Let me say first, I used to be in the CA business while I was in school. I worked for a company called GSB in Omaha, NE, and was even an ACA Certified Collector at one time. that was years ago, however.
I am in the process of cleaning up bunches of my credit, and I've just about got all the bad debt stuff paid off, when I noticed an account listed on my CR for a 'Southwest Recovery Systems' with an original creditor being listed as 'VRMI'. I had taken some payday loans in the past when money wasn't so hot for me and my wife. I thought they were all paid off since then, but this one has popped up.
Now, let me be clear - IF I owe the money, I can (and would) pay it off. That's the whole purpose of me pulling credit and looking to see who I owe and how much I owe. Fast. But here's the kicker - I haven't received a letter, or a phone call from any of these people in YEARS.
So here's what happened (in a nutshell) yesterday:
I called and left a message at SRS for the owner. I have not gotten any kind of a response as of yet. So I called back and spoke with a live collection agent. He informed me that the debt was placed in their office in May of 2010 for an unpaid payday loan, and notification was sent to an old address of mine. He also told me that the payday loan was taken on an old bank account of mine that I used to have in July of 2007, and gave me my work email address and the account number to the old bank. Now, this is where my BS alarm went off.
I haven't lived at at that address for four years, and right after they sent their 30 day notice, they reported it to the CBR. Now, if they had pulled my credit (which they did), then they had to have KNOWN that was an old address. I figured that they intentionally sent it to the old address as to avoid me disputing the bill (cause it's a payday loan). I told him I was disputing the bill in writing, and he stated that all they needed to send was the amount, original creditor and that I owed it.
He also told me the original creditor was, "Cash Today Now, Quick Cash, CashNet.com, and Ace Cash Express," and that Ace Cash Express was the ones who sent the bill to them. I asked him, "Well, that's not who you're reporting the bill under on my credit report. You're reporting it to a 'VRMI'. Who is that?" He claimed it was a sub company of Ace Cash Express. I told him I'd contact these companies and validate the debt myself, he says, "Well, good luck, sir. You still owe the bill." I hung up, just a little irritated.
So, relying on my skiptracing skills I learned from the CA I used to work for, I attempted to call the four places he claims I owed him money to. Two of the places I couldn't find any records of. One place I called, CashNet.com, I spoke with a rep there, and they said they had absolutely no records of me ever doing business with them. I then called Ace Cash Express, and the guy there again verified I never had anything with them in their office (and even insisted I contact authorities).
I also looked into VRMI. I had Googled them and found that I wasn't the only one with this issue if "VRMI" showing up on my report, so I disovered there was (or is) a company called "Vital Receivables Management Inc" (VRMI) and I have the alleged president's name too.
Finally, I called my old credit union and verified that that account was closed on 01/05/2007. So how could I take a loan on an account that was six months closed?
I have filed a complaint with the Texas State Attorney General's office and the FTC, but I was going to stop short on sending them a Nutcase Letter (as I have an attorney that can actually do that for me, LOL). All I want them to do is give me what is owed to me - validation of my debt and if I owe it, I'm paying it. But trying to skirt the system isn't going to work, especially since I used to play in the system!
Am I going about this the right way?
i just received a call from the owner. I guess my complaint to the state attorney's office must have gotten back to him. He wants me to call my credit union to see whether or not I can get some information sent to me proving the account was closed in Jan '07. He also said that his guy 'misspoke' about the company I owe the monies to, and that I owe a company called Cash Today. I did a bit of research on this 'Cash Today', and it seems they were busted by the FTC back in 08-09!
I called the CU and they said it would cost me $5.00 for every page I print off on my account. Furthermore, I did some more research on the alleged 'creditor' I am claimed to owe money to
Would you spend $35 bucks on this, or would you fight it through your attorney?
Bumping this - I'd really like some input on this, folks. I used to collect for a living, but this particular situation is beyond even me.
I'd do neither. I'd mail a DV to the CA and wait. It's not your job to validate the debt. And don't call them. No offense to your prior profession, but a CA's word is never their bond.
I had a collection account about a supposed payday loan I owed and I sent a DV and they were unable to verify and deleted. It was a different CA but still..if they don't have records, they can't validate it right?
Here's an update on this situation....
So, I've spoken with both my attorney's office, the FTC, and the state attorney's office here in my state. Here's how the conversations went:
My Attorney's office - Send them a demanding letter for validation of the debt, and if they don't send it back, then the firm would send one on official letterhead. He felt that the course of action I had taken with the FTC and the Texas Atty General's office was the right ones. He was even pretty impressed with my effort into past casework.
The FTC - Call the attorney general's office in your state and find out what the statute of limitations is on a payday loan. Most are 5 years or less, and if it's 5 years, they can't legally collect on this debt no matter who sold it to them.
My State Atty's office - Got a call from a lady about an hour ago. She stated that they were going to file a dispute on my behalf against Southwest Recovery. She stated that they would be the mediators in this instance, and if it didn't work out, the next step is to file something with the BBB.
Needless to say, I'm loaded for bear on this one.
LOL - for the first time since they've had the account, Southwest Recovery Services just called me here....at work. They left a message saying that "there's a file on my desk...blah blah blah."
How unbelievable these people are. They're gonna be awfully shocked when that letter from Attorney General Jon Bruning hits their mailbox....LOL
I just got a letter from the mailbox just now from Southwest Recovery Services (those payday loan collectors).
I’m thinking, “these bugga bears ain’t getting a dime from me.” So I open the letter, and here’s what it says:
Dear Mr. *****,
Please be advised that my client had advised us that they want your file removed from our data base. I have instructed the credit bureaus that your account was placed in error and have requested that this trade line be deleted from their records entirely.
Edited to remove personal information - MarineVietVet, myFICO moderator
So, that effectively states that this won’t show up on my credit any longer NOR do I owe this money!
I filed a complaint with my state Attorney General's Office and that did the trick.
You can also tell them that they need to validate this debt as well, regardless of how old the debt is.