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Dec. 13th, 2005

Last February, my parents either sent a check or transferred $1003 into Rob's account, so that a collections agency could collect it from an outstanding credit card I had my freshman year.

This was during a few-month hiatus that I didn't have a checking account, so Rob and I were doing joint checking on his account, but my name wasn't on there. Right around this time, I got my Compass account.

Currently, an agency is calling me saying that the account was not settled in full, and that whatever agency it was merely took the money as a payment, and that I still owe on the balance (which has been adding up since February). The last address they have for me is at Sterling (where I moved out of in July 2004), so I have no idea whether they have been trying to reach me or not.

I couldn't find the letter they sent saying my card was paid off/settled in full. I don't know the name of the company, which this current guy is saying is the first step to finding out what happened with all of this, since I was definitely assured that the account was settled, and I was through with it forever. So you can imagine my surprise when "Mr. Morris" called me today to say I owed money to his agency who just "bought" my account.

So, to get this information, I first searched all over my bills/etc. looking for something relating to this. When I found nothing, I tried calling Rob. He hung up on me. Tried calling again and left a message, and then I sent him an e-mail in the hopes that he'll actually read it and because he's a good person, send me the information that I need (just the name of the agency).

So now, I'm not counting on any hope from Rob, and trying to get back in touch with this "Mr. Morris" guy, and .. get this... I wait on hold for about ten minutes, and then I get hung up on, during the wait music. Three times so far. WTF. I called back a fourth time, and "the whole floor is in a meeting" according to the woman who answered the phone. But still, why would the machine/a human hang up on me? This is very very frustrating.

Before, he said he'd try to work something out. I don't think the man understands that I really have NO money to spare. I don't even have $25/mo to try to pay back this thing over many many years. The amount they say I owe is $680! Which has apparently had 30% interest, and has been collecting since .. well, a long time ago, but hasn't stopped at all since February. WHAT. THE. FREAK.

So now I'm financially messed up, emotionally messed up (a la Rob) and extremely upset at whatever company lied to me and told me I was settled in full. And mad at myself, for not keeping records of all of this, or atleast not taking the records to Tallahassee with me.

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
aoibhinn
Dec. 13th, 2005 06:14 pm (UTC)
sounds like bullshit to me. collections agencies are notorious for scaring people into giving them money. I think it would be in your best interest to talk to Justin about it (isn't it nice to have a go-to lawyer). worst comes to worst, justin can call rob as your lawyer and see what info he could get. On second thought, that might actually be worse.
aoibhinn
Dec. 13th, 2005 06:16 pm (UTC)
but anyhoo, the bank you used to pay off the money should be able to tell you who the money went to, and then you can call them and confirm that you had paid off all your debt.
thisgirliknow
Dec. 13th, 2005 06:54 pm (UTC)
It would definitely be worse. I really don't want to get Justin involved in this, particularly if the matter is to speak to Rob.

CitiBank refuses to tell me the name of the collections agency, and I cannot find any personal records with the name of the agency that told me I paid off my debt.
aoibhinn
Dec. 13th, 2005 07:28 pm (UTC)
is citibank the credit card or the bank account? because the checking account you used to pay the collections agency should be able to tellyou who you paid.
thisgirliknow
Dec. 13th, 2005 07:33 pm (UTC)
oh okay. i see what you're saying

here's the problem with that: the account that was used to pay it was Rob's Bank of America account (my parents money, deposited into his account, taken out by the agency)

at the time I didn't have a checking account, we were using his as a joint checking.

he is being very uncooperative, hung up on me, and won't reply to my email. It would only take him a minute to look back and see who the money was paid to, but yeah... he won't.
superdeez
Dec. 13th, 2005 06:18 pm (UTC)
You should have paid the original debtor back. They usually do a daily/weekly transmission to these debt colletion vendors to either add to or cancel out debts. I owe WAMU $511 for charges my ex-g/f ran up on my card for porno sites.
thisgirliknow
Dec. 13th, 2005 07:34 pm (UTC)
huh? original debtor?
superdeez
Dec. 14th, 2005 07:25 pm (UTC)
Er...bad choice of words...the person you originally had the debt with. I strongly doubt if you showed up to the person you originally had the debt with cold cash in the amount of the debt that they would refuse a cash payment and tell you to pay the collections agent.

