• Report: #268114

Complaint Review: Merchant Credit Guide Co. Tries To Collect On A Bogus Acct.

  • Submitted: Thu, August 16, 2007
  • Updated: Sat, August 18, 2007

  • Reported By:Henderson Nevada
Merchant Credit Guide Co. Tries To Collect On A Bogus Acct.
Chicago, Illinois U.S.A.

Merchant Credit Guide Co. Tries To Collect On A Bogus Acct. Scam company! Ripoff Chicago Illinois

*Author of original report: Merchants' Credit Guide Co.

*Consumer Comment: You probably can't get it out of there hands.

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I got a call from "Michelle Ross" today from Merchant Credit Guide Company. The message said that they were a collections agency. My first thought was, I don't owe anyone money." So, I called them back. Of course the original company that "reported" me was not listed on the account because her computer crashed right before I called. Yeah right. She said it was for an account that was opened in Dec. 1992 and closed in Dec. 1995! Umm, that was like 12 years ago. I knew it was a scam because my husband and I have purchased 3 homes since 2000 and had NOTHING on our credit reports. Mine is clean as a whistle. Anyway, they are claiming that my balance when it closed was $549 and is now up to $1235.23. I tole Michelle that I was not paying a dime for an account that I paid 12 years ago. She told me to call back tomorrow and she'd have more info about the account. I will not be calling them back because I know it's a scam. The thing that ticks me off is that they have all my personal information. How do I get that out of their hands???

I'm not worried about them wanting money. They can't get anything from me.

Megan
Henderson, Nevada
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/16/2007 07:32 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Merchant-Credit-Guide-Co-Tries-To-Collect-On-A-Bogus-Acct/Chicago-Illinois/Merchant-Credit-Guide-Co-Tries-To-Collect-On-A-Bogus-Acct-Scam-company-Ripoff-Chicago-I-268114. 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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#1 Author of original report

Merchants' Credit Guide Co.

AUTHOR: Megan - (U.S.A.)

I got an "official" letter from Ken Hughes today. I called the original credit card company that was listed as the company that was "collecting" and they said that it was paid off in 2000. She's sending me a letter stating my account balance is $0 (which is what I thought already). This company is bogus and is trying to suck money out of the dumb people. I'll tell you this, I'm not dumb!!!

My husband and I are reporting this company to the FBI. They are illegally collecting money on debts that have already been paid.

REPORT THESE *&*&*S!!!!
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#2 Consumer Comment

You probably can't get it out of there hands.

AUTHOR: Robert - (U.S.A.)

Sounds to me as they are trying to collect an old debt that has probably been sold and bought.

OK Here's what you can do to force the collection agency to back off and validate the debt:

FIRST - Read the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act at http://ftc.gov/os/statutes/fdcpa/fdcpact.htm.

It is important to understand the definitions used in the FDCPA, so I have included that section of the law. Many collectors do not fall under the FDCPA, so please read paragraph 6 and its subparagraphs very carefully:

803. Definitions [15 USC 1692a]
As used in this title --

(1) The term "Commission" means the Federal Trade Commission.

(2) The term "communication" means the conveying of information regarding a debt directly or indirectly to any person through any medium.

(3) The term "consumer" means any natural person obligated or allegedly obligated to pay any debt.

(4) The term "creditor" means any person who offers or extends credit creating a debt or to whom a debt is owed, but such term does not include any person to the extent that he receives an assignment or transfer of a debt in default solely for the purpose of facilitating collection of such debt for another.

(5) The term "debt" means any obligation or alleged obligation of a consumer to pay money arising out of a transaction in which the money, property, insurance or services which are the subject of the transaction are primarily for personal, family, or household purposes, whether or not such obligation has been reduced to judgment.

