Hello Cannon and sorry to hear of your dilemma.
Although you did not retrieve them, the certified letters WERE notice to you of the funds due. Under most state laws, a recipient is deemed to have received the letter when it is deposited into the US Mail. Often lawyers will send notices to homeowners via both certified mail as well as regular US mail, but I see that this was not the case this time.
My suggestion is to pay off everything you owe to them right now. Otherwise, under most state laws, the amount due is subject to late charges AND interest penalties that will continue to accrue until the balance is paid in full. Unfortunately, the law office handling the collection has already charged your account for the fees, so the only way to resolve this is directly with the law offices.
First get the law offices out of the way, and then consider a small claims action against the homeowners association for their collection practices and policy. You would not need legal representation in order to appear before a small claims judge, but you should resolve this situation first before it gets any greater. In the meantime, I would strongly suggest that when presented with a return receipt to retrieve registered or certiifed mail, you take a few minutes to have these redelivered to you or pick them up at the office.
Grace Morioka, SRES, e-Pro, CID Consultant and Specialist
Area Pro Realty
San Jose, CA