Debt collection is a multi million dollar business. They utilize call centers that may work for many different companies and often the debt collector calling you has minimal information about you or the company, they are simply doing their job and trying to get a debt paid for the company. You can learn to play this to your advantage with a few simple techniques.
Demand verification that you owe the bill. With the turnover of so many collection agencies in this day and age, many agencies no longer have the verification that you owe the bill. If they can’t provide you with written copies of the bill owed, be very skeptical and refuse to pay until you have written verification. There are many scams out there, don’t be a part of one and be wise in handling your debt.
If you have never had an account with the company it is imperative to tell the debt collector this information immediately. Some debt collectors have a script that they read from and you may have to interrupt their reading from this script but that is okay. If you do not and have never had an account with said company it needs to be pointed out immediately.
Never pay a bill you do not owe. It could be a scam or you may simply lose your money forever. If you don’t owe the bill make sure you never give out any banking or credit card information. Make the caller give you the social security number and your full name and address to verify who they are. You can then verify if they have the correct information instead of giving it to them.
Always verify the callers name and position with the company. Write this information down in case you need to refer back to it. Get as much information regarding the account as you are able, be sure to include numbers to contact the company with as well. Write all of this information down. This should include account numbers, dates the account was opened and the charges were made, even the mailing address on the account if you are able to get that information.
If you are not able to get anywhere with the caller, ask to speak to a supervisor. If they refuse to allow you to speak with a supervisor get as much information as you can including a number you can call them back at in case you have more questions. Find out what hours they are available and call back during different hours or on a different day and try to get a supervisor.
Give the supervisor all of the information you know thus far including the name and position of the original debt collector that called you. Sometimes this can be a scam so you may find out you were being scammed and glad that you did not pay said “debt”.
With identity theft so rampant in this day and age it is quite possible someone has stolen your identity and you need to check your other accounts and be prepared to go through this again a few times with other companies.
Send the company a certified letter stating that you have never had an account with their company and ask them to please remove this bad debt from your credit report. Send a letter to all 3 of the credit reporting agencies and ask that it be placed in your credit report. This will help you later down the road when you are indeed applying for credit or a loan.
Be prepared to battle this to the end. It may take you up to six months or even a year depending on the company to get this straightened out. In the mean time, keep detailed notes in a notebook and keep it near the phone so that you can state that you spoke with “Bob on such and such date and the account was considered resolved”. Companies don’t always flag their files and since they are often using call centers your calls may not always come from the same call center. Its easy for them to “forget” to press a key and thus you are still considered the debtor.
When you receive a bill in the mail from such companies keep copies of those with your phone notes too. Consider filing a police report. You won’t necessarily get any results but if the company can see that you are serious that you do not owe said debt often they will drop the debt.
When someone from a call center or higher up in the company tells you the debt has been expunged from your record, ask them to please send you a letter stating such or a billing statement with the amount of $0 clearly shown on it. Keep this for your future records and send a copy of the statement to all 3 of the credit reporting agencies to be included in your credit report
With persistence and good record keeping you will be able to stop this from happening. In the future you can do several things to prevent this from happening again. If you know you will never use said company in your life time you can tell them to flag your name and social security number and never ever allow an account to be opened with either. You can also put a password on your accounts that you do use and will be able to prove that you have all your accounts pass worded so it couldn’t be your account without a password. Companies can verify this with credit reporting agencies etc. and that will back up your claim.