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Author: Volucris Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 308452  
Subject: Collection Agency Update Date: 1/6/2014 10:14 PM
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I posted earlier about a collection agency that showed up out of the blue with a debt they said we owed a dentist.

Patzer state this:
If you legitimately owe money and wish to make a deal to pay, never give a collector your checking account number over the phone. Collectors routinely take more money than they say they'll take.

- Never pay one cent until you have an agreement in writing stating your payment(s) will resolve the debt in full.


Well - they wanted either my checking info or credit card over the phone and they refused to provide an agreement in advance stating our payment would resolve the debt in full. Said it wasn't their "policy". I said they weren't getting a thing until they provided the document, then they called me a deadbeat and threatened to ruin my credit. Gave me an ultimatum to do it their way by tomorrow . . . .or else!

I'm not sure we owe anything at all, and the whole thing is beyond the stature of limitations anyway as far as I can tell. But, it looks as if it may get ugly.
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Author: Volucris Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 307652 of 308452
Subject: Re: Collection Agency Update Date: 1/6/2014 10:15 PM
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I'm sorry, it was Fuskie with the excellent advice.

Thank you Fuskie.

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Author: Fuskie Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Ticker Guide SC1 Red Winner of the 2010 Rule Breakers Challenge Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 307653 of 308452
Subject: Re: Collection Agency Update Date: 1/7/2014 12:21 AM
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I think all the advice was good.

Fuskie
Who did not read that you ordered them to no longer contact you by phone and that they must provide proof in writing within 5 days that you owed the debt...

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Author: joelcorley Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 307654 of 308452
Subject: Re: Collection Agency Update Date: 1/7/2014 2:11 AM
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Volucris,

You wrote, Well - they wanted either my checking info or credit card over the phone and they refused to provide an agreement in advance stating our payment would resolve the debt in full. Said it wasn't their "policy". I said they weren't getting a thing until they provided the document, then they called me a deadbeat and threatened to ruin my credit. Gave me an ultimatum to do it their way by tomorrow . . . .or else!

I'm not sure we owe anything at all, and the whole thing is beyond the stature of limitations anyway as far as I can tell. But, it looks as if it may get ugly.


If you're not certain, I might dispute it all the way. (Or I might not. I have a story to explain that in a sec.)

In theory they shouldn't be able to sue you for the bad debt. Worse case you have a defense and if I recall correctly, if they sue (or even threaten to sue you) may have a (counter-)claim under the FDCPA. But they can still file a report with the CRAs until 7 years plus 180 have expired. If it's already more than 6 years, I'm guessing you have maybe a year before this expires.

I've actually gotten into a dispute with a CA over a small medical bill before. You could argue the bill might have been legitimate. It was for lab services rendered to my ex when she was in the hospital before our divorce. I never saw an original bill. The insurance company never saw an original bill. The CA wouldn't send me any documentation other than a printout from Windows Notepad that had some basic information - hardly proof of anything. The amount was small - under $90.

I'd found the item by pulling my reports. When I received their worthless validation response I wrote back. I filed disputes with all the CRAs. I also followed up with the original lab and finally got some answers. The lab hadn't copied my ex's info correctly and they apparently did not file the bill with the insurance or send either of us a bill. I gave them my insurance information for that period and they tried to file even though it was at least 5 years too late. The insurance refused to pay because it violated the timeliness provisions in their provider contract.

Now perhaps the debt was legitimate, but the provider contract is *supposed* to force the provider to go away at this point. But after all that work I just couldn't seem to get anyone interested in that theory and the collection agency insisted on "verifying" the information with the CRAs, which all but one (I think) took as proof of the debt.

Anyway, I found it was only dinging my score like 20-30 points (6 years is pretty old on a report) and it didn't make any difference on some things because small medical debts were excluded from consideration of certain things like ... insurance. Ultimately I decided it wasn't a big priority and just quit pursuing it. I still had decent credit even with that ding. Worse case I figured I could sue them for damages - after all, I'd warned them - if I thought I might have to finance a house before it went off my history; but at the time, it looked like it was going to fall off before it was a concern.

Turned out I was right. In 2012 I relocated and bought a house. No sign of that item.

Now I'm not saying you should ignore the CA ... but if you're busy with life and you don't think you're going to need your credit any time soon, it might be an option.

- Joel

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Author: Fuskie Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Ticker Guide SC1 Red Winner of the 2010 Rule Breakers Challenge Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 307655 of 308452
Subject: Re: Collection Agency Update Date: 1/7/2014 2:40 AM
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I don't know if I, or anyone else, has mentioned it yet, but you should pull one of your three free credit reports from annualcreditreport.com. Do NOT go to freecreditreport.com because to quote Admiral Ackbar, It's A Trap!

