Why is my settled credit cards still in collections? Twice?

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Why is my settled credit cards still in collections? Twice?

Postby urbane5 » Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:39 pm

I settled a C.C. in 2009. Now 3+ years later a collections company is calling me trying to settle (again?). When I explained, they told me to contact the C.C. company. When I did, they won't speak to me and sent me back to collections. The collection company is threatening to sue.

Since 2009, I have moved out of state and changed banks. The old bank accounts are closed so I can't get records from my old bank. The collection company won't send me the payment history so I can show them the settlement payment. What can I do???

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Postby rossmo » Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:55 pm

First of all, I would urge you not to be afraid of collections companies. As of recent, consumers have a lot of rights and credit laws in our favor. Do a search on the internet for disputing

Collections companies are required to do things such as "validate the debt," which is where they send you legitimate proof that they now own your debt instead of the original creditor, such as credit card or cable company. Typically, collection companies send you a letter, to which you must respond within 30 days and ask them to validate the debt- which basically means "Prove that I owe money, and that I owe you the money". If you do not respond, legally, they can proceed as if you acknowledge the debt is yours. If this is already past 30 days of collections calls and letters, there are other things you can do...

Something similar happens when you dispute information via a credit bureau (Experian, Transunion, Equifax are the 3 credit bureaus). The credit bureau will investigate what you claim to be the "incorrect information." When you dispute information on your report, the credit bureau has 30 days to report back to you with the outcome of the investigation, otherwise, they are legally required to remove the information. This means, if a) the collection company cannot prove they own your debt, OR b)if the they do not respond to the investigation, OR c) the credit company doesn't report the outcome to you within 30 days, this incorrect or negative information can be removed from your credit report!

Here are some more fun facts:

-Collections sometimes get passed from 1 company to another over the course of several years... I believe this is technically illegal. I had a debt that was passed thru 2-3 companies (over the course of 3-5 years). I disputed the collection and within that 30 day period, it was deleted from my credit report, and the collection calls/letters stopped.

-Collections drop off your credit report after 7 years. If you debt is from 7+ years ago, it's DONE. dispute it for the win!

-if collection companies continue to harass you, you can write them a letter threatening to sue THEM! I think up to $1000! (There are several steps to this one, but it's a law that is in place.)

That being said...

First thing to do is get a copy of your credit report (free or otherwise) and see if the collection is still showing up on your credit report.

I signed up for Experian's credit report, and got access to use their online dispute center, which is VERY user friendly, and if there is any incorrect information on there, you can dispute it online easily, and they will let you know the results within 30 days.

Then, if you have in fact legitimately settled this debt, DISPUTE IT! I just had some major luck disputing things on my report via Experian's online dispute center. Got 3 things removed and bumped my score up around 100 points!

Also do some research! credit info center (.com) had 95% of the information I needed. Do it. GO NOW. Good luck!

Note: 30 days for investigation via Experian, Equifax and Transunion. If you obtain and dispute information via annualcreditreport . com, they have 45 days to report results of investigation.
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Postby DoingHomework » Fri Oct 19, 2012 2:56 pm

I agree (mostly) with rossmo.

My wife and I have essentially perfect credit and have never paid anything late or defaulted on anything. That said, we have had to dispute things that losers at collection companies have pursued us for. I think the key is to be as aggressive as they are and have documentation. Don't be afraid to get help from the attorney-general's office or similar agency in your state. Most have an office that deals specifically with illegal collections.

In one situation my wife was repeatedly targeted for a judgement for a parking ticket that was over 25 years old. We managed to get a collection agency fined for harrassing. Then about 3 years later another agency tried collecting the same debt. This was a major national collection agency. My wife actually had their corporate general counsel in tears because we documented criminal behavior on their part that an executive could have gone to jail over. They were 60 days into their 30 day limit for correcting things. At 3 PM on one Friday afternoon my wife gave the lawyer an ultimatum that if they did not have her credit report clear within 24 hour we would pursue but criminal and civil actions. And you know what? They got it fixed on time! We also managed to get a court to order the court that entered the judgement to quash the original judgement since it was causing repeated harm to my wife. (Our attorney actually said this could not be done because of judicial immunity...but we made it happen through perseverance and just being PITAs).

More recently I filed a formal complain against a collection agency in another state through that state's AGs office for illegal collection practices when they would not stop calling me about someone else's debt. (And the calls actually stopped).

The important thing is to have documentation that you satisfied the original debt. If you don't have that then you need to get it. That could be hard to do if the credit card company won't talk to you. I'd guess they do not agree that you fully satisfied the original debt. If that is the case then you should only communicate in writing now. If they wrote off the debt or simply stopped bothering you about it then that does not mean you no longer owe it. It is critical that you find the documentation that you paid it off to their satisfaction.

I would not even bother communicating with the collection agency except in writing. Inform them that you do not want to be called. Then only respond by postal mail to the minimum extent possible.

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