Opion on Debt Collectors

HI guys and gals… first time poster long time lurker…

I returned a call today and it turned out they (MFG) were trying to collect $12,000.00 from 1998 from a corporate card I had from when I worked for a company 12 years ago starting in 1990. Granted a judgement had been enterd in Utah, but it had been paid. Needless to say, my company was not happy at the time, but it was all worked out. When I got laid off 2 years later the Company said I owed 1.200 (approx) in interest which they withheld from my generous severence pay.
The up-shot is that the Debt Collectors (MFG) say I still owe it all and they bought it so they will renew the judgement. I denied verbally owing them the money.

I rang my old company in Stockholm^^^^^^Texas, and actually spoke to a person who had access to records whose response was <blink blink> No you’re square (which I hope she meant as a good thing).

I then called Corporal Electric the provider of the card whose response was the same. <blink blink> No, you save a zero balance

Am I being scammed or have I screwd myself by even talking to them (MFG).

BTW I have no records after I tossed them after 4 years and 3 moves. But my old employer promised me the legal dept would call me back and support me with any records they had.
I live in a different state now and then from my employer and creditor.

What do the teeming millions think?


Collection agencies only have real power over you for 7 years at which time the problem will drop off your credit reports unless you re-enter into some type of negotiations. Don’t talk to them at all or do anything else. Just hang up and the problem will eventually go away itself and it won’t even hurt you in the mean time except for maybe hassle from them. Don’t even talk to your old company about it. Collection agencies are scum and you are inviting problems by cooperating with them at all on something like this.

Very interesting. The number of a notorious collection agency has been calling my house. I have never had a judgement against me, no outstanding debt, and I’ve been in the black for over 15 years. Actually, after I pay my bills next month, I’ll be completely debt free. I saw my credit report one year ago and it showed nothing outstanding and a great credit score. Nothing has changed since then.

I’ve noticed that my call display sometimes shows 000-000-0000 as their number when they try to call.

I’ve been wondering if it’s some kind of scam, with scammers trying to spoof a real collector’s phone number or something.

Have a gander at the The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which was passed to protect customers from being shaken-down by collection companies.

The statute of limitations begins on the date of the last payment you made on the debt. Found this on Suze Orman’s site:

The Statute of Limitations on credit card debt, or “open accounts”, is 4 years in Utah (See here - verify this with your local State’s Attorney).

Familiarize yourself with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (pdf file), and the Fair Credit Reporting Act, then feel free to use the letter I posted here as a template. Other good letter templates can be found here.

I’d also recommend getting copies of your credit report from all 3 of the major credit reporting agencies. You’re entitled to one free copy from each every year. If this debt is still showing up, file formal disputes.

You need to get letters from your old company and the provider of the credit card stating that the debt has been satisfied.

If and when the scavenger debt collector (it sounds like that’s who they are) calls again, ask them to provide proof in writing of the debt. If they become abusive, hang up the phone.

Do nothing until you get written documentation. **Shayna’**s letter is a very good response, you can include that with the letters from your old company and the credit card provider.

I get the free credit report three times a year by hitting a different reporting agency every four months. You may have to be tough, but you can make them go away.

Oh, just pay them the 12 grand. It’s not worth the hassle. :wink:

This is a copy of a letter I sent to them. I haven’t heard from them again and my credit report remains undamaged by them.

Dear Mr. Brown,

I am writing in response to your extremely rude phone call dated October 23, 2003, about a certain debt that you are attempting to collect. The phone call I’m referring to is the second one where you were rude, yelled at me, threatened my credit report, pretended you were a private investigator, and then hung up on me. During this phone call, you declined to provide me with your company address when I requested it.

First, I dispute that this debt is mine and invite you to prove it.

Second, I have checked with my State Attorney General’s Office and verified that the legal Statute of Limitations for collecting this type of debt in Texas is 4 years and has expired so that even if this debt were mine, your attempts at collection are unenforceable.

Third, you may not report this old debt to any credit bureau. Texas law does not allow you to report outdated negative information that is more than 7 years old. Doing so will open you and your company to a harassment lawsuit. If you have already done this, you will correct it immediately.

Now that I am aware of my rights in this matter, be advised that I consider this matter closed and demand that you, or anyone affiliated with your company, stop contacting me regarding this or any other matter except to advise me, via mail only that your debt collection efforts are being terminated or that you or the creditor are taking specific actions allowed by law.

No, not a scam per se. What they will likely do is ask something along the lines of “Is (name of neighbor or relative) there?” You will say no. They hope you will then tell your neighbor that “ACME Collection agency called yesterday looking for you” which will shame him into paying up. :rolleyes: In theory they are legally allowed to do this only for the purpose of verifying an address, but in reality they are hoping you’ll do their dirty work for them. :mad:

Do answer or call back and say you have never heard of the person they are looking for and not to call you again. Only way to discourage them. :mad:

Oh and Op, do send a letter like Ca3799 or Shayna suggests, but send two copies- one 1st class, the other Certified.

I was getting calls from a debt collection agency for weeks. Seems someone had given them a bogus phone number that happened to coincide with my work cell number.

