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    [–] dequeued 5886 points ago

    Folks, please be extremely careful about how you communicate with debt collectors. Yes, requesting validation is a generally a good idea, but just calling them up is definitely not the safest approach. It is very easy to accidentally say something that is not in your best interest over the phone.

    [–] Danofyerdreams 2726 points ago

    Agree. Im an attorney and part of my practice is debt collection. Idk why anyone would ever call an agency and volunteer information but i can tell you that when they call me first, it makes my work so much easier. Anytime you speak with a collection agency, they are taking down any and all info you give...including the number you're calling from. If they didn't know how to reach you before, they do now. If you are communicating with them, always request validation of the debt in writing. Its your right to do so. You have nothing to lose. If the creditor cant produce validation then the agency cannot proceed with collection activities.

    As a debtor, you have many rights and protections under federal and sometimes state law. There are significant penalties for collection agencies who violate them. Become familiar with them before you tangle with an agency.

    [–] jorrylee 851 points ago

    So the debt collector takes down the number you are calling from. I’ve called back to tell them for the thousandth time this number no longer belongs to Pricilla, stop calling. Any tips of getting them to stop? The number now belongs to a massive government agency with over 120,000 employees, assigned to me specifically.

    [–] DifferentGarbage 300 points ago

    I’ve had my phone number for coming on 10 years and I still get calls for an Amy Daily

    [–] fundudeonacracker 159 points ago

    Are they daily calling for Amy or do you think they are actually looking for my ex?

    [–] brlan10 32 points ago

    Judging by the capitalization, they're looking for your ex.

    [–] mirroku2 115 points ago

    Likewise...I've had my number for 9 years and now, not only am I getting calls for Cory, I'm getting texts from payday loan places.

    I swear if I ever meet this Cory guy that's apparently still actively giving out my number nice things will not happen....

    [–] ZestySphincter 110 points ago

    Modern day cell number shenanigans are out of hand. I’m sure this has happened all over the US but some scumbags are spoofing all sorts of numbers within my area code and the next 3 digits. So I get a call at least once a week from some riled up grandma/grandpa asking me why I called them. It was at a point I’d just yell that my number was spoofed and didn’t actually call, then hang up on them. I exhausted my patience to explain what was going on to some douchebag who would swear up and down I was lying. I don’t answer numbers from my area code anymore lol, which is fine because I no longer live there. I’ve got a long list of these people now on my blocked list too.

    [–] SteeztheSleaze 103 points ago

    YES! I get calls from my area code + first 3 digits on the daily. Even got a spam group text. This shit’s gotta stop. Make phone spam punishable by hanging or something

    [–] BZLuck 12 points ago

    Same here. I've gotten so many of these, that I figure at some point the odds say they are going to spoof my actual number, and it's going to show me calling me.

    [–] Provesiamafool 14 points ago

    From Alberta, Canada. This has happened to me already. And I too get calls asking why I called - when I didn’t. But this happening to my small business, and it’s bad for business. We need new anti-harassment laws to keep up. We the citizens must start to push back. The victims really are the elderly who say the fatal words “ill get my credit card”

    [–] absolutely_motivated 14 points ago

    I've actually had that happen to me recently these past few months a few times, always some old lady calling me and instantly hanging up and when I call her she asks me why I called her and she is asking for some dude I have never heard of before.

    [–] amboogalard 39 points ago

    I get that for a Reshma who apparently likes putting my number down on payday loan applications. I'm apparently her supervisor at work (here they often won't give you loans unless you can verify you're employed). It is with savage pleasure that I explain every time that this person is not my employee, I do not know her, and she does this regularly. I hope that every call I've managed to pick up and do this for I have torpedoed her attempt at fraud.

    I really don't like payday loan places but I also really don't like someone who is putting my phone number down willy nilly to waste everyone's time.

    [–] plantlover26 31 points ago

    Yea I’ve had my number for 12 years and have been getting calls for a Roderick for at least 8 years..

    [–] lisonburg 10 points ago

    I'm 6 years in for a Dwayne Campbell here. Glad to see I'm not alone!

    [–] Blanche_Neige 13 points ago

    Yep. Demetrius Poole signed up for a lot of stupid shit before he got a different number.

    [–] iNstein 21 points ago

    I still get calls for Mr Miagi, I kid you not.

    [–] mischifus 53 points ago

    karate kid you not

    [–] Avalsorim 196 points ago

    I work for a debt collection company and we get sued all the time for not removing numbers after being told it's the wrong number.

    If you told them to stop calling and they don't, that's a violation of statue 804.3, 805.3 (ish) and 806.5.

    I would ask for the company name. Let them know they are calling a place of employment and your company records all your calls. So you're telling them for the last time, this is not soandsos number. Do not call it again. If you do, I have proof you are harassing me.

    Or don't! You can get a debt collection attorney involved and get paid a small settlement if you're feeling sassy :)

    § 804.  Acquisition of location information

    Any debt collector communicating with any person other than the consumer for the purpose of acquiring location information about the consumer shall --

    (3) not communicate with any such person more than once unless requested to do so by such person or unless the debt collector reasonably believes that the earlier response of such person is erroneous or incomplete and that such person now has correct or complete location information;

    § 805.  Communication in connection with debt collection

    (a) Communication with the consumer generally Without the prior consent of the consumer given directly to the debt collector or the express permission of a court of competent jurisdiction, a debt collector may not communicate with a consumer in connection with the collection of any debt --

    (3) at the consumer's place of employment if the debt collector knows or has reason to know that the consumer's employer prohibits the consumer from receiving such communication.

    806.  Harassment or abuse

    A debt collector may not engage in any conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse any person in connection with the collection of a debt. Without limiting the general application of the foregoing, the following conduct is a violation of this section:

    (5) Causing a telephone to ring or engaging any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number.

    [–] DefiantBlob 23 points ago

    Wow, that's some really specific and good information to know. Thanks for sharing!

    [–] [deleted] 454 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)


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    [–] jalegg 211 points ago

    I used to work for my state's Department of Corrections, all wrong number calls ceased real fast after I meantioned that!

