Palisades Collections LLC: Highway Robbers or just Plain Rude?

By
Real Estate Agent 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

~     o     ~     o     ~     o     ~     o     ~     o     ~

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:
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Rainmaker
908,516
Bill Gassett
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate
RE/MAX Executive Realty

Way to call these guys out Rich. Hopefully this and other press will force them to get their act together.

July 26, 2009 06:27 AM
Ambassador
895,064
Missy Caulk
Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate
Missy Caulk TEAM

Sorry for this, Rich.

I would have posted on it too. What are they thinking?  Well I guess they are not.

 

July 26, 2009 06:57 AM
Ambassador
1,807,328
Cindy Jones
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News
Integrity Real Estate Group

Collection companies would rather keep the interest and collection charges running instead of resolving the isssue.  What do you think the chances are that they can't find any paperwork to go with the judgement and are stalling?

July 26, 2009 07:36 AM
Anonymous #4
Anonymous
Anonymous

Golly, gee ... does it surprise anyone that they have a NJ address. Given the recent police sting with politicians and rabis, maybe they're "busy" handling other issues.

July 26, 2009 08:27 AM
Rainmaker
134,027
Janie Coffey
GRI - Miami Real Estate
One Sotheby's International Realty

Palisades and Mann Bracken are two of the worst offenders of thug like behaviour toward our clients.  It's just awful!  we need to have a national Debt Collector Czar to get these people to act professionally and properly

July 26, 2009 08:44 AM
Rainer
211,971
Carol Smith
Casmi Photography

Rich - I hope that part of this process involves ...

1)  A demand for proof that the debt is owed.  Depending on your state's laws it may have already hit the books as a charge off.  At that point ... Pallisades Collections is trying to recoup a dead debt.  This happens all the time.  Ask for proof of the debt.  I realize that court ordered judgments hold a different place in the collection chain, but it never hurts to check.  If they cannot, or will not provide proof of the debt ... then perhaps filing a complaint with the AGs office and the FTC is in order.

2)  When all else fails ... call the Attorney General's office in NJ.  Explain to them the issue.  This move has never failed me.  These collection outfits absolutely do not want to be getting calls from the AGs office.  I had a client that was unaware of a collection judgment which turned out to be a chargeoff.  The collections agency was not legally entitled to any payment.  It would have been all gravy money for them.

3)  I have lots more annoying little tactics that turn the tide and put the collections agencies on the hot seat.  They hate it when you start citing portions of the Fair Debt Collections Act and they will immediately comply.  Most folks don't realize that the collection agencies are not the be all, end all when it comes to problem resolution.

Hope this works out for all concerned.  But don't forget that your clients have many many rights and can force these people to clear it up.

 

July 26, 2009 09:21 AM
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1,805,386
Jeff Dowler CRS
Carlsbad CA Homes for Sale (760) 840-1360
Solutions Real Estate

Rich - my initial thought on reading about Palisades Collections was it was a scam of sorts. Perhaps the Better Business Bureau or the Attorney General in NJ should be involved.

Jeff

July 26, 2009 09:39 AM
Rainmaker
122,067
Jim Valentine
RE/MAX Realty Affiliates

Very interesting.  Those loose judgments can haunt folks and cause us grief.  Thanks for the heads up.

July 26, 2009 11:07 AM
Rainmaker
327,863
Dinah Lee Griffey
Managing Broker Windermere Peninsula Properties
Windermere Peninsula Properties

We live in an upside down world right now. This stype of story is becoming common place...WEIRD-Dinah Lee

July 26, 2009 12:31 PM
Rainmaker
325,145
Esko Kiuru

Rich,

Got to love those collection firms, such a bunch of pros. Fortunately the escrow people and the mortgage lender were creative enough to allow the deal to close.

July 27, 2009 10:29 PM
Ambassador
492,349
Brian Schulman
Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552
Coldwell Banker Select Professionals, Lancaster PA

Wow, there's a ripoff I hadn't heard of before.  I hope the authorities properly investigate them.

July 29, 2009 11:36 AM
Rainmaker
232,316
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
285,758
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
582,897
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
1,178,250
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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