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collections agency? anyone experience this?

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ntgvngup218 posted 4/12/2013 13:08 PM

Has anyone had an experience with a collections agency (not sure if I can post the name of the company here?). Basically, my debit card number expired, and I was issued a new debit card. I changed all my automatic withdrawals, except the gym, Complete flake on my part, not on purpose though. This was in January. I never realized that the money wasn't being deducted from my account, and my gym never notified me of this either. Well, the other day, I get a call from a collector saying I owed this gym money and to call him. So I call, explain what had happened and told him I would call him back when I got paid to fulfill my debt. I pay $60/mo, so I am thinking Jan-Apr is $240 owed. When I called back to pay, he wanted $1202! Now, I understand penalties and fees, etc, but that is 500% interest! So I called the gym, explained what happened and ask if I can just pay them directly. They said that legally, since they sent to collections, they cannot collect payment from me. I work in billing for an insurance company, and we take payments from insureds who were sent to collections, so I am not sure that this is really a legality. So they give me the number to the manager at the collections agency to work out a lump payoff amount. I call the manager, he was pretty upset that I called him, and said he couldn't believe the Golds Gym would give me his number. He said he would place me on hold to look up my account, and before I know it, I am transferred to the original rep I spoke to. Needless to say, he was not happy that I called his manager. What followed was a bit shocking to me, as I have never dealt with collections.

All I asked for was a letter with a break down of the charges, and that they are collecting a debt, for my records. He stated "well your gym told you to call us, what more proof do you need?". I told him "please just respect my request, and send this. I am not refusing to pay, I just want this for my records". He told me the break down was in my contract. Well, I dont have my contract, this is like a 6 year old contract. So I asked him to send that to me. He doesn't have the contract. Yet they are charging me fees based on this contract that he does not have. He basically said this was stupid. Then he told me "you've already provided me with your routing number, all I have to do is look up your name and we can deduct from your accoutn without your approval". EXCUSE ME? My only response to that was "I will be looking for the letter in the mail, thank you" and I hung up. I was in shock.

I called the gym back, told them I was threatened and I refused to pay the collection agency. All I got from the gym was an "I'm sorry, we can't help you".

Can anyone help me understand what is going on? I get it, I messed up, I want to pay. But all I asked for was clarification on where the $1202 is coming from, and I was threatened. And the gym wont accept a payment, so how do I fulfill this debt? I imagine a gym on my credit report wont be a hard hit if everything else is good. I would like to know if anyone else has had an experience with this company, and I can PM you the name of the company, that is not listed on BBB and there is no website for them, and he would not provide me with a tax id number either when I asked. SO FRUSTRATING.

MissesJai posted 4/12/2013 13:19 PM

They sound SUPER shady. Ok, first things first, call your bank and notify them of the incident and possible withdrawal. You want to have the safeguard in place should those assholes try to deduct the funds without your consent. Second, report the collection agency to your local attorney general and the Fair Trade Commission - here is the link for the FTC: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/

Going forward, conduct ALL business with this creditor in writing. I would recommend writing them a letter requesting them to validate your debt. This will force them to produce documentation validating their ownership of your debt. You can hit up Google for samples. Mail the letter to them certified so that you have a receipt. Debt collectors are RUDE so I'm not sure how they'll respond. Good luck!

Faithful w/Love posted 4/12/2013 13:36 PM

^^^^^^^
this!

Collections people are rude and way out of line.

I had to go to the attoney general to get help with a collections place that were harrassing me over a credit card that was not mine for the amount of 10000.00. I had to write a letter with proof that it was not mine to attoney general and they went after them to clear my name. Please listen to MissesJai.

ntgvngup218 posted 4/12/2013 13:36 PM

Misses, I would send a letter, but they wont provide me with an address. They said I am refusing to pay, and this will ruin my credit. I told them I am not refusing, all I asked for was something in writing.

ntgvngup218 posted 4/12/2013 13:37 PM

I've looked them up on line, but cannot find an address. Everyone online says they were given an address, and it was either fake, or to a different business. and they only accept pymt over the phone, with acct number only, no credit cards. Is this legit!?

feelsgaslighted posted 4/12/2013 13:39 PM

^ This is what I suggest also.
edited to add- Have you tried calling the Better Business Bureau?

[This message edited by feelsgaslighted at 1:41 PM, April 12th (Friday)]

KeepCalm_CarryOn posted 4/12/2013 13:41 PM

Can you ask the gym for the address? Something about this sounds suppppper shady.

ntgvngup218 posted 4/12/2013 13:54 PM

Keep Calm, I hadn't thougth about asking the gym. I will tonight when I get off of work. I will send them a cease and desist letter, I read a little about that.

ntgvngup218 posted 4/12/2013 13:54 PM

feelsgaslighted, Yes, I have contacted the BBB on this as well, I actually filed a claim as something does not seem right about this to me either. Hopefully I will hear something back

Heres my question, I am recovering from a bankruptcy, and trying to build my credit. Will a "gym" have a hard hit on my credit. I have a few friends who work in real estate and they don't seem to think this will affect me that much. I just don't knwo what to do. I will not be paying this collections agency. I will pay my gym directly, but they refuse....