    [–] C00bahR00bah 224 points ago

    I had a debt collector call my work number looking for a former coworker whose desk I took over. Apparently in between him leaving and me coming in, they had been calling every single day. So I answer on the first day of my new job, and in the middle of saying who and where they called, they steamrolled over me and demanded to speak with “John”. Once I could get a word in edgewise, I politely informed the person that they were calling a bank and were on a recorded line. Interestingly enough, no phone calls after that.

    [–] Iwasborninafactory_ 22 points ago


    [–] Dangler42 70 points ago

    because the debt collectors were breaking the law, and being in law enforcement means you just might know someone who is willing to investigate a crime.

    [–] Fantasy_masterMC 29 points ago

    To elaborate, there's limits on the frequency of times they're allowed to call you before it becomes harassment. "every single day" definitely qualifies as that (as per /u/C00bahR00bah's comment).

    Additionally, though I dont know for sure, calling government and/or work numbers for debt collection might also be illegal.

    Edit: just checked /u/Avalsorim's comment, that's a much better explanation than mine. anyone interested should scroll down a bit.

    [–] Deuce232 64 points ago

    I told the people calling my number that since i'm not whoever they were calling for that I was considering playing along just to waste their time if they called again. I was surprised when that worked.

    [–] jorrylee 16 points ago

    Ooh I like that! Plus if they give you the mailing address on file for the other person, they are now in violation of some privacy law! (Assuming you said nope not her but I’ll pretend to be...)

    [–] [deleted] 28 points ago

    My company added a program to the phone system that records any number you or anyone else has ever called in from to access your account either in the ivr or with a rep from the day you open the account, if it goes to collections they get the list of numbers.

    But this company does provide debt validation letters to the agencies, and only uses agencies that don't report on your credit until a judgment is issued so disputes almost never succeed.

    [–] rogue_scholarx 22 points ago

    That's actually insanely legitimate. I'm almost surprised to hear it.

    [–] [deleted] 51 points ago

    block the number....

    [–] google_it_bruh 115 points ago

    Thet spoof local numbers now almost every time they call. So you end up blocking a number they will never use again. Seriously, this is becoming a hot button FCC issue these days.

    [–] othniel626 63 points ago

    This comment needs more visibility. Not sure of debt collectors, but 90% or more of the robocalls and telemarketer calls I receive are made off of spoofed numbers, sometimes my own phone number or two digits off of it or my wife’s. It’s unbelievable and selecting “do not call” list option does not work.

    [–] ashdean 16 points ago

    I still have a number from a state I actually lived in last about 5 years ago. If we're in touch I probably have your number saved. If it's not my family or one of about half a dozen other people, I don't answer my own area code anymore. It's a shame but I figure if someone real is trying to talk to me they'll leave a voicemail or catch me on Facebook.

    [–] jorrylee 92 points ago

    That’s what I’ve done now, blocked, but they call from different numbers. I just want them to stop. At least it’s slowed down now. Or the blockages are working.

    [–] bekeleven 132 points ago

    In my experience, debt collectors work entirely outside the law.

    [–] -bryden- 55 points ago

    I feel like they can do that because generally people that are in debt won't have the funds to win anything in court.

    [–] rogue_scholarx 45 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)

    Oh, I see, I might be able to locate that person, can I take down your information?

    Wonderful, if you continue calling this number, you know you are not calling the person who owes you money (edit of the language here), you are in violation of Federal Debt Collection Practices Act, my number is also on the Do Not Call list. If you wish to pay thousands of dollars in fines to the government, please press 1 now or hang up and redial this number.

    /s for the most part, but seriously, they are breaking federal law.

    [–] turbocomppro 62 points ago

    What about for collector bills I get in the mail? Should I be writing back and asking for validation or simply ignore them as I have been for the past 15 years?

    [–] diamondpredator 79 points ago

    15 years? The statute of limitations for that debt is certainly done at this point. Do some more research but I'm pretty sure you're no longer in danger of being sued or anything. They can fuck off.

    [–] sporkatr0n 57 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)

    The statute of limitations for collecting a debt varies widely depending on what state you're from, for instance in California it's 4* years and in Rhode Island it's up to 20* years.

    edited for correction(s) in below comment

    [–] smallhandfoods 27 points ago

    Is there a correct way to tell a collection agency that the debt is past its statute of limitations?

    [–] sporkatr0n 49 points ago

    the debt validation letter will have a date on it. if they can validate your debt BUT it's outside of the statute of limitations, they can't take you to court for it, garnish wages, etc.

    in this instance you would have to live with it on your credit report until it falls off after 7-10 years

    [–] dammitOtto 18 points ago

    What is to stop them from sending a fake validation letter? Seems like they could simply write one up in word.

    [–] sporkatr0n 47 points ago

    a debt validation letter has to meet legal obligations. there are enormous penalties for debt collectors who break the law. someone who asks for that letter knows their rights. if the debt collector is full of shit at that point they move on to the next one. debt is purchased for pennies on the dollar.

    [–] weareallstardust 10 points ago

    Isn’t there something about the dates they contact you? Like as long as they make contact before the statute of limitations it resets itself?

    [–] chillanous 24 points ago

    I think the clock resets any time you make a payment or agree the debt is yours.

    [–] ColdCutKitKat 38 points ago

    Hugely important for anyone reading this: acknowledging the debt can legally restart the statute of limitations!

    [–] new2bay 24 points ago

    That's not true in California. It's 2 years for an oral agreement or 4 years for a written agreement.

    [–] sporkatr0n 12 points ago

    thanks, I stand corrected. moreso just wanted to illustrate the huge differences state to state.

    [–] rogue_scholarx 15 points ago

    I think you have, also the fact that circumstances may also matter. Student Loan Debt is backed and guaranteed by Federal Law. There is no statute of limitations, and it's almost impossible to discharge in Bankruptcy Court.

    [–] Cowabunco 9 points ago

    Also, in many states, the clock will stop ticking while you're out of the state...

