Post # 1
Hopefully I can keep a long story short.
Basically, we just received a notice in the mail that we were sent to a collection agency over a $30 subscription to a local paper that we never ordered. We had subscribed to them at one point in the past for a single year but had never requested any other subscriptions. We were totally blindsided by this and I am more than furious. I have a PERFECT credit score and enough money in the bank to buy a thousand of their lousy fucking subscriptions and the fact that they would have the nerve to send me to collections over this bullshit?! Oh, hell no!
Basically, I need advice on how to handle the situation.Can I demand the company retract their collections request? Will they? Since it’s already in the hands of collections do I need to deal with them exclusively now? How can I get this removed from my name? Help! Thanks!
Post # 3
- Wedding: July 2012 - The Gables Inn, Santa Rosa, CA
I’d call the paper place and talk to them first– more than likely they will tell you to call the collection agency. Unfortunately, there’s no way to “retract” the collection since they basically “sold” it to them, now the agency is gonig to try and make money off of collecting the money the paper company couldn’t.
BUT– Once it’s paid, you may be able to negotiate getting it removed from your credit report. Start off by asking for a manager directly– this will save you time wasted by trying to fix it with someone who can’t make decisions.
Post # 4
Dispute it with the CRA. Or cut your losses and pay them. Your choice.
Post # 5
@claireos: This happened to me last year. It sucks but is fixable. Here’s what I did…
Call or write the collection agency directly. Write a “pay for delete” letter. You can look up a sample online. Basically you offer to pay them the entire or partial amount and they agree to remove all transactions from your credit report permanently.
It sucked to have to pay for something I didn’t owe but I simply could not have that on my credit report. It worked for me.
ETA: I would not pay ANYTHING or agree to pay anything until you have something in writing stating that this will be permanently removed from your credit report.
Post # 6
Best thing you can do is send them a dispute letter via USPS, stating you dispute this debt and request proof you owe it (google debt dispute letter and you’ll get the fancy FDCPA official version of how to do this).
A $30 debt will typically get a run of 3 letters from a collection agency. I doubt you will receive a phone call — collection agencies typically do not have the resources to closely hound a $30 debt. Once they receive your letter, they’ll have to mail you proof of the debt — again, b/c it’s only $30 the odds of this happening is slim, and they’ll notate your account in dispute. I would fall over in shock if you see this on your credit report — it certainly will not damage it in anyway; but I would monitor it just in case, and if it does pop up I would also dispute it with the credit bureau.
Post # 7
This is annoying, but it happens. Dispute the debt.
If you found out about the collections proceedings because the collection agency contacted you, you need to write them a letter requesting that they validate the debt. Do this within 30 days of your first contact with them. Under federal law they must respond and prove that 1. you owe the debt, 2. that the amount is correct (and justification of any fees/interest added. State law and the original contract can limit these) 3. that they are legally entitled to collect this debt from you.
A disputed debt should not be reported to a credit bureau until it has been verified.
If you found out about this collections activity by seeing it on a credit report (or if you’ve checked now and see that it is being reported) then you should dispute the information directly with the credit reporting agency as well. (You can claim that you have no knowledge of the debt, that you didn’t recieve the service, that you closed your account prior to these charges or something similar.)
The good news is that the “new” FICO calculation (2008) does not consider collection activity under $100 when computing your creit score. However, the collection is still reported, and a company can see it when your credit report is pulled, and the person reviewing your credit worthiness can consider the collections as making you riskier – even though you have a high credit score.
But don’t pay the debt while it is being disputed.
If somehow the collection agency proves that you do owe the debt you can continue to dispute with the CRA.
Don’t “pay to remove” until you’ve exhausted your other options. And if you get the collection agency to agree to that, be sure you get it in writing. Sometimes they won’t follow through, and with this small debt, they may not agree to it. (But as you know, having a paid collection item, while not great, is better than having an open one. So if nothing else works, you might consider paying the collection to make it “less bad.”)
This link has some really helpful information for getting that information off your credit report!
Post # 8
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Seriously. All of this information is so helpful and you ladies are absolutely wonderful for taking the time. I was SO lost. This has never happened before and all I could think was “great, I’m totally screwed.” I will absolutely be putting your advice to good use. Hopefully this is something that will just disappear. It just drives me crazy that I’ve spent so many years working on my credit score and successfully earning an excellent rating just to have some asshat screw it up for me. If you can’t tell I’m still fuming!!!
Thank you all again.