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person0

Bogus collections claim. Thoughts?

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Got a call from a collections agency today!  🤨

They claim I owe $450 for services provided by a security company from when my wife and I were under contract to build a house.  After some discussion on the phone, and at their request, I sent them an email with proof of the dissolution of the contract with builder, along with the builders agreement to refund my earnest money.  The manager of the person calling me could be heard in the background informing him, after perusing the dissolution agreement, that the documentation I provided had nothing to do with the security company.  I informed them that it did and that the security company was hired by the Builder and that I did not have any sort of contract with them.

After a little back and forth I asked the agent to respond to my email and to send me the contract showing what I owe.  To my surprise, I was then informed that it will take 24 hours, because they have to request it.  I then said, "You mean to tell me that you are calling me and you don't even have proof that I owe anything?" He made something up suggesting that there is proof, or else they wouldn't be calling but that they just have to request it from the security company.  I assured him that there is nothing with my signature on it, because they were sub-contractors of the builder, then I asked what happens when the agency reaches out and the security company doesn't have anything to send?  He essentially said, "well they must have or else we wouldn't be calling you."

Following this exchange, I was wont to repeat myself and once again asked him to explain what would happen once it was established that there was no contract nor any proof of obligation to pay the security company on my end.  I received a non-answer multiple times and after pressing the agent for more information, he said they would get proof and then hung up on me.

The collections agency hung up on me, because they had no proof that I owe anything! How ridiculous is that!

I've never had to deal with a situation like this before, because I've never not paid something I owe.  The contractor told me up front that I was expected to pay the electrician during the construction process for any special requests (and I did), but that I was not required to pay the security company until the contract was complete and I had moved into the home.  I did have low voltage conduit run in the home by the security company as part of the construction process, but I never signed an agreement with them. Aside from that, I even had to reach out to them multiple times to complain about the faulty work they had done which they failed to adequately correct.  Furthermore, we were fully released from the construction contract, and we have documentation to prove it!

I am mostly annoyed that they might still try to send it in to my credit report. Supposedly, from what I've read online, I have 30 days to send them a letter via certified mail requesting proof, and then if they never send proof they are not legally allowed to pursue it anymore.

I know we have at least one lawyer around here.  Thoughts, anyone?

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Seems to me you don't HAVE to do anything. I would have told them to send ME a letter requesting payment, including their proof that I actually owe them. Like a True Copy of the contract that shows my Wet Signature.

Then before you make any payment, get yourself to a lawyer to have their *Proof* verified.

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2 minutes ago, Iggy said:

I would have told them to send ME a letter requesting payment

I asked for that, they said they already sent it to my mailing address, and they gave the address of the house I was originally under contract to build.  I told them I didn't live there and that I never lived there and never owned that house.

Just now, Iggy said:

Like a True Copy of the contract that shows my Wet Signature.

I asked them for that, they claim they will provide it to me as soon as they receive it from the security company.  They won't receive something that has my signature, though, because such a document does not exist.  So I figured I'd give it a week and call them back to confirm that they didn't get anything, then ask for the next steps, unless someone else has additional advice.

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35 minutes ago, mirkwood said:

Dang, I thought we were going to tell stories of talking to spam/fraud callers.  My record is 37 minutes.

I wish that were the case.  I once answered a fraud caller in Spanish; after they told me they didn't speak Spanish, I called them back 5 times in a row and asked for help in Spanish with the computer viruses they claimed I had.  They kept telling me they didn't speak Spanish and then yelling at me not to call back and hanging up.  I got a kick out of it.

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What has probably happened is this company bought a bad debt for cents on the dollars. Now that they have found you, they will hound you for the full payment, thus making a profit. Doesn't matter that you don't owe the money. If they get you rattled enough to give out even more information then they are several steps ahead of you.

A few years after my second marriage I was contacted by a collection agency trying to collect on a debt of my 1st husbands. I gave them his address and the name of his sister that he was living with. Two months later I get yet another call by yet another collection agency. I told them to cease and desist, it wasn't my debt. Then the last call was from an entirely different collection company. I told them it seemed to me they were dumber than a can of night crawlers buying up a bad debt.

New Hubby went to an Attorney he knew and was told to tell the next collection agency to send their request to: attorneys address. and he would take care of it. Never heard from any of them again.

Do Not Call Them! Next time they call, hang up. If they do send you any paper work take it to an attorney - let him/her deal with it.

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Indeed, these are often companies buying up old, unpaid debts. Their goal is to make a settlement with you.

If the debt is for $10,000, they may buy the loan for $1,000 and hope to settle with you for $5,000.  