I would pull one now, say Equifax, wait 4 months then pull your next free one, say Trans Union, and then 4 months and pull your free Experian report. This way you can find out if someone has slapped this debt onto your credit report and then dispute it accordingly.

If you don't have a mailing address for the collection attorney, you can't really do anything if they aren't willing to obey the law. If they actually do sue you and you receive a summons to appear in court, do NOT ignore it. You could be held liable for the debt even if it wasn't yours simply because you didn't show up to defend yourself and the judge is lazy. If you tell them not to call you again and all further correspondence must be in writing and they continue calling, you may want to record the conversations. You could possibly counter-sue for violation of the fair debt collection act.

Fuskie
Who suggests searching the ClarkHoward.com web site for Clark's guidance on dealing with unethical debt collectors...

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Author: Volucris Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 307656 of 308452
Subject: Re: Collection Agency Update Date: 1/7/2014 10:08 AM
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Who did not read that you ordered them to no longer contact you by phone and that they must provide proof in writing within 5 days that you owed the debt...

You are correct - you did not read that. It will happen today or tomorrow.

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Author: Volucris Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 307657 of 308452
Subject: Re: Collection Agency Update Date: 1/7/2014 10:14 AM
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Anyway, I found it was only dinging my score like 20-30 points (6 years is pretty old on a report) and it didn't make any difference on some things because small medical debts were excluded from consideration of certain things like ... insurance.

You are probably correct. This is $400. It is over 6 years old, and the statute of limitations in CO is 6 years for most things, 3 for others. It is unclear where the clock starts though. I don't imagine I need a loan anytime soon, and the last time I checked my credit score was 810.

It's just a pain in the rear, and I have better things to do than deal with this.

Thanks everyone for your help.

V

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Author: Fuskie Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Ticker Guide SC1 Red Winner of the 2010 Rule Breakers Challenge Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 307658 of 308452
Subject: Re: Collection Agency Update Date: 1/7/2014 2:01 PM
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It is over 6 years old, and the statute of limitations in CO is 6 years for most things, 3 for others. It is unclear where the clock starts though.

Watch out for a clock reset. If you pay any amount on this debt, you could effectively be resetting that clock. And you need to keep an eye out on your credit report that it isn't listed with a current date regardless of the actual origination date. These are all unethical behaviors that some debt collectors have used.

Fuskie
Who discloses that he owns shares of a debt collection company but is confident they are one of the good ones that follows the law...

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Author: Volucris Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 307659 of 308452
Subject: Re: Collection Agency Update Date: 1/7/2014 5:08 PM
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No worries - I will make absolutely sure that the clock doesn't reset. And I will not pay until I get an invoice that says this will pay all debts in full. They don't want to do that, which leads me to believe they are less than reputable.

First I will send a letter asking them to verify the debt and state in writing that the statute of limitations has not passed, and to quit calling me or my wife, and make sure all further contact is in writing, etc.

What if called the original provider and offered to pay them? Went around the collection agency in effect? What would happen then?

V

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Author: Fuskie Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Ticker Guide SC1 Red Winner of the 2010 Rule Breakers Challenge Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 307660 of 308452
Subject: Re: Collection Agency Update Date: 1/7/2014 5:25 PM
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Calling the original creditor won't help - they already wrote the debt off and paying them won't stop the debt collector. Also, you don't need to have them state the statute of limitations has or hasn't passed. If they offer proof of debt, that will include the date of the debt.

Fuskie
Who notes there is a chance that if you challenge them they'll go away when they can't produce the evidence...

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Author: aj485 Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 307661 of 308452
Subject: Re: Collection Agency Update Date: 1/7/2014 5:32 PM
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First I will send a letter asking them to verify the debt and state in writing that the statute of limitations has not passed, and to quit calling me or my wife, and make sure all further contact is in writing, etc.

Just be aware - if the debt is legit (and it's not clear if it is or isn't at this point, since you haven't gotten any validation of the debt), if they are the owner of the debt, or an agent that the owner of the debt has hired, they still have right to try to collect from you until the debt is paid. You can request that they limit their contact to written, rather than phone calls, but as soon as the owner of the debt engages a different agent (i.e. collection agency), or your debt gets sold to a different owner, you will start to get phone calls again, and have to go through the process of notifying them that you want to be contacted only in writing. This can continue even beyond the statute of limitations or the ability for the owner of the debt to put any information on your credit report.

Since old debts are sold at pennies on the dollar, it doesn't take a lot for the owner of the debt to profit by making a few phone calls and trying to collect just a payment or two, no matter how old the debt is.

What if called the original provider and offered to pay them? Went around the collection agency in effect? What would happen then?

If the debt has been sold, the original lender probably will tell you they don't have the right to collect, and you need to deal with the collection agency. If the original lender still owns the debt, and the collection agency was hired by the original lender, it would depend on the contract between the original lender and the collection agency.

