credit prob/accidental/long - Posted by MilNC

Posted by raelynn mitchell on January 07, 1999 at 21:38:42:

at 35 cents on the dollar (or less). They may counter, but they just might take it. You never know…

And keep in mind…the credit card company is a corporation. They’ve written this off against profits, so this makes them have a smaller profit, which means less taxes to the IRS. Therefore, any $$$ you pay them is “extra” at this point.

credit prob/accidental/long - Posted by MilNC

Posted by MilNC on January 07, 1999 at 19:16:14:

Grrr. I just received notice that a credit card was cancelled.

The moral of this story: even well-meaning people can have
"credit problems"

Check your credit even though people will say, everytime
you check it it’s a mark against you". Who said that…was it…Satan?

The letter said to call Equifax, but first, I called the card that was cancelled. Through various routings, I finally learned
I’d been turned over to a collection agency in early 1997.
by a different credit card company, with wich I have a current and account. Each time I was told, “we can’t tell you anything” I called the CC company that reported me, and said Yes, you can, you are the ones who reported me as a loss. So then I got a supervisor who gave me more details and phone numbers.

It turns out that I moved 3 states away, right after
the charge. I had made a payment, as I later found out,
in 1994, for 182.92 and amount which to me says" paid
in full", though, I am not saying the acct was or was not
paid in full, just don’t know. Could have been cc fraud–I had a house sitter. But Just don’t know.

I was told by the collecting company that “you must have had an unlisted number.” No I don’t, never have. I had done everything I could, used a mail boxes etc. in one city to forward to
mail boxes etc. in the next city to assure (HA!) continuity.
So this one weasily bill didn’t get forwarded. They got
all the envelopes back, and still “couldn’t find me”.

Though I changed residences several times, I always kept
my new US PO box, just “to maintain continutity”, even
though I have to drive to the PO to get mail.

The guy from the collections agency, Commercial Financial Services, was trying to be intimidating, saying you must
have had an unlisted number, etc, and the more info I tried to find out about the identity of the charge would say how
he was only trying to collect $600, but his company was so
large that he could spend his time collecting on $30,000
debts ( I was wasting his time). Like I care. Like I didn’t take a Loooong time to contemplate his remarks after he said that.

He offered me a discount: the original amount, no interest,
if I would pay immediately, on the phone. Otherwise, to
verify the information, it would take 6-8 weeks to “research it on microfiche” (hello?) and then no discount
would be offered. OK, I’ve read the “negotiating” tactics’
posted here, I know about discounting, make a deal today, etc, but I’m a consumer here, and was making a call to inquire. I guess I should have stopped and instead of thinking he who speaks first loses,
should have said, OK, I’ll pay $300! Instead he said I
had to pay $497, so he spoke first and won.
Also, I have no way to find out what the charge was for, and
if I take the time to educate myself or even know if it
was an error, and don’t know what my recourse would be
if it was, then it "takes 6-8 weeks and then…no discount"
Like I believe that. No one can tell me what the charge was, I have to play their game. Or I can write to
a gov’t agency.

Seems my case just bobbed to the surface between all those
other “big deals”. They reported mt to Equifax. I called
Commercial Fin. Serv. to clear it up. (will call Equifax

Overall information from HIM was that I couldn’t find out information–it was unknowable. I sort of doubt that. Well certainly not from him. I hope he was generously frustrated.
I don’t need to be treated like a deadbeat when his company can’t figure out how to use a phone, or get a good address.

OK: here is the point. I found out today, that a card was
cancelled due to info received from Equifax. The Equifax
info was based on Commercial Financial Services, a collection agency that I was turned over to in 1997 as a "loss"
who, apparently couldn’t find me for 2 years because they went back to a mailboxes etc address that I had not had in 2 years and kept sending letters to
it…(why) though they were all returned, and now claim they couldn’t find me, even though I have another account with the same company. They didn’t attempt to go back to the credit card company for a updated address.

I personally liked the statement that they have a big building…and are so busy, and have so many big accounts, and, and, and… I said, but you have computers.

When I knew I was going to move, I forwarded my house mail to the mailboxes at origin, then forwarded to next location,
kept that location, and forwarded from that MBE to a PO which I have had for 3 years. Used the same name, always had a listed phone in my name, had the cards through my professional association, which had my address, listed in the state member association directory

It just amazes me. A debt from 4.5 years ago. And considering my efforts to maintinan a consistent mailbox

Time to write the mother of all letters to my cc company
explaining situation. Anyone know the
right reporting agencies to copy?

So moral #2: go ahead and check your credit report periodically?