(6) The term "debt collector" means any person who uses any instrumentality of interstate commerce or the mails in any business the principal purpose of which is the collection of any debts, or who regularly collects or attempts to collect, directly or indirectly, debts owed or due or asserted to be owed or due another. Notwithstanding the exclusion provided by clause (F) of the last sentence of this paragraph, the term includes any creditor who, in the process of collecting his own debts, uses any name other than his own which would indicate that a third person is collecting or attempting to collect such debts. For the purpose of section 808(6), such term also includes any person who uses any instrumentality of interstate commerce or the mails in any business the principal purpose of which is the enforcement of security interests. THE TERM DOES NOT INCLUDE --

(A) any officer or employee of a creditor while, in the name of the creditor, collecting debts for such creditor;

(B) any person while acting as a debt collector for another person, both of whom are related by common ownership or affiliated by corporate control, if the person acting as a debt collector does so only for persons to whom it is so related or affiliated and if the principal business of such person is not the collection of debts;

(C) any officer or employee of the United States or any State to the extent that collecting or attempting to collect any debt is in the performance of his official duties;

(D) any person while serving or attempting to serve legal process on any other person in connection with the judicial enforcement of any debt;

(E) any nonprofit organization which, at the request of consumers, performs bona fide consumer credit counseling and assists consumers in the liquidation of their debts by receiving payments from such consumers and distributing such amounts to creditors; and

(F) any person collecting or attempting to collect any debt owed or due or asserted to be owed or due another to the extent such activity (i) is incidental to a bona fide fiduciary obligation or a bona fide escrow arrangement; (ii) concerns a debt which was originated by such person; (iii) concerns a debt which was not in default at the time it was obtained by such person; or (iv) concerns a debt obtained by such person as a secured party in a commercial credit transaction involving the creditor.

SECOND - send a certified letter, return receipt requested, to the DEBT COLLECTOR to dispute the debt and request written validation of the debt or any copy of a judgment, or the name and address of the original creditor, and a copy of such validation or judgment, or name and address of the original creditor. Also, include a statement stating that you do not wish to be contacted again until you receive all the written debt validation information you have requested. You should specifically ask for the following documentation:

What the money you say I owe is for;
Explain and show me how you calculated what you say I owe;
Provide me with copies of any papers that show I agreed to pay what you say I owe;
Provide a verification or copy of any judgment if applicable;
Identify the original creditor;
Prove the Statute of Limitations has not expired on this account;
Show me that you are licensed to collect in my state;
Provide me with your license numbers and Registered Agent.

Once they receive the letter, they must cease all collection efforts until they provide the written information requested. This is in accordance with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

THIRD - Once you received the written validation information requested, contact the CREDITOR (who owns the debt) via certified mail to resolve the matter.

Please note that simply sending the letter telling them to leave you alone does not absolve a valid debt. What the letter does do is force them to provide you with written validation of the debt and to stop all collection actions until you receive the information. Once you have the information, you should act on it accordingly by contacting the CREDITOR via certified mail.

Some other notes: Any statute of limitations does not absolve a valid debt; it merely prohibits the creditor from going to court to obtain a money judgment against you. IF there is already a money judgment, the statute of limitations most likely is longer - in New York State it's 20 years.

You can check the statute of limitations for debt in your state at http://www.fair-debt-collection.com/statue-limitations.html.

In addition, a credit report listing does not in any way determine if a debt is valid or not, or collectible or not that is what courts are for. There are 3 ways a valid debt can be absolved; you pay it off, the creditor forgives it, or bankruptcy court orders it absolved.

Section 809 of the FDCPA covers debt validation nicely:

809. Validation of debts [15 USC 1692g]

(a) Within five days after the initial communication with a consumer in connection with the collection of any debt, a debt collector shall, unless the following information is contained in the initial communication or the consumer has paid the debt, send the consumer a written notice containing --

(1) the amount of the debt;

(2) the name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed;

(3) a statement that unless the consumer, within thirty days after receipt of the notice, disputes the validity of the debt, or any portion thereof, the debt will be assumed to be valid by the debt collector;

(4) a statement that if the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty-day period that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, the debt collector will obtain verification of the debt or a copy of a judgment against the consumer and a copy of such verification or judgment will be mailed to the consumer by the debt collector; and

(5) a statement that, upon the consumer's written request within the thirty-day period, the debt collector will provide the consumer with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current creditor.

(b) If the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty-day period described in subsection (a) that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, or that the consumer requests the name and address of the original creditor, the debt collector shall cease collection of the debt, or any disputed portion thereof, until the debt collector obtains verification of the debt or any copy of a judgment, or the name and address of the original creditor, and a copy of such verification or judgment, or name and address of the original creditor, is mailed to the consumer by the debt collector.

(c) The failure of a consumer to dispute the validity of a debt under this section may not be construed by any court as an admission of liability by the consumer.

Hope this helps.
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