[This message edited by ntgvngup218 at 2:20 PM, April 12th (Friday)]

Undefinabl3 posted 4/12/2013 14:10 PM

Unfortunetly, I have alot of experience with Collection agencies.

said that legally, since they sent to collections, they cannot collect payment from me.

This is completely wrong and is the biggest brightest red flag.

Pay NOTHING to the collection agency.

1. Call the bank and let them know what is going on. The downside to this is that most banks will put your account on alert, so if you try to make large purchases it will be more difficult. And you will have to go in to pay for gas as it will not allow you to pay at the pump (as least that is what Chase did). This way if they try to take money right out of your accout it will be denied.

2. You need to write to Gold's Gym (send it registered mail) and tell them to send you a written copy of itemized charges (like an itemized hospital bill). if they dont send anything for 7-10 business days.....

3. Then you need to call the BBB and the Attorney General and let them know you think you are being scammed and what you can do next.

Again PAY THEM NO MONEY This is not legit, and its shady and if they call you all the time after you tell them to stop, then you can sue them for harrasment.

Also, dont admit to this being your debt anymore at this time. Even though you think its yours, admitting it could be held against you if it was recorded.

MissesJai posted 4/12/2013 14:23 PM

they sound like a bunch of crooks trying to scam you out of some money. I would go with the C&D letter and go back to the gym, since they are the original creditor. Go to their corporate offices and work with someone in their accounting & finance department. I would stop working with the gym at the local level. Deal with the corporate offices.

ntgvngup218 posted 4/12/2013 14:23 PM

undefinable, THANK YOU! I have definitely stated I know I owe and I am willing to pay, but I want a print out first, and I purposely called from my work phone, because all of those calls are recorded. So I do have a recording of me saying this. As well as a recording of the threat.

I appreciate all of the responses. AS someone who is trying desperately to build up her credit to buy a house, this is just another headache that I don't need, that I cannot take care of.

ntgvngup218 posted 4/12/2013 14:25 PM

Am I allowed to post the name of the collection agency? I want to know if anyone can find something online that I am just not catching? Or if anyone has had any experience with this specific company?

MissesJai posted 4/12/2013 14:25 PM

I would also check out this community: http://www.debtconsolidationcare.com/forums/

I've received awesome advice from them and they have sample DV & C&D letters you can use for your own situation. Good luck & keep us posted!

ntgvngup218 posted 4/12/2013 14:35 PM

Thank you MissJai, I will check them out now as well!

KeepCalm_CarryOn posted 4/12/2013 14:38 PM

Also- in terms of your credit, IF this shows up on a credit report you can write a letter to all three of the big credit agencies petitioning this. It's similar to what you would do if you're identity was stolen. It's not hard, I've done it before.

Faithful w/Love posted 4/12/2013 14:47 PM

Pm me and let me see what I can do.

Dark Inertia posted 4/12/2013 15:01 PM

I would be skeptical because we had a shady experience as well.

My SO has impeccable credit. He has never paid a dime in interest on a credit card much less had a collection. When he moved to the state we live in he had his own apartment. When I moved we got a totally different apartment. The electric company tacked on the last payment of his bill from the previous apartment to the new apartment.

I paid the bill. A month later my SO gets a call from a collection agency saying he owes like $60 and they were asking for his credit card number to get it taken care of now before it shows on his credit report. He was smart enough to decline, and said "send me a bill and I will pay it". The guy took down SO's information. We never received a bill, never heard a peep. I called the electric company, everything was paid in full. Two years later nothing has been reported to his credit report about owing anything.

But he came this close to compromising his security. He said his first inclination was to give them his credit card and have it taken care of. But... I handle the finances, and he thought about me (probably heard my nagging voice) and what I would do or want done. I swear, one has to be very careful of scammers these days.

[This message edited by Dark Inertia at 3:01 PM, April 12th (Friday)]

Unagie posted 4/12/2013 15:01 PM

Someone might have said this but number one they cannot debit your account with just the routing number. You can get a bank's routing number just by calling a branch. Also they cannot debit the account unless they go to the court with proof of your debt and get paperwork to place a legal hold on your account which is sent to the bank's legal department.

You are well within your rights to ask for a breakdown of the charges and if the gym forwarded them then there should be a number to their legal department or billing department that can still give you that information. That's all I know, hope it gets better.

ntgvngup218 posted 4/12/2013 15:11 PM

Thank you everyone for your responses. I just wanted to make sure this was "general practice" for collections. I have never had an experience like this before, and when I looked them up, the stories I read were pretty shocking.

Unagie, I was thinking the same thing. He was basically saying he can contact my back since he knows who my bank is now, and get my information by using my name only. Thats why I didnt even acknowledge that threat, because it sounded like plain stupidity on his part to me.

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