July 30, 2009,
S.G. asks from Houston, TX on July 29, 2009
Trying to Correct the Credit
OK...I'm pretty upset right now so I hope this comes out right.
I'm really good about checking my credit reports every year & making sure that the information is correct. Last year there were several things on my report that I had never seen before. I wrote letters to the agency's disputing & asking for verification. I also contacted those creditors that had phone numbers & addresses. Out of 12 negetive items only one of those belonged to me, which I cleared up immediately. I received a letter from each agency saying that the their investigation proved that the items should be removed from my report and that they were deleted. I received updated credit reports showing this. I can't prove all (4 I can) that my ex had used my name & ssn for credit, which has caused me a ton of misery. I'm currently working with an attorney to try to stop this from happening again. I also have a call into him regarding today's problem.
Now fast forward. Today I receive a call from a collection agency regarding one of the accounts that I disputed & had deleted. They were very abrupt with me & told me I couldn't be trusted and that if I didn't write them a check today for $2000 they were going to send me a 1099C. I asked them to send me information showing that this was my bill and they said that they don't have it & I knew exactly what it was for. I asked the collector to provide me with the name of the creditor, Address, phone & account no. All she could give me was the name of the creditor. I asked her to let me research & I would get back with them. I pulled the old credit reports from last year & there on 2 of the reports was the account they were referring to. There is no address or phone number so the only contact I made on this one was to the credit reporting agency. One report showed $22.00 and the other shows $340 NOT $2000. This account was one of the ones deleted per their investigation & I do have the letter showing that.
I have called IRS to get information on a 1099C. They told me that the lender has to file this in the year that the debt was cancelled not charged off. This collector is telling me that this was charged off in 2002. They also told me that the lender has to provide on the 1099C the name of the lender, address, & phone number along with the amount and I can be taxed on it. Needless to say, I'm not happy about this because I don't know what it is.
Has anyone ever experienced something like this & who did you contact? IF this is my bill, which I don't beleive it is, I will pay it. Does anyone know if this is something the Federal Trade Commision handles? I'm so upset I don't know where to begin.
Thanks for any advice in advance.
1 mom found this helpful
D.S. answers from Killeen on July 30, 2009
Ok, take a deep breath. DO NOT PAY THEM!!! The debt has been passed to a debt collector. Yes, they will tell you whatever it takes to get money including the incorrect balance. I had a collector tell me that my balance with yellowpages was $2500. My original bill was only $1400 and I had paid $900 of it. Since you are working with an attorney add this to his list. He can work through the credit agencies and also get the debt collector to STOP harassing you. Working through this is exhausting. I have been down this road. I paid some of them $3000 at a time. Well, the economy changed and my cash flow stopped. I am now in bankruptcy because I paid what I could and have nothing left. Hang in there.
S.O. answers from San Antonio on July 30, 2009
See DaveRamsey.com and look up your question there. Great hints and advice on how to handle collectors. You can also listen to his show on radio or online. He talks about this issue to people almost daily.
First, the burden of proof lies on the person claiming you owe them money. You do not have to go research anything until they tell you who is owed, for what, and when the charge was incurred. They must provide written proof. Telling you a dollar figure over the phone is not proof.
Calling you often and calling you names and threatening you is in violation of the Fair Debt Collections Act. Search for that on Dave Ramsey's site, too. They are trying to get you upset so you will pay them without proving the debt is yours. Don't let them upset you.
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R.L. answers from Houston on July 30, 2009
I've been through similar situations and I also work in collections (not debt collections but the collection laws are universal.
Don't bother with the BBB, they won't do a thing. The only time the BBB makes any difference is if a business is registered with them otherwise they are of no use.
Next yes the Federal Trade Commission would handle any complaints regarding unfair debt collection practices. All collection agencies have to abide by the Fait Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the agency that contacted you is clearly in violation.
Part of the FDCPA is that the collection agency can not make idle threat, or threats that they can not follow through with. Obviously they can not send you a 1099C because it is past the timely filing to do so.
If they call you again, ask for proof of the debt in writing. When collection companies contact you they are required by law to send you a collection notice in the mail. ON the back of this notice it will explain how to dispute the charges. If you receive a letter, immediately respond that you are disputing the charges and are requesting that they provide proof of this debt, also include the information that you had previously had this debt investigated and it was removed from your credit report. Don't provide any proof you have, leave the burden of proof up to them. They will not be able to prove this is your debt so they will be force to write it off.
Next time they call, you will be more prepared because you have more info. When the threaten with the 1099c you can calmly explain to them that they are beyond the time frame to send that to you. Also if you are in the state of TX, we have the homestead act and they can not put a lien against your house for credit debts. If you are outside TX check your local state laws so that you will be prepared in case they threaten that. They will say whatever they can to rattle you and scare you into paying. Stand firm, and stay calm (they hate that). I once had a creditor yelling at me, while I remained calm, then the supervisor got on the phone and yelled at me, it was really quite funny.
Here is the FTC website that should be helpful:
You shouldn't need a lawyer to clear this up, but you could mention it to your attorney if this escalates and see what he/she says.
Hang in there, I'm sure they won't be able to prove anything on this!
2 moms found this helpful
C.W. answers from Waco on July 30, 2009
Hi single MomG
Yikes!!!! what an issue-
You are going to need a good attorney- or perhaps go thru Legal Aid-(they provide help for free or almost free)
Then, first thing to do is send each credit reporting agency a certified return receipt requested letter.....telling them "DO NOT EXTEND CREDIT TO ANYONE WITH OUT FIRST VERIFIYING BY PERSONAL CONTACT"............this statement will be on your credit report and anyone trying to get credit in your name will be denied. The company or credit supplier will have to contact you personally and you will have to have a password to verify you are trying to get credit....this will prevent anyone from using your credit informatiion.