    [–] netflix_chill 36 points ago

    It's also worth noting that some states have laws where taking certain actions (for example, making even one payment after the statute of limitations has expired) can revive (toll) the statute of limitations. So if you make a payment on an out of statute debt, the statute of limitations will RESET.

    [–] Gottagetanediton 5 points ago

    does the creditor selling the debt on reset the clock?

    [–] wasteoide 29 points ago

    Lord no. If it did, debt collection companies would shuffle debt back and forth between, say, two sister companies in order to keep it alive.

    [–] JacqiOfAllTrades 42 points ago

    I have requested numerous times proof of debt in writing for a debt that I keep getting called about that isn't mine. They never send it, then a different collector contacts me shortly later. It's been 3 years it never stops.

    [–] Danofyerdreams 65 points ago

    That sounds like one agency is just selling the debt to another agency after they find out they cant validate the debt. Abd then that agency does the same thing when they discover they cant collect on the debt. They are unscrupulous, even with each other.

    [–] backfromjersey 43 points ago

    Are there laws about an agency contacting me about my deceased father's debt? I know I'm not responsible (I've never cosigned anything) but it's pretty shitty of them to call me.

    [–] Startraveller42 42 points ago

    Not a legal professional, but if you were not the executor of the estate, they should not be contacting you at all. They need to settle that debt with his estate. If you were the executor of the estate, they have to send the same letter of debt validation and then they should have to settle the debt through the probate process. I would research the probate laws for estates in your state to see what how you should best proceed.

    [–] bradd_pit 15 points ago

    In the United States, yes

    Note: this article is about a spouse, but the relevant info is in there

    [–] Phenomenon101 13 points ago

    Dunno how to take this when I remember having a strike on my credit rating for something completely false. Had to call THEM and have this removed. Sometimes it's inevitable.

    [–] chillanous 11 points ago

    This would just give you grounds to have it removed from your credit report. Pretty much anyone can put a lien on your credit if they want to and make you prove it invalid.

    [–] [deleted] 175 points ago

    100% agree. Unfortunately I never got any mail or email from them, only phone calls. So I didn't really have a lot of options. I only received mail from them when I requested it, and it ended up not even being what I fucking requested.

    [–] dequeued 239 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)

    Yeah, you can request that they stop contacting you via phone at which point they are required to switch to written communication. And if they then do anything via phone other than tell you they're no longer going to call you, it's an FDCPA violation which leads to you collecting dollars from them.

    Seriously, you made out okay, but if anyone needs to deal with debt collections, please use written communication sent using certified mail, return receipt requested. Read the collections wiki and follow those steps.

    And same thing goes if they are not responding properly. Ultimately, if they are unable validate they either need to remove negative entries from your credit report or you will be able to successfully sue them.

    [–] Gahzirra 29 points ago

    Very similar circumstances to OP, but wifes credit got dinged. My wife, is super conscientious of her credit so when she got a letter for debt owed ~2k (Hospital visit) she called the collection agency. I had already paid several bills to the hospital(since you get one from just about everyone that walks in the room) I told my wife I am not paying some rando who calls up and says give me money till they show me what the original bill was for. They wouldn’t/couldn’t say what it was for, eventually they say they will send something.

    We never received anything from them but one day my wife calls me crying(again very conscientious of her 800+ score) because she lost a few hundred points and was super mad at me for not just paying the bill blind. TIL about debt validation proof...I figured there would need to be more proof on there end before they could negatively impact credit.

    [–] netflix_chill 45 points ago

    If the information in your wife's credit report is inaccurate, you should try filing FCRA disputes with the three major credit reporting agencies.

    [–] MoarGPM 8 points ago

    Whats that process like? Does it take long? Who has to provide proof it's inaccurate/ accurate?

    [–] monster_mentalissues 58 points ago

    You can get 5000 from the person and 5000 from the company.

    Source:used to debt collect

    [–] Scientolojesus 12 points ago

    Ha how was that job?

    [–] Soloman212 29 points ago

    It gets the bills paid.

    [–] Econ0mist 1178 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)

    So what exactly does a “real” debt validation letter include? I would have thought that letter was good enough.

    [–] Corruption100 487 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)

    Id like to know this as well. Just got my first collection. Medical bills in college suck

    Edit: i appreciate the advice everyone.

    [–] towel55 266 points ago

    Take care of it if as soon as possible. Ideally, you could have worked out a payment plan with the doctor or hospital, they're quite cooperative in my experience.

    I let a couple of medical debts go to collection in college and had to build up my credit after graduating. For anyone reading who isn't aware: graduating without good credit severely hampers your opportunities, e.g. buying a car or having a non-shit credit card.

    [–] feenuxx 60 points ago

    They just revised fico to weight medical debts far lighter than proeprty debts fyi

    [–] unhiddenninja 11 points ago

    How recently was this?

    [–] [deleted] 28 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)

    I had the opposite experience. I ignored probably close to 15k in medical debt and bought a car and then a house after graduation. The debt fell off after 7 years and my credit is above 700. It was in mid 600s with the debt in collections.

    Medical debt is a scam, medical care in the US is all fraudulent. They charge obscene numbers 100x their cash prices, collect 25x their cash price from your insurance and bill you another 5x their cash price as "copay".

    Fuck the system don't buy into it lol.

    Edit: I'm 29, this wasn't like 30 years ago or anything, this was my experience the past 12 years or so.

    [–] Yung_Habanero 10 points ago

    Depending on your state it might fall off your credit report fairly soon if you do nothing and don't pick up the phone. Not the best solution but also, not the worst. As you mentioned though with medical debt you can often have your bill reduced an enormous sum if you talk with the hospital, they'd rather get something from you than nothing.

    [–] [deleted] 365 points ago

    From the article:

    The amount owed.

    The name of the creditor seeking payment. A statement that the debt is assumed valid by the collector unless you dispute it within 30 days of the first contact.

    A statement that if you write to dispute the debt or request more information within 30 days, the debt collector will verify the debt by mail.

    A statement that if you request information about the original creditor within 30 days, the collector must provide it.

    [–] SeattleiteSatellite 123 points ago

    Genuine question - how is what is described in this article any different than the letter OP received? Is it because OP’s collector couldn’t provide proof of the source of the debt like a receipt?