If it is a debt you actually owe (not the case of @person0), and you can withstand the hit to your credit score, your best option is to wait it out for a few years.  Eventually, you'll get a call from some collections agency that says the total owed with interest and fees is now $30,000, but they are willing to settle for $1,000 (or less). By this point, the debt has been resold multiple times, and the current agency has purchased the debt for a handful of dollars.  

Never make a payment without the agreement in writing and signed.  

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7 hours ago, Iggy said:

Do Not Call Them! Next time they call, hang up. If they do send you any paper work take it to an attorney - let him/her deal with it.

That's great, but I am thinking that an attorney would cost more than the debt itself, haha.

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12 hours ago, person0 said:

I wish that were the case.  I once answered a fraud caller in Spanish; after they told me they didn't speak Spanish, I called them back 5 times in a row and asked for help in Spanish with the computer viruses they claimed I had.  They kept telling me they didn't speak Spanish and then yelling at me not to call back and hanging up.  I got a kick out of it.

I even asked for his credit card number and security code.

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14 hours ago, person0 said:

Got a call from a collections agency today!  🤨

They claim I owe $450 for services provided by a security company from when my wife and I were under contract to build a house.  Thoughts, anyone?

This happened to my wife once.  She worked at a vet clinic, and a year or two after she quit, a collections company  tried to bill her for services given to like 8 different dogs.  Rude, pushy, scary guy - making all sorts of demands, claiming she owed, demanding all sorts of information.  It was like a pushy, nasty, aggressive used car salesman amped up to 11.  The atmosphere was one of "I've caught you, you slimy no good thief, and I will get money from you, you can either cooperate and tell me everything I need to know, or we can do this the hard way."

I hung up on him the first call and refused to give him any information.  Then I called a lawyer friend of the family and asked his advice.  He recommended that all communication happen in writing.  So I called the guy back, told him I'd consulted a lawyer, gave him only my email address, and told him I would respond only to email communication from here on out.  Guy was not happy and kept asking questions (give wife's cell number, confirm home address, admit to owing the bill, etc).  I just kept cutting him off with "Email me the details and I'll respond."  I must have said it like six times.  I eventually had to hang up on him a second time.

Got the email with the charges.  Responded via email with why we didn't owe anything, and demanded they stop all collection activities or we would retain the lawyer and all further communication would go through the lawyer.  I don't remember if I got confirmation from them that they'd closed the account, but they stopped contacting us. 

Deal with these people from a position of strength - that's my advice.  Treat them like gang-bangers who want to come into your child's bedroom.

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Ok, so for an attempt to collect on me story.

 

I had an on duty injury that required either stitches or super glue.  I went to the ER, in uniform, and they opted for the super glue treatment.  They were informed at check in that this was an on duty injury and who to contact at my agency and this would be a workmans comp claim.  We work with this hospital all the time and numerous members of our agency work security for them part time.

Fast forward.  I receive a bill for the ER visit.  I call the hospital and remind them that this was an on duty injury and go back through the who to contact process.  A month later, another bill.  I call and again tell them this was on duty, talk to the department and stop bothering me.

Next I get a phone call from the hospital collection department.  I ask them if it shows my employer.  They say yes.  I tell them it was an on duty injury and to call the agency and I hang up.  I call my HR department and speak with them.  The lady in charge of payment has been asking them for months for the bill so she can pay it.  I ask her if she wanted me to send the bill to her since I still have the last copy.  She says no, she will call them when we hang up.

Time passes and guess who gets another call?  I ask them what their malfunction is (in rather impolite terms).  I give them the name of the person and her phone number and tell them to call her.  They apologize and say the will speak with her.

Yea, you thought this story ended at this point.

Another call.  I go through the roof this time.  I tell them that this was an on duty injury, it is covered by workmans comp and that it is illegal for them to keep harassing me over a workmans comp bill.  I tell them I am a police officer and the next time they call me I am filing charges against everyone in the hospital billing and collections department that I can attach to contacting me.  I give them the HR lady's name and number again and tell them they are going to regret it if my credit score has been affected due to their incompetence.  I also warn them they will regret calling me about this bill ever again.  I may or may not have spoken like I do at work sometimes.  Words may have been used.  Yelling can be confirmed.

I called HR and they laughed and laughed about the story.  They figured they would get a bill this time. 

I called back a few months later and asked if they had ever gotten a bill.  They said they received a call later that day asking who/where to send the bill and it arrived within a week.

