Berges Law Group – Consumer Complaint – May 9, 2016

Consumer Statement:

My original problem was that ELAN Financial Service made an extra (unauthorized draw) on my checking account, which overdrew the account. At the time, I was out of town, involved with my husband’s hospitalization. Unfortunately, this account was set up with all of our monthly auto-draws. Thus, the result was numerous return fees, late fees, overdraft fees, etc.

My bank refused to assist (“not our fault”); ELAN initially refused to acknowledge their error–later lied about it to the bank. I was finally able to convince a supervisor at ELAN of what had happened, and they refunded $200 to my account–but that didn’t come close to the problems their error had caused.

Consumer Action Taken:

I complained to ELAN, but all they did was to raise the interest rate to the limit allowed, and added another $1,000+ to the amount owed, and harassed me with disgusting phone calls.

Somehow I was contacted by the Berges Law Group, who said they could “get ELAN off my back” — just tell ELAN that I had attorneys representing me, which I did. Initially, ELAN refused to accept that I had turned the account over to attorneys, which I relayed to Berges; eventually, that problem ceased.

I don’t recall signing any agreement; they just sent me a call log to record any correspondence from ELAN and to forward it to them (Berges) [their address was listed as Berges Law Group, P.A., 1451 W. Cypress Creek Rd, Ste 211, Ft Lauderdale, FL 33309]. However, I had a monthly Berges fee of $150.63, beginning in July 2013; this was automatically drawn from my checking account.

My personal time was taken up with other matters; asking for a status report from Berges about 3 months later, I was informed that they were dealing with ELAN, but ELAN was slow in responding to them. I just ignored the situation because ELAN wasn’t harassing me.

The monthly draws by Berges continued; from time to time, I would receive updated credit reports from all three credit bureaus. Some accounts reflected gaps in monthly payments that had resulted in the ELAN overdraw, but then they were back on track.

Occasional correspondence from Berges, reflected an address of [American Credit Security, Berges Law Group, 1410 SW 3rd St, Pampano Beach, FL 33069–I was told in a phone call that they had moved]. In August 2015, I received an e-mail from Lynn Cords (with whom I had been working), Supervisor of the Credit Corrections Department, advising of an update for the AEGIS LEGAL CENTER [first I had heard of the name] noting that their new name was “AEGIS Florida” — the address (Pompano Beach) remained the same.

Then, in November 2015, I was notified that my account had been transferred to OMNI Management Partners; it was a “warm welcome and thank you for joining our family here at Omni Management Partners, LLC”; included was an accounting of payments I had made through BLG: this reflected that of the monthly fee I had been paying ($150.63), $145.63 was listed as “Payment” and $5.00 was listed as RAM fee. This was the first “accounting” I had had.

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Included in the mailing was a multi-page document [the front page was titled “Limited Power of Attorney”]; it appeared that this document had been a compilation from various sources, because the page numbers were random as I briefly thumbed through it; in the middle were some documents regarding BREEZE FINANCIAL; however, I had no time to read through the document. NOW, as I look at it, I see that it has my initials electronically entered on the “OMNI MANAGEMENT PARTNERS, LLC Confidential Clients’ Assignments of Rights and Assumption of Valid Debt Agreement” with the effective date starting the 3rd day of November 2015. I also see that my name was electronically entered on the Breeze Financial and RAM documents (it’s so small and light, it’s easy to overlook).

In any case, I did not sign any documents! However, with my limited occasional contact with them by phone and e-mail, they must have assumed I wanted them to continue. I did notice that by November 2015, Equifax listed the ELAN account as being “disputed” and the inflated amount was ” charged-off.”
January and February 2016, RAM withdrew $150.63 as payment, but thereafter has changed the monthly draw to $50.00.

On February 03,2016, I received and e-mail from Jovan Helton of HELPING AMERICA GROUP [150 Palmetto Park Rd, Ste 800, Boca Raton, FL 33432], stating,

“Dear [X],
Congratulations! The first step in resolving your alleged debt have just taken place. Please be assured that we are working diligently on your case and at this time we have mailed out the Initial Dispute Correspondences to your creditors as outlined below [ELAN Financial]. You have no actions to perform at this time. Please remember that we need your cooperation in collecting the necessary data that may help get your case dismissed.”

I e-mailed OMNI that I didn’t know who this correspondence was from; I was later e-mailed that they were actually a part of OMNI.

All of this came to light at this time because, due to my husband’s medical condition (a surgeon accidentally cut his pulmonary artery when replacing a mitral valve–and then sent him off to rehab to die…), I went to my local credit union to see about a small short-term loan, which was denied. They had obtained a report from Equifax, which listed positive standing in all by two accounts: ELAN and Les Schwab Tire.

I looked at the report and noted that the Les Schwab account was current with a zero balance but showed several months’ payments delinquent back in 2012 [which was a result of the ELAN problem at the time].

The ELAN account listed the $9,000+ amount as currently owing, charged-off, BUT NOT IN DISPUTE! I told the loan officer that attorneys were currently dealing with the ELAN account; the underwriters needed to have that information in writing.

I contacted OMNI for a letter; after a week of phone calls, they e-mailed me a document for the credit union. However, when the credit union followed up with OMNI, I was told that the letter was worthless, because OMNI were not attorneys.

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So, I contacted Equifax for a current report, and disputed the two negative accounts. They suggested contacting Les Schwab Tires and explain the situation, which I did…and they agreed to remove the negative listing, which will improve my credit score.

I will not contact ELAN, because Berges et al is supposed to be the contact for them. However, Equifax is listing it as being in dispute–but that will only last 30 days. [It should have already been so listed…]

I was also told that there is a difference between an account being “Written off” and “Charged off”–that even if the account is closed, the amount can still be listed as “owing” — and this leaves the account open to someone else to pick it up for collection. (??) Nevertheless, this leaves me with an overdue amount close to $10,000…not a good candidate for a loan.

I didn’t really realize it, but, to date, I have paid Berges et al $4,970.16, and although I no longer get disgusting phone calls from ELAN, the account is still punishing me.

In some ways, I’m reluctant to write Berges (with copies to all of the et als) demanding my money back, because they appear to be somewhat of a protection from ELAN…but I need resolution, and my monthly payments don’t appear to be doing much good, and I feel like I’m being scammed.

Date This Problem Happened: July 13, 2013

State You Live in: Oregon

Race/Ethnicity: White

Age Range: 66+

Total Amount of Fee Paid: $4,970.16

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Company Name: Berges Law Group

Company Address:

1410 SW Third Street Ste B (?)
Pompano, FL 33069

Company Telephone Number: 954-278-3372

Website of Company: bergeslawgroup.com

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