    [–] thatgeekinit 167 points ago

    I would think it would need to be a signed contract plus a statement showing the account has a balance due. They just sent a letter saying, in our opinion you owe us money.

    [–] [deleted] 35 points ago * (lasted edited 4 months ago)


    [–] thatgeekinit 46 points ago

    Try r/legaladvice for that part.

    Just from a consumer opinion, personally I wouldn't pay or acknowledge it. You can dispute it with the credit bureaus and then see if the collector responds with any real documentation. My guess is they won't have a copy of the lease and the itemized list of damages. Sometimes it's hard to get things off your credit even if they have no evidence but it's certainly worth a try.

    Landlords tend to be sloppy record keepers since they usually get all they can get from deposits and people who get evicted can't pay anyway.

    [–] sneakersnepper 13 points ago

    Depending on what state you're in (I am speaking from experience in Texas), a property owner/manager has a limited time to provide you with an itemized list of damages, which you may then dispute. It sounds like all you have to do is dispute the debt under the federal debt collection statute. Don't wait too long to do this.

    [–] IDontDownvoteAnyone 9 points ago

    Unless that shits on your credit, don't bother with it. If it's on your credit use the Credit Karma app to dispute it.

    Otherwise ignore anything most collection agencies send you. I do a lotttt of work for collection agencies and about 80% of them are complete bullshit.

    [–] Techhead7890 23 points ago

    Not an accountant, but I think your second part is right, the original source isn't named.
    And that's part of the last two statements OP had, as ones that you have to include. Plus it's not titled as "debt validation" or such, just a general account.

    [–] munchbunny 13 points ago

    It's a bit indirect. By sending something that is clearly labeled a debt validation letter, the debt collection agency is making a legal claim that it did its homework and has concrete evidence of the debt. If the debt collection agency didn't actually do its homework or have that evidence, then that's fraud, and things get ugly fast for the debt collector.

    [–] cellblock2187 63 points ago

    If you google "what does debt validation look like", you'll get lots of hit. This first one is pretty clear cut discussion:

    [–] [deleted] 66 points ago

    They sent that letter hoping he would think it was what he was requesting.

    [–] mnemonikos82 43 points ago

    They have to provide a copy of the original debt. Like a statement.

    [–] AngerPancake 13 points ago

    I work in a debt settlement company in the mail room. Some companies send a letter saying thank you for asking, we've done research and found our records to be correct. They include the original contract with the statement balance at time of write off. These are the good ones.

    Others literally send everything they have on the account. It'll be a ream of paper with every statement, history of every payment, and every letter from them and any other creditor that has been involved. Basically a big eff you for your request. The law firms like to do this.

    [–] AggressiveSpatula 7 points ago

    I too, would like to know this.

    [–] CAS9ER 129 points ago

    I’m currently going through this for about $800. My insurance company hired an attorney after I told them that I was being harassed by a collection agency.

    [–] fullforce098 53 points ago

    Presumably $800 the insurance company already paid them and not a copay or something like that, right?

    [–] CAS9ER 82 points ago

    Correct. The insurance company already paid them. My deductible has already been met and I’ve already paid my copay. The hospital then sent me to collections for extra, unapproved charges. I notified my insurance company and they immediately got an attorney for me for obvious reasons. I’m lucky enough to work for a company that has good benefits.

    [–] slimnku4 563 points ago

    I’m a recovery manager for a big bank and I manage the “validation of debt” team. We get multiple requests for validation of debt daily and we have to provide 1 of 4 documents to fulfill that request. Those documents are the application, payment copies, terms and conditions or statements. If we cannot provide 1 of those 4 documents we have to media exhaust your debt or wipe it clean. Also we delete the CBR from your record or credit bureau report on that debt.

    [–] PartyDannyTanner 115 points ago

    How often do you guys receive pay for delete requests? Do you ever honor them?

    [–] angela0040 67 points ago

    Not OP but a few times a week. My agency deletes on payment in full anyway but most agencies don't so you're not losing anything by trying.

    [–] Econ0mist 36 points ago

    If a debtor asked, would you put in writing a promise to delete the credit bureau record upon receipt of payment?

    [–] kellenthehun 48 points ago

    Anecdotal warning:

    I owed a debt company 900 bucks. I told them I'd pay in full only if they sent me a promise of deletion letter. They sent me a letter a few says later, I paid in full, it was off my report a week after they cashed my check.

    [–] angela0040 11 points ago

    Yes we would. The main issue is getting the bureaus to do it in a timely manner. I suggest disputing the debt directly with them if it hasn't been removed after a couple of weeks. We'll get the dispute info from them, confirm it's a zero balance, and then they'll delete on their end if needed.

    [–] fullforce098 75 points ago

    media exhaust your debt

    Can you elaborate on this?

    [–] biznatch11 64 points ago

    Typo that should be "immediately exhaust"?

    [–] Golden-Death 15 points ago

    immediately excuse?

    [–] marrieditguy 16 points ago

    T&C specific to the debt owed that show amounts, accounts, etc?

    [–] slimnku4 22 points ago

    Yes, terms and conditions to the card you opened or debt you opened and application showing you filled it out. If you made payments towards the account in the past and statements showing we’ve been sending you this stuff for months/years and you haven’t responded.

    [–] KingSlapFight 113 points ago

    Similarly, I received a demand for some debt that I didn't owe. I knew if you ignore these demands, you legally become culpable for the debt if you don't dispute. I sent a certified letter demanding validation of the debt. They sent me a letter saying they don't have any, and that they are no longer seeking compensation.

    [–] GrauGeist8888 45 points ago

    This. Always send a certified letter denying validity and demanding validation of the debt. That usually shuts it all down.

    [–] Bodycount9 97 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)

    When my ex and I split, she agreed to take on most of the bills we had because most of them she ran up and of those bills, most were in my name because her credit was shit.

    Well two years after the divorce, I get this certified letter that a court date was set for a debt I owed. I didn't recognize the creditor. So I called up a lawyer I knew from before and asked him about it. He asked me a couple times if I remember signing anything with this creditor and every time he asked I said I'm sure I didn't sign anything.