Bottom line, I should get a discount no matter what, since it is not my fault they couldn’t find me ( the discount was just minus the interest) Who lets 2 years of returned
bills pile up and then whines?

Re: credit prob/accidental/long - Posted by MilNC

Posted by MilNC on January 07, 1999 at 22:31:24:

Lee and Carmen thank you both. I did contact the original CC company. I got a CC cancelled due to this
bogus debt from another CC,both with current balances, and ongoing usage for 14 - to- 26 years, with no
problems. Sadly, both say, no, we have no record, it wasn’t our debt, or it’s no longer on our record.
So, time to start the mother of all paper trails.
And I tend to agree to not pay. Mainly, I can’t get them to tell me what the charges were, they didn’t offer to tell me what it was, they said they couldn’t find out without going to microfiche, etc, and I find that hard to believe. I have to just write letters
and copy everyone. I did wonder about that problem of
just paying them. I did have an account at one time.
For all I know this could have been for a returned item. I just can’t believe, and will state in my letter, that they could not have found me, and that
after all these years, they have burried all their information, yet think I still have any. Recipt? I think not. This is 4 1/2 years ago.

I never intentionally became “unavailable”,
I never was unable to be found. My phone was listed,
all of that time, they just collected a lot of returned
bills and then said oh well, we give up. That’s so hard to believe. They give up to a collection co., and the collection co. goes, oh, we give up. Gee, we sent a letter and it got returned. I didnt get any bills from
that card, but I continued to use and get bills on the
2 other cards from the same company through the same
professional association, through which I could be found in the directory, easily, by name, no privacy
issue, also my state license in that profession is public information.

OK, we got us a letter here!
I’ll let y’all know how this turns out!

Just write (certified) a letter - Posted by Lee

Posted by Lee on January 07, 1999 at 22:08:12:

… explaining to them that (the credit reporting agency(s))
have 30 days to remove the erroneous information that
is being reported (incorectly on your credit report.
They will know the language and what you mean.

Speak with your local "Comsumer Credit Counciling …"
agency for exact verberage that you will need.

I think I am correct in saying, LAW provides them only
30 days to “prove the debt… otherwise… delete it”!

Is there an ATTY. in the house… HELP!

Good Luck


Re: credit prob/accidental/long - Posted by Carmen

Posted by Carmen on January 07, 1999 at 21:56:30:

If you pay or deal with the collection agency, then they will assume you owed it. If you just have the Credit Agencies remove it (as has been stated, they must verify, and if they can’t, they must remove), it may reappear next time the company and/or collection agency shares the info again with the credit agency. This has been happening to my now-husband - his apartment burnt down a few years ago, and the building was condemned. The complex could not find another apartment for him, so he moved out. A few months later, he gets a letter from a collection agency, stating he owes the complex for breaking his lease! We got the apartment complex and the collection agency both to write us letters stating that they had made an error, and the account was never a collection account. We’ve been checking his credit every once in a while, and it still appears sporadically on and off. Whenever it’s back on, we send copies of the letters to everyone involved (again), and it gets taken off. Every once in a while we get turned down for credit - we check, and sure 'nuff, it’s back on there. Weird, but this is one I can’t seem to solve, as I’ve followed up with everyone. Thankfully, I do have those letters.

If you deal directly with the company you are supposed to owe (especially if you have another card with them), then you have a much better chance of clearing it up, however you decide is best, and having them take it off your credit and maybe even write you a “this account is cleared” letter, especially if they see you as being cooperative. Then, even if the collection agency says that you owe, you can present this letter to the credit bureaus and they should remove the negatives. In any case, if they can’t show you where the charges came from, they can’t prove you owe it - otherwise, they could go to anyone they chose every three years and tell them the same thing they’re telling you - you owe us money, but we’re not going to tell you for what, just pay up - talk about a scam!

Good luck.

DON’T PAY WHAT YOU DON’T OWE! - Posted by raelynn mitchell

Posted by raelynn mitchell on January 07, 1999 at 20:47:00:

If you don’t owe this company, DO NOT PAY THEM A DIME! It is an ADMISSION THAT YOU OWE. And paying the collection agency creates TWO negatives on your report, not one; first there’s the bad debt, and then there’s the paid collection account.

