Get Aggressive And Unreasonable

Adry received a collections notice from a cell phone company, and she can't remember being a customer. Dave tells Adry this debt is going to be a pain.

QUESTION: Adry in Oklahoma City received a collections notice in the mail over the weekend. The bill is from a cell phone company, and she can't remember having this phone number or being a customer. Dave tells Adry this debt is going to be a pain, but he thinks she probably doesn’t owe it.

ANSWER: This is going to be a hassle, but you don't pay it because you probably don't owe it. This is a third-party debt buyer. What that means is Verizon tried to collect the bill, they couldn't, so they sold the debt. Now it's been sold again, which means this company probably paid $30 for this $500 debt. They bought cases and cases of this stuff—were it in paper form. It's probably in electronic form. They just download the whole list, and they don't have documentation. The problem is that you don't owe the money, but making them go away and not attach this to you is going to become a hobby for you. I'm sorry. Because you're not dealing with intelligent life on the other end of the phone, they don't even care if you owe the money. They just want to collect some money.

Here's how the script sounds: "I talked to my financial counselor, and he said that this is a fraudulent debt. I don't owe it. I have no recollection of this phone number. I was not a customer of theirs at this time. Unless you can provide me with my signature on something, I am not going to pay this. You're going to have to prove the debt. The federal law says that for you to continue collecting the debt, you're going to have to prove the debt. Now, let me go ahead and help you, cube dweller, with how this works. If you put this on my credit bureau report as a bad debt, I'm going to sue your company for $10 million for slandering my name, because this is not my debt. You're trying to collect a debt that is not mine, I'm putting you on notice of that fact, I've abided by federal law, and you need to go find the real person, who happens to have the same name but a different phone number. Collect from them. It is not me, and if this shows up on my credit report, I'm coming after you with everything. If you can provide me with written proof with my signature on it that I signed for this bill and this is an account I had open, then I will pay it and only then will I pay it. But to my recollection—to my family's recollection—we were not doing business with that company at that time. We didn't have that phone number at that time. You have the wrong people. Don't call here. Don't mail me stuff. Don't put it on my credit bureau."

Maybe they'll go away, but I doubt it. I'm not worried about you getting sued. They're not going to sue you. They could ding your credit, and that's your biggest issue. I'm going to be very aggressive and very unreasonable with them. Try to make them go away.