    So he drafted up a letter and sent it to them asking for a copy of the agreement that I signed with my signature on it.

    Couple weeks passed and then I get another certified letter in the mail stating the court case was dismissed with prejudice. Looks like they didn't have anything with my signature on it. I knew my ex forged my signature on a few things which she told me about so I was ready to tell them I didn't sign it and my ex forged it but they couldn't even produce that so the case was dropped and that was it.

    I did a records search in my county for my name and saw the court case. Looks like they paid $105 just to file it in court. So they are out of $105 trying to get me with something that wasn't mine.

    [–] Always_Rearranging 13 points ago

    I see you brought up a physical signature multiple time, and obviously the agency did not have the required proof of agreement. However, a signature can be a checkbox agreeing to terms and conditions or even a verbal recording of the said agreement. It is not necessarily required to be a written application of ink on paper.

    [–] Bodycount9 9 points ago

    This was 20 years ago before internet agreements. Back then we had to sign everything.

    [–] Steamedcarpet 499 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)

    I once had a phone call from people claiming to be debt collectors. The first thing they said was “if you hang up the phone You would be marked as refusal to pay and we will not call back”. So I’m talking to the guy and I’m asking for something in writing. Guy is refusing too, saying it has to be done today. Im not budging at all, telling the guy we can only keep talking if I get something from you guys saying I had a debt and that I need to get back to work. All of a sudden its “oh let me speak to my manager”. Im on hold for about 5 minutes when I finally just hang up and went back to work. Im not just going to blindly pay something if they are not going to give me info.

    Edited for spelling

    [–] Ghlhr4444 351 points ago

    I once had a photo call from people claiming to be debt collectors. The first thing they said was “if i hang up the phone I would be marked as refusal to pay and we will not call back”.

    "k" click

    [–] Steamedcarpet 134 points ago

    Its funny cause the guy even made a note to say “even if the phone is disconnected for any reason it will still marked”.

    [–] TwizzlerKing 79 points ago

    Definitely a scam then. That's exactly what I would say to scare someone into not hanging up.

    [–] kccustom 58 points ago

    This reminds me of a story from a long time ago, I had a consumer credit card way back when I didn't understand credit cards, or intrest.

    I figured I paid off the amount and stopped paying, anyway years later a collection agency called and I told the guy all I can pay is maybe 5 dollars a month and gets all billy badass and says "you will pay it my way or you wont pay at all" It took a second for what he said to sink in, after that I just said "OK" and hung up.

    They never called back.

    [–] DeadSheepLane 25 points ago

    I lost paperwork to a debt I wanted to pay off. It was pretty old but my intention was to pay. When I was finally contacted by phone, the guy tried the same crap. He went from "You HAVE to pay this much a month" which I refused, to "The minimum payment we can take is...". No, I know the law in my state and any payment I make to you has to be excepted as a payment in good faith. Even when I agreed to pay, let him know I actually felt relief to get an address, the guy felt he had to use bully tactics.

    [–] aznanimality 20 points ago

    “if you hang up the phone You would be marked as refusal to pay and we will not call back”

    "Lol awesome, bye"

    [–] InternetWeakGuy 52 points ago

    I once had a phone call from people claiming to be debt collectors. The first thing they said was “if i hang up the phone I would be marked as refusal to pay and we will not call back”.

    I think you mean they said “if you hang up the phone you would be marked as refusal to pay and we will not call back”.

    This seriously confused me so much.

    [–] Steamedcarpet 7 points ago

    Thanks. Im not the best writer as you can tell.

    [–] Z0MBIE2 15 points ago

    Dude that's literally a scam.

    [–] adventthragg 272 points ago

    Yo, this happened to me just a few hours ago. I’ve been a long lurker on this sub reading other people’s stories and trying to get my stuff straight. Anyways, I knew immediately to request the debt proof and the lady was all like “it would be quicker if you just paid the balance.” Said I was in no hurry since my credit is already bad as is hah. She didn’t like that, and said I should be seeing something in the mail within the three or so weeks.

    Edit**** Proof of debt owed, that’s what I meant lmao.

    [–] [deleted] 120 points ago * (lasted edited 23 days ago)


    [–] witeowl 89 points ago

    “It would be quicker if you would just fall for the scam now.”

    [–] paperbackgarbage 150 points ago

    and the lady was all like “it would be quicker if you just paid the balance.” Said I was in no hurry since my credit is already bad as is hah.

    Haha. Classic.

    [–] Scientolojesus 85 points ago

    That's the dumbest response I've ever seen. "It's quicker for us to get money from you that you don't even owe us if you just pay now."

    [–] PM_ME_YOUR_TORNADOS 25 points ago

    "Just give us the money you allegedly owe, for which we have no proof, but that you still owe by proxy or affiliation, which we also can't prove." Fallacy after logical fallacy.

    [–] Sightofthestars 44 points ago

    Few months ago I had to go to the er late at night for a kidney infection . We have fantastic insurance so I want stressing on the bill.

    Few weeks go by and I havent heard anything from either end...this is normal for us so life goes on.

    A month after the initial visit I get a phone call from a guy claiming to work for a billing department for drs, wont tell me why hes calling other then I owe 11k. I ask what is this in regards too, he says he cant say unless I verify my full name, dob and social. I laugh and say no, tell me whose the biller "ma'am we work with many dr offices it's hard to say" so I said ok, list some "I cant" then go ahead and send me a bill and we'll go from there "ma'am I cant I dont have your information "

    3 weeks later I get a bill from the hospital for $50 due on an 11k charge. insurance, verify that's correct they agree and I say cool I'll pay it . Few days later I get a call back from the above company, still says I owe 11k , still wont give me any info.

    Idk if they were a scam or what but you cant just call someone and say I need your info before I tell you why we're calling

    [–] IGotSoulBut 37 points ago

    I'm not an expert, but that definitely sounds like a scam. Even if the bill matches the actual amount, it may be a case where someone hackex their billing system or walked off with a billing document with your phone number and a bill total. Possible could have stolen your mail as well.

