

    Default Re: Can a Collection Agency Try to Collect a "Debt" if I Wrote "Paid in Full" on a Bi

    you will want to research "accord and satisfaction" to determine if it is applicable to your situation. It is not as enforceable as most people tend to believe. If you were attempting to use that to cancel some contract you had, that is not going to work.

  3. #3
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    Nov 2010
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    Default Re: Can a Collection Agency Try to Collect a "Debt" if I Wrote "Paid in Full" on a Bi

    Quote Quoting jk
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    you will want to research "accord and satisfaction" to determine if it is applicable to your situation. It is not as enforceable as most people tend to believe. If you were attempting to use that to cancel some contract you had, that is not going to work.
    Thanks for the reply. That is exactly my point. There is no contract other than the original servie agreement we signed which said nothing about any cancelation fees, penalties, etc. It was only a contract for a two year agreement at a set price, that they unilaterally changed to a higher price after one year, nulifying, or at least contradicting the verIn order to constitute an accord and satisfaction in Colorado, it is necessary that the money should be offered in full satisfaction of the demand, and be accompanied by such acts and declarations as amount to a condition that the money, if accepted, is accepted in satisfaction.[i] It must be such that the party to whom it is offered is bound to understand therefrom that if s/he takes it, s/he takes it subject to such conditions.

    Here is what I found on the law in Colorado for accord and satisfaction:

    Payment and acceptance of a less sum than claimed in satisfaction operates as an accord and satisfaction, where a claim is unliquidated or in dispute.[ii] However, once it is established that there is a valid accord and satisfaction, it is governed by the same rules as applied to other contracts.[iii]



    [i] R.A. Reither Constr., Inc. v. Wheatland Rural Electric Asso., 680 P.2d 1342 (Colo. Ct. App. 1984)

    [ii] Stanley-Thompson Liquor Co. v. Southern Colorado Mercantile Co., 65 Colo. 587 (Colo. 1919)



    [iii] Caldwell v. Armstrong, 642 P.2d 47 (Colo. Ct. App. 1

  4. #4
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Can a Collection Agency Try to Collect a "Debt" if I Wrote "Paid in Full" on a Bi

    it still does not allow you to terminated a contract. It also does not prevent the creditor from suing you to attempt to collect whatever they believe you owe. Whether it is a valid defense to whatever they claim will be decided by the courts.

    I have not read the contract but from what I can see, the only disputed amount would be the difference between the original contract price and the increased price. You would still owe at least the original value of the contract for the full two years.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Can a Collection Agency Try to Collect a "Debt" if I Wrote "Paid in Full" on a Bi

    There are a number of potential issues here. Let's say you get your monthly bill, pay the amount billed, mark the bill "paid in full" and return the equipment - there's no reason that the recipient would understand the notation to refer to anything but the fully paid monthly bill. Also, if it was the bill that was marked and not the check, that may not be enough to give proper notice to the creditor depending on state laws.

    Also, credit card companies and similar companies have successfully obtained legislation that protects them from checks marked "paid in full", as they use electronic processing centers and it's possible for a check to be processed without even being seen by a human. If those laws apply to the processing center used by DirecTV, the notation may be of no consequence.

    Also there could be contractual issues at play - a contractual requirement that all checks marked "paid in full" be sent to a special address or to the attention of a specific person or department, or a clause permitting the company to refund an amount paid by a check marked "paid in full" that is accepted without the intent of settling the debt. Along that line, state law may permit the company to refund the money within a specific time frame if it does not want to accept the payment as payment in full - and we're likely dealing not only with your state's laws but also the laws of the state in which the check was processed. You may also have a "choice of law" clause in your contract that defines which state's laws govern disputes, possibly a third state.

    Also, the company may have a defense to a claim of "accord and satisfaction" if you raise that defense to a lawsuit, depending upon the required elements under the laws of the governing state(s).

    (That's off the top of my head - there may be other issues as well.)

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