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New collection/zombie debt

Valued Member

New collection/zombie debt

Apologies in advance if this is a jumbled mess.  Lincare, a home health/medical equipment company, royally screwed over my husband and I over the last 3 years.  One minute we’re getting monthly billings for our CPAP equipment, then months would go by without hearing a peep from them.  We had gotten one late bill around October 2016 that we paid.  They said nothing on the phone to my husband at that time to even hint that we owed more. 

 

Feb 2017 we received a demand letter from their attorney/collector that we replied to 27 days later via fax.  This was after weeks of phone calls to Lincare’s billing department trying to get to the bottom of why we owed anything at all.  What we finally discovered was that a) Lincare said we owed our “deductible” for the time period of 10/15/2014 – 11/15/2015, inclusive (impossible), and b) our insurance company received zero billings from Lincare after 5/26/2015.  At some point between 2014 and 2015 my husband’s insurance policy # changed, and he informed Lincare’s billing reps on no less than three occasions of this change.  On each of those calls, their billing reps insisted that their info was up to date to reflect the new number.  We later discovered they were, the entire time, billing the wrong insurance policy.

 

It would appear to me that our DOFD would be approximately 10/2014. 

 

Fast forward to this morning, when I woke to a 50-point FAKO drop/13-point TU FICO drop as this collection appeared for the first time on any CR.  The date showing in CK is 5/2/17 (“date opened”).  I’m hoping this is merely the date this debt was assumed by the new CA, Nationwide Recovery Systems.

 

What should my course of action be, assuming I have any options at all at this point?  I thank you in advance for any advice; I’m fit to be tied.

>
Feb '17: EQ 644/TU 615/EX 632 >> Nov '18: EQ 697/TU 690/EX 712
Cash 365 $8500 // Amazon Prime $3500 // Citi DC $4000 // Best Buy Visa $4000 // Discover IT $3800 // Cash+ $3000
AMEX BCP $4500 // Walmart $6000 // US Bank $3000 // Amex CM $1600 // Amex ED $3000 // Cap1 QS1 $700

In the garden until Oct 2020
Message 1 of 5
4 REPLIES
Community Leader
Legendary Contributor

Re: New collection/zombie debt

When you began their services, what were the terms of your contract with them?

Did it specify a recurring and constant amount $xxx.xx payable on a recurring due date of dd/mm/yyyy?

If not, what specifically were the billing requirements in your contract?

 

Was, and is the original creditor/medical provider still, reporting their account to a CRA, or is only the debt collector reporting their collection?

That is important, as you can only dispute the accuracy of reported information, and thus if the creditor is not reporting, you cannot pursue the asserted inaccurate reporting of any derogatory information by the original creditor.

 

As for the collection, yes, the Open date is the date they received collection authority.

The exclusion of the collection will be based only on the date of first delinquency.

You can send a timely DV to the debt collector within 30 days of their dunning notice, which will impose a cease collection bar on them persuant to FDCPA 809(b), but will not compel any period for or requirement to send validation.  While you are not required to include any arguments or documentation in your DV to support your assertion that the debt is not legit, in your case, I would definately do so, as it will them become information that they must consider when investigating the legitimacy of the debt and making a determination as to verification.

 

Additionally, since you apparently have documentation of prior attempts to resolve the legitimacy of the asserted debt, you appear to also have sufficient basis for documenting a dispute under FCRA challenging the legitimacy of the collection.

More specifically, you can assert that there was no delinquency in fact, and thus no basis for any debt collector to attempt collection on the asserted debt.  Include your documentation as support for your assertion of no delinquent debt.

The advantage to additionally filing a dispute is that there is a 30-day statutory period for completion of their investigation, and filing of a dispute is also a prerequisite to your ability to thereafter bring your own civil action should they verify the accuracy of their reported collection.  See FCRA 623(c).

 

I would recommend both sending of a DV to the debt collector AND filing a dispute with the CRA if you have adequate basis to document your claim of no debt in fact, and thus no delinquency.  If the formal dispute fails, you then clear the way for the subsequent option of filing a civil action and getting a binding resolution of the matter, and possible civil damages if their reporting is shown to have been a negligent or knowingly inaccurate reporting.

Message 2 of 5
Valued Member

Re: New collection/zombie debt


@RobertEG wrote:

When you began their services, what were the terms of your contract with them?

Did it specify a recurring and constant amount $xxx.xx payable on a recurring due date of dd/mm/yyyy?

If not, what specifically were the billing requirements in your contract?

 

 

Initially, the only contract we had was for the outright purchase of our CPAP machines, which was satisfied one year after initiation of therapy, so spring of 2013. As for the continuous and ongoing replacement of supplies, I don’t recall any formal contract for those services. We did not have a set monthly payment, as they had a somewhat random practice of which supplies they sent and when. Additionally, they had an unusual practice of having our 80/20 coverage apply more to my husband (who would have a small bill that month), then I would get stuck a week later with a monstrous one by comparison. Then it would switch the month after, where DH got the larger bill. There never seemed to be any rhyme or reason to their billing practices at all.


