These people at North Shore Agency are, and I use the word with as much force as possible, scum.
The claim we owe $19.97 for a magazine subscription to New York Magazine. However, when the magazine originally contacted us about this some months ago we contacted them and they agreed we didn't have a subscription. Suddenly we get a letter dated Dec 4, 2009 claiming we owe money.
Now a weaker person may well have just paid up a <$20 amount once they received a collection notice, but I'm not about to lime the pockets for fraudsters.
First I contacted the automated system they have and pressed the appropriate buttons to notify them that we hadn't purchased (or ever even ordered a trial of) this magazine. Not satisfied with this I contacted them by their direct number 866-848-2121 and spoke to a Joshua Bloom - one of their somewhat-self-aware robot idiots. He said, after much arguing, that they would contact the magazine.
Not trusting them I also had contacted the magazine who said there had been a note for sometime that we never had a subscription. New York Magazine were aware of North Shore Agency, so I know that they have some relationship.
This leaves me to one of two possibilities:
1. New York Magazine sold debts that they didn't have
2. New York Magazine sold names of potential subscribers to North Shore Agency who then made up debts based on NYM's standard subscription price.
Either way, New York Magazine are at fault for hiring these scumbags and North Shore are definitely at fault for sending collection letters to non-debters.
Magazine publishers may well be turning to these close-to-fraudulent companies because revenues have died since the inception of the internet. This moribund media is on it's last legs and is battling to find money.
But, North Shore are worse as they are not checking the legitimacy of the debt. Not only that, how much money do you think they've raised illegally from innocent victims. Even $1 is theft, in my opinion, and the owners, if not the employees, should do some jail time.
I will continue to investigate this firm, and if we receive one more letter we will sue them for harassment.
I have to say that in a recession, when people are already scared of their financial future, companies like this are just the dirt off my shoe and, completely out of character for me, I wish them nothing but ill.