Like others here I got the call that there is or will be litigation against me and to call National Legal Services immediately at 210-892-1235, as skeptical as I was I called them (I mean who wants pending litigation right?). I was connected with Jason and he informed me that the call was being monitored, so I asked him if I may record it and he said yes, and I did :), and he also informed me that I had a past due bill for Express Telephone Services from 2004. I know for an absolute fact that I have never done business with Express Telephone Services nor have I ever heard of them, but to be honest my wife and I are a young couple and we've had our ups & downs so I gave the benefit of doubt and asked Jason lots of questions. I asked things like, is Express Telephone Services a provider or collection agency, he said provider. I asked when this debt supposedly occurred, he said 2004, wait, what?!! I've had AT&T (aka SBC back in 2004) for as long as I've been old enough to have my own phone! Jason gave this rather horrible analogy of two copmanies (can't remember who), how one company may be the back door lender to another company and how the first company gave up on collecting on me and now Express is collecting on me by suing, yada yada yada ok I get it. Somehow I don't think Express Telephone Services has been or ever will be a back door lender to AT&T, SOO I called AT&T.
Not thinking AT&T would be much help I explained the situation and the account manager looked into my lengthy history. Not only have I been a very valued customer ;), but have never had any dealings with Express (not that I needed AT&T to convince me of what I already knew), but the AT&T guy said that it looks as though