Whenever you talk to anyone about this matter, always when you first get the person on the phone say, “I’m sorry, could you tell me your full name?” And write every name down and keep detailed records. If something comes up later where you don’t owe this and they won’t fix the problem, small claims court may be an option (also a possible defamation of character issue). You will need at minimum: name of person you talked to, times and dates, and what their response was when you informed them the debt was erroneous. And if they cannot locate the original sales records and receipts, they don’t have the information required to “verify the accuracy” of the info in the credit report. They are required to produce this to prove that this is a valid debt. (Guess what? A LOT of companies–Am/Ex included–shred their paper records after 8-12 months and rely completely on computer records. But with people in the equation, anyone can make a typo that makes the info ‘Garbage in/garbage out’)

Out of statute - Posted by Joe Kaiser

Posted by Joe Kaiser on January 07, 1999 at 19:50:41:

No, they don’t give discounts because it’s the right thing to do or because it wasn’t your fault they couldn’t find you. Reality check time. It’s a business and they’ll try to push you for everything they can get out of you. That’s their job and fairness has nothing to do with it.

You may not know that open accounts may become uncollectable after a certain number of years. Here, after 3 years, they can’t sue to collect on the card.

Unfortunately, even though they know that they won’t tell you and the dunning continues indefinitely.

Send them a check for $100, tell them you do not owe the debt and that even if you did it’s no longer in statute. Tell them that the check is just to clear the matter “once and for all” and that they “agree to immediately remove or cause to be removed any negative information in my credit files that has resulted from your reporting of this obligation.”

Finally, tell them to never ever ever contact you again.


You may want to cc: to… - Posted by Soapymac

Posted by Soapymac on January 07, 1999 at 19:49:25:

the state agency that licenses and regulates banks and finance companies. See if you can find the name of the department head who issues licenses to them.


Find out if your state has an ombudsman’s office that a citizen can report a complaint to, such that the ombudsman will forward your complaint to the proper individual.

A URL address to start looking would be:


Roy MacLean

Then write the letter to the credit company AND the credit card company with a “cc:” at the bottom of the letter to the individual AND THE OFFICE of that individual.

A Possible Solution… - Posted by raelynn mitchell

Posted by raelynn mitchell on January 08, 1999 at 08:50:06:

may be to take all documentation (including the various credit reports showing the information reappearing and the letters stating it was an error) and sue everyone in either small claims court, or by hiring an attorney. In real life mistakes happen. However, with a credit report it is your reputation on the line, which when erroneous info is in your file could be a vague form of defamation of character maybe?

At any rate, should you decide to sue, contact an attorney who has dealt with these types of issues before. You have been damaged, as evidenced by the denial of credit and can possibly be monetarily compensated for their error of reposting the info to your credit file. There have been cases where Experian (formerly TRW) has been required to pay up to $25,000 due to their “errors”.

No, I’m not an attorney. But good luck and never give up, as it’s not in the reporting agencies’ best interests to correct things (they sell more reports if the info is negative and you’re denied because you’ll reapply somewhere else and they’ll sell another report).


Posted by MilNC on January 07, 1999 at 21:30:25:

I was never thinking that after a certain time they would shred their paper. I never knew about this so-called debt. I don’t even know if it wasn’t from
some one who was house-sitting for me.

But Microfiche? Sounds odd…phoney, like it’s up in the stacks of the graduate library and I can’t go there. But there was that little fun part about how he was in a big building and how inportant they all were.

Time to get even.

I thank all of you. It gives me various perspectives.
As I said to Joe, my Dad taught me the magic of carbon
paper. I have used it with excellent results.
The best, and most fun, is when you already know
the agencies and supervisors to copy before you ever talk to the first person, and then, the letters just roll off your desk like silk off a kitten.

By the way, Thank you for your corporation posts. I have printed them.

And, I ask for names, but I no longer say I’m sorry!
or i’m sorry, I didnt’ catch your name. I say,
George? and what is your last name? and what is your job title? and what department is this?

It’s been an education.

Re: Out of statute - Posted by MilNC

Posted by MilNC on January 07, 1999 at 21:05:32:

Thanks for that response. I can try to give them an
offer to just quit. No, they haven’t harassed me.
They never contacted me. They just reported me to
Equifax, and Equifax reported that to my CC–one of
my CC’s. Cancelled with no notice. GOOD GRIEF!! I NEVER SAID I THOUGHT THE DISCOUNT WAS BECAUSE IT WASN’T MY FAULT!!OR THAT I THOUGHT THEY WERE BEING KIND --HOCKEY STICKS NO! It was because it was the deal dejour. I was thinking in terms of, OK, discounting like WE know it to be, and I even said, you call that a discount?

Yeah, it’s their job, and they also throw in that oh, they poah little commission, (not in those words, but I know that it’s a biz) and I don’t cayuh about they little commish
or how little it is. ( My dialect–this guy was talking so fast I couldn’t understand him and had to actually tell him to stop and talk slower. Just another tactic of his-he talks fast, he’s in a hurry
I’m not important, I’m dirt, I’m in trouble, he is making me an offer, blah blah. Phllllllupt.

