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.
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.
Fortunately, 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:
Palisades Collections, LLC
aka/ Asta Funding, Inc.
210 Sylvan Ave.,
Englewood, NJ 07632
Your Friendly Head Debt Collectors:
Arthur Stern - Chairman Emeritus
Gary Stern - Chairman of the Board, President & CEO
Robert Michel, CPA - CFO
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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.