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07-01-2012 03:19 PM
SO, at my mom's house, her long distance carrier was set up in my name years ago. Apparently, there is no monthly bill, but if you make a "long distance call" we get a separate bill charging for that. Someone made a phone call that was, apparently a "toll call" (which is ridiculous -- it's the same area code as our house!), and we got charged like $33 for 6 minutes of calls. I wanted to contest the bill because I think it is actually incorrect -- there are 4 or 5 separate calls to the same number within a 3 minute span, and the length of time of the calls is overlapping, so there is no way that someone could have made a 3 minute phone call and the next minute made a 2 minute phone call, etc. Not to mention the fact that the person that called said they only mae one call total (and it was to a doctor's office).
The facts are kind of irrelevant, except to say that I was planning on contesting it. I totally forgot about it, and it went into collection. I just recieved the letter from the collection agency like 2 days ago saying that it was in collection & that if I don't send them a written notice w/in 30 days they will assume that the debt is accurate & I need to pay. I have very good credit & I don't want it to get messed up from this! (And I hope that it hasn't already!)
So, what do I do? Just pay the bill since its not a lot? Contest it? Will either approach prevent me from having this debt listed against me in my credit score?
07-01-2012 03:56 PM
07-01-2012 04:57 PM
I would send the creditor a PFD (Pay for Delete) letter. You can search for examples in other threads.
07-01-2012 05:03 PM
07-01-2012 05:09 PM - edited 07-01-2012 05:12 PM
Contesting the debt will most likely require legal action to get the facts before a third party (judge) authorized to make a finding of fact.
Since you did not state that the OC reported, you could not use the FCRA dispute processes with them. A dispute to the debt collector will require them to investigate and make a finding of accuracy, which could be based simply on receiving assurance from the OC that the debt is valid. They would not have to support a finding of accuracy by documentation, so it most likely will not resolve the factual dispute. You can certainly iniitiate a dispute, but it wont lead to a factual determination of legitimacy of the debt.
You could choose to send the debt collector a DV request, and thus forstall any further collection activities on their part until they provide the requested debt verification.
But, again, they can simply obtain asssurance from the creditor, and verify without producing factual documentation. And the cease collection bar it will impose will preclude you from negotiation on payment of the debt until such time as they have provided debt verification.
You can simply pay, and get immediate satisfaction of the debt, but payment alone wont compel any CR deletion. Unless you are in a hurry to satisfy the debt, such as need to do so based on a current mortgage application process, you would be best served to first offer payment in exchange for CR deletion. If they accept, the debt is satisfied, and the collection is deleted. If they dont accept, it will continue to impact your score, and you then each have your own options. If the SOL has not expired on the debt, they may choose to initiate legal action. How old is this debt?
If you choose simply not to pay, again, first consider whether the debt is still within SOL, and thus whether non-payment could result in a judgment. However, if they initiate legal action, that would give you your day in court to prove the debt was not legitimate.
Based on the DOFD, you may or may not have an extended period before the 7yr plus 180 day CR exclusion period has expired.
No clear answer.... it depends on your view of each of the factors discussed...
What is the SOL in your state, and how old is the debt (what is the DOFD on the OC account)?
How immediate is your need for CR deletion?
Do you wish to dispute or bring legal action, thus challenging the debt itself before considering any payment?
Personally, I would consider the PFD attempt to have the most potential gain.......
07-01-2012 05:30 PM
Thank you for the very helpful responses!
It seems like contesting it would not help me. I am certain that Sprint charged me that amount -- I was just going to challenge the basis for the underlying charge, not whether it actually did exist.
The debt is not very old at all. I probably got the bill sometime within the last 2 1/2 months, and I just got the collection letter last week. I have no idea if it is already on my credit, as I had just pulled it about 3-4 months ago. I will definitely look into the pay-for-delete option and see what response
I can get from them.
07-01-2012 05:33 PM
07-01-2012 05:34 PM
I found a great sample PFD letter (http://ficoforums.myfico.com/t5/Rebuilding-Your-Credit/PFD-Example-Letter/m-p/4519/thread-id/130/mes...), but I am wondering if I am not sure if they have reported this debt at all (since it is so recent), should I still make the same argument for deletion? I guess I am wondering if you think that raising the issue of reporting may actually get them to report it if they hadnt planned to already -- or, more likely, if it was likely to fall through the cracks.
07-01-2012 05:38 PM
Yes, you would not PFD if it is not reported, but you can offer a modified PFD...... payment in exchange for NOT reporting.
Ah....thank you. I will check my credit report (the one available from MyFico should have it, correct?) and then modify the letter accordingly, if necessary. Generally speaking, however, the letter/ agreement would still be appropriate, correct?