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Old 10-03-2012, 05:56 PM   #26
Yotsuya
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So how much did the collector pay Chase to take on that $245 debt? Probably wasn't much.
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Old 10-03-2012, 05:57 PM   #27
FightingFalcon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FellowTraveller
Consensus has arrived:

Spend money you don't have, then neglect to pay debts off by having a bad credit rating for a couple years while avoiding answering bill-collection agencies calls. Then rinse and repeat.

wow, <insert derogatory term for dumb people who abuse the credit system> really are winners. Your grandparents would kick you in the balls for not owning up to what you owe. Society is going to hell (since the day they gave everyone credit cards).
Try 7 years.

Also, take your crocodile tears for banks and credit card companies somewhere else. We don't support debtor prisons or debt slavery here. Thats why SOLs for debt were created in the first place.

While I believe people should pay for their debts, I ****ing hate our entire financial services industry. They can pound sand if they want to come after debts that have expired.
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Old 10-03-2012, 05:58 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FellowTraveller View Post
Consensus has arrived:

Spend money you don't have, then neglect to pay debts off by having a bad credit rating for a couple years while avoiding answering bill-collection agencies calls. Then rinse and repeat.

wow, <insert derogatory term for dumb people who abuse the credit system> really are winners. Your grandparents would kick you in the balls for not owning up to what you owe. Society is going to hell (since the day they gave everyone credit cards).
We president now
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Old 10-03-2012, 06:01 PM   #29
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Love LOVE LOVE debt collection jerk-offs!

My HMO is connected to UCI Medical Center which is world-class with one exception (well, two actually...):

Their billing is totally screwed up.

Quite simply, insurance co-payment is due at time of service. There is a sign posted at every check-in counter at ever clinic, building, office, suite, etc. I've been to. And they abide by it: pay first, before you go in.

I started getting bill -- past due -- for insurance co-payments. Lots of them. Since I've saved the receipts, I just ignored them. Screw it.

Kept getting billed for co-pay already made. Dozens of them. For fun, I took a picture of the "Pay Now" sign at my primary care physician's suite lobby.

One day I decided to call the number on the bill.
Me: "I've already paid."
They: "What date is this for?"
Me: "I don't know; it's not on your bill."
They: "Do you have an idea about which date?"
Me: "I'm sorry, but no. I go to the doctor at least 12 times a year. If you are expecting money you probably ought to know what it's for."
They: "Ideally."
Me: "Should I mail you the receipt and a photo of the sign that says, 'Pay Now.'?"
They: "That won't be necessary. I'll mark it 'Paid'."
Me: "Thank you."

Not too bad, right?

OK, repeat that interaction a dozen times in the last 2 years.

Fast-forward to getting a bill from a collection agency stating it is for unpaid bills at UCI MC. Me calling the collection agency making them listen to me rattle on and on about how there is this sign -- "Shall I mail you a picture of it?" -- and how I have receipts but how they will have to give me specific dates because I have 100 of them. And so on.

Then I mentioned to them that maybe they should examine what sort of debts they're buying rather than just grabbing whatever is available. Yeah, phone droids love hearing that ****.
__________

The 2nd thing bad about UCI MC is that it is the go-to place for every Orange County shooting or every drunk that falls off a roof or anyone who is sick or injured that has no money or insurance. But the good news is that as soon as they hear that you have insurance, you get the fast-track to VIP care!! "Are your feet cold? Would you like some UCI-MC booties?"

*le me, checkin' out hot UCI nurse...* ("I'd like some UCI-MC bootie, baby") ("Did I say that thought out loud?!!") I wonder how much the insurance got billed for those little booties...
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Old 10-03-2012, 06:06 PM   #30
pjcoregon
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Tell them to pound sand.

If you pay it, you will pay for it by screwing your credit report.
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Old 10-03-2012, 06:12 PM   #31
pjcoregon
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More info about "zombie debt collection"

http://www.forbes.com/2008/10/31/deb...pedia_inl.html

Quote:
Beware Of Zombie Debt Collectors

Don't let debt collectors chase you down for money you no longer owe. Here's how to fight them off.

