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What to tell collection agency about letter for another person mailed to me?

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  • What to tell collection agency about letter for another person mailed to me?

    I accidentally opened up a letter that was addressed for someone else to my address (somewhat - it had an apartment at my house, which is ridiculous as my house has always been a detached single unit), and ironically, it was a letter from a collection agency. I have absolutely no idea who this person is - probably a renter from a long time ago before my home went into foreclosure (and then purchased by the person who renovated it and sold it to me.) Reading a collection letter got me thinking that I could sue the collection agency, until I saw the low dollar amount (I never had a defaulted balance this low) and then double checked that it was someone else's name. Or maybe the collection agency was hoping that I would accidentally pay the amount somehow, as I would know that I had defaulted earlier?

    Anyway, I suppose that I should ca;; the collection agency and say that I am the owner of the residence at the address and NOT give my name (if they want to, they can check the county clerk for my name ), but I want to make sure they don't clutter up my mailbox again, so I want to be as forceful as possible. What do you think I should do? If I tell them to stop sending me letters, can I sue them if they continue, etc.?

    As for the collection letter itself ...

    One part says, "Because of the age of your debt, we will not sue you for it and we will not report it to any credit reporting agency". Is this a bald-faced lie? I am thinking that the debtor just has not done anything about the debt, including not filing for BK, and this is a zombie debt buyer - the name is Midland Credit Management Fingerhut, Portfolio Recovery Associates, "We're giving debt collection a good name" (yeah, right!)

    (Using round numbers) the amount is $400, and there is an offer to pay it in 1 payment for $80, or $17/mo for 6 months, or "as little as $25/mo", in which the "account will be considered 'Paid in full' once the account reaches a zero balance." It seems that the last option is for worse than even the middle option, so why would it be offered? Methinks that this collection agency is somehow playing a game to be able re-establish the account to try to extend the time limit to sue?

  • #2
    just close the letter and return it to the post office as incorrect address, if the letter is not yours.
    8/4/2008 MAKE SURE AND VISIT Tobee's Blogs! http://www.bkforum.com/blog.php?32727-tobee43 and all are welcome to bk forum's Florida State Questions and Answers on BK http://www.bkforum.com/group.php?groupid=9

    Comment


    • #3
      Mark it "return to sender". Not here and go on with your life...

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by joshuagraham View Post

        One part says, "Because of the age of your debt, we will not sue you for it and we will not report it to any credit reporting agency". Is this a bald-faced lie? I am thinking that the debtor just has not done anything about the debt, including not filing for BK, and this is a zombie debt buyer - the name is Midland Credit Management Fingerhut, Portfolio Recovery Associates, "We're giving debt collection a good name" (yeah, right!)

        (Using round numbers) the amount is $400, and there is an offer to pay it in 1 payment for $80, or $17/mo for 6 months, or "as little as $25/mo", in which the "account will be considered 'Paid in full' once the account reaches a zero balance." It seems that the last option is for worse than even the middle option, so why would it be offered? Methinks that this collection agency is somehow playing a game to be able re-establish the account to try to extend the time limit to sue?
        That is exactly what they are trying to do.

        And yes, when a debt is beyond the statute of limitations, once a debt is so old that it is time-barred, it is very unlikely for them to sue over it.

        And yes, when a debt gets beyond the 7 year SOL for credit reporting agencies, they can no longer put it on a person's credit report legally.

        All of my old debts have fallen off my credit reports, and I once again have a clean credit report.

        Carefully, tape the envelop back up, and put the words "RETURN TO SENDER. NO SUCH PERSON AT THIS ADDRESS" and hand it to your mailman, and tell him you opened it by mistake.
        The world's simplest C & D Letter:
        "I demand that you cease and desist from any communication with me."
        Notice that I never actually mention or acknowledge the debt in my letter.

        Comment


        • #5
          I just called up and said that there is no person at my address with that name, and they said they would not send me any more letters.

          As for the USPS, even when I say to not send me letters addressed to others, they still send them to me.

          Comment


          • #6
            again, if you get another, don't open it, and write on the front no person at this address return to sender. if they keep sending them just burn them.
            8/4/2008 MAKE SURE AND VISIT Tobee's Blogs! http://www.bkforum.com/blog.php?32727-tobee43 and all are welcome to bk forum's Florida State Questions and Answers on BK http://www.bkforum.com/group.php?groupid=9

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by joshuagraham View Post
              I just called up and said that there is no person at my address with that name, and they said they would not send me any more letters.

              As for the USPS, even when I say to not send me letters addressed to others, they still send them to me.
              I was getting collection letters sent to my mailbox for a previous resident, and in my experience, writing the words "Return To Sender. No such person at this address." in bold letters across the front of the envelop was very effective. I always tried at first to personally hand it to the mailman and tell him that the person did not live here with me. That usually worked, but if not, I would simply put the letter back into the mail system, by dropping it off at my local post office, and then that always got their attention and the letters stopped coming to me.