At first I just tried to tell them that they had the wrong number. Then I tried to tell them that no on by that name was at this number. Then I tried to tell them if this putz has left them holding the bag, is it that hard to believe that he gave you a phony number???

Then I demanded to speak with the caller’s manager and went through all the steps with him. Calls still continued for several days. I talked to another manager and again demanded that the calls stop. They stopped…after 4 more calls.

Why two? Wouldn’t the certified one be enough? If you’re concerend about them not accepting it, remember, refusing a certified letter is just as good as accepting it. All you need to do is prove that you attempted to send it to them. OTOH, if you want them to read it, I guess they have to have it. I might suggest (if you have further problems) to CC your states attorney general.

Partially true.

The data does not drop off your credit report after 7 years, it’s 7 years from the date of last activity. Since they have purchased the account, it will now be a brand new account on your credit report under the new creditor showing they purchased it from the previous.

As well, the OP stated that they had a judgment against him. Judgments absolutely do not become null and void after 7 years – in most states they are valid for up to 20 years. Judgments are placed so the creditor has additional means to collect the debt other than sending letters and asking pretty please. They can garnish your wages, place liens on your vehicles (even if there is a current lien on it) and of course on your house if you own one.

Go to www.annualcreditreport.com which is absolutely free. You can get copies of all three credit bureaus and also dispute claims online.

I’m a loan officer and a collection officer, so they make me know these things.

You don’t even need to send it certified. In most states, you can do a certificate of mailing, which is even cheaper. All you are required to do is provide proof that it was received by the post office, not that it was received by the recipient. I cannot tell you the number of certified mail pieces I’ve received that still have the green tag (the one you have to sign) at work, still attached – so at that point, what’s to force me to sign it and mail it?

If you’re that concerned – send it UPS ground. You’ll have proof it was mailed, you have proof it was received and signed for, and you can do it from work or home without dealing with the pesky PO.

Related question to this - We keep getting collection calls (well, they don’t say they are, but considering she owes everyone a ton of money and moved without updating her address with the post office, plus they refuse to say what they’re calling about) for my sister-in-law. It’s probably partially because we’re relatives, partially because we may be listed as a “neighbor” because she used to live in an apartment in the same building.

Anyway, lately we’ve been getting phone calls that leave no doubt who they’re from because they say in the message they leave on the answering machine that “this is a debt collection attempt.” (I can’t tell if it’s the same collector or more than one; we’ve only gotten 3 of these and sometimes the start of the message is cut off due to the answering machine-vs.-autodialer thing.) Since I’d been doing a lot of reading on debt collection practices due to having to field this thing for years now, I thought it was illegal to disclose to anyone other than the debtor that it was a debt collection. So has the law changed recently or are these guys breaking it?

Also, if I give them her cell phone number, which is the only number I have for her, will they be able to keep harassing me if she doesn’t call them? I’m pretty sure under fair debt collections laws that they can’t bother a “neighbor” any further if they deny knowledge of where the debtor is, so I’m worried that giving them a tidbit will let them legally continue to call me. (And if it’s not legal to attempt debt collection via a cell phone number, which I have no idea about, I worry they’ll really try to pry more info out of me.)

Here is a site that lists Statue of Limitations for each state.

I don’t think this is true. IIRC, it’s 7 years from 6 months after the default date, regardless of whether the debt is sold later.

Yes, this part of the OP is troubling. Your statute of limitations defense does not apply if there is already a judgment against you. You need to get a copy of the judgment if you think you might be named in it.

I’d just send a letter demanding validation.

That should get you a response with some detail.
If there is, in fact, a judgment against you for $12K, I’d retain an attorney.

From experience, I have seen it on CBR’s much later than that.

As it bears repeating, this is also in regards to the status / activity date, not the date of default. This refers to the last time there was any activity on the account; this could be from you making a payment, from the creditor closing the books on that year, or from the creditor closing the books from the year the last payment was made. This payment does not have to be made from you.

Example: You didn’t pay your credit card with a credit union. You still have five bucks in your credit union. two years later, they notice there is five bucks in your account, apply that balance to your loan, and close out your share account. The status date has just been updated. This does not mean you can’t dispute it, but the date will have changed on your CBR.

As to any debts older than that, just because it’s not on the CBR doesn’t mean it’s not collectible or cannot be used against you, it just means that it’s no longer reported. You could have had a charge off with Sears, and fifteen years later, apply for a Sears card. It is within their right to approve you for the account or no, based on your previous records with them. This also works the same with a bankruptcy. You may have had a BOA card included in a BK 15 years ago. Just because it was in a BK doesn’t mean that they didn’t have a loss – the gubmint doesn’t pay the creditors, it just tells them they cannot collect it. But it also doesn’t mean they have to lend to you again.

Just some more credit FYI for y’all.

I believe you may have seen evidence of unlawful reporting practices by creditors.
A creditor closing the books does not reset the date of last activity.

They can say (and they have) “Well, she gave us your number”, even if she did not.

Don’t give them anything. Call, and say you have never heard of her and have no idea of how to get in contact with her. They are getting their info from Lexis/Nexis or similar company, and they know mistakes are made. If they call again, send a letter.

As to sending two copies, one Certified, this is a very cheap option, don’t cheap out. This ensures a copy will get to them.