Palisades Collections LLC: Highway Robbers or just Plain Rude?

By
Real Estate Broker with Keller Williams West Sound Realty

I recently had the pleasure of representing some Sellers on a beautiful Olympic Mountain view home near Hood Canal WA.

We were fortunate to go under contract with some equally wonderful Buyers who truly loved the home.palisades-collections-llc

Most everything during the course of the transaction went fairly smooth. However, just a week before closing, the escrow company discovered a judgment on the title against my Sellers. It should have been picked up by the title company when preliminary title was initially ordered, but unfortunately, such oversights happen. 99% of the time, the escrow company simply contacts the company responsible for collecting the debt and obtains the pay-off amount. The judgment was for just under $7000.

In our instance, it took some time to determine who had managing responsibility for this judgment. It's fairly typical for these debts to be sold off and to change hands several times. The Sellers finally traced the judgment debt to a company in New Jersey, Palisades Collections, LLC.

This is where the horror story really begins.

The escrow agent promptly contacted Palisades Collections, provided all the pertinent information necessary to obtain the pay-off amount, and was told they would respond back shortly.

The following day, when the pay-off wasn't received, the escrow agent called again. This time she was treated very abruptly. The representative from Palisades Collections ordered her to call back tomorrow and hung up on her.

This identical rude scenario played out everyday for almost a week, causing us to miss our closing date. Several other people who were party to the transaction (yours truly included) called Palisades Collections, were subjected to the same horrific treatment, and rudely hung up on.

The Buyers had already closed on the sale of their previous residence, so the delays in closing forced them to inconveniently hole up in a nearby hotel room.

The inexplicable delays by Palisades Collections to provide the pay-off amount created tremendous hardship and frustration for both Buyers and Sellers. It turned a relatively smooth transaction into a living nightmare.

palisades-collections-llc-is-very-rude-to-clientsFortunately, principles of the title and escrow offices, working in concert with the Buyer's lender, were able to draft a holdback agreement that will allow us to close, and allocate a portion of the Seller's proceeds to be held in an account to settle the judgment debt once the pay-off is received.

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but don't collection companies usually call and pester you incessantly, demanding payment immediately for some long outstanding debt? Then it only stands to reason that if someone called and basically said "We owe you money, can you tell us how much?" that they would gladly welcome the offer and help expedite the process?

A quick Google search reveals that we aren't the only ones who've had issues with Palisades Collections aka Asta Funding. They are notorious for attempting to defraud people into paying debts they never incurred.

Here's just a few samples:

http://www.debtconsolidationcare.com/forums/about6229.html

http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/0/185/RipOff0185373.htm

http://www.articlesbase.com/credit-articles/palisades-collection-agency-460787.html

Palisades Collections, LLC
aka/ Asta Funding, Inc.
210 Sylvan Ave.,
Englewood, NJ 07632

Phone: 800-991-9367

Your Friendly Head Debt Collectors:
Arthur Stern - Chairman Emeritus
Gary Stern - Chairman of the Board, President & CEO
Robert Michel, CPA - CFO

Website: astafunding.com

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Rich Jacobson is a licensed real estate professional providing knowledgeable empowerment and relentless representation for his clients of residential properties and vacant land throughout all of Kitsap County WA and portions of Pierce, Mason, and Jefferson Counties. You can also find him at KitsapLife.com, SOUNDBITEBLOG, and Crabbing in the Hood.

 

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Topic:
Home Selling
Groups:
Life on the Kitsap Peninsula WA
Peninsula Real Estate
Puget Sound - WA Real Estate
The Lounge at Active Rain
Tags:
palisades collections llc
asta funding
ripoff artists
judgments on title

Comments 16 New Comment

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Rainmaker
224,689
Sal Poliandro - Bergen County Realtor
Short Sale Specialist - CDPE, SRES, SFR, IRES
RE/MAX Properties

Hopefully justice will be served.

August 01, 2009 09:50 PM
Rainer
285,731
Diane Aurit
Lake Norman Real Estate
LKN Realty, LLC

Wow, what a horror story.  I will be very interested to hear if this judgement was even valid.  It would seem that it would be in their best interest to collect the money and run...very fishy!

August 13, 2009 04:49 PM
Rainmaker
582,697
Susan Neal
Fair Oaks CA & Sacramento Area Real Estate Broker
RE/MAX Gold, Fair Oaks

Hi Rich - Scam-type collection efforts have been going on for a long time, but in certain economic times it seems they proliferate.  I have a friend who must have gotten on someone's "sucker list" or something.  At least twice a year he receives collection letters threatening litigation unless he signs an agreement to pay off some balance (that he doesn't owe) at so much a month.  When he writes to them and asks for an accounting to show how he owes them money, they won't give him one, but just keep up the threats.

Since I am a licensed attorney as well as a broker, I have litigated some of these for clients.  In most cases, a letter from me is all it takes to stop the collection efforts, but later he will get letters from a different company seeking a different balance.  I don't know why they are picking on him!

August 13, 2009 05:03 PM
Rainmaker
1,172,614
Steven L. Smith
Bellingham WA Home Inspector
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc

Rich,

That is an interesting story. When I had a broadcasting business, sometimes I I used a collection agency to collect from clients who refused to pay. However it was a local firm, Mt Vernon, and they did a good job. Even the people they collected from, often successfully, thought they were polite.

August 17, 2009 09:43 AM
Anonymous #16
Anonymous
Anonymous

Rich,

Good Post. I have had some similar dealings with a collection agency. I had a client who needed to settle an account in order to be approved. He set up a payment plan with the collection agency. When he asked for a statement or something to reflect the terms of the agreement, they became very indifferent. After a few days of this, he called them and said he wanted to make a large payment but would need a copy of his statement. Guess what? It worked and we closed on time.

August 17, 2009 10:02 AM
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