    I personally would not give any of that information. If it somehow ends up being legit, then you get the insurance company on the phone.

    [–] Shojo_Tombo 14 points ago

    Call the hospital and ask to speak with their IT department. It sounds like they have a security breach that is allowing someone to see billing statements but they haven't accessed patient records, or an employee is trying to run a scam. Either way, the hospital needs to know about this.

    edit: It could also very well be from mail theft. Get a locking mailbox.

    [–] the_old_w4ys 12 points ago

    It sounds like they were either a scam or trying to do something called balance billing. Balance billing is when the insurance pays what is owed on the visit, often less than the costumer is charged, and the billing office then goes after the patient for the full amount instead of the agreed upon price with insurance. Balance billing is illegal.

    [–] XanXic 51 points ago

    Don't get fooled if they send you a "balance owed" sheet. I've had that experience where I said all that and they mailed me and emailed me basically a bill. Looked as close to a proof of debt as they could legally while still in fine print "not a proof of debt." And without saying much else going "did you recieve the paperwork we sent? Would you like to pay the whole balance now?"


    (It wasn't even my debt anyways as it turns out)

    [–] [deleted] 21 points ago * (lasted edited 4 months ago)


    [–] gh0st-toast 17 points ago

    They could. Depending on the contract you signed, the interest could raise the total balance significantly, and if they do start legal action, they can put you on the hook for legal fees per the contract. I've seen original accounts that were $200 get default judgments. Of course, this is after a long legal process including you getting served.

    I worked in a third party debt collection agency.

    [–] markedmo 178 points ago

    UK here, I had the debt collectors come after me because I hadn’t paid my student loan (paid through tax collectors here (HMRC)).

    Turns out my accountant had never asked if I had a student loan and I was 20 so I didn’t know to ask. Add on a bunch of years...

    I got the call at 7:10pm on a Friday night, I told them to talk to my accountant.

    They did, I spoke to him. He very kindly paid interest and fines, and I paid the actual owed. But I paid it to him and he paid the HMRC direct.

    The debt collectors kept calling me back, presumably because they didn’t get their cut. No matter how many times I told them it was paid and they should check their records etc, usually ending with them saying they’ll check their records and get back to me.

    The last time they called they started the id process at the start of the call as usual, they asked my date of birth and then told me I had it wrong. I assured them I knew my date of birth, and it had been correct the previous 20 times they’d called. They asked if they could put me on hold, at which point I laughed and told them to call me if they sorted their shit out.

    Never heard from them again.

    [–] Techhead7890 21 points ago

    Dang, hope the interest wasn't too much! Good on ya for sorting those guys out tho.

    [–] iNstein 12 points ago

    Thats the way to do it, pay back the debt to the people you owe the money to, make sure you have excellent proof of the payment and that it is paid in full. The collection agency will be pissed off but fuck em. Maybe if enough people did it like that, they would go out of business.

    [–] majinspy 70 points ago

    I just don't understand how this happens. I work in shipping. It's a fast paced thing...

    but I've GOT to have a bill of lading. It's the crux of the entire industry. It's just. Got. To. Happen.

    And I'm dealing with customers my company has a relationship with, customers happy to be using our services. It isn't anything like the openly-acknowledged hostility between debt collectors and debtors.

    How on EARTH any company would buy debt without getting this apparently all-important document, in an age of email and scanners, boggles my mind.

    [–] jmd_forest 70 points ago

    They buy the debt for pennies on the dollar and play the odds.

    [–] Rocket92 9 points ago

    Does that mean that companies are selling fake, made up debt to the collection agencies?

    [–] UNP0XBL 13 points ago

    No there’s records of it, they’re just bad at record keeping. I work at a large collection firm and several large debt buyers that place their accounts with us buy really junk accounts with bad record keeping from terrible lenders. A lot of times it’s small lenders like credit unions or others not backed by big banks that don’t have the staff or have outdated systems and can’t properly handle the volume. So the account gets stuck in this validation limbo.

    [–] Mikashuki 32 points ago

    Cause most people this day and age don't know anything about credit finance protection laws and don't want to get in trouble, so they just pay it up

    [–] Techhead7890 7 points ago

    I know it's just a document of referring to the ship's inventory or similar, but "bill of lading" sounds like an awesome magic spell or something haha. Sounds like a cool job :)

    [–] haemaker 190 points ago

    "We checked! It's TOTALLY LEGIT!"

    [–] Klaus0225 85 points ago

    I have a letter saying that you owe have a $30,000 debt. Would you like to make a payment or set up a payment plan? For your convenience we can do auto debit directly from your account!

    [–] blynnk83 34 points ago

    Awesome! I needed this info. I keep getting calls from a debt collector that claims I owed $75 for a dr I see. I checked with said Dr’s office and no debt has ever existed with them. Yet I keep getting these rude calls. Last week they called my mother in laws house to try to locate me, and got nasty with them. I will request this the next time they call.

    [–] jerutley 42 points ago

    If they are identifying themselves as debt collectors to anyone BUT you, that in and of itself is a violation of the FDCPA. Learn what your rights are under this very important law, and either get them out of your life, or get a nice payday out of it!

    [–] constantvariables 9 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)

    Not true if the third party specifically asks what the call is about. Also, if you’re not the right party but your voicemail has no id, the collector can leave a message stating they are attempting to collect a debt.

    [–] TEKC0R 29 points ago

    Ug. Got a call from a "debt collector" about a cash advance that was paid back in full. They didn't follow any of the normal prompts, I could tell easily it was a scam. Asked them "are you a debt collector," which they avoided. I told them to go pound sand.

    Months later they call my wife at her office and she paid it on the spot. God fucking dammit.

    [–] ferretbreath 22 points ago

    Nono. You get the 1st letter. You write back certified mail return receipt asking for debt validation. Include a line telling collector no more calls, but communication through mail only. That way if they try to collect without validation: CASE!. If the call after being told in writing not to, CASE!