Have you ever received a letter or phone call asking you to pay a debt that you're not sure you owe? If so, you may be the target of zombie debt collectors. What is zombie debt? How does it rise from the dead? What you can do if zombie debt starts its relentless lurch toward you?

It has become increasingly common for companies to sell their old, uncollected debts for pennies on the dollar to third-party debt collection agencies. Credit card companies, telecommunications companies, gyms and health care facilities want to get these bad debts off their books, so after a period of several months of nonpayment, they will turn your bills over to a debt collection agency. Sometimes the debt is sold to the collector, which gets to keep every penny it collects, and sometimes the collected debt is returned to the original creditor with the collection agency retaining a fee or a percentage of the collected debt as compensation.

Far beyond this murky point lies the realm of zombie debt, which is so old that the original creditor has given up on it completely. Zombie debt is years old--often past the statute of limitations for you to be held legally responsible--and it is entirely owned by a debt collection agency.

Zombie debt is not a credit card balance that you may have racked up years ago but are still making minimum monthly payments on. In this case, you will not be considered to have defaulted on the debt. After all, the interest you're paying is how credit card companies make money. It is only when they suspect that they will not be receiving any more money from you at all you that the zombie awakes.

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Zombie debt is not a new concept, but it has been receiving more attention as a result of changes that occurred in the 1990s. In the 1990s, credit card companies started actively trying to earn more interest by offering cards to customers who didn't pay off their balances in full at the end of the month. This resulted in more people going into greater debt and, as a result, ceasing to pay their debts altogether. (To learn about how to get out from a persistent debt, read "Negotiating A Debt Settlement.")

Zombie debt collection agencies have nothing to lose and a lot to gain. They pay very little (pennies on the dollar) for the debts in the first place, so they stand to make a significant profit if they are able to collect even a partial payment from you. Unlike name-brand companies, they aren't concerned about protecting their image. If you had a store credit card that you didn't pay and then a representative of that store commenced debt collection activities against you, you might feel hostile toward the company and quit shopping there. If you are dealing with a third-party debt collector, however, you are less likely to discontinue your patronage of the store (or so the theory goes). (For more on debt collection, read "Outfox The Debt Collector's Hounds.")

If zombie debt collectors are unable to collect the debt from you, they can resell it to another collection agency, making their only loss the time they spend paying employees to try to extract money from you. Zombie debt collectors often seek to maximize the value of their debt collection time by doing research on you beforehand and targeting people who live in more affluent ZIP codes or whose credit scores have improved, figuring that they are more likely to pay up because they may have the resources to do so. (Feeling like you don't have the resources to improve your financial situation? Read "Debt Consolidation Made Easy" to learn five steps to help you get out of debt faster.)

The statute of limitations on debts varies by state, and even if the statute of limitations on your debt has run out, zombie debt collectors have a great incentive to contact you. If they can get you to slip up, the statute of limitations will start ticking again and suddenly, the debts they want to collect can become enforceable by the courts. This is why it's important that you understand what zombie debt is, what unscrupulous debt collectors want from you and how to protect yourself from them.

Anyone who has an old debt that was never paid off can be pursued by zombie debt collectors. However, many innocent people have also complained that zombie debt collectors are coming after them for false debts. Zombie debt can be the result of identity theft, clerical errors or becoming confused with another debtor with a similar name.

It can also occur when creditors are not properly informed of your having successfully filed for bankruptcy. In any case, the uncollected debts can be resold again, making the problem difficult to destroy. As soon as you convince one collector that the debt is false, another zombie might rise up to take its place, leaving you to deal with a different collector.

How Can You Tell If the Debt Is Valid?

If you've had financial troubles in the past, you may be wondering if you really do owe some money that you just forgot about. If you're concerned about this, do not engage in conversation with the debt collector on the phone. Simply ask for the company's mailing address and hang up. If the collection agency's first contact with you is a letter, you won't have to worry about this. Send a letter via certified mail with return receipt notifying the debt collector in writing within 30 days that all or part of the debt is disputed. Visit the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse Web site to learn how to write an effective letter to a debt collector.

