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User Topic: collections agency? anyone experience this?
ntgvngup218
Member
Member # 26882
Default  Posted: 1:08 PM, April 12th (Friday)

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.


"The pain that you've been feeling can't compare to the joy that's coming"

Posts: 696 | Registered: Dec 2009
MissesJai
Member
Member # 24849
Default  Posted: 1:19 PM, April 12th (Friday)

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!


FWW - 41
Fawk you.....pay me!

Posts: 5894 | Registered: Jul 2009 | From: So Cal.....
Faithful w/Love
Member
Member # 33128
Default  Posted: 1:36 PM, April 12th (Friday)

^^^^^^^
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.


BS(ME)40 WH(HIM)38
DD 19 and DS 15
Separated Aug 2012
Moved back home Oct 31 2013
False R. Still Lying.
Will be divorcing soon!
"You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have"!

Posts: 2661 | Registered: Aug 2011
ntgvngup218
Member
Member # 26882
Default  Posted: 1:36 PM, April 12th (Friday)

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.


"The pain that you've been feeling can't compare to the joy that's coming"

Posts: 696 | Registered: Dec 2009
ntgvngup218
Member
Member # 26882
Default  Posted: 1:37 PM, April 12th (Friday)

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!?


"The pain that you've been feeling can't compare to the joy that's coming"

Posts: 696 | Registered: Dec 2009
feelsgaslighted
Member
Member # 19290
Default  Posted: 1:39 PM, April 12th (Friday)

^ 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)]


Posts: 265 | Registered: Apr 2008 | From: South
KeepCalm_CarryOn
Member
Member # 33374
Default  Posted: 1:41 PM, April 12th (Friday)

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


You are not dealing with rational people or situations. Normal thought processes won't work...story of my life.

Me- BW, 28
Him- fWh, 34
Mostly R'd, minus a few scars...bought a house and got a puppy...And baby makes 3! She arrived August


Posts: 2021 | Registered: Sep 2011
ntgvngup218
Member
Member # 26882
Default  Posted: 1:54 PM, April 12th (Friday)

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.


"The pain that you've been feeling can't compare to the joy that's coming"

Posts: 696 | Registered: Dec 2009
ntgvngup218
Member
Member # 26882
Default  Posted: 1:54 PM, April 12th (Friday)

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)]


"The pain that you've been feeling can't compare to the joy that's coming"

Posts: 696 | Registered: Dec 2009
Undefinabl3
Member
Member # 36883
Default  Posted: 2:10 PM, April 12th (Friday)

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.


Me: 31 MH
Him: 37 MH
New online find 6/19/14 - shit

Posts: 1729 | Registered: Sep 2012
MissesJai
Member
Member # 24849
Default  Posted: 2:23 PM, April 12th (Friday)

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.


FWW - 41
Fawk you.....pay me!

Posts: 5894 | Registered: Jul 2009 | From: So Cal.....
ntgvngup218
Member
Member # 26882
Default  Posted: 2:23 PM, April 12th (Friday)

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.


"The pain that you've been feeling can't compare to the joy that's coming"

Posts: 696 | Registered: Dec 2009
ntgvngup218
Member
Member # 26882
Default  Posted: 2:25 PM, April 12th (Friday)

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?


"The pain that you've been feeling can't compare to the joy that's coming"

Posts: 696 | Registered: Dec 2009
MissesJai
Member
Member # 24849
Default  Posted: 2:25 PM, April 12th (Friday)

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!


FWW - 41
Fawk you.....pay me!

Posts: 5894 | Registered: Jul 2009 | From: So Cal.....
ntgvngup218
Member
Member # 26882
Default  Posted: 2:35 PM, April 12th (Friday)

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


"The pain that you've been feeling can't compare to the joy that's coming"

Posts: 696 | Registered: Dec 2009
KeepCalm_CarryOn
Member
Member # 33374
Default  Posted: 2:38 PM, April 12th (Friday)

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.