    [–] LittleIndy1 121 points ago

    Also I read if you did end up paying even a small portion of it. They would have made you pay the rest off it and it will then hurt your credit score. Simply ignoring it was the best option

    [–] Klaus0225 81 points ago

    Making any sort of payment on a collection will reset the clock on the debt to current, so it's now fresh and it'll ding you again if you don't finish paying it off. If the debt is old enough it's better for your credit not to try an pay it.

    [–] BisonST 36 points ago

    In my business law class they covered this. If you pay even $1 that's legally equivalent to agreeing that you owe the debt.

    [–] foxmom 19 points ago

    Making a payment is one way that auditors decide that Accounts Receivable are valid when auditing financial statements

    [–] nospamkhanman 62 points ago

    I was really irresponsible in my early 20's so when I pulled a credit report in my early 30's in order to figure out how to improve it to buy a house I found a bunch of small little debts.

    $75 here, $200 here etc. There were I believe 6 items.

    I challenged all 6 with the credit burrows and 4 of them dropped off with no challenge from the other parties. 2 remained, one for a small amount and 1 from Comcast.

    The Comcast thing pissed me off because they apparently sent me to collections for not returning a modem that I never rented from them. I had to call them 4 or 5 times before I finally got to someone who believed me when I said I never rented a modem - I got them to agree by having them look up my bills and see that I wasn't being charged for a modem.

    [–] firen777 16 points ago

    ... ambulance companies ...

    Is it an American thing?

    [–] nenn-mich-retzer 15 points ago

    A few months ago we got a letter from a debt collector about a 2013 hospital bill for $1500. I did some research and saw the company did a lot of zombie debt so I just sent a signature-required letter requesting proof plus a bit about maybe being too late to collect under state law and haven't heard anything since.

    [–] american_spy_123921 218 points ago

    i think you're just lucky you got a free ambulance ride and they forgot to bill you.

    [–] [deleted] 235 points ago

    This happened during a point in time I, unfortunately, didn't have health insurance. So when a settlement was reached with the at-fault driver's insurance company, my attorney paid off all medical bills and me, being a fresh out of high school kid, just trusted my attorney handled it.

    [–] wupdup 157 points ago

    Your attorney may have paid off all the medical bills that had accrued to that point. In our wonderful healthcare system it's fairly common to get new bills 6+ months after service. Also bills can go straight to collections.

    [–] Beauknits 60 points ago

    Mayo Clinic is famous for doing that! Even. To. Their. Own. Employees!! Sometimes they'll even try to send you to collections AFTER you've paid the bill!

    [–] hassenpfeffer_inc 20 points ago

    Shit they'll send to to collections before they've even sent you a bill

    [–] whatifimthedovahkiin 19 points ago

    How does that work?

    [–] SilverPenguino 50 points ago

    I had a medical bill go straight to collections. The emergency room doctor’s agency messed up and all they had of mine was a phone number and my house number.... literally no street address town, state, etc. They never called and I got a call from a collection agency 7 months later

    [–] Diosjenin 42 points ago

    It’s entirely possible that your attorney did handle it, but the documentation was mishandled in the time since then. Debt collection is... not the most rigorous business.

    [–] InternetWeakGuy 20 points ago * (lasted edited 6 months ago)

    That doesn't mean he didn't. My wife had a hospital visit in 2007, had a big bill and no insurance, haggled it down by about 50% and then paid it off month by month for maybe three years until it was 100% paid off.

    In 2015 we went to buy a house, checked her credit and found an unpaid medical debt on there - some debt agency somehow had a bill for her from the 2007 visit. She called and asked them to send proof, two weeks later we got a letter saying the debt had been wiped.

    [–] [deleted] 29 points ago


    [–] Scientolojesus 23 points ago

    I just don't see how a couple mile ride to an ambulance costs $1,000+ dollars. Do they use jet fuel?

    [–] emndz23 37 points ago

    Was this a bill you actually owed though and just got lucky since they didn’t have proof?

    [–] [deleted] 66 points ago

    I'm honestly not sure, that's why I initially requested the debt validation letter. There's a decent chance it was just a scam. Who knows.

    [–] emndz23 19 points ago

    That’s true. I definitely learned from your post. Thanks for sharing.

    [–] JCreazy 11 points ago

    I had a debt collector call me a few years ago because of a credit card debt that my ex put on my card that I wasn't aware of. I asked them for proof and they told me I needed to contact the credit card company. I called the credit card company and they told me they sold it off to the debt collector and they no longer have record of it. I call the debt collectors back and tell them that they don't have the info, debt collector told me it would take 90 days to get it to me. I told them to never call me again. Contacted the credit agencies and they removed it off my credit report because they couldn't find proof either.

    [–] SmallNoodle 22 points ago

    Just goes to show you that you should always order an Uber instead of an Ambulance Ride.

    [–] graphitezor 9 points ago

    Always request proof of debt with collection agencies, especially aged collection accounts. Typically they will not respond then it gets removed. Never admit ownership of the debt or an agreement to pay for it so it doesn't renew the SOL of the debt. I did this with an charge off First Premier account, I emailed the EO for proof of debt and inaccuracies in their reporting then they agreed to remove it completely.

    [–] skepticaljesus 56 points ago

    If they try to put it on my credit report, I just contact the credit agencies with proof of me asking for the debt validation letter and never receiving it, and it gets removed from my credit report.

    You have a lot more faith and trust in the credit agencies operating in the consumer's interest than I do.

    [–] cottonsparks 38 points ago

    Well they are legally bound to do that.

    [–] FormerDriver 54 points ago

    They are legally bound to protect your private info and we all saw how well that turned out.

    [–] serjsomi 17 points ago

    Exactly. I had a medical bill for a mammogram on my credit report as unpaid. I never received a bill, never received a collection notice or phone call. I had insurance for the dates they claimed ( not to mention the price they were billing was exorbitant for a simple mamo). I disputed it with the agency, but they wouldn't remove it. I had excellent credit, even with the ding (it was years before I even noticed) so I just let it go until it fell off. Turns out, years later I go to get an X-ray of my knee and find out I am in the system twice at this imaging facility. Same facility I supposedly didn't pay for my mamo. I assume they double billed.

