OK, second example. I had a coworker from China who’d come over when he was 30. His English was very good, but he had no confidence in it, and one effect of this was that he was completely unable to deal with American bureaucracy. I often wrote him phone scripts to use when he had to call the gas company, our HMO, etc.
Some years before, he had been rear-ended while driving a rental car, and the car was totaled. He had rented the car with a credit card that gave free total insurance coverage for rentals, and the credit card company paid the car rental company in full without resistance. He kept receipts. No problem, right? Wrong.
A year later he gets a bill in the mail from a collection agency in California (he was in Chicago) demanding $14,000 for the destruction of a Dodge Neon. Puzzled, he ignores it. He gets another, then he starts getting calls. He sends copies of the receipts, and it goes away for a year. Then it resumes, same agency. He sends copies again. It goes away again.
So one day he comes into my office in a total panic and tells me this story while clutching a crappy dot matrix printout of the same bill from the same agency. I think about it and figure that they’re probably targeting him deliberately because of his name and green card — I’d heard reports of how such agencies target the very elderly to prey on their confusion.
So I tell him to leave it to me, and I spend an hour perfecting a letter on company letterhead full of arch sarcasm and well-deployed semicolons, documenting “my” frustration and wondering aloud if this clear harassment might be a matter not only for “my attorneys” but for the Department of Immigration. He never heard from them again (this is maybe 10 years ago now).
I doubt the rental company had anything to do with his woes — I think the collection agency just figured it would try every so often in perpetuity, and that when I made him appear to be a non-helpless immigrant they closed the file.
So extar, I wouldn’t even assume that this law firm actually represents the state (though who knows?). Don’t pay them a dime.