You are not dealing with rational people or situations. Normal thought processes won't work...story of my life.

Me- BW, 28
Him- fWh, 34
Mostly R'd, minus a few scars...bought a house and got a puppy...And baby makes 3! She arrived August


Posts: 2021 | Registered: Sep 2011
Faithful w/Love
Member
Member # 33128
Default  Posted: 2:47 PM, April 12th (Friday)

Pm me and let me see what I can do.


BS(ME)40 WH(HIM)38
DD 19 and DS 15
Separated Aug 2012
Moved back home Oct 31 2013
False R. Still Lying.
Will be divorcing soon!
"You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have"!

Posts: 2661 | Registered: Aug 2011
Dark Inertia
Member
Member # 30727
Default  Posted: 3:01 PM, April 12th (Friday)

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)]


"If I listened earlier, I wouldn't be here. But that's just the trouble with me. I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it."

Posts: 1249 | Registered: Jan 2011 | From: The Ohio
Unagie
Member
Member # 37091
Default  Posted: 3:01 PM, April 12th (Friday)

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.


Heartbroken madhatter trying to rebuild

No longer together

"To be loyal to myself is to allow myself to grow and change, and challenge who I am and what I think."


Posts: 2729 | Registered: Oct 2012
ntgvngup218
Member
Member # 26882
Default  Posted: 3:11 PM, April 12th (Friday)

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.


"The pain that you've been feeling can't compare to the joy that's coming"

Posts: 696 | Registered: Dec 2009
Faithful w/Love
Member
Member # 33128
Default  Posted: 3:24 PM, April 12th (Friday)

Opps that was suppose to be a PM....sorry.

[This message edited by Faithful w/Love at 3:35 PM, April 12th (Friday)]


BS(ME)40 WH(HIM)38
DD 19 and DS 15
Separated Aug 2012
Moved back home Oct 31 2013
False R. Still Lying.
Will be divorcing soon!
"You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have"!

Posts: 2661 | Registered: Aug 2011
Faithful w/Love
Member
Member # 33128
Default  Posted: 3:26 PM, April 12th (Friday)

DON NOT GIVE THEM ANYMORE INFORMATION... okay. they are crooked.


BS(ME)40 WH(HIM)38
DD 19 and DS 15
Separated Aug 2012
Moved back home Oct 31 2013
False R. Still Lying.
Will be divorcing soon!
"You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have"!

Posts: 2661 | Registered: Aug 2011
aesir
Member
Member # 17210
Default  Posted: 3:29 PM, April 12th (Friday)

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".

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.
While this may be legally true, it is not how the system works. Anyone with access to this system can yank money out of any account they want, as the process does not actually check for approval to do so. You then have a certain amount of time where you can have the transaction reversed. I was shocked when I first heard this. It doesn't change the fact that what is done is fraudulent, or whatever other laws may apply, but it can be done.

The fact that the will only accept banking info over the phone as a form of payment is nonsense however. Legally, they are required to accept cash payments. Laws vary across jurisdictions, so you want to check this out yourself.

Just to be an asshole, I would be inclined to tell them that since they can not provide any documentation regarding this debt, then you have no prior relationship with them. Then tell them the magic words "Place me on your do not call list!" That way, they have to dig up all the required documentation before they can call, or they face big fines from the FCC.


Your mileage may vary... in accordance with the prophecy.

Do not back up. Severe tire damage.


Posts: 14924 | Registered: Nov 2007 | From: Winnipeg
ntgvngup218
Member
Member # 26882
Default  Posted: 3:40 PM, April 12th (Friday)

Amen faithful! You rock! So I'm NOT going crazy here. I'm thinking my gym is crooked now too since they are partnering with these people. Time for a new gym membership.

What a nightmare.


"The pain that you've been feeling can't compare to the joy that's coming"

Posts: 696 | Registered: Dec 2009
Unagie
Member
Member # 37091
Default  Posted: 3:47 PM, April 12th (Friday)

Aesir they have her routing number and no account number. I worked in banking and if we debited an account with a name and routing number with no legal paper work stating why we went into this account without customer approval our asses would have been on the chopping block.