The collector must then obtain verification of the debt or a copy of a judgment against you and mail it to you. It also must provide you with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current debt collector.

Once you have disputed the debt in writing, debt collection activity must cease until you have received a copy of the debt verification or judgment and the name and address of the original creditor. This will give you time and evidence to figure out if the debt is zombie debt or if it is still enforceable in court, and if the debt is really yours at all. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the collection agency is required to do these things.

Another tactic is to research the company that has contacted you on the Internet. You may find complaints from other consumers that indicate that the debt you supposedly owe may be fraudulent.

In some cases, it's easy to tell that the debt may not be yours and even if it is, you don't have to pay it. For example, if the debt collectors are coming after you under your maiden name and you changed your name more than seven years ago, even if the debt was originally yours, it is no longer enforceable in court because the statute of limitations has passed (in most states). Although we don't advocate shirking responsibility for your legitimate debts, with debt this old, any money you pay will not even go to the company you originally owed it to--it will all go to the debt collector. (Not sure whether the debt is being reported on your credit report? Read "Check Your Credit Report." )

How Do You Protect Yourself From Zombie Debt?

Consumers' main problems with zombie debt stem from engaging in communication with the debt collection agency and from not knowing their rights. If you know how to handle the situation properly, you won't become a victim.

Even when the statute of limitations has passed, there is nothing preventing zombie debt collectors from trying to collect the debt as long as they do not threaten to sue or to report the debt to credit agencies (both of which would be illegal). If a collector acts like paying part of the debt will cause it to leave you alone, don't fall for it. If you pay anything at all on the debt, the statute of limitations can reset, making you liable for the entire debt and making the debt reportable to credit agencies. This is why some experts recommend not communicating with debt collection agencies at all if you know the statute of limitations has passed. Also, don't pay money you know you don't owe just to stop the harassment, because this can be considered an admission that the debt is yours.

Watch your credit report to make sure zombie debt collectors don't illegally report the debt to a credit agency. If they do, you will have to take action to clear your name or you will risk major problems with applying for credit, such as a car loan, mortgage or even an apartment rental. If this happens, make sure to file a dispute with the credit reporting agency right away. (For more information on this, be sure to check out "The Importance Of Your Credit Rating.")

If you must communicate with the debt collection agency, do it in writing by certified mail with return receipt, and be sure not to say anything that could be construed as you claiming responsibility for the debt. Make it clear to the collector that you know your rights; the company may be more likely to leave you alone if it is clear that you are not an easy target. Never give a debt collector your bank account information.

To avoid telephone contact with debt collectors, get caller ID if you don't have it already and avoid answering calls from unfamiliar numbers. Don't let your children answer the phone, either, or if they're older and responsible enough, train them to handle any debt collection calls by hanging up immediately. Familiarizing yourself with the names of some of the agencies may help.

Under the FDCPA, debt collection agencies' only real defense for bad behavior is being able to prove that they made an error, so make sure to get everything in writing and keep your own log of any phone calls or other contact that does not occur in writing. This documentation will be indispensable if you end up in court.

If you receive a court document indicating that a lawsuit has been filed against you, don't ignore it, even if you think the lawsuit is bogus. First, contact the court using third party contact data (found online or in the phone book, not from the notice) to validate the notice. If it is real, get a lawyer. At the very least, show up in court to dispute the debt yourself. If the documents are false, the debt collection agency has violated the FDCPA and you can take legal action. The more violations, the higher the debt collector's liability.

If you don't want to deal with the hassle of filing a lawsuit or you're not sure if the debt collector has broken the law, there is still something you can do: Take action against shady debt collection practices by filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and with your state attorney general. In your complaint, you'll want to cite the law or laws that the debt collection agency has violated or at least state that the agency is trying to collect a debt that is not yours and for which the statute of limitations has passed. If enough complaints are filed, we may see new legislation in the future that curbs zombie debt collection activity.

