My husband was contacted by ARA (by letter) in October, 2008. They claimed to have purchased an old Chase Manhattan Bank credit card account (from 1990) and said that he owed 1,713.04. I knew that my husband had filed bankruptcy in 1990 but unfortunately he didn't have a copy of the judgement.
I contacted ARA and told them that if this was actually a valid debt that I was sure it had been included in my husband's 1990 bankruptcy. The man I spoke with told me that he knew that my husband had filed bank. in 1990 and that he was CERTAIN that this debt was not included. He then proceeded to tell me that unless we paid this debt that ARA would obtain a judgement against us, garnish my husband's wages, put negative marks on our credit, etc., etc.
I was intimidated and told the man that as soon as my husband came home I would talk to him and see what sort of payment arrangements we could work out. In the mean time a liitle voice inside me (GOD) said, "Don't take this at face value. Do your homework." I looked this co. up online and found multiple reports on this website that sounded very familiar to our situation.
I contacted Chase and asked for an archives search (because of the age of the alleged account), which incidentally, I am still waiting to receive the results of :-) I sent a dispute letter to ARA (very important to do within 30 days)
I was getting called by people at ARA every other day for about 2 weeks. They offered us a settlement in the ammount of $1023.00. They said we could make monthly payments of $68.00. I told them they weren't getting squat until they could prove this was a valid debt. Someone from their "legal dept." called me and told me that we only had a very short time to take advantage of their settlement offer before further action would be taken against us.
I decided to order a copy of the 1990 bankruptcy judgement. I almost missed the account. I looked through the list of creditors, no Chase Manhattan Bank. My heart began to sink and just to make sure I decided to go through the list again. I saw an acct. # that looked familiar and ran to get my letter from ARA. Sure enough, there it was, the same acct. #. Now pay attention, this is important..
ARA stated that the account was a CREDIT CARD from Chase Manhattan Bank. The account # on the bankruptcy judgement was a PERSONAL LOAN through a bank in Boston, MA, but the acct. # matched. I could have easily missed it, and almost did.
I contacted ARA immediately and the guy I spoke with couldn't get off the phone fast enough.
If you are ever contacted by this company, DO YOUR HOMEWORK! Don't just look for creditor names on your bank. report, compare acct. numbers. Pay the fee to obtain an old bankruptcy judgment. Mine cost $25.00. It saved me $1700.00
I know I'm going off the beaten path a bit here.. just hear me out. This was a classic case of phishing and I almost took the bait. My husband and I have made our share of financial mistakes in the past and the last thing I wanted was a bad debt hanging out there. I was going to pay this. That small voice I mentioned earlier saved me. If you're not in the habit of talking to Jesus, you won't recognize His voice when he speaks. Get to know Him. He can save your money and more importatntly, He can save your soul.
Do your homework