ETA: Now if she gave her account number and routing number she gave them all the approval the bank needed.

[This message edited by Unagie at 3:48 PM, April 12th (Friday)]


Heartbroken madhatter trying to rebuild

No longer together

"To be loyal to myself is to allow myself to grow and change, and challenge who I am and what I think."


Posts: 2729 | Registered: Oct 2012
Faithful w/Love
Member
Member # 33128
Default  Posted: 3:59 PM, April 12th (Friday)

UMMMM yeah, the gym may be crooked also. Looking for a cheap way to collect. And I never heard of a business that you can not direct pay even if it went to collections.
Block their number and do it all in writing and tell them that.


BS(ME)40 WH(HIM)38
DD 19 and DS 15
Separated Aug 2012
Moved back home Oct 31 2013
False R. Still Lying.
Will be divorcing soon!
"You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have"!

Posts: 2661 | Registered: Aug 2011
ntgvngup218
Member
Member # 26882
Default  Posted: 4:04 PM, April 12th (Friday)

Aaaaaaaaaaaaand the calls keep coming. now it is some woman.


"The pain that you've been feeling can't compare to the joy that's coming"

Posts: 696 | Registered: Dec 2009
JanetS
Member
Member # 2766
Default  Posted: 4:18 PM, April 12th (Friday)

I'd be suspicious of the gym too. A normal company has accounts that fall into the 30/60/90 days overdue...and will contact their client about the debt. Usually with a polite first letter, then a stronger reminder, then a threat to send to collections. They don't want to send it to collections because they lose a percentage....so that's why they REMIND you a few times first....at least most companies do that.

Were you going to the gym during all of this time???
Curious why they didn't remind you.

I have satellite tv (new). My credit card expired and I received the new card in the mail with a new expiry date. I forgot to contact satellite company with new expiry. I loved how they reminded me....a window opened up on my tv giving me the 800 number to call as my credit card information has expired.

I called them, gave them the number, and then said "wow, I wish all of my financial faux pas were this easy to correct".

Curious to see your updates on this....something is really off with this.


Posts: 2574 | Registered: Nov 2003 | From: Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada
MissesJai
Member
Member # 24849
Default  Posted: 4:37 PM, April 12th (Friday)

file a complaint with the FTC and add your number to the Do Not Call registry. The next time they call back, inform them you have reported them to the FTC, your local attorney general, etc etc. They now know they can get a rise out of you so they are going to harass the crap out of you. Are they calling from the same number? If so, call the phone company and have them blocked.


FWW - 41
Fawk you.....pay me!

Posts: 5894 | Registered: Jul 2009 | From: So Cal.....
hexed
Member
Member # 19258
Default  Posted: 5:01 PM, April 12th (Friday)

The fair debt collection practices act requires that they provide you in writing what the debt is, proof of the debt and validation that they are legally authorized to collect the debt if you request. you have 30 days from receipt of that letter to dispute the validity of the debt.

DO NOT PAY THEM. MAKE SURE YOU RECORD EVERYTHING IN WRITING.


But that's just a lot of water
Underneath a bridge I burned
And there's no use in backtracking
Around corners I have turned

“Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves - regret for the past and fear of the future.” -foulton oursler


Posts: 8440 | Registered: Apr 2008
ntgvngup218
Member
Member # 26882
Default  Posted: 5:26 PM, April 12th (Friday)

Were you going to the gym during all of this time???

No, I had stopped going to the gym in December actually, due to my work schedule.

Are they calling from the same number? If so, call the phone company and have them blocked.

No, it is a different number. Sometimes it is an 888 number, a 603 number, a 714 number. The female who just called me was from the 888 number.

ETA: Now if she gave her account number and routing number she gave them all the approval the bank needed.