Thank you hughely for your information, I’ll look into the time limitations. This is quite interesting.
I dont’ like bullies. Even if they get paid for it.

Re: You may want to cc: to… - Posted by Joe Kaiser

Posted by Joe Kaiser on January 07, 1999 at 19:52:58:


They get that stuff all day long and frankly, I doubt it has any real effect at all.

I suspect the reaction is likely to be, “Ho hum, what else is new.”


Food 4 Thought - Posted by raelynn mitchell

Posted by raelynn mitchell on January 07, 1999 at 21:33:56:

Go back to the original creditor to work out any payments, as you owe the creditor, not the collection agency. If you do, you may find that since they’ve written this off as a loss, you may in fact be able to pay them quite a bit less than the amount claimed as owed. Also, no matter what you do to straighten this out with the collection agency, the bad debt write-off may end up still being reported. Once you pay the original creditor and they report this as paid, the collection agency must leave you alone, as you won’t owe the debt anymore. Working with the collector will still possibly scar your credit report UNLESS the original creditor refuses to accept your money and insists that you deal with collector. (Possibly a 70/30 chance they’ll take the $$$.)

Also, whether you deal with this by disputing or by paying this item, it should take no longer than 30 days to be cleared up. Send your payments return receipt, and dispute the item, and mark your calendar. If disputing this with the credit reporting agencies, 6-8 weeks is not necessarily a reasonable time, as I believe the new Fair Credit Reporting Act mentions 30 days as the reasonable time for them to respond. Either the debt is 100% accurate, or Experian (formerly TRW), Equifax, and/or Transunion are required to remove it.

Experian (formerly TRW)
P.O. Box 2106
Allen, TX 75013-2106

Equifax Credit Information Services
1150 Lake Hearn
Atlanta, GA 30342

Trans Union Consumer Relations
760 Sproul Rd.
PO Box 390
Springfield, PA 19064-0390

Sorry if I misread your initial post about the debt possibly not being owed by you. If you suspect that someone used your credit card without your authorization, insist that the credit card company show you a copy of the original sales receipt. If you didn’t give the OK for any charges in question, file a police report for fraud and dispute it as a fraudulent transaction.

I had a friend who had been duped by a roommate, and a collection agency came after her many years after the initial charge was made. Her card had come up missing, but since it was a new card and she had never used it, she just cut it up and forgot about it. Then she moved not too much later. Years later when the collection agency contacted her, she explained to them that the charge wasn’t hers and that she had NEVER used the card. Their response was, pay it anyway. They were so obnoxious that she did send them some money in an attempt to make them go away, even though she knew she didn’t make the charge they were billing her for and even though it was a fraudulent charge.

She was the type of person that didn’t like to make a fuss about things, but I also think it says something about the obnoxiousness of the collection agency employee. Those types can really get under your skin.

Sorry this is so long, but I hope it helps.


Re: You may want to cc: to… - Posted by MilNC

Posted by MilNC on January 07, 1999 at 21:51:53:

Now here, I disagree, if you are referring to the gov’t agencies.
Actually, my experience has been different.
I was assigned a case manager by the Insurance commish of the state of Florida to collect a $30 proration
when I changed companies for homeowners insurance. I wrote, they collected,
I got paid, it was all over in 3 weeks. Suddenly the insurance company’s Mr Dennis was no longer “unavailable” nor had he just stepped out of the office
gee and only after 3 solid weeks of calling every day, and suddenlly his schedule changed. It’s like a wonderful miracle.

Yet my atty (" I am a real estate consellor and real estate atty")
refused to even so much as write a letter or call to get me $350 of miscalculated prorations on my home
purchase, and when I asked him why I couldn’t get the
funds, just said, well, some people just don’t do what they are supposed to do". Like him, he was supposed
to protect my interests, but it just wasn’t worth it
to him, and he refused to pursue getting me the money, not to write a letter…nothing, though I had paid him to handle the whole
closing. So much for fiduciary. I could have reported him, but I just didn’t have the money to hire someone to start my car.

So I don’t think it is a defense necessarily to
tell someone that you are just too big britches to
handle their money. If so, then say so up front, but
the credit card co or the collection agency or whatever
if that guy isn’t making such a hughe commission
to stay on the phone and tell me information, tooo
ooooo bad. A little money to him, my whole name to me.

It WAS business.

Now it’s war.

True, but… - Posted by Soapymac

Posted by Soapymac on January 07, 1999 at 19:59:20:

any implied threat (which is what the letter to the credit card company really is) should be followed through.

Besides, you never know. The person at the state agency could have had the same thing happen to them…and they would be doing their “public duty” and saying “gotcha!” at the same time.


Roy MacLean