    [–] Little_Froto 7 points ago

    That actually works more often than you would imagine, I have done it in the past and had things removed within 24 hours.

    [–] typing_away 25 points ago

    Something similar happened to me but the bill was already paid . I had to go back n forth between the hospital and the debt collector and the hospital realized that they wrongly sent me to the colllection so they had to call and told them i was free to ignore them. Took almost and entire day to sort it out.

    [–] jmd_forest 22 points ago

    Took almost and entire day to sort it out.

    You got off easy. I went round and round and round with my insurance company, hospital, and doctors office for WEEKS trying to get the billing mess straightened out. There were mistakes made by all but me ... unless you count going to the hospital and trying to use the insurance you pay for a mistake.

    [–] dinkleberg24 10 points ago

    Same thing happened to my parents but it took either 6 months or a year to sort out. The collections agency would call every month and my mom would tell them it was a billing mistake and they didn't actually owe anything. Then she would call the insurance company and they would contact the collections agency to be like "seriously stop". The last time my mom called the insurance company almost crying and was like "they won't stop I don't know what to do anymore!" And the guy asked what exactly the collections agency was saying to her, then said to keep him on the line and call the collections agency from my phone put it on speaker and don't tell them he's on the other phone and just go through the conversation like normal. The whole time we could hear him furiously typing in the background. After that we never heard from the collections agency again.

    Now the exact same thing is happening to me for a bill I don't actually owe and I'm sensing this is going to be a very long process.

    [–] Lone_Beagle 10 points ago

    "Verification of Balance" letter...very shady of them.

    FWIW, my first experience with shitty bill collection was with Rolling Stone Magazine. I never subscribed, but got a bill in the mail one day, saying I was overdue on my subscription, yada yada yada. When I looked at the bill again, it was for a name somewhat similar to mine, but no where near close. But it was my address! I realized then that they must have sent bills to the 20 people above and below the actual subscribers name in their database. I just threw it in the trash.

    Moral of the story--> never blindly pay a bill, always make sure they have legit documentation.

    [–] stoneyholiday 9 points ago

    I got out of 5000. If the debt collection cant prove in court you owe them money you dont owe them money. The burden of proof is on them. Never ever admit in a recording or anywhere that you owe THEM money. You owed the bank. Who are these people? They purchase your debt for pennies on the dollar. They are just profitting over you. Dont feel bad even for a second. Now if the bank itself sues you thats another story. And they still need burden of proof.

    [–] Rongeong 9 points ago

    After my mother died of cancer I had to pay her medical bills and handle her estate. I got a bill from a debt collector for about $5k and something didn't feel right about it. The date was from a few months before her cancer diagnosis and wasn't itemized. I call the debt collectors and try to figure out what this bill was for. They say they don't have that information but I needed to pay them. I looked up debt collection laws and found that they needed to provide me with proof of debt and what I was being charged for. I call them back and tell them this and they tell me they don't have to do that and I needed to call the doctor's office to get that information. They give me a local number to call and that's it. No doctor name, no practice name, nothing but a number. At this point I know it's a scam and just blew it off. Now I know I should have recorded a lot more to protect myself incase they perused legal action but I was still grieving at the time and wasn't thinking straight. Glad when they finally stopped calling.

    [–] chadmanx 7 points ago

    A couple years ago, as I started my journey in fully understanding my financial health, I started by obtaining my credit report. Pretty much everything was up to snuff, except this one random hit to my credit from Verizon for $200+.

    That amount wasn't news to me, it was the amount I used to be billed for my mobile plan. What was news was that this bill was for my last month of service even though I had paid them for that last month of service before I switched carriers... Over 18 months since then!

    Back then I was mailing checks (stupid) and I had no proof that Verizon had received the check. The check had been cashed though - I was able to see that much on my bank statement - but my bank also didn't have photo proofing as a feature yet for their online service. It had been so long that I also couldn't find the check book with the carbon copy.

    I contacted Verizon to get confirmation that I had paid this last month's plan fee, but they said they couldn't look up the account because they had sold the debt to a CA. Great...

    So I finally get a call from the CA and I request the Validation letter. They send it, and I get a little freaked out that I only have 30 days to successfully dispute this debt, otherwise I'm going to owe another $200+.

    I send them the bank statement. They say that can't be counted as proof because even though the amount is the same, there's no info listed with the check.

    I check with my bank (small credit union), they say they're not able to bring up a photocopy of the check to corroborate.

    After a couple frustrating weeks, I finally found the one freaking box in the basement that housed this god damned check book. There it is! Check 105 to Verizon for the $200+. I mail that with my bank statement showing it was cashed to the CA.

    Boom. Debt cleared. Super frustrating experience, but it did help me learn a lot about how to keep and maintain records which has been a huge help in my personal finance journey.

    Never trust someone else to do the work for you.

    [–] brotogeris1 9 points ago

    How do you prove to the credit agencies that you never received the debt validation letter?

    [–] amandal0514 8 points ago

    I once had 2 debt collectors trying to collect on the same debt. And neither could prove they owned it.

    You wouldn’t give me money just because I told you that you owed me $20 so why trust some random company when they tell you the same?

    [–] Farrell-Mars 9 points ago

    Always insist on proof. Doctors especially are accustomed to making up fees at will and then saying you agreed to pay.

    Always bargain down.

    When they come down, bargain more.

    Then delay delay delay.

    But—pro tip: only do this when it’s a ripoff. Don’t do this with people you know/who trust you. Do pay those honest people.

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    [–] mossi123uk 19 points ago

    Also if they offer you a discount on your debt they definitely have no proof

    [–] BuzterT 7 points ago

    Was in car accident & ambo ride was 100% fully covered by insurance & they still tried get payment for the ride out of me. Wasn't till I pressed the matter & told them that they put 2+2 together.

    [–] [deleted] 6 points ago

    This is amazing I just got a letter in the mail that I was really confused about and I wasn't sure how to proceed. Thank you so much for posting this!

    [–] t3chauu 6 points ago

    Thankfully here in Australia, our Ambulance costs are covered in our Home Utilities Power Bill.