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Dear Teens,
Earlier in this thread I posted a contest entry- post# 1108, Title: When Financial Trouble Strikes and the Debt Collectors Too!, Moral: Never pay a debt collector, only pay an original creditor, otherwise you could pay twice.

I'm about to share a letter with you that I sent to a local news station this evening, concerning invalid debt collections placed on my credit report. This news station runs a program in attempt to help consumers with problems that they can't seem to get resolved themselves. In my previous post I stated that I wasn't sure if laws have since then been put into place to prevent problems such as this. Considering my current situation, I'm now certain there are not. Assuming I get a reply from the news station, regarding what to do or who to contact, I will post the results here. In the meantime, I hope you gain knowledge from my own experience and I thank you all for your time.
Subject: Invalid Debt Collections

Dear Ken,
I have a problem that I can't seem to be able to fix. I've asked my family for guidance, but they too are out of ideas. My mother-in-law suggested writing to you. It is my hope that you can help or guide me on what to do or who to contact next. I apologize in advance for the length of this letter, but I want to make sure you understand what has happened.

For the first time in my adult life, I realized the importance of checking one's credit report and began doing so late July, of this year. Trans Union reported two outstanding debts, both debts assigned to NCO Financial Systems Inc, Fort Washington, PA. Equifax reported one of those debts. Experian reported neither.

One debt was for BellSouth, a phone bill I'd received back in 1997 in excess of $800 while living in Pensacola, Florida. I made regular payments on this debt until such time that it was paid in full.

The second debt was created in 1998, a hospital visit in Key West, Florida while on detachment with the US Navy. The Navy, for what ever reason, did not pay this debt.

The first time I attempted to contact NCO, I was put on hold for about 4 hours. I wouldn't have waited that long had it not been a toll free number, but I assumed I was still on hold since the elevator music continued. When I decided to try calling again, I received the message that their phone's had been turned off for the night and to please retry my call again the following day between these specific hours.

The next morning, I tried again. I spoke with a man that had no interest in anything other than getting me to pay the debt, regardless of the facts that one debt had already been paid, and the other was not my responsibility.

Next, I called information for phone numbers to hospitals in Key West. I managed to track down the creditor as being Reimbursement Technologies, a billing agency responsible for submitting my claim to the Navy. Upon talking with a lady there, she agreed to resubmit the claim.

Finally, I called BellSouth and verified that my debt with them had been paid in full.

Approximately 30 days later, I contacted Reimbursement Technologies again, at which time I was informed that the Navy paid the debt in full and no balance remained. After receiving this information, I wrote 3 letters, two letters of dispute to each of the involved credit bureaus, and one letter to NCO complaining of their poor service to me, the facts concerning each debt, and stating that each debt was invalid. Each of the credit bureaus replied to my letters, stating that they had performed their investigation, and the debts were deleted from my credit record.

I heard nothing from NCO until today, when I've received the following letter:

InoVisision-Medclr-NCOP, F, LLC has recently purchased your account(s), and forwarded it to NCO Financial Systems, Inc. for collection… Former Creditor: Keypoint Emergency Physicians, Balance of $192.00. Blah Blah Blah.

This debt is the same medical debt that the Navy has already paid. I attempted to call NCO at the toll free number this evening on 3 different occasions. The first time, I was disconnected. The second time, I was connected with another lady that was attempting to speak with someone concerning her own debt collection letter. The third time I waited on hold for more than an hour before finally giving up.

My concern is that this will once again be placed on my credit record and I will have to go through the entire letter writing process again for its removal. How do you fight a collection agency that apparently doesn't answer their phone or read their mail?

I thank you for your time and in advance for any assistance you can provide me. I look forward to hearing from you.


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