When I initially spoke to the guy this morning, I was going to set up a monthly pymt plan of $100. I gave him my routing number. I did not give him my account number as I got a gut feeling not to, so I told him that I had to get back to work, and would call him back when I could locate my account number. Thats when I called the gym and they gave me the "managers" number who was not happy to hear from me...

I will definitely follow up on this. Hopefully others can learn from this too!!

[This message edited by ntgvngup218 at 5:27 PM, April 12th (Friday)]


"The pain that you've been feeling can't compare to the joy that's coming"

Posts: 696 | Registered: Dec 2009
aesir
Member
Member # 17210
Default  Posted: 5:54 PM, April 12th (Friday)

Aesir they have her routing number and no account number. I worked in banking and if we debited an account with a name and routing number with no legal paper work stating why we went into this account without customer approval our asses would have been on the chopping block.
ETA: Now if she gave her account number and routing number she gave them all the approval the bank needed.
The way it was explained to me by an insider in the preauthorized payment system, all the other paperwork authorizing debits to accounts was stuff for lawyers in case it got disputed later on, anyone with access to the system to place preauthorized debits could in fact debit any account they had info on, and nobody ever checks for authorization while processing the transactions.

I still say your response should be "Place me on your do not call list!" Then if they call back, they are obligated to prove that they have a valid reason to contact you.


Your mileage may vary... in accordance with the prophecy.

Do not back up. Severe tire damage.


Posts: 14924 | Registered: Nov 2007 | From: Winnipeg
Dreamboat
Member
Member # 10506
Default  Posted: 6:01 PM, April 12th (Friday)

UMMMM yeah, the gym may be crooked also.

Many years ago I have a VERY VERY bad experience with Gold's Gym wrt account payments and a late payment. IMO, they call themselves "Gold" because they get rich ripping people off.


And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off
-- Shake It Out, Florence And The Machine

Posts: 17628 | Registered: Apr 2006 | From: A better place :)
Mommato4
Member
Member # 15906
Default  Posted: 11:06 AM, April 13th (Saturday)

I just have to say canceling a gym membership is a pain in the butt. I'm doing this now and you have to jump through hoops with certified letters, etc. They make it so easy to sign up though. It's not golds gym but have read some awful things about them online with their practices.

Good luck with all of it.


Updated 2014:
BS-me 41
XH-doesn't matter
4 kids
Divorced-7/25/08

SO-5 years together-he decided to end it by cheating too


Posts: 1377 | Registered: Aug 2007 | From: PNW country
hexed
Member
Member # 19258
Default  Posted: 1:17 PM, April 13th (Saturday)

Please also realize that as soon as you tell them to stop calling you that you will only communicate in writing they are supposed to stop harassing you.


But that's just a lot of water
Underneath a bridge I burned
And there's no use in backtracking
Around corners I have turned

“Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves - regret for the past and fear of the future.” -foulton oursler


Posts: 8440 | Registered: Apr 2008
circe
Member
Member # 6687
Default  Posted: 7:41 PM, April 13th (Saturday)

Whoa, this is not a legit debt collection company.

1.

The fair debt collection practices act requires that they provide you in writing what the debt is, proof of the debt and validation that they are legally authorized to collect the debt if you request. you have 30 days from receipt of that letter to dispute the validity of the debt.

This is absolutely true. By law they have to provide you - in writing -with proof that the debt is yours and the amount they have is valid. This will probably be a copy of your gym membership contract plus a copy of the gym's records of when you stopped paying. If the debt collector doesn't have that information, then you have no way of knowing if they own the debt. Heck, I could call you and tell you Gold's Gym sold ME your debt and you owe me $5K. By law, they have to show you proof that they own the debt.

2. They can threaten all they want - until it ends up on one of your 3 credit reports, you don't have to worry about it in regards to your credit. If it DOES show up on a credit report, then you can dispute it with the credit report company directly. Then they will contact the debt collector and ask for the exact same thing - proof. The debt collector will have to provide them with the contract and debt transfer or else the credit reporting company has to remove the mark from your report.