@RobertEG wrote:

Was, and is the original creditor/medical provider still, reporting their account to a CRA, or is only the debt collector reporting their collection?

That is important, as you can only dispute the accuracy of reported information, and thus if the creditor is not reporting, you cannot pursue the asserted inaccurate reporting of any derogatory information by the original creditor.

 

 

What I see on Credit Karma is the name of the new collector, with Lincare named as the original creditor below it.


@RobertEG wrote:

As for the collection, yes, the Open date is the date they received collection authority.

The exclusion of the collection will be based only on the date of first delinquency.

You can send a timely DV to the debt collector within 30 days of their dunning notice, which will impose a cease collection bar on them persuant to FDCPA 809(b), but will not compel any period for or requirement to send validation.  While you are not required to include any arguments or documentation in your DV to support your assertion that the debt is not legit, in your case, I would definately do so, as it will them become information that they must consider when investigating the legitimacy of the debt and making a determination as to verification.

 

 

And here’s the rub: the new collection agency has not contacted us by mail with a dunning notice (as the attorney/original collector did a year ago). My only notification of anything has been what I saw on CK this morning. Do I make first contact with them, or do I wait for them to contact me? Also, the only details that we gleaned from prior conversations with Lincare were exclusively by phone, and 99% of those were thanks to my DH (as I don’t trust myself to keep a lid on my temper).


@RobertEG wrote:

Additionally, since you apparently have documentation of prior attempts to resolve the legitimacy of the asserted debt, you appear to also have sufficient basis for documenting a dispute under FCRA challenging the legitimacy of the collection.

More specifically, you can assert that there was no delinquency in fact, and thus no basis for any debt collector to attempt collection on the asserted debt.  Include your documentation as support for your assertion of no delinquent debt.

 

Again, all documentation we have are what few notes we managed to scribble down, or were referenced in the copy of the letter I’d sent to the attorney last year. Is that enough?


@RobertEG wrote:

The advantage to additionally filing a dispute is that there is a 30-day statutory period for completion of their investigation, and filing of a dispute is also a prerequisite to your ability to thereafter bring your own civil action should they verify the accuracy of their reported collection.  See FCRA 623(c).

 

 

Just so I’m understanding correctly, is the DV the first step no matter what, or can I file a dispute first? I’m confused only because this newest CA has not mailed us anything or contacted us by phone.


@RobertEG wrote:

I would recommend both sending of a DV to the debt collector AND filing a dispute with the CRA if you have adequate basis to document your claim of no debt in fact, and thus no delinquency.  If the formal dispute fails, you then clear the way for the subsequent option of filing a civil action and getting a binding resolution of the matter, and possible civil damages if their reporting is shown to have been a negligent or knowingly inaccurate reporting.


 

What would qualify as “adequate basis” of documenting a claim of ‘no debt’? The fact that they were 100% negligent in their billing practices/billing a non-existent policy?

>
Feb '17: EQ 644/TU 615/EX 632 >> Nov '18: EQ 697/TU 690/EX 712
Cash 365 $8500 // Amazon Prime $3500 // Citi DC $4000 // Best Buy Visa $4000 // Discover IT $3800 // Cash+ $3000
AMEX BCP $4500 // Walmart $6000 // US Bank $3000 // Amex CM $1600 // Amex ED $3000 // Cap1 QS1 $700

In the garden until Oct 2020
Message 3 of 5
Valued Member

Re: New collection/zombie debt

Really hoping for advice regarding previous post above.  Thank you.

>
Feb '17: EQ 644/TU 615/EX 632 >> Nov '18: EQ 697/TU 690/EX 712
Cash 365 $8500 // Amazon Prime $3500 // Citi DC $4000 // Best Buy Visa $4000 // Discover IT $3800 // Cash+ $3000
AMEX BCP $4500 // Walmart $6000 // US Bank $3000 // Amex CM $1600 // Amex ED $3000 // Cap1 QS1 $700

In the garden until Oct 2020
Message 4 of 5
Valued Member

Re: New collection/zombie debt

Post keeps getting buried -- still hoping for a response.  

>
Feb '17: EQ 644/TU 615/EX 632 >> Nov '18: EQ 697/TU 690/EX 712
Cash 365 $8500 // Amazon Prime $3500 // Citi DC $4000 // Best Buy Visa $4000 // Discover IT $3800 // Cash+ $3000
AMEX BCP $4500 // Walmart $6000 // US Bank $3000 // Amex CM $1600 // Amex ED $3000 // Cap1 QS1 $700

In the garden until Oct 2020
Message 5 of 5