Suggestions-how to handle phon

Discussion in 'Credit Talk' started by Angela Wal, Sep 27, 2000.

  1. Angela Wal

    Angela Wal Guest

    Last year, my fiancee dialed in to his company remotely every night to work. One night, he changed the computer to dial the ISDN long distance number rather than the local metro number and forgot to change it back. The long distance wasn't billed immediately, (the May LD wasn't billed until August), then WHAM, 4 bills in a row for $500 each.

    We couldn't pay the $2000 bill, as we were moving across the country at the time and it went into collection.

    I know that part of the bill (i.e. the monthly service and part of the LD) is my responsibility and want to clear it up. But I don't feel responsible for the entire amount for the following reasons:

    1.) We had requested to have no long distance on the account, but automatically got local toll service anyway.

    2.) There was a $250 long distance limit on the account, yet they continued to allow the bill to be run up to over $400 each month.

    3.) If we had received the May long distance bill in June, we would have realized that the phone number was incorrect and changed it back to the local number.

    It was suggested on another BBS that I should just "face my responsibilities" because it was entirely my fault, but I feel that is not totally true. We did not want LD on that line, but got it anyway, and we had a limit on the LD. Shouldn't the phone company have disallowed further LD calls? Isn't the purpose of this limit to protect both the phone company AND the consumer (from friends or relatives running up their bills, etc.)?

    Besides, for 2 years there were NO LD calls on that line, you would think there might be some red flag in the system.

    I think that we should be liable for the 4 months normal payment plus $250, which would have been the maximum LD allowed, had they enforced the limit.

    Am I off base on this, or should I really have to pay the whole $2000 like the person suggested on the other BBS?

    Another problem is that both the phone company and the collection agency have told me (last fall) that they cannot make a deal with me. The phone company said it was in the hands of the collection agency, who said they wanted all of it immediately. Any suggestions as to how to handle this would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Rock

    Rock Guest

    RE: Suggestions-how to handle

    If it is already in collections then you have missed out on the phone company adjusting the bill. However, now that it is in collections you can bargain to lower the the outstanding balance and fight to get the collection removed from your credit reports.

    Look at it this way, if you dont pay they recieve nothing. If it is worth it to you to pay for half the balance to settle the account then make them an offer. At the same time demand that they remove the collection from your reports upon settlement. You will have to write up a contract and mail it to them. They will tell you that they cannot bargain or remove the collection but its bullshit. Just be firm and they will agree. 2k isnt really high enough to warrant a law suit and they would see it as waste of time. They will agree.
    Good luck,
  3. miles

    miles Well-Known Member

    RE: Suggestions-how to handle

    1. Even though you did not request a long distance carrier on that line, it is possible for the local company or a long distance company to pick up an outbound toll call (especially one of the 10 10 dial around #'s) if you attempt to make a call. A "toll restriction" would be needed on the line to cease this activity from occuring.

    2. I am not sure what you mean by having a $250 long distance limit if you were supposed to have no long distance, but the long distance company that completed the call certainly will not tell you to stop using their service. They are making mega bucks off of you! If you had a permanent long distance company, they would probably send you a letter or call you to make sure you are the one making these calls as this would not be your normal spending pattern.

    3. If the calls are on your local phone bill, the long distance charges may be one to two (on average) billing cycles behind. The reason is that local & long distance companies often have different billing cycles. When long distance companies send their billing to the local company, the local company's billing cycle may have already have closed & the charges will not appear until your next billing cycle. It is impossible for long distance companies to have the same billing cycle as every local phone company in the nation.

    4. Since the account is already delinquent, you don't need the companies to make arrangements for you. All the phone company wants is their money. Even though there is a collection agency involved, you can still make your payments directly to the phone company. If you still have the address to send payments, do so. Make sure you write the area code & phone number of the account in question as well as the "customer code" (usually on the payment stub) on your check or money order & keep a copy. The phone company should not refuse the payment. This way you should be able to avoid any additional amount the collection agency has tacked on as their fee. After this is paid, you should be able to dispute this with the bureaus (wait a few months). Hopefully the bureaus will remove any negative information. I hope this helps you some. Good luck!
  4. lisa

    lisa Guest

    RE: Suggestions-how to handle

    Trust me, $2,000 is more than enough to sue over. People tend to have misconceptions regarding what a collection agency will sue over. Let me shed some light on that myth:

    Collection agencies usually have 1 court date a month in which they bring all their cases to court in which a warrant in debt was filed in the previous month.

    A lawyer does not need to be present since it is a civil suit, just a representative of the company. Lawyers are generally present on cases in which a huge amount of money is in question.

    It generally costs about $50 to file a warrant in debt (depending on the agencies jurisdiction). Usually when you sign up for any kind of service or receive care from someone (hospital, physician, etc) you agree that if you default you will be responsible for all costs incurred to collect the debt including attorney fees and court costs. So, the collection agency doesn't lose money. If you decide not to show up for your court date, then a judgement is automatically entered against you and then the next step would be to garnish your wages. Once a judgement is entered, the agency can also begin to charge interest on the debt. If you own any property, then your property can be liened. It will show on your credit report and believe me, if it is a legitimate debt, then it will not be removed. It is not up to the credit bureaus to remove the collection item or judgment. This is the decision of the collection agency. It is in accordance with the FDCPA and writing to the BBB or other regulatory agencies will not make a difference-it is the agencies right to report when a debt has not been paid.

    I know these may seem like extreme measures, but speaking as a former collector, trust me when I say they are not. These are very simple steps to take (only requires filling out a few pieces of paper). The company I used to work for would sue for any debt over $50.00.

    I am giving you the worst case scenario, but I wanted to make sure you had all the facts so that there would be no surprises for you down the road. My suggestion would be to contact the agency and try to work out a monthly payment plan. Any respectable company will accept a reasonable payment plan as long as the payments are made every month.

    Good luck.

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