On Sunday, February 24th, my mom handed me a letter that came to her post office box from a company called CBCS. I opened the letter and it seems to be sold to them from a company called Resurgent Capital Services with the original creditor being Sprint Communications Company L.P. for the amount of $271.76 however they were willing to accept 50% of the debt, offering a settlement of $135.88.
The first thing that came to my mind was "Wow I have had the same address for the last 5 or so years and this is the first time I'm seeing this and its a settlement letter?" - Suspicious. Let it be known that this is the first time I have ever heard of me having any Sprint account other than my Sprint cell phone which sits in front of me as I write this and I have had this phone for more than 1 year now and the bill is current and always has been. I figured since it was Sunday CBCS would be closed so all I got was their voicemail stating to call back at normal business hours.
I contacted Sprint collections department and they found no such record and advised me that the letter had to be a misprint. I told the Sprint rep that I would just call this CBCS tomorrow.
On February 25th, 2008, I called CBCS and got this really nice person who says she has to verify and update the information they have on file for me. I wasn't born yesterday so I just confirmed all the same information they already had on the letter- I didn't even correct the post office box address from my mom. I gave them no new information other than my prepaid cell phone number which is apart from my actual cell phone (I have two cell phones). The prepaid cell phone I have stays off intentionally so they get rolled to a voicemail and I check that voicemail box whenever I see fit; I'm not going to give out my real cell phone number offering the invitation for them to call me 20 times a day.
But anyway, I asked her could she provide more information on the account. I asked her was it a cell phone account, long distance, calling card, etc ... what kind of Sprint service was it? The rep replied it was a land line service from February of 1997. I replied 1997? I told the rep I'm sure I have had no land line Sprint service in 1997 or ever. I told her that in 1997 the only carrier in my city was Bell Atlantic and that was the *only* carrier anyone could have service with until they got bought out by Verizon and only then did other telephone carriers pop up but that wasnt until after 2000. I asked her what phone number was the service for? She replied she does not have that information. (mkay) I asked her what address was the service located at and she replied that she does not have that information either. She said all she has is the last billable address. I asked her what address she had and the address she gave me was for an old apartment I had 8 years ago back in 2000. I informed her well that cannot be the address the service was at because I did not move into that apartment until October of 2000.
The CBCS rep asked what phone service I had there. I told her I had Cavalier Telephone which is a 3rd party that leases the telephone lines from Verizon. (silence) She then asked if I had co-signed for anyone? I told her I have never co-signed for anyone in my life. I informed her that Sprint didn't even carry land line service in my area at that time. I then told the CBCS rep that I had called Sprint regarding the debt and they had no record (Now that I know that the account is 11 years old, Sprint would not have had the account in their systems anymore anyways. I believe they purge all that stuff after 7 years or even less).
She then provided me a fax number of 1-866-291-7413 and advised me to call Sprint back and have them fax verification of there being no account and that was the end of the call.
I called Sprint's Embarq department (their land line service) and asked to speak to their collections department and I spoke to a rep and repeated the whole ordeal to him about the letter I got from CBCS. The rep asked the phone number I was calling for and I told him that CBCS could not provide a phone number of service. He then asked for the address the service was installed at, I told him that CBCS could not provide that either. The Sprint rep laughed. He then suggested that I call CBCS back and request I speak to a supervisor and put the Sprint collections department on 3-way with them. Soooooo I called CBCS back and asked to speak to a supervisor ... and that's when I hit the dead zone.
I got nothing but dead air for about 15 minutes when the rep transferred me. I kept saying "hello" but no answer. I eventually hung up because now I was burning my prepaid minutes ( I dare not call them from my home phone or my main cell phone number). I was trying to do all this on my lunch break at work so I waited until later and I called Sprint back.
This time I got a Sprint rep lady who sounded like she really didnt give a s**t. She said there was no account on record just as the other Sprint rep had said. Then she told me just dispute the letter in writing within 30 days and theyll be forced to validate the debt with Sprint. End of call.
So at this time thats where I stand. Today February 27th, 2008 I have wrote CBCS a certified letter requiring a signature of reciept disputing the debt and if they try to go outside othe FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) to sue me for it, I'd tell the court that the debt is not mine and its outside the Statute of Limitations for Virginia, which is 3 years.
It seems to me based on my phone call to CBCS, they have nothing to go on but your name and address and they hope that you call hang yourself with your own words with a recorded phone call. It's like they are scavenging for information and trying to get information from *you* where they are unable to obtain themselves otherwise. I know for sure I have never had any Sprint service other than the cell phone I've got at this time. I am thinking its very possible someone, that I may be unaware of, or someone I dont even know, may have obtained enough information about me to either open a Sprint land line service in my name or used my name and forged a co-sign. I don't have any friends or family that I know would do that, but just think of all the times I've filled out applications for stuff; there is no telling who's hands my information landed across; how do I know the cashier at Macy*s doesnt put my application for a Macy*s credit card in her purse and then go apply for something? It can happen to anyone.
I dont think that CBCS is a scam. But I do think that CBCS is just a "bottom of the barrel" collection agency sending out "official-looking" letters hoping that people are stupid enough to pay on over decades old accounts without researching if its even a valid account first. Says on the BBB site that CBCS and its affiliated companies have been around since 1948. But I don't see them collecting on these old accounts with the Statutes of Limitations in many states is 3-5 years except if they can someone fool you to make a promise to pay over the phone in which yes, they can start the SOL all over again and can sue you for the money. But only someone ignorant I think would make a promise to pay without first researching if its an account they opened.
Based on their web site, they say they collect "aged" accounts for creditors. It's my belief that if this is a valid account that someone opened and put my information on it as a primary or secondary account holder, the account passed through so many collection agencies that they decided that the only info they had was mine and just went by whatever old information they had or mismatched the information with someone elses account. Afterall, they dont care if it was me who opened the account or not. Somehow my information got attached to it, so they contacted me in hopes to collect it but I'm not paying it. It's not mine, I have never had any account as such so they can cry into the wind as far as I'm concerned.
I will keep this report updated.