Knowing your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act will help prevent you from being taken advantage of. In addition to the measures discussed above:

--A consumer may not be sued after six years or have the debt reported on his or her credit report after seven years.

--Debt collectors may not falsely represent "the character, amount or legal status of any debt" or tell you that "any debt will result in the arrest or imprisonment of any person or the seizure, garnishment, attachment or sale of any property or wages of any person unless such action is lawful and the debt collector or creditor intends to take such action." You cannot be arrested for owing money--there's no debtor's prisons in the U.S.

--Debt collectors also may not "communicate or threaten to communicate to any person credit information which is known or which should be known to be false, including the failure to communicate that a disputed debt is disputed."

--If you don't want the debt collection agency to contact you anymore, you can send it a cease and desist letter (again, by certified mail with return receipt). You can also instruct the company to not contact your employer, neighbors, friends or relatives; it must comply. Again, make sure that your letter clearly states that you dispute the debt.
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Old 10-03-2012, 06:14 PM   #32
Garandman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FellowTraveller View Post
Consensus has arrived:

Spend money you don't have, then neglect to pay debts off by having a bad credit rating for a couple years while avoiding answering bill-collection agencies calls. Then rinse and repeat./
My mother died in her nursing home. She was in a critical care room so another patient was moved in there within a week. A request to shut off the phone and send a final bill was made and in fact, another phone was connected to the room by the same phone company - they do the whole facility.

The telephone company continued to charge her each month. The bill got up to over $200 so the telephone company sent it to collection, and she started getting collection letters posthumously. I sent a letter to the telephone company telling them the situation and asking them for a final, corrected bill.

I also sent the credit agency a copy of her death certificate and noted that the matter was disputed. Think that was the end of it?

Just got a letter from the credit agency saying basically "Sorry your mom died. Please tell us who the executor of her estate is so we can go after them for the full amount," conveniently noting that the bill was disputed because most of it was billed after she was dead.

The actual amount owed on the account? No more than $15. The only reason I'm dealing with them at all is that she would want me to pay every penny she owed to anyone. But as far as collection agencies go, .
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:12 AM   #33
Jack
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Don't even respond to them at all. Consider them phishing. Until you respond, they don't even know if they have found the right person.

We occationally get calls from debt collectors. The give us my grandfather's name and ask if they can speak to him or if we have assumed his liabilities. He died in 1972.
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:13 AM   #34
OriginalSin
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it's funny that your s/n is charge and you have a collections action.
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:41 AM   #35
pjcoregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack ffr1846 View Post
Don't even respond to them at all. Consider them phishing. Until you respond, they don't even know if they have found the right person.

We occationally get calls from debt collectors. The give us my grandfather's name and ask if they can speak to him or if we have assumed his liabilities. He died in 1972.
I wonder if someone used his identity or social security number after he died? I think this form of identity theft is called ghosting.
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:57 AM   #36
Jessie James
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Good info has already been posted. I'll agree that you don't need to pay additional fees. You don't need to pay this at all either.

If you DO decide you want to play ball with the collection agency, the simple (and legal) solution is to send them a letter via certified mail asking them to "validate the debt" and "provide a copy of the original application I signed, with my signature clearly legible, as well as a copy of every invoice sent to me, and a copy of every payment received in the form of a photocopy of each check I sent - if any - or credit card payment receipt." Let them know you will also only pay the original amount of the debt, and will not be paying any fees or fines.

By law the collection agency has to provide you with a copy of every bill/payment made to the account, as well as the accounting of all figures, so you can determine the correct amount to pay. So they will have to go through each bill, add and subtract payments, fees, and interest, etc., and then give you the correct balance, AND prove it's your account.

You have 30 days to respond and ask for this, and they have 30 days to produce this. They won't do it because it's way too much work and they obviously don't have access to it anyway.

My advice - wait until they put it on your credit report. If they do (unlikely) they go after them with your demands.
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