Now, here is what oollection agencies do- they take old outstanding accounts (either chged off or cancelled) does not matter to them- they sell them to another agency who tries the strong arm collections tactics- this sounds like what has happened. DO NOT SEND ANY MONEY TO THESE PEOPLE--- if they cannot provide you with information they are a SCAMMING AGENCY......
secondly, it is against the law for a collector or any collection agency to talk that way to anyone- they should be reported to the better business bureau and to each credit agency that reports......do this by letter of course........
maybe they will call again- if possible- record the conversation- if this ever ends up in court you will have evidence you have been strong armed- again-- DO NOT SEND MONEY........ If you do receive a 1099C in the mail- look at it very carefully- be sure it has your correct information and not joint information ie ex spouse etc- if you had a home together and you can prove by the divorce papers you had no responsibility for the payment of that debt- then you have no responsibiity- if it was charged of after a divorce you are not responsible for the debt- and they are just trying to strong arm you to make commission on what they can collect.
I hope this helps- but before you ever pay anyone from a telephone collection agency- be sure you have all the documentaion you need to be sure you are paying your debt only.
Now, you can also publish in local papers that you are not responsible for any debts not incurred by you personally. Not sure what this really does, but I have been told it protects you somewhat.
Would like to know how this turns out for you.
Good luck and blessings
1 mom found this helpful
J.N. answers from Houston on July 30, 2009
My mom went through something similar. She hired a lawyer and went to court. The collection agency had no proof that it was her debt, so the judge ruled in her favor. She did not have to pay a penny and it was removed from her credit. I don't know what kind of lawyer she used but if you would like to know, tell me and I'll ask her. Good luck and God bless!
1 mom found this helpful
N.H. answers from Houston on July 30, 2009
Bill collectors can be SO hateful. One kept harrassing me & calling me names & saying stuff like "you're worthless, lazy, your mama's lazy & worthless just like you, etc. The only reason you (I) don't have a job is that no one wants to hire someone like you..." etc. etc. There was even a program on tv once, I think it was Datline NBC or some show like that, w/interviews from collection agents stating that they're trained to be that way. That if they make a woman cry, that's a bonus (figurative, not monetary) but it's makes their day to hear a woman cry over the meanness that they have towards them. A lot of the times you can lookup company information online. Even if it's just a name, obviously something was charged to & bought from an actual company so there has to be information about this company out there that claims you owe them money. I'd try to find that out first. Then after finding that info, I'd take the paperwork you rec'd from the credit reporting agency & mail copies of that paperwork, with return-receipt which should also provide you w/a tracking# (to prove you sent it & they rec'd it b/c someone has to sign for it & you get a card back w/the signature) along with a brief note stating this was a fraud charge made by your ex & this has been cleared up (refer them to the papers). State that you will NOT pay for a charge you did not make & refer them to your attorney for further information. If you simply try to call, they can just claim you didn't call but if you have proof you mailed copies of everything then you can give that info to your atty as well in case you have to go to court over this. Sometimes it takes a WHILE to clear things up and yes, sometimes you have to go to court too. Hopefully you won't have to but just be prepared for if that time comes. I wish you the best of luck.
T.E. answers from Houston on July 30, 2009
whoa---slow down, take a deep breath--everything will be alright. Don't throw your money out the window!!! you have already settled and deleted this debt(that wasn't yours to begin with)it has already been taken care of. You don't have to do anything else. They are using a scare tactic--some collectors can be downright ugly. the next time they call tell them this is not your debt and do not call again or you will file for harrassment. Look up the Fair Credit Trade Agreement(i think that is what it is) They cannot do anything against you to collect a debt, bad credit goes on credit reports--then they fall off in seven years anyway.
sit back and relax. You have already taken care of everthing you need to do. you have cleared up your credit and have proof to go with it. they can't do anything else. BUT DON'T PAY IT. that's like saying the debt was yours and then they will hassle you for the money.
D.D. answers from San Antonio on July 30, 2009
I dont know if this will help but in my experience you would notify the credit bureau about the disputes and they contact the different creditors the creditors have 30 days to proved proof that these are yours other wise they have to be removed off your credit.
And I wouldnt give anyone any money once you give them even 5 dollars you are admitting that this is your debt.
and remember most things drop off your credit with in 7 to 10 years. and at that time you can request the credit bureau to remove it.
DONT PAY ANYONE ANYTHING AND DONT EVEN SAY I WILL MAKE A PAYMENT CAUSE THAT IS MAKING A PAYMENT AGREEMENT. WATCH WHAT YOU SAY AND I WOULDNT EVEN SPEAK WITH THEM,JUST HANG UP. OR SAY THEY HAVE THE WRONG PERSON
T.M. answers from Austin on July 30, 2009
Ok, like everyone has said, DO NOT PAY THEM & do not agree to make any payments.don't bother calling an atty, save yourself the money by doing it yourself. Get their address & send them a certified letter w/return receipt. In the letter tell them that you spoke to the better business bureau (of whatever city their collection company resides in) & the better business bureau has informed you that based on yourb attached copy of your credit report you do not owe anything. Tell them not to contact you in person, by mail only & if they continue, you will place complaints against them w/ the BBB & the attorney Generals office. Trust me, they'll never contact you again, by phone or mail! That happened to me w/ a debt that was never paid but was more than 12 years old that eventually fell off of my credit. Its a scam that creditors use w/ scare tactics to make money. Good luck, stop worrying, you'll be just fine!