              As for phone calls, were they already calling you on that phone number? If not, you may have unwittingly given them your phone number and now associated it with that address and that account number. If they don't already have my phone number, I never call them. If they already have it--if they're already calling me, then that's another matter. In that case, I then send them a cease and desist letter to stop calling my phone number. I look up their website and go to their "contact us" information and find their email address and fire off a cease and desist letter for that phone number, and of course, tell them that they have the wrong phone number.
              The world's simplest C & D Letter:
              "I demand that you cease and desist from any communication with me."
              Notice that I never actually mention or acknowledge the debt in my letter.

              Comment


              • #8
                Honestly, if you are not the responsible party in the letter, I don't understand why you are expending any effort on this. Debts are owed by people, not physical addresses or telephone numbers. I see no reason why they wouldn't comply with your request to stop misdirecting someone else's mail to your house but even if they don't, I don't see what your harm is. Recycle it and move on.
                4/2010 - Filed Chapter 7 no asset case w/car reaffirm
                5/2010 - 341 meeting, no creditors present
                10/2010 - Reaffirm finally approved and case discharged the same day

                Comment


                • #9
                  To the OP, and everyone else in this thread: Do NOT ever open up mis-directed mail addressed to someone else and attempt to answer it. That is a felony to start with, and can cause you to *own* this debt, which is what you are worrying about in the first place.

                  Any such mail should be returned to the Post Office, with the unopened front plainly marked: 'No Such Person At This Address'. Or, if the envelope WAS opened, put everything back as closely to original as you can, seal it, and put on the front: "Opened in Error. No such person at this address. Return to Sender."

                  You are not obliged to do anything else. Any subsequent mailings should be tossed into File 13, or the Circular File, and otherwise ignored.

                  ``signed AC, aka the Postmaster's Daughter
                  Last edited by AngelinaCat; 11-16-2012, 02:07 AM.
                  "To go bravely forward is to invite a miracle."

                  "Worry is the darkroom where negatives are formed."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by nceguyfromne View Post
                    Honestly, if you are not the responsible party in the letter, I don't understand why you are expending any effort on this. Debts are owed by people, not physical addresses or telephone numbers. I see no reason why they wouldn't comply with your request to stop misdirecting someone else's mail to your house but even if they don't, I don't see what your harm is. Recycle it and move on.
                    Exactly!!! When I receive mail addressed to past tenants from long ago, I toss it in the round file cabinet. I've lived here for almost 6 years, and I still periodically get junk mail for people from decades past. (Of course, when I receive mail intended for another apartment #, then I place it in the forwarding box if it's a letter, or deliver it to the correct person if it's a package.)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Funny story. My parents aren't quite elderly but they're getting close. Suffice it to say, they are from the 'landline generation', when your home phone was as much 'yours' as your driver's license. I, myself, have not had a home phone in about 7 years but anyway, this thread immediately reminded me of my parents, especially after my divorce when the skip tracer calls started rolling in for my ex. It took me a good couple years to convince them, my mother especially, that the collectors were not going to reach through the phone line and grab their checkbook. I would hear these stories about how my father would go into these long, protracted rants that they no longer had contact with her.
                      4/2010 - Filed Chapter 7 no asset case w/car reaffirm
                      5/2010 - 341 meeting, no creditors present
                      10/2010 - Reaffirm finally approved and case discharged the same day

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by nceguyfromne View Post
                        Honestly, if you are not the responsible party in the letter, I don't understand why you are expending any effort on this. Debts are owed by people, not physical addresses or telephone numbers. I see no reason why they wouldn't comply with your request to stop misdirecting someone else's mail to your house but even if they don't, I don't see what your harm is. Recycle it and move on.

                        Ah yes, but you will find many stories from people on the internet where they unwittingly answered the phone when a debt collector called for the previous owner of the phone, and even after telling the debt collector to stop calling them, they kept receiving phone calls from the debt collector for sometimes months or even years. If you don't put it in writing-- by sending them a cease and desist communications letter-- they will often keep calling for that previous owner of the phone.

                        And once a debt collection letter comes in the mail, it is the beginning of the collection process. Eventually, they will probably do some skip-tracing and use their database and get the phone number associated with that address. So, they will probably eventually start calling you on the phone for this previous occupant, and your phone number will be associated with that person, and you will get collection calls for them.

                        So, it is best to head it off at the pass.

                        I had someone calling my pay as you go cell phone asking for someone named Frank, and they called and called and called, until I sent them an email telling them to stop calling me and that I do not even know who Frank is, and that they have the wrong phone number. Telling them on the phone to stop calling me had no effect.