AJ

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Author: joelcorley Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 307662 of 308452
Subject: Re: Collection Agency Update Date: 1/7/2014 8:17 PM
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Fuskie,

You wrote, Watch out for a clock reset.

I think the issuing in the FCRA with clock reset was fixed by Congress back in 1997. I don't believe the clock can reset now unless you've somehow managed to bring the loan current. Its described in 15 USC § 1681c (c) Running of reporting period, which can be found here: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/15/1681c

The 7 year clock begins when the account is ...placed for collection or charged to profit and loss... (This is no later than 180 days from the date the account first became delinquent.) The only way it could be reset is if the account has been rehabilitated and you default again. A partial payment won't do that. Neither will stating that you owe the debt. It seems to me the only things that could rehabilitate a debt is either through a means described in the original contract or the execution of a new contract that supersedes the old contract. Those are things you probably won't "do by accident".

- Joel

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Author: Fuskie Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Ticker Guide SC1 Red Winner of the 2010 Rule Breakers Challenge Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 307663 of 308452
Subject: Re: Collection Agency Update Date: 1/7/2014 11:06 PM
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Joel, you are assuming these companies operate lawfully and ethically. That doesn't always happen. According to Clark Howard, this is still going on. Also, if a collection attorney brings takes a suit to court and you don't show up to dispute it, the judge could award them a judgement even if the debt was never yours.

Fuskie
Who notes there are a lot of good debt collectors out there but there are too many bad ones as well...

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Author: joelcorley Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 307664 of 308452
Subject: Re: Collection Agency Update Date: 1/8/2014 7:19 PM
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Fuskie,

You wrote, Joel, you are assuming these companies operate lawfully and ethically. That doesn't always happen. According to Clark Howard, this is still going on. Also, if a collection attorney brings takes a suit to court and you don't show up to dispute it, the judge could award them a judgement even if the debt was never yours.

I don't know what to tell you. People do things that are against the law all the time. It doesn't mean they're right. It also doesn't mean you shouldn't sue them if you deem it worthwhile.

Also I wouldn't fear litigation like this as long as I get properly served. Real problems occur when process server fraud is committed. http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1202432464950&slre... The fraud was so widespread that the city of New York now requires all licensed process servers to carry a GPS system that logs their locations. According to the NY Post, the problem is still pretty common. http://nypost.com/2012/12/09/worst-process-server-way-off-ma...

- Joel

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Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 308274 of 308452
Subject: Re: Collection Agency Update Date: 6/19/2014 3:54 PM
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<<
I posted earlier about a collection agency that showed up out of the blue with a debt they said we owed a dentist.

Patzer state this:
If you legitimately owe money and wish to make a deal to pay, never give a collector your checking account number over the phone. Collectors routinely take more money than they say they'll take.

- Never pay one cent until you have an agreement in writing stating your payment(s) will resolve the debt in full.

Well - they wanted either my checking info or credit card over the phone and they refused to provide an agreement in advance stating our payment would resolve the debt in full. Said it wasn't their "policy". I said they weren't getting a thing until they provided the document, then they called me a deadbeat and threatened to ruin my credit. Gave me an ultimatum to do it their way by tomorrow . . . .or else!

I'm not sure we owe anything at all, and the whole thing is beyond the stature of limitations anyway as far as I can tell. But, it looks as if it may get ugly.







>>


So how did this work out?


Seattle Pioneer

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Author: Volucris Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 308337 of 308452
Subject: Re: Collection Agency Update Date: 7/8/2014 12:00 PM
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So how did this work out?

I sent a letter. Never heard from them again.

Here is the text of the letter:

To Whom It May Concern:
I am sending this letter to you in response to a notice I received from you on (date of letter). Be advised, this is not a refusal to pay, but a notice sent pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 USC 1692g Sec. 809 (b) that your claim is disputed and validation is requested.

This is NOT a request for "verification" or proof of my mailing address, but a request for VALIDATION made pursuant to the above named Title and Section. I respectfully request that your office provide me with competent evidence that I have any legal obligation to pay you.
Please provide me with the following:
• What the money you say I owe is for;
• Explain and show me how you calculated what you say I owe;
• Provide me with copies of any papers that show I agreed to pay what you say I owe;
• Identify the original creditor;
• Prove the Statute of Limitations has not expired on this account;
• Show me that you are licensed to collect in my state; and
• Provide me with your license numbers and Registered Agent.


If your offices fail to respond to this validation request within 30 days from the date of your receipt, all references to this account must be deleted and completely removed from my credit file and a copy of such deletion request shall be sent to me immediately.

I would also like to request, in writing, that no telephone contact be made by your offices to my home or to my place of employment. All future communications with me MUST be done in writing and sent to the address noted in this letter.

This is an attempt to correct your records, any information obtained shall be used for that purpose.

Best Regards,

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