This happened to me when Verizon was going through their changeover and sold all kinds of old bills to a debt collection agency. They tried to tie me to two different phone numbers I never had. They even put it on my credit report, but when I disputed, they had no proof (obviously, since those weren't my accounts) and so they were forced to remove them from my record. However the stupid company kept calling until I moved.

3. You can't take someone's money from their routing number. And if they can find your account and do manage to take money, you can dispute the theft.


Posts: 3190 | Registered: Mar 2005
ntgvngup218
Member
Member # 26882
Default  Posted: 11:51 PM, April 13th (Saturday)

Ok so update:

I cancelled my debit card. Even though the one my gym has on file is expired, it's still linked to that acct and I didn't want to take any chances. My gym sold ALL my information to them. So I'll be getting a new one in the mail I. Two days.

Today I went to the gym and explained to them what had happened and how the "collections agency" was treating me when I asked for something in writing. Of course the desk clerk couldn't help me but offered to have the manager call. He wont he able to do anything, I already know that. BUT she did provide me with my contract and as far as I can see, there is nothing in there about a 500% increase. It doesn't really say anything about sending an account that is not paying to collections. Says nothing about any penalties, everything that the "collector" said I would find, I'm not finding.

The desk clerk did tell me that thy sell my debt to a third party so that's why they can't take my payment, because this company bought my debt from them. Yet this "collector" told me if I pay $1200 I'll have access to the gym again until July. But if they bought my debt from the gym, and I no longer owe the gym because essentially the collector paid for it, then how does paying $1200 give me access to the gym again?

Anyways, I havent read any responses yet, I wanted to update first.


"The pain that you've been feeling can't compare to the joy that's coming"

Posts: 696 | Registered: Dec 2009
ntgvngup218
Member
Member # 26882
Default  Posted: 12:03 AM, April 14th (Sunday)

This is absolutely true. By law they have to provide you - in writing -with proof that the debt is yours and the amount they have is valid. This will probably be a copy of your gym membership contract plus a copy of the gym's records of when you stopped paying. If the debt collector doesn't have that information, then you have no way of knowing if they own the debt.

This is what throws me off too. When I asked the collector for something I writing, he said "it's all in your contract". So I told him to send me my contract, and he said he doesn't have my contract. Sooooo....that doesn't sound right.

Great thing is I work for a company that provides identity theft protection and fraud protection so I will be calling them on Monday as well.

If it DOES show up on a credit report, then you can dispute it with the credit report company directly.

I had a friend tell me the same thing. She told me to check my report in 3 months and she could help me dispute it. So, fingers crossed, I can get this all taken care of.


"The pain that you've been feeling can't compare to the joy that's coming"

Posts: 696 | Registered: Dec 2009
StillGoing
Member
Member # 28571
Default  Posted: 12:51 AM, April 14th (Sunday)

I am about to fall asleep so will jabber more tomorrow, but 2 quick notes... first is dont let thrm freak you out because they are feeding you standard fare bullshit. Dont give them any more info at all. A lot of these agencies buy debts cheap so a collection is like a risk gamble. You arent legally obligated to them. Wrt the contract thing i had the exact same issue. If they have no signed dox they have nothing anyway. This is not about makng you pay adebt you are willing to pay it is a for profit biz model. Dont let them fuck with you.

eta:

Okay. So, a lot of these places are basically just legal scams. Most of these "collections" are just small companies from as few as one friggin person who buy debts that are considered lost causes because they're hard to prove, so long overdue it's unlikely they'll ever get paid, deadbeats, etc for pennies to the dollar so that collecting on one of them results in a windfall.

They all use the same tactics involving harassment, threats and dismissive attitudes. They are not legally allowed to say or do any of the shit they say and do there and they know it and they don't care, because they also know it will cost you more in time and money to legally beat their asses. Further, arguing the legalities of it with them tells them you are worried enough about it that you are worth going after, and that they are in your head. If you ignore them to the point where you tell them they may not call you (they still will) and then hang up every time, eventually they will stop calling, but it may take a couple weeks.

