Forum Rules (Everyone Must Read!!!) (updated: 04/28/2015)

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My first collections call...

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  • My first collections call...

    We've not defaulted on anything that we are aware of, but recently out of the blue we got a collections call from an 877 # that shows up on Google on a couple of sites as an unidentified debt collector.

    We're actually curious what debt this is because thus far we've paid all of our bills. Based on my reading here, I think the rules of the game are:

    - don't acknowledge the debt
    - request proof in writing of the debt

    That's it, right?

  • #2
    If it's not your debt, and the collection agency is merely calling you in error, then there's not a whole lot they can do to you besides make your phone ring. It's not as if they are going to sue you because a person who owes money previously had your phone #. Therefore, you have nothing to lose by answering the phone, and telling the person that "I am not [name of person you're looking for], and I don't know who this person is".


    • #3
      We found out today it IS our debt, an emergency room bill we had been waiting for but never received. Well, we had received the anesthesiologist's bill which arrived within two weeks, which we paid promptly. But I never saw another bill after that, and just assumed like so many of my past medical bills, that it was coming anytime. They never called us either. (I've gotten big bills a year and a half after the visit before.)

      So now what do we do? The collections agency mentioned the address was incorrect (which is odd given the fact that we got the first bill) and they're sending us the bill. This is on my spouse's credit, which is nearly 700, so how can I make sure it gets removed? I don't want to just pay the agency and then have this major ding left on the credit report.

      Do I call the hospital and arrange payments or?


      • #4
        I would absolutely NOT pay a penny unless I was assured that the negative credit reporting would be removed. Having a collections account updated to "paid" is no better than an "unpaid" one.

        I suppose the next step is to contact the hospital and see if they can remove the account from collections status, and ask the collection agency to remove the negative credit entries. If they can't or won't agree to that, then the next step is to contact the collection agency and ask for a WRITTEN AGREEMENT that upon payment in full of this debt, the collection account will be deleted from your credit report. Make it very clear that the agreement MUST arrive in your mailbox BEFORE any money will be paid. If they refuse, or try to bully you into making a payment by phone immediately, then terminate the conversation.


        • #5
          It really all boils down to if you are planning to file or not.
          I guess you are still debating?

          Keep On Smilin'


          • #6

            I don't see anything in the OP's posts that indicate he is even CONSIDERING bankruptcy at this point. If the hospital bill is their only debt, and it sounds like that's the case, then bankruptcy would be a bad idea unless we're talking tens of thousands of dollars.


            • #7
              Hi bcohen,

              I agree, but I read this thread before responding, which sounded like BK was a possible consideration:

              don't know if OP is still considering it or not.....

              Keep On Smilin'


              • #8
                Good question. I was considering filing, but I had not investigated whether my wife had to also file. I opened the CC accounts but she also had cards in her name. Does that mean she will have to file as well since she also purchased things using the cards?

                I think I've been avoiding the reality of filing for way too long. It just makes me sick to confront it, yet here I am with a family of four and we have $1.46 left in the bank to last us several days, and no savings.


                • #9
                  Did you ever consult with any attorneys? First consults are usually free.

                  I'm not an expert, but I believe CA is a community property state, which could pose some problems for DW.


                  • #10
                    Thanks. I will consult an attorney. If I do file it's going to be swift. I can't handle being hounded and called and having friends/family/work being contacted about me.


                    • #11
                      If you answer the phone and let them know they are contacting you, they shouldn't call family, friends or work. If they call you at work, tell them you are not allowed to receive collection calls at work. When I did that, my creditors confirmed they had my current home info and complied with my request.
                      LadyInTheRed is in the black!
                      Filed Chap 13 April 2010. Discharged May 2015.
                      $143,000 in debt discharged for $36,500, including attorneys fees. Money well spent!


                      • #12
               called by our auto leasing company today. I was 27 days late on a payment and had no idea. Is this what happens--your brains get so frazzled that you end up forgetting to pay things that you actually meant to, and could have? The stress is making me senile.

                        Oh well, at least they were polite.


                        • #13
                          Sounds like you will be a candidate for bk. California has pretty generous exemptions btw, so chances are you come out smelling like a rose.
                          At any rate...maybe you want to finally stop paying on those unsecured bills. Save your sanity. Turn off your phone or get Google Voice. Make a running list of bills you must pay (car, mortgage) and keep it where you can see it. You've been here a while now and hopefully have been reading up; if not then .... get to it man!

                          Stop throwing money down the toilet paying bills that will be discharged. Seriously. They aren't going to call your neighbors right away. First they will try to woo you back. You have time.

                          Keep On Smilin'


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by keepsmiling View Post
                            Sounds like you will be a candidate for bk. California has pretty generous exemptions btw, so chances are you come out smelling like a rose.
                            At any rate...maybe you want to finally stop paying on those unsecured bills. Save your sanity. Turn off your phone or get Google Voice. Make a running list of bills you must pay (car, mortgage) and keep it where you can see it. You've been here a while now and hopefully have been reading up; if not then .... get to it man!

                            Stop throwing money down the toilet paying bills that will be discharged. Seriously. They aren't going to call your neighbors right away. First they will try to woo you back. You have time.
                            Yes, I agree with this.

                            Stop paying those bills and start saving that money up for a bankruptcy attorney so you can file bk as soon as possible.

                            Any payments you make now for a debt that will be discharged in bk is a waste of money.
                            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.


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