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Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Monday Morning Sportswriter, Dec 4, 2015.

  1. Monday Morning Sportswriter

    Monday Morning Sportswriter Well-Known Member

    What are your best stories about dealing with collection agents or similar companies?

    I thought my stories were 20 years and a career behind me. Apparently not.

    I caused a very minor property damage accident a year ago. I was helping a friend during his business' busy time, doing some deliveries in his truck. I ended up striking and cracking some masonry on an overhang. Superficial damage, and not a scratch to the vehicle. The place that had the damage laughed and told me to not worry about it.

    Fast-forward a year: The company decided to file a claim, and the insurance company came after me, sending all documentation to the wrong address. Last week, via a phone call, I found out about the claim and the company corrected the address. But not before the account was transferred to a "recovery specialist," who has been calling me every day, sometimes twice.

    It's been great.

    Because I won't give them my information (it's in my insurance company's hands, and it will stay that way), this recovery specialist says she will ...

    -- Have my license suspended, because "it's obvious you were driving without insurance" because I won't give her any of my information.

    -- Sue me for triple the cost of the claim.

    -- File a lien against my home and take my cars.

    -- Find out the company I was driving for and tell them about the accident. (As if they didn't already laugh at me.)

    By the way, the recovery specialist is Cathy Smith, a made-up name if I ever heard one. Reminds me of when I was late on student loans 20 years ago and got calls from John Green, John Black, John White and John Brown from the Wilber Law Firm.

    I can't imagine how horrible it must be to truly be in default and have to fend off these threats on a daily basis.
  2. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    When my youngest was a baby, he got very sick, and my wife took him to the ER, where they fucked up his diagnosis, gave him some sort of shot, and told us to take him to the pediatrician the next day for a second shot.

    We do so, our pediatrician looks at the ER's paperwork, gets on the phone with them, reams them out right in front of us for fucking up, then calls in a favor to a specialist to get us in the next day instead of waiting multiple weeks for an appointment, because the specialist would know what to do. The specialist did, but the ER's fuck-up had delayed treatment for two days, and our boy got sicker and ended up spending two weeks in a different hospital before he got better.

    So we get a bill from the ER for the co-pays, and my wife and I agreed that we sure as shit weren't going to pay it, especially since we had bills from the other providers. So when the ER's collections office calls us for payment, I told them that our kid nearly died because of their fuck-up, we racked up considerably more in bills because of their fuck-up, and they were damn lucky we were just happy to have our baby alive and that we weren't calling a lawyer to sue them.

    That was the last call we got from them.
  3. Cosmo

    Cosmo Well-Known Member

    You sure you didn't get a call from Ervin Pepper at Pepper, Pepper & Bayleaf?
  4. DeskMonkey1

    DeskMonkey1 Active Member

    This is going to be me in a few months. *sigh*
  5. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    There was a fascinating story, maybe on one of these threads, about the collections business. IIRC, it basically said that once it gets into the hands of the collection agents the person you originally owed the money to has given up on it and sold the debt for pennies on the dollar. So the collection agents buy, say, a $100 hospital bill for $1 and then go out and try to collect the $100.
    What I got from it is, if you're no longer able to negotiate or settle the debt with the original lienholder (or whatever they're called), you're wasting your breath. The collection agencies just want to get paid as quickly as possible, and as much as possible.

    We had a hospital bill that slipped through the cracks. Something like $400. It got handed off to a collection agency, and since the address was local and it wasn't all that much my wife and I went to their office to settle up.
    They acted like I was from Mars.
    The place was sealed up tighter than Fort Knox, for one thing. We had to get buzzed into the lobby, and then there was what looked like a call center behind another door secured with a keypad. Whatever training the secretary, who was probably a temp, had gotten seemed to be geared toward being as much of an obstacle as possible. After five minutes of trying to explain what we were doing there, she finally got a supervisor who also seemed stunned that someone would actually come to the office to pay a bill that had written on it "Remit payment to our office at 123 Main Street."
    I offered to pay it in two installments of $200 each, but the supervisor started using fear tactics about how it would still go on our credit report and we'd have to pay an extra fee to pay in installments, etc. Obviously, just trying to get the money as fast as possible.
    I was incredibly annoyed by that point and just paid it in full with a credit card to be done with it. I asked for a receipt and they had to give me a handwritten one like the kind you get for something out of petty cash. The truly terrifying part was I knew that no one in that office would be working there six months later. If they came back saying we hadn't paid it, what recourse would we have?
  6. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    You'd have the receipt, and your credit card statement. There's your proof.
  7. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    Write a check payable to the original creditor and mail it to the original creditor. Let them fight over it.
  8. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    That was why I paid with a credit card. There's some protections built in to that.
    As skeevy as collection agencies can be, though, I wouldn't put it past them to come back a year later, play dumb and say they didn't get it no matter how much proof we had. I've heard horror stories along those lines.
  9. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    That's where you write them a certified letter, telling them that you paid the bill, with an enclosed copy of the receipt, and that they no longer have permission to contact you. Any further contact would result in legal action against them for harassment.
  10. dixiehack

    dixiehack Well-Known Member

    After a certain point, if you're broke enough and have no hope of clawing back, it becomes incredibly easy to ignore.
  11. albert77

    albert77 Well-Known Member

    About a year ago, I got a call from a law firm that was handling the affairs of a defunct roto-rooter-type company that we had used several times several years earlier for some plumbing jobs. The lawyer claimed there was no record that we'd paid the bill for a job they'd done five years earlier. I told the guy that no plumber (or any other such craftsman) is going to leave after finishing the work without a check in hand, and why in the hell are you coming after me five years later. He agreed, and said the company had probably trashed all the receipts when they went out of business, but that by law he had to contact us to inquire about payment. We agreed that if I could find proof that we'd paid, he'd settle up and go away. Fortunately, I have duplicates of all my checks, and I actually found the one for that job, made a copy and sent it to them. Never heard anything about it again.
  12. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    One good thing about cell phones is that it's pretty easy to ignore calls that come from an unknown number. I imagine it makes life a lot harder for the poor debt collectors.
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