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  1. #1
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    Inappropriate action by credit card company

    Last Friday (3/11/05) I got a phone call from an attorney's assistant in Massachusetts who informed me that they are trying to collect a debt of $298.85 for their client - which traces back to Arrow Financial and eventually to SYMS/GE Capital Cons. Card Co. They told me that I owe their client $298.85, but they did not and could not provide any more detail (e.g., date and amount of purchase or finance charge). They told me to settlle the matter by 3PM Friday.
    I was at work and did not have any information at hand, so I had to come home to look in my files to see what happened. After searching through the files, I found that I had not received any monthly statment from the credit card company since January 2004. My last payment of $75.05 on the account was received and cashed by the company in Fabruary 2004, while my address and phone number have remained the same in the last 2 years. I never received any phone call from the credit card company.
    I did find a receipt of $120.94 for a purchase I made at SYMS in May 2004, although no statement was received by me.
    Apparently, SYMS has turned my purchase of $120.94 into a delinquent debt of $298.85. Last Friday afternoon, I made repeated phone calls to the SYMS credit card company, but was told that my account was forwarded to Arrow Financial. Arrow Financial told me that my account has been forwarded to America Collect, who then told me my account was forward to an attorney's office in MA. None of the parties would tell me the date, amount, and detail of the alleged debt of $298.85. Yet I have never received any written statement, letter, or phone call from any of the parties involved.
    By the way, I always pay off all my credit card balances every month and never accumulate anything.
    The attorney's assistant wants me to pay him $298.85 right away, or else.
    My questions are:
    1. What is the best way to resolve this matter?
    2. Have my legal rights been violated in this process? This will certainly damage my credit history.
    3. Should I pay $298.85 or $120.94?
    4. What's the worst case scenario if I do not pay $298.85?

    Your advice will be greatly appreciated. hope to hear from you today.

    Sincerely,
    Goofy

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard Lil_Red's Avatar
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    The first thing is to get a copy of your credit report from all 3 agencies and see if this is listed. If it is, you can contest the charge with the credit reporting companies and then it will be up to the "attorney's" office to provide the detailed information.

    If this place were truly an attorney's office, they would send a certified letter not have a "legal assistant" call and try to scare you into giving them money.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for your advice, Lil_Red!
    Goofy

  4. #4
    Texan at Heart Corey Bryant's Avatar
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    Definitely look at your credit reports. If in fact it is on there - also work out a deal with them (and get it in writing) that they will report it paid and possibly even current / up-to-date. This way - you can protect your credit score

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard johntabita's Avatar
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    I suspect that the "attorney's assistant" is really a collection agency. It sounds like SYMS has sold the bad debt to Arrow Financial, who has turned it over to collections. I don't know if attorneys do collections, but typically, this is turned over to an agency who is paid a percentage of the money they collect. Their primary intent is to get you to pay, through whatever means necessary, e.g., belligerence, intimidation, etc.

    I'd call Arrow Financial again, but don't just accept what a customer service rep blithely tells you. If you don't get the answer you want, ask for his/her supervisor. If they don't help you, ask for his supervisor. Just keep going up the chain of command until you get a resolution. The trick is to be firm, but keep cool and don't lose your temper. Tell the other person, "I know this is not your fault, so I'm not mad at you..." then explain why you are upset. I've seen my wife do this many times, and you'd be amazed at how well it works. Remember, the financial company is just as interested in resolving the matter as you are.

  6. #6
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    John,
    Thanks for your advice....keeping cool but be firm, what a great advice!
    Have a nice day,
    Goofy

  7. #7
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    Thanks, Corey!
    Do I have to pay for my credit report?
    Cheers,
    Goofy

  8. #8
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    The federal gov. is now offering free credit reports annually. But they're rolling it out state by state to not overwhelm the system.

    https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp

    There is also freecreditreport.com, which is a business who tries to get you to signup for other things to get your free report.
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
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  9. #9
    Twitter - @CarlBeckel busy's Avatar
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    I have heard before that some collections agencies will bargain, if they think it is the only way to collect something as opposed to nothing. (But then again I heard that on the internet. Don't believe everything you hear on the internet.)

    From personal experience, I flat out refused to pay a charge of around 130.00 that was turned over to a collection agency. I disputed it once it showed up on my credit report, and when I lost, I added a disclaimer to my report explaining why I felt it was fraudulent. I haven't had any problems getting credit since, but my credit is very strong other than this.

    If you fight a bad mark on your credit report, you always get a chance to add a disclaimer if you lose, and since someone can tell that you faught your only bad mark then they will likely take that into consideration.

    Also
    3. Should I pay $298.85 or $120.94?
    Don't pay $120 unless they agree to drop the issue for that amount. If they want $298 and you pay $120 but no more, then you will get a bad credit mark *and* be out $120.

  10. #10
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    Hi Busy,

    Thanks so much for your advice!
    Do I need to contact three credit firms to contest the same one bad record?
    How do I go about doing that?
    Any advice will be greatly appreciated!

    Best regards,
    Goofy

  11. #11
    Twitter - @CarlBeckel busy's Avatar
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    The 3 national credit bureaus systems in the United States are Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union.

    I believe you would have to contact them seperately, but I'm not positive.
    I found a good link though, with a summary of your rights when dealing with the credit agencies, and is a pretty quick read:
    http://www.creditreporting.com/fair-...g-act-law.html

  12. #12
    SitePoint Addict StephenBauer's Avatar
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    You will have to contact each seperately by mail. Forget about even trying to reach someone in person. Just hit their website or call their 1-800 number (you will never reach a person) for the address.

  13. #13
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    Guess what I found by googling "Cambece"?
    http://www.budhibbs.com/debtcollecto...ce_james_a.htm


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