These collections agencies have no incentive whatsoever to not just pocket the cash you send them, report to the person you originally had the debt with that you haven't paid anything so far and keep hounding you for payment.
subjectivity
Dec. 13th, 2005 07:44 pm (UTC)
Another thought, call the credit card and see if their collections people can guide you in the right direction. They should at least know which collection agency they usually use and probably whichever one they used on this. If you call that collection agency they MIGHT help you considering it was your debt, even if it did come from Rob's account. The credit card was solely yours, right?

I agree about talking to Justin and seeing if he can either help you or get one of his lawyer friends to talk you through it. Collections agencies are notoriously dishonest.

You could consider the option of a credit counseling but they also have shady reps, so do research first. They would negotiate between you and the collectors. You would pay them the debt instead.

http://www.usatoday.com/money/perfi/columnist/block/2003-04-14-ym_x.htm
http://ezinearticles.com/?Finding-A-Credit-Counselor-You-Can-Trust&id=101956

The easiest thing might be to see if you can work out something with the collection agency on a payment system. But before you do anything else, ask them to put in writing exactly how much you owe and exactly what you need to do in order to have the debt completely settled, and mail it to you.

Get a receipt if you pay and get it sent to you by certified mail.

http://www.nolo.com/article.cfm/ObjectID/FBFB935E-DB52-48CB-A64E2502F91AE24B/catID/43A35C36-0A53-4E37-B92C80B98E69E6D0/213/208/155/FAQ/

some more about collection agencies from a web site:

This collection agency will try to convince you that you have no other choice but to accept what they are proposing. That is not the case. Since these accounts are charged-off, your credit rating has been tarnished as bad as it can get. Now you have the freedom to repay this debt in any manner you can afford. If you want to save enough money to pay this settlement amount at some time in the future, you can tell the collection agency that is what you intend to do. The chances are great the collection agency will accept this settlement amount in the future. If you want to pay the debt off in installments, you can do this also.

Your next step is to figure out how much you can save or pay each month then start saving this much or sending in this amount each month to the collection agency. The collection agency will probably say this is not acceptable but don't pay attention to them. Continue to save or send in your payments on a monthly basis.

If the collection agency insists on contacting you for other arrangements, you can demand that they not contact you anymore about this debt. The Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act states you can stop a collector from contacting you by writing a letter to the collection agency telling them to stop. Once the agency receives your letter, they may not contact you again except to notify you if they intend to take some specific action.


thisgirliknow
Dec. 13th, 2005 07:51 pm (UTC)
CitiBank won't tell me what collections agency they used. They said that they use several and couldn't tell me which one they used, and wouldn't tell me the names of several to see if any sounded familiar.
subjectivity
Dec. 13th, 2005 07:55 pm (UTC)
hmm I wonder what would happen if you gave Rob's name to the collections agency? sic them on him? Maybe he would come up with the info then.
subjectivity
Dec. 13th, 2005 07:52 pm (UTC)
also, try to be calm about it. Most likely they will let you do a payment plan. If you can pay $25 a month, at 30 percent interest that won't pay it off very fast but it will hold them off until you get a real job when Americorps is over. If you explain the Americorps thing maybe they will be understanding about a low monthly payment and it could even be less than $25. The important thing would be to send it on time every month. It's $680, which seems like a lot but could be a lot worse. That is ultimately doable.

I'm not sure what to say about the previous thousand dollars. Obviously, having a receipt from that transaction would be helpful, but no use being upset about that now. It's likely that even if you had that letter, there was still some extra money you hadn't paid off and that has been growing, or they charged an unfair but legal fee that they didn't tell you about, etc. The best thing would be to get it all paid off however you can and move forward.

I think it would be a very good idea to get your credit report so you can see where you stand with all of these things. go to www.annualcreditreport.com and you can get a free report from any of the three big agencies.
subjectivity
Dec. 13th, 2005 08:04 pm (UTC)
Sorry for so many posts. But I just found this and I think you should do this right away:
(from http://www.ineed2know.org/debt_collection.htm?referrer=adwords&kw=collection%20agencies&gclid=CPfYyeu0-oECFQgLOAodfjlVPQ)

May a debt collector continue to contact you if you believe you do not owe money?
A collector may not contact you if, within 30 days after you receive the written notice, you send the collection agency a letter stating you do not owe money. However, a collector can renew collection activities if you are sent proof of the debt, such as a copy of a bill for the amount owed.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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thisgirliknow
Much like pineapples, I am hardcore.

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