- Report: #184368
Report - Rebuttal - Arbitrate
Complaint Review: ARS
ARS - Orchard Bank's Collection Agency Ripoff illegal and unethical collection practices Internet
*General Comment: ARS? who are they
*Consumer Comment: Free Advice
I have had a credit card from Orchard Bank for a few years now. When I lost my job, I fell behind, and they referred my account to collections with ARS. However, I am still recieving statements from Orchard complete with minimum payment and due date, and in the fine print (which I did not notice until today) it says to contact ARS for payments. ARS does not send me anything.
I used part of my tax return to get caught up. My payment due was $480, due on March 16. I paid $500 on Feb 27 through Orchard's website. This payment credited properly, even though I did not go through ARS. My next statement said my minimum payment was $17, due April 16. I scheduled a $40 payment for April 3.
Today, March 31, ARS calls me at work telling me that since I did not make a March payment and I have not paid in over 30 days, I would be charged a $28 "interest rate" if I did not post a payment today and pay the balance off in 30 days. I don't make much money, and I am paying down several credit cards, so I can't afford to pay it off in 30 days. I explained this to the lady on the phone and she said something about a settlement that she couldn't offer, then changed the subject. She kept going on about how my deadline is today, so I pulled up my statement online and told her it said April 16. She said my account is no longer with Orchard, it is with ARS, and they require a payment every 30 days. I asked her why I am getting statements from Orchard and nothing from ARS, and she had no answer for me.
I finally gave in and canceled the online payment I had scheduled and gave her my account information for a check by phone. When she was reading back my information, she said the charge would be $44.50. I stopped her and told her I was paying $40 even, not $44.50, and she explained that there was a charge for the check by phone service. I told her I refused to pay it, because paying online is free. She told me again that my due date is today, not the 16th, and I had to do a check by phone or Western Union in order to get it there today. I told her the only way I would do a check by phone is if she waived the fee, and she refused. I told her to cancel the payment, because I was not going to pay the fee. She again brought up the $28 "interest rate." I asked her to explain, because interest rates are percentages, not flat fees. I told her I am already at a 23.4% penalty rate. Was it going up to 28% or were they going to charge me a $28 fee? She could not explain, but she insisted I make a payment and pay their ridiculous fees. I told her again to cancel the check by phone, and I hung up.
I called back a few minutes later and spoke to a supervisor (I forgot to write down her name) I explained to her what had happened with the other lady, and I said that I refused to be penalized for paying early, because if I had made that $500 payment two days later, I would not be having this problem. I also told her I am not paying one penny of their fees, because they were the ones who screwed up by not even attempting to tell me that my due date had changed. She insisted that I never made my March payment, that the $500 was my February one, and that I had no choice but to pay their fees. I asked her what incentive I have to pay through them when I could go to Orchard's website and pay for free, and my account still credits properly. She said "You wanna do that? Go ahead." and she hung up on me.
After I calmed down a bit, I called Orchard to tell them to get my account back from collections, because I refuse to deal with the collection agency. I spoke to Ollie, she told me that once the account is referred to collections, they cannot interact with the customer until it is paid off and sent back to Orchard. However, she confirmed that my next due date is the 16th of April, and that the collection company cannot assess any fees against me or change my due date, because that is Orchard's prerogative. I thanked her, and rescheduled my payment that ARS told me to cancel.
If ARS tries to charge me for the check by phone that they were supposed to cancel, or for the $28 fee that they have no right to charge, I will report them to the Better Business Bureau. If they refuse to make it right, I will call a lawyer.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/31/2006 06:46 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/ARS/internet/ARS-Orchard-Banks-Collection-Agency-Ripoff-illegal-and-unethical-collection-practices-I-184368. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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