I closed my account with Alltel a.k.a. Windstream phone company in Feb. of '06. I inadvertently failed to pay a final amount owed of $52.30 of which Alltel notified me of. I contacted Alltel and they initially told me the debt appeared to be paid. Then I received a letter from a collection agency, AllianceOne, 1684 Woodlands Dr. Ste 150 Maumee Oh. 43537.
The letter stated my account had been referred to our office for Collections.
They listed Alltel Wireline Ky WCB6 as their "Client". I once again called Alltel and spoke with a representative who advised their records showed it in fact had been turned over to AllianceOne for collection.
On 06-01-06 I made arrangements directly with AllianceOne giving them my debit card # to directly withdraw the amount of $52.30 from my checking account. This amount according to my bank statement cleared on 06-02-06 and was paid according to the bank statement to AllianceOne in Exton Pa. on the same date.
Keep in mind this was paid on 06-02-06. I check my credit report on a yearly basis and did so on 01-12-07. Guess what I found! AllianceOne had reported an unsettled debt to all three credit bureaus,(Experian, Equifax and Transunion) in the amount of $52.00! They even reported the same account number they had for me for the Alltel account!
I had to file a dispute with the credit bureaus to have it removed. I heard nothing more of this until Aug. of this year ('07) when I received a letter from yet another collection agency, Asset Acceptance LLC, P.O. Box 2039 Warren, Mi 48090-2039. They too were attempting to collect a debt (in a new amount of $55.04) that they had "purchased". They also indicated my account had been purchased from Windstream F.K.A. Alltel.
I faxed Asset Acceptance my bank statement reflecting the amount AllianceOne had collected and they corresponded back stating they would need further confirmation (a letter)indicating the amount had been paid in full to whom and when etc.
Then began the nightmare of trying to contact AllianceOne. I left messages got constant busy signals until today, 10-19-07. I spoke with a supervisor, Carlos , at 1-800-661-1353, in Maume, Oh.
I reached him after being transferred from an original phone number listed for their agency of 1-877-480-5110, who advised me they did not handle Alltel/Windstream accounts. "Carlos", if that's even his real name, was called to the phone by another "representative who yelled for him that a caller was requesting a supervisor before they effectively muted the phone.
Was I even really talking with someone in Maumee, Oh.? Carlos pulled up the account number I gave him. I didn't immediately start complaining. I told him I was calling regarding an old account. Once he pulled it up he verified my name and the account number and the original "client" Alltel.
He then tried to tell me that his location did not handle Alltel accounts. (How does he have the account if his office doesn't handle them?) He stated they handle Windstream. I had to tell him it was the same company. I told him I had my bank financial statement reflecting the account had been paid in full. He advised his records showed the account to be still outstanding.
Once I told him if I had to I would get the Federal Trade Commission and an attorney involved , he told me to fax my bank statement to 1-866-661-3105. I read the information on my bank statement to ensure it would be enough info. for his company.
He confirmed it would be. I then asked him when I would receive a letter from his company confirming the debt had been settled once it was confirmed so. He advised 1 to 5 business days.(I'll bet that doesn't happen). He assured me once his company confirmed payment was made that they would contact Alltel in writing and advise the company that the debt was satisfied (my letter from them will reflect this as well). I won't hold my breath.
From there I called Asset Acceptance LLC and asked about the amount they were attempting to collect($55.04). Again I didn't begin divulging my complaint, I just asked him to explain the amount owed. He advised sometimes a %4 increase was added to the original amount owed after the account sits unpaid for a few months and this is tacked on by the original debtor (in this case Windstream). Hmmm, 4% added onto $52.30, that would be $54.39. Anyway, I asked him who he purchased my account from and on what date it was purchased. He advised from Windstream and that it was "received" on 08-13-07. I then explained to him the situation with AllianceOne and that I was corresponding with his Collection dept. in getting this settled. He then tried to settle the account with me for the low,low price of $41.20. He assured that the account would then be taken care of today and that I would receive correspondence within 21 days confirming this and unlike other "smaller companies" his company would keep this confirmation on file "indefinately". What!? He could not confirm for me that a letter confirming the amount was paid in full on what date from the other debt collection agency would suffice their company either.
Just to be sure I then contacted Alltel again this date and spoke with a lady in their financial dept. who advised their records only show for my account that it was "written off" on 04-27-06. Which means that it was turned over to AllianceOne for collection. (AllianceOne did not purchase the account they were attempting to collect on behalf of Alltel).
The representative advised they never received correspondence from AllianceOne, like they're suppose to do, indicating the debt had been paid in full. Because of this my account was sold to Asset Acceptance on 08-13-07. So, I suspect this means that if I don't get a confirmation letter from AllianceOne so that I can send it to Asset Acceptance I can't get it from Alltel either!
Which leaves me to pay the amount again to Asset Acceptance! Over my dead body! If any of you have had this happen to you do not settle with these debt collectors again and again. Fight it tooth and nail! No matter what the amount. Can you imagine how much these companies make doing this crap!! Shame on AllianceOne. They haven't heard the last of me. It should never be the consumer's fault that a debt collection agency has poor documentation practices (or is it just plain old rip off American comsumer practices? I will definately post the outcome of this situation. Hopefully it will help anyone who reads it.