If it is a legitimate debt then you can pay the person you originally owe. If they will no longer accept payment from you then document it and ask them for documentation that says you tried to pay them but they refused. This way when the legal system gets involved you have that and the judge will throw it out.

Because the judge WILL throw this shit out.

Similar situation to this, the phone company did not turn off our line after we left our last apartment. I know we gave that notice but they claimed we did not. A lot of expensive calls were made on the line after we had left, which I disputed it, they sent documentation that showed calls made but apparently had "lost" my request to shut the line off. My wife told them we'd give them 50% of what they wanted just to go away and everyone wins. They laughed at her and were pretty nasty.

So the court notice came and I accepted the date and set it rolling. This makes them panic because now they need to back their shit up or get in trouble. When they called back 3 days before the court date they asked if we could reach an agreement.

"You laughed at my wife when she asked you to reach an agreement here."

"Yeah... sorry..."

"You have no documentation, no proof the line was used beyond 3 year old bills your own company printed, for an apartment I have documentation showing we left months before these charges were made."

"I know, we've decided that a settlement is the better choice."

"No, look, asshole. Yes, I called you an asshole, and if you recorded it for later use I'd be happy to know you were playing it back to have me call you an asshole in absentia, asshole, because you fucking laughed at my wife when she offered to reach an agreement. So here are your choices: you take 10% of what you are asking for and this all goes away for everyone, or I will embarrass the fuck out of you in court and you will lose money. It will cost me some time and money to do that but by then I will be so fucking pissed off it will be worth it, and we are rapidly approaching the delineation point between you being an annoyance I want gone and you being paid entertainment."

So we paid them like 30 bucks, directly to the phone company, because I refused to deal with the collections.

Just *do not* talk to them. Tell them if they have to contact you then to do so by mail, you dispute their charges, and throw out their mail unless it's a legal notice. If they do go after your bank account then tell your bank that was not authorized and it was fraudulently withdrawn. I know Bank of America is really good about that, and they spanked the shit out of a couple of these people because while BoA is a giant soulless corporation they appear to have a lot of wonderful people working there who are just itching to do something nice. It's a really weird thing.

Don't panic. That is their most powerful tool. It's just a semi-legal scam.

eta again:

I am almost positive that it doesn't matter if they sold the debt or not, you are only required to pay the company whose services and products you purchased from.

I have dealt with collections assholes on several occasions, I am convinced they are all the kind of people who are incapable of good, honest thievery that your insurance will cover and the cops can round up.

[This message edited by StillGoing at 8:09 AM, April 14th (Sunday)]


“Fate is a fickle bitch who dotes on irony.”

Posts: 7444 | Registered: May 2010 | From: USA
circe
Member
Member # 6687
Default  Posted: 9:31 AM, April 14th (Sunday)

I was chatting to DH about this over coffee, reminiscing about the Verizon debt collection issue - we can only laugh about it now because it was such a farce and so ridiculously unnecessary. Anyway.

DH reminded me that each time the asshole agency called me, I answered and said "Hi, I'm recording this phone call for my records. Can you please spell your name for me?" The first time I ever did this I'd had a glass of wine with dinner and they called at 830pm and DH and I thought this was a funny way to turn the tables on them. However the result was that they hung up. So we kept doing this, and I did record 2 phone calls with them, though I never needed them as the entire thing was resolved via the credit reporting agency shortly thereafter. But the "recording" did make them more polite.

One time a woman called and she screamed at me "No I won't, stupid woman!" when I told her she was welcome to put all of the information in writing and mail it to the address they had on file for me. This was in the early days. That sort of things stopped after I started telling them I was recording the calls.

I can't remember how long our harassment lasted, but a few months I think. Ridiculous.

But no, even if the company has bought your debt legitimately, they have nothing to do with the gym membership and so they can't reinstate anything at all. They basically own the right to collect a certain amount of money, plus they can inflate the total with penalties. I'm not sure, but maybe someone else knows, how much they can legally charge for that.