                        It has to be in writing.

                        I guess it's no big deal if you don't mind getting calls from debt collectors asking for someone you don't even know.
                        The world's simplest C & D Letter:
                        "I demand that you cease and desist from any communication with me."
                        Notice that I never actually mention or acknowledge the debt in my letter.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by AngelinaCat View Post
                          To the OP, and everyone else in this thread: Do NOT ever open up mis-directed mail addressed to someone else and attempt to answer it. That is a felony to start with, and can cause you to *own* this debt, which is what you are worrying about in the first place.

                          Any such mail should be returned to the Post Office, with the unopened front plainly marked: 'No Such Person At This Address'. Or, if the envelope WAS opened, put everything back as closely to original as you can, seal it, and put on the front: "Opened in Error. No such person at this address. Return to Sender."

                          You are not obliged to do anything else. Any subsequent mailings should be tossed into File 13, or the Circular File, and otherwise ignored.

                          ``signed AC, aka the Postmaster's Daughter

                          I think this is as succinct as it can be. If the MAIL is not addressed to you, it's not yours. Phone calls to your phone number are a different matter.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by GoingDown View Post
                            Ah yes, but you will find many stories from people on the internet where they unwittingly answered the phone when a debt collector called for the previous owner of the phone, and even after telling the debt collector to stop calling them, they kept receiving phone calls from the debt collector for sometimes months or even years. If you don't put it in writing-- by sending them a cease and desist communications letter-- they will often keep calling for that previous owner of the phone.

                            And once a debt collection letter comes in the mail, it is the beginning of the collection process. Eventually, they will probably do some skip-tracing and use their database and get the phone number associated with that address. So, they will probably eventually start calling you on the phone for this previous occupant, and your phone number will be associated with that person, and you will get collection calls for them.

                            So, it is best to head it off at the pass.
                            I get it. I do. I certainly wouldn't want to deal with unwanted calls all day either but if it were to become that much of a problem, my solution would be to simply change my phone number (some providers will do it for free if you tell them you're being harassed) rather than investing a bunch of time writing C&D letters. Knock on wood, I've had my cell phone number for 8 years, through a divorce and Chapter 7, and it's never come to that. The only time I ever had any sort of issue was when I had Comcast Voice service(quite possibly the world's biggest spam magnet) and my ex-wife's debt collectors were rather eager to track her down. I even had one skip tracer with a heavy Texas accent leaving me voicemails claiming I'd find out what happens to car thieves after my ex skipped out on her auto loan and stashed the car. Mind you, my name wasn't even on the loan.

                            What I have taken away from these experiences is to 1) not have a landline and 2) not give my phone number to people I don't know. I have a Google Voice number that serves as my "number of record" for third parties. Oddly enough, that very rarely gets junk calls either.
                            4/2010 - Filed Chapter 7 no asset case w/car reaffirm
                            5/2010 - 341 meeting, no creditors present
                            10/2010 - Reaffirm finally approved and case discharged the same day

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Pjmax View Post
                              I think this is as succinct as it can be. If the MAIL is not addressed to you, it's not yours. Phone calls to your phone number are a different matter.
                              I think there might be some confusion here...

                              No one is suggesting that anyone open mail not addressed to them.

                              In fact, I said to write on the outside of the envelop: "Return to Sender. No such person at this address." And then either hand it to your mailman or put it back in at a post office.

                              Doing that every time will eventually get them to stop sending the mail to your address, and it will head it off at the pass. It will prevent the debt collector from thinking they have the right address for the unknown debtor and prevent them from associating your phone number with the unknown debtor.

                              However, if it is too late for that, and they are already calling your phone number asking for some unknown debtor, the best way to get them to stop calling you is to do a google search on the phone number that called you, find the debt collector's website, look up their contact information, find their email address and send them a cease and desist letter by email, stating that they have the wrong phone number, and instructing them to never call you again. Since they don't already know who you are at this point, make sure you don't give them your real name.

                              I would word it like this...

                              [Today's Date]

                              To [Debt Collector]

                              I have been receiving phone calls from [Debt Collector's Phone Number as listed on your caller I.D.] and asking for some unknown person called [person's name they are asking for when they call you]. I did not know this person. I am not related to them, and they do not live with me, nor have anything to do with me. I demand that you cease and desist from any communication with me. I demand that you never call my phone number, [your phone number], ever again.


                              And that is all I would say. I would not give them any additional information. This letter has worked for me in the past on several occasions.
                              The world's simplest C & D Letter:
                              "I demand that you cease and desist from any communication with me."
                              Notice that I never actually mention or acknowledge the debt in my letter.

                              Comment

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