Can a party send an account to collections without ever sending a letter of monies owed or sending a final notice to collect?

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Can a party send an account to collections without ever sending a letter of monies owed or sending a final notice to collect?

My homeowners association was turned over to the owners over 4 months ago. I was notified of dues owed the third week in May. We verbally agreed for me to pay the full amount within 3-4 months. I received a collections letter July 1st. There was no notice or correspondence that the account was being sent to collections. Fortunately I paid the full amount before I received the letter but they are trying to recoup their $350 filing fee from me. Is this legal? I paid before placement and you can’t collect back end fees on a non-debt. Am I liable for the fee. They dropped their lawyer fees.

Asked on July 22, 2011 Alabama

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Generally, it is good practice for a person who claims money owed to informally send a letter to the person who money is sought from first asking for payment before sending the account to collections. By doing this, perhaps the claim is informally paid with minimal effort by both sides.

If the debt was owed to the homeowner's association for monthly fees for common areas for example, you might review the covenants, conditions and restrictions recorded on your property to see if there are certain required guidelines that the association was required to follow for the debt that it did not to save yourself the $350.00 filing fee.

You might ask the association to drop the claim for the $350.00 just because no prior notice was given you claiming had you received the notice first, you would have brought your account current.


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