Most people reach a settlement for roughly half the amount you originally owed. The company probably bought the debt for 5% of what you owed, so they still make money. It's a shame you can't just pay the gym directly and give the company that at least "earned" the money what they're owed, rather than these buzzards.

I'm curious to know if there's a computer program or app that helps people who have changed banks or credit cards or accounts to figure out all external bills that are linked to that account and help smooth the changeover. I would definitely use something like that! I've also run into my fair share of accidental oversights of infrequently used accounts that were attached to a bank account or credit card I was transferring. Something always seems to get lost in the shuffle, even though we have no intention of missing anything.


Posts: 3190 | Registered: Mar 2005
ntgvngup218
Member
Member # 26882
Default  Posted: 10:39 AM, April 14th (Sunday)

If it is a legitimate debt then you can pay the person you originally owe. If they will no longer accept payment from you then document it and ask them for documentation that says you tried to pay them but they refused. This way when the legal system gets involved you have that and the judge will throw it out.

this is a good idea. I will call the gym from work, as all of my calls are recorded there and my supervisor would gladly hand me that recording.

[Quote]But no, even if the company has bought your debt legitimately, they have nothing to do with the gym membership and so they can't reinstate anything at all. They basically own the right to collect a certain amount of money, plus they can inflate the total with penalties. I'm not sure, but maybe someone else knows, how much they can legally charge for that.

This! He said I owed $1200 but would settle for $900. He said if I paid the 1200 I would have access to the gym until July. If I settled for $900 I couldn't. I only owe $240. I asked him where the additional $660-960 was coming friend. He said I would find a detailed list in my contract. But your right no don't have a contract with THEM. They aren't paying this money to Golds Gym. They already paid Golds maybe $50 for my debt. So ALLLL the money goes to him. So, essentially, I don't have to pay him. I'll pay golds. But that's it. And I told golds the same thing. Ill pay you but not through a third company. If you refuse my payment, then I hate to say it but you guys will not be getting a payment from me. Now I understand why golds is ok with this, because essentially, they've already been paid by these crooks.

I'm so glad I came here for advice because it is certainly helping me to understand and put some pieces together! If the manager calls me, I will also ask him for something in writing stating that I have attempted to pay them but they refused. I doubt he'll provide it though.

[This message edited by ntgvngup218 at 10:41 AM, April 14th (Sunday)]


"The pain that you've been feeling can't compare to the joy that's coming"

Posts: 696 | Registered: Dec 2009
ntgvngup218
Member
Member # 26882
Default  Posted: 10:44 AM, April 14th (Sunday)

But no, even if the company has bought your debt legitimately, they have nothing to do with the gym membership and so they can't reinstate anything at all. They basically own the right to collect a certain amount of money, plus they can inflate the total with penalties. I'm not sure, but maybe someone else knows, how much they can legally charge for that

This! He said I owed $1200 but would settle for $900. He said if I paid the 1200 I would have access to the gym until July. If I settled for $900 I couldn't. I only owe $240. I asked him where the additional $660-960 was coming friend. He said I would find a detailed list in my contract. But your right no don't have a contract with THEM. They aren't paying this money to Golds Gym. They already paid Golds maybe $50 for my debt. So ALLLL the money goes to him. So, essentially, I don't have to pay him. I'll pay golds. But that's it. And I told golds the same thing. Ill pay you but not through a third company. If you refuse my payment, then I hate to say it but you guys will not be getting a payment from me. Now I understand why golds is ok with this, because essentially, they've already been paid by these crooks.

I'm so glad I came here for advice because it is certainly helping me to understand and put some pieces together! If the manager calls me, I will also ask him for something in writing stating that I have attempted to pay them but they refused. I doubt he'll provide it though.


