Phone bill to collections-need

Discussion in 'Credit Talk' started by KLNTEX, Feb 2, 2001.


    KLNTEX Guest

    I would appreciate some expert advice here.

    I recently received a notice from a collection agency for a MCI phone bill from December of 1997 for 98.00. I disputed the amount with the collection agency, as I believed to have a copy of a check that I had sent to MCI in December in my records (couldn't locate it immediately). I found the check about the time that the dispute came back verified. Thinking that I had in fact paid MCI, I sent a cease and desist letter to collection agency.

    Sent letter and copy of check to MCI about 1 month ago requesting investigation and proper credit to account. Account number on check did not match the info sent to me by collection agency or the account # MCI has on file for me for that phone #.

    Called MCI yesterday to see where they were in investigation process. They told me that they had closed account in September 1997 and reopened under different account # when I signed up for a frequent flyer mile program for long distance. They tell me that the account that was sent to collections (#2) encompassed October-November.

    If this is true, I never received a copy of this bill after I moved. I paid the last bill that I received from them. This amount was for nearly the same amount that MCI says I owe on account # 2 at same phone # (97.32 versus 98.00). I told the rep that I wanted this item off of my Equifax credit report and would appreciate it if they could provide documentation that this new account in fact received this payment. The guy also said that MCI hadn't received my letter/check copy yet (I have verification that they have from Mail receipt) and had not begun any investigation.
    OK. Here is my quandry. I still don't know if any of this sounds accurate. I find it odd that I was switched to a new account for just changing my account to get frequent flyer miles (ironically, I never got those credited to my Continental One Pass). I moved in December. I can understand that they may have sent a bill, and I didn't get it. But here I am. Collection agency has now upped total to 134.00. And I sent them a cease and desist letter. When i asked MCI if I received their documentation, and wanted to work out settlement, they told me that they don't handle my account anymore, that I would have to deal with collection agency.

    So now what? My credit is not the greatest-I have numerous late pays that are 3-4 years old, as well as some fresher ones as a result of a not so efficient handling of my accounts by a Consumer Credit Counseling Service. I have been paying dilligently on all credit accounts so that they are current for at least 8 months.

    Any advice is appreciated.
  2. roni

    roni Well-Known Member

    RE: Phone bill to collections-

    Ok, first of all, You need to find out if this is on your credit reports. I ask you this because I know that phone companies are usually slow in reporting this, although yours is pretty old already (1997).

    If it is on their you have to approach this as a mission to have the item removed from your credit report.

    At this point, I would only speak with a supervisor at the credit dispute department of MCI. MCI is not very organized. I personally will never deal with the company. They goofed my billing when I was with them and I immmediately SWITCHED back to Sprint.

    So, you need to EXPRESS that you never received an additional bill. Had you received the bill, the matter would have been cleared years ago. You can provide proof of payment that you paid what you thought was the final bill. Insist that they never sent a bill to you. As a courtesy ask them to remove the item, so that you will consider them as a long distance carrier in the future.

    Let me know how it goes. If one supervisor says no, ask to speak to his/her supervisor. Persistence is the key.


    KLNTEX Guest

    RE: Phone bill to collections-

    Thanks Roni.

    Yes, it is on equifax, reported by the collection agency in March of 2000. I knew nothing about this until I got my redit report from qspace. About 3 days later, I received the notice from collection agency in mail.

    Yes, you are right-persistence is the key-I have tried on several occasions since receiving the letter to get to the bottom of what was going on with MCI. Yesterday I was transferred to no fewer than seven people in various locations, taking up nearly 2 hours of my time.

    Seeing how this is almost 4 years old, I find it amazing this was not reported to me at any course before being turned over to a collection agency. Particularly since I had MCI as my provider for one year at my new address.

    Can they simply refuse to deal with me on this? The last rep who told me of this new account on the same # said that they don't deal with accounts turned over to collections, and I should be able to settle with them for 50%. I would perfer not to go through these people-since they have attached 40+ dollars onto a bill that I may owe to someone else (that I never received).

    Is there a law stating that once turned over to collections, that I have to deal with collection agency? Is there any law that would prevent MCI from Dealing directly with me, or is this just the token answer received at the first pass.

  4. roni

    roni Well-Known Member

    RE: Phone bill to collections-

    Use the fact, that you were a customer since this debt to prove you knew nothing of the debt. Companies will remove negative info if you pay the debt and negotiate removal for payment. The key is to let them know it was their mistake. Them taking you on again as a customer is your best amo right now.

    Laws may not help you unless you plan to play hardball and sue. They (MCI and the collection agency) will just bounce you around like a ball. I will say again, speaking to 7 nobodys is not gonna do it for you. Let them know you plan to file a formal complaint against them and you wish to speak to someone before taking that BIG STEP.

  5. Saar

    Saar Banned

    RE: Phone bill to collections-

    First, you have to consider the time, money & energy it'll take you to get this fixed. In choosing whether to do what's fair or what's smart, I always prefer the latter.

    Ironically, the way to act smart is to play dumb. Send MCI a check for the outstanding balance ($98). ON THE CHECK WRITE THE OLD ACCOUNT #. As mentioned here many times before, they may act dumb too and cash it without notice. Once they do, the canceled check is your proof of paying the debt. This is the key to have the original account marked "$0 balance", and the collection account removed altogether. Simply send the collection agency a copy of the canceled check, claiming that since there's no outstanding debt w/ MCI, they couldn't possible have a right to collect or report anything originating from that creditor.

    (Of course you don't have to pay anything if you can obtain proof of past payment).

  6. Alwilda Sm

    Alwilda Sm Guest

    RE: Phone bill to collections-

    Hey - reference to CCCS on your report is a 7-year death sentence. As bad as bankruptcy, they say.

    -Alwilda Smith
  7. keltex

    keltex Guest

    RE: Phone bill to collections-

    It isn't on my report, thank goodness. So I guess that their inability to deliver also includes reporting to credit agency. Doesn't show up on any of my reports.
  8. jamie

    jamie Well-Known Member

    RE: Phone bill to collections-

    I heard that too.
  9. Marie

    Marie Well-Known Member

    RE: Phone bill to collections-

    Ask for a validation of the debt. It's basically a "prove it or lose it" method of disputing directly w/a creditor or collection company. I used it with perfect success w/utilities and with Sprint. It makes collection agencies go away better that a cease and desist. You put the burden of proof on them not on you. You can still do this if you haven't made payment arrangements w/the collection agency or with the original creditor. If you need a copy, email me: If there's a place to post it for the whole group, I'll do that. It scared the *&^% out of an old Atlanta Gas/Light account I had that had dogged my reports for 5 years... always verified. I sent them this letter to make them prove the debt and since utilities NEVER have my signature on file, it was easier to make it disappear. Also, if you send a request for validation and they don't respond at all, the debt is legally nonexistent! It's the best tool I've ever seen! :) Once Atlanta Gas light didn't respond to my request for validation, I sent one last letter letting them know that the debt was legally gone, but I gave them an extra 2 weeks as a courtesy. This second letter was also VERY nasty because I put them on notice that now their actions (by reporting to the bureaus) were violations of this and that and that they were willful, wanton etc etc. NOW they're in the position of me suing them for violations!!! and I meant it!!! I would've followed up! Within a week of this second letter I got 3 (Yes, three) letters from different supervisors stating that the account was now gone and that they had already sent the Universal Data form to delete the entry completely from all 3 bureaus. Took me 5 years to find this tool! Well worth it. Nice to see them Jump for once!!!

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