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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 308232  
Subject: Help with a Credit Collection Agency Date: 12/30/2013 11:50 AM
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Hi Fools -

We have been contacted by a credit collection agency for a debt they say we owe. Since we have always payed our bills, I find this hard to believe. However, I don't really have a way to prove that we don't owe it since the debt is from 2005. And for all I know we did miss it since we moved in that time.

What are my options here? Is the statute of limitations expired on an old debt - I'm in Colorado (Apparently it is 6 years here). Can anyone just create a debt and then demand payment. That seems ripe for abuse.

They did fax over some paperwork, and it does show an unpaid balance, and it was a service we used. We just aren't sure we actually owe the money - Its about $400; because it would be very unlike us to owe money and not pay it. Unless it's a mistake on our part.

Thanks 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: 307633 of 308232
Subject: Re: Help with a Credit Collection Agency Date: 12/30/2013 12:05 PM
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YOU don't have to prove anything. It is the debt collection agency that is required to prove to you that you owe the debt. If it is from 2005, the statute of limitations may have run out so that you can't be sued for it, so any threats of legal action are probably empty. Have you checked your credit report to see if this debt has been reported? If not, that should be your first step.

You have 2 options - you can pay the money if you feel you may in fact owe it, or you can make the debt collector prove you owe the debt. Without direct evidence, you will have to decide whether their proof is sufficient. And then you will have to decide whether you want to honor it or leave the collector hanging on the statute of limitations.

From ClarkHoward.com:

f you legitimately owe a debt, you have specific rights under federal law. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when dealing with collectors:

- Always record any calls from/to a collector.

- If your debt is outside the statute of limitations, you are not required to pay up. However, you should honor your obligations when you're financially able to do so.

- You have the right to tell a collector never to contact you again. Use a drop dead letter and send it via certified mail. You can still, however, be sued against the debt even after sending this letter.

- 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.

http://www.clarkhoward.com/news/clark-howard/consumer-issues...

Here is an example of a simple drop-dead letter:

http://www.clarkhoward.com/news/clark-howard/consumer-issues...

You can look up your state's statute of limitation law here:

http://www.fair-debt-collection.com/SOL-by-State.html

Fuskie
Who notes this may very well be a scavenger debt collection (http://www.clarkhoward.com/news/clark-howard/consumer-issues...) so you should protect yourself accordingly...

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Author: chestersakl Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 307634 of 308232
Subject: Re: Help with a Credit Collection Agency Date: 12/30/2013 2:20 PM
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I get the feeling that what they faxed over to you wasn't real detailed ("some" paperwork, only "shows an unpaid balance" and was "a service we used")? Stupid question, but does it even have your correct name/address on it? If not, then they need to provide a WHOLE lot more information to prove it's yours (and definitely sounds like a scam if that's the case).

I think you can even require them to show you the contract/agreement that you signed to start that service (if there was one). There's no way that a collection agency would have that (the original creditors rarely give that info to those guys), but I do believe it's a piece of paperwork they're required to have in order to have a valid collection claim (although I'm not 100% positive on that).

Plus, it surely sounds like it's way past the statute of limitations (2005 - eight years?), so you could just tell them to pound sand.

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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: 307635 of 308232
Subject: Re: Help with a Credit Collection Agency Date: 12/30/2013 3:54 PM
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It actually was pretty detailed. Services provided. Payments received. It's over the course of a couple of years. Then a final unpaid balance. It even included the agreement you are talking about. I just can't prove I paid (payed?) it, or that I didn't. If I didn't, I'll go ahead and pay it, I just don't want to pay it twice.

I also don't like collection agencies just on general principals.

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: 307636 of 308232
Subject: Re: Help with a Credit Collection Agency Date: 12/30/2013 4:32 PM
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If it's worth it to you, check your bank records. If you no longer have your statements (you should never throw them away), the bank may be able to recreate them for you.

Fuskie
Who notes if you do agree to settle, it should be only for the actual amount owed and not all the interest and fees they attach since they waited 8 years to tell you about the debt...

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Author: kahunacfa 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: 307642 of 308232
Subject: Re: Help with a Credit Collection Agency Date: 12/30/2013 9:23 PM
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Give the Agency the telephone number of your attorney like I would do. My attorney for most legal matters is my daughter's Law Firm admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States.

Kahuna, CFA
Founding General Partner
Venture Capital Limited
Partnership 2012

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