"The pain that you've been feeling can't compare to the joy that's coming"

Posts: 696 | Registered: Dec 2009
Undefinabl3
Member
Member # 36883
Default  Posted: 12:32 PM, April 15th (Monday)

The government has tried really hard to protect people in debt from predatory collection agencies by giving them hops to jump through and things to weave around.

Unfortunetly, all this has done has made Collection agencies much more acrobatic.

They pray on the fact that a credit rating is EVERYTHING in today's world....they will use people's fears to get the money they want. I can't really understand why people would want to work in that type of job....it makes me sick


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Posts: 1729 | Registered: Sep 2012
hitbyatruck
Member
Member # 23769
Default  Posted: 8:35 PM, April 15th (Monday)

You screwed up.

They sold your debt to a collections agency.

Gold's can't accept payment from you, that is why it is in collections. The CA is required to give you an itemized bill. Insist on it in writing. As suggested above-do not admit to the debt. This isn't being sly, you can't own this debt without understand how it grew to well over a thousand dollars.


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Posts: 3280 | Registered: Apr 2009
Tearsoflove
Member
Member # 8271
Default  Posted: 2:50 PM, April 16th (Tuesday)

I remember when a credit card company sold my sister's debt to a collection agency and they started harassing her. Like you, the debt was far more than she originally owed and she couldn't pay it. She got really upset and didn't know what to do so she had her son (about 4 at the time) leave the voice message and stopped answering her phone. Then she got a letter with a court appearance and freaked out.

I told her how to handle it in court. I told her when her case came up, not to admit that the debt was hers and instead to say she was fairly sure she didn't owe and she'd like proof that she did. I figured at the least it would allow her to stall for more time and probably settle for a much smaller payment.

On court day, she arrived to find that this debt collection company had booked the court room for the entire day and every case there was for debt they had purchased from some company. My sister was low on the list and had to sit through case after case. In each case before her, the person sued admitted to the debt and was told by the judge to go out into the hall and reach a settlement with the collector's agents. When they got to my sister, she did as I advised. The judge turned to the collector and said "Do you have proof that this debt is hers?" The collector hemmed and hawed and finally admitted to having no real documentation of the debt. The judge told him he was dismissing the case and not to bring it back to his court until he could prove my sister owed the debt. She expected documents or something in the mail after that but she never got anything. And she was the only person in the court room that day who had her case thrown out.


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Posts: 4075 | Registered: Sep 2005
Mousse242
Member
Member # 6330
Default  Posted: 5:25 PM, April 16th (Tuesday)

Regardless of the outcome, report this all to the Attorney General and the BBB. Now.

Posts: 5473 | Registered: Jan 2005 | From: Chicago
Fireball72
Member
Member # 20152
Default  Posted: 7:06 PM, April 16th (Tuesday)

Collection agencies are the absolute scourge of the earth. They will say anything, do anything, try anything to scare the crap out of you - because, hey, they want their money.

I had a debt that was run up by my now XH that I had been paying on, but apparently not fast enough to suit them, so they "sold" it to a collection agency, who then proceeded to call day and night - at my work, my home, my mobile, everywhere and anywhere they thought they could get me. What they don't know is that I don't answer phone calls that say "Unknown" or a number I don't recognize. Usually I'll Google the number - sure enough, it almost always said collection agency. Over the course of 7 years (yes, I said YEARS), they tried to make me pay this debt, even going so far as to actually sue me for it. 7 years later, I KNEW it had been sold several times over - see, after a certain period of time, it's all written off and it'll get passed from one scumbucket to the next.

Suit dismissed. They couldn't back up their statements and the statute of limitations had passed anyway.

I don't and WON'T deal with collection agencies. If I owe money, fine - I will pay the ORIGINAL creditor and no one else. These people trade on fear. Don't let them scare you.

By the way - DON'T accept 'reduced' offers for debt, even if it's years later. If you do, it actually REACTIVATES the original debt's statute of limitations and you'll be stuck again fighting these idiots.


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Posts: 602 | Registered: Jul 2008 | From: The Chesapeake Bay
Topic Posts: 47