 

 

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We have been through this plenty of times.  We ignore all of them - treat them like telemarketers.  We don't deal with collections agencies.  We have 2 histories that got sent to collections before we could satisfactorily settle with the company - 1st one was a modeling agency that represented my husband and charged him for classes when he never agreed to classes, he only needed the agent to sign the contract because the client wouldn't sign without an agent.  The other one is a snafu with a hospital when both my husband and I carried insurance (after Obamacare, grrr) - the 2 insurance carriers keep on pingponging the insurance claim back and forth between them, meanwhile the hospital kept asking us to pay because the insurance didn't give them money.  They got tired of waiting for everything to get settled so they sold the thing to a collections agency.  We refused to deal with the collections agency who like to threaten us with this or that like mafia bosses.  We dealt with the credit bureaus instead.

 

 

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6 hours ago, MarginOfError said:

Indeed, these are often companies buying up old, unpaid debts. Their goal is to make a settlement with you.

If the debt is for $10,000, they may buy the loan for $1,000 and hope to settle with you for $5,000.  

If it is a debt you actually owe (not the case of @person0), and you can withstand the hit to your credit score, your best option is to wait it out for a few years.  Eventually, you'll get a call from some collections agency that says the total owed with interest and fees is now $30,000, but they are willing to settle for $1,000 (or less). By this point, the debt has been resold multiple times, and the current agency has purchased the debt for a handful of dollars.  

Never make a payment without the agreement in writing and signed.  

If it is a debt you actually owe, wouldn't this be extremely dishonest?   

Edited by Scott

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14 hours ago, Scott said:

If it is a debt you actually owe, wouldn't this be extremely dishonest?   

Eh, that depends. I don't endorse this if your M.O. is racking up consumer debt with no intention of paying it back.  

On the other hand, if you had every intention of paying it back, and then circumstances changed and you were unable to, I find this preferable to a lifetime of financial ruin.

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21 hours ago, Scott said:

If it is a debt you actually owe, wouldn't this be extremely dishonest?   

Generally, once a debt goes to collections, the original creditor to whom the debt was owed is no longer the 'owner' of the debt.  The collections agency purchased the legal right to pursue the repayment of your debt to their own financial gain.  As a result, it is no longer possible to repay the original creditor.  Not paying the original creditor is dishonest if you did it knowingly and intentionally.

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If this is a sub-contractor from the builder, then the builder is the one to pay sub-contractors (unless you specifically hired the sub and not the builder). I wouldn't be surprised if the builder and sub-contractor had a disagreement and now sub-contractor is trying to get money from you.

Edited by Anddenex

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Guest Mores
On 8/20/2019 at 8:49 PM, person0 said:

I asked for that, they said they already sent it to my mailing address, and they gave the address of the house I was originally under contract to build.  I told them I didn't live there and that I never lived there and never owned that house.

I asked them for that, they claim they will provide it to me as soon as they receive it from the security company.  They won't receive something that has my signature, though, because such a document does not exist.  So I figured I'd give it a week and call them back to confirm that they didn't get anything, then ask for the next steps, unless someone else has additional advice.

You can be held liable for an unpaid subcontractor even if your signature did not appear on any paperwork. Read up on "liens".

Ideally, prior to your final check to the general, you're supposed to get a release from your general assuring you that he has paid all fees to subcontractors.  If you did not get that, then you are up the creek.  The sub is not supposed to send a collection agency after you.  That should not be happening.  But he can file a lien on your property.  This means that you cannot perform any legal procedure on the property without paying the lien.

You may not even know about it until you do some major paperwork like obtaining an occupancy permit, financing or refinancing a loan, selling the house, getting a remodeling permit, etc.  But once you try to do any of these things, you'll have to clear it of any liens.  It is your property, so, you have to pay it, unless you have some paperwork saying someone else is responsible.

You may check with a lawyer to see if you can sue the security company for harassment because a collection agency is NOT supposed to be the first recourse of a sub-contractor.

Edited by Mores

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1 hour ago, Mores said:

Ideally, prior to your final check to the general, you're supposed to get a release from your general assuring you that he has paid all fees to subcontractors.  If you did not get that, then you are up the creek.  The sub is not supposed to send a collection agency after you.  That should not be happening.  But he can file a lien on your property.  This means that you cannot perform any legal procedure on the property without paying the lien.

I never bought the property.  I am aware of the lien issue, but I cancelled my contract with the builder and they refunded my down payment.  Even if the security company puts a lien on the house, it will affect whoever bought it, not me, haha.  😁

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Guest Mores
20 minutes ago, person0 said:

I never bought the property.  I am aware of the lien issue, but I cancelled my contract with the builder and they refunded my down payment.  Even if the security company puts a lien on the house, it will affect whoever bought it, not me, haha.  😁

Then they don't have a leg to stand on.  If they continue, I'd first remind them that they have no contract with you, no claim of debt, no recourse, no justification, and no right to require anything of you.  If they persist then I'd threaten a harassment lawsuit.

It would help if you had Google voice on that call so you can record the conversation.

Edited by Mores

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