01-19-2013 08:43 PM
I recently encountered a very unique situation that I don't know what to do.
About 12 years ago, I became an Authorized User with my ex for her Discover Card so we can both maximize the Discover Reward. Then I became a Joint Holder a couple of years after that. Around 2006 during our split, I wrote to Discover Card requesting that my name be removed from the account - after making sure that the account carried a zero balance - since my ex didn't want to close it. The wrote back to me and said that my name was removed from the card since there was a zero balance. After receiving the letter from Discover, I called to verify that my name was no longer on the account, and I also verified with my ex by personally checking on the later monthly statements to make sure that my name wasn't on it. Everything checked out.
Fast forward to around 2011 when I suddenly received a phone call from a collection agency for Discover Card claiming that I owed Discover xxxx, and that I hadn't paid the bills for 2 years. I was surprised and said there had to be an error. We had a nice conversation, and I never heard anything back from the agent. Early 2012 I received another call, and this time it's from an actual Discover Card agent. She said I owed Discover xxxx. I said I don't know anything about Discover card and got transferred to their Fraud Department. The folks at Discover Fraud Department said I opened a Discover Account in 1997. I said I never did. We argued on the phone for a while, I got fed up, realized that it was going nowhere and asked for a copy of the original application to be sent to my home. She said she would mail it, and I would receive it within 7-10 days. I never got the copy and never heard from Discover. Then around June, 2012 I got another call from a Discover agent claiming I owe money. I went through the same process like the last time, never got a copy of the original application and never heard from Discover again. Around November 2012 the same thing happened with a slight twist. This time, a lady from the Fraud Department said that I was a Joint Holder and therefore I was legally responsible for the debt. I said I had sent in a written request to remove my name from the account, and Discover had written me back to confirm that my name was removed by Discover. She said their record showed that they had never received the letter and asked me to produce the letter that they sent. I told her it was unreasonable for someone to keep such a letter for 7-8 years since I had already verified that my name was removed. Again I requested that a copy of the application to be sent to my home and never got it.
Here's the problem, I realized recently that Discover is now putting this negative account on my credit report as a charge-off. I wrote to the report agencies to dispute. But I lost because Discover claims that it's mine.
I don't know what to do. I was thinking of hiring a lawyer, but I don't know if there is such a lawyer for something like this that can get this negative mark removed from my credit card account. Plus the costs involving a lawyer might be high versus the downside of suffering the negative mark. Even with this negative mark, my scores are 719, 729 and 769 with a monthly usage of around 4-5% from a 105K total credit lines. The only thing that I can think of that I can get hurt is if I need to take out a mortgage loan.
Anyway, this has bugged me once in a while until I found this forum. If anyone has any personal experience with something like this, please let me know what to do. If anyone has any advice, inputs please share. Sorry for the long first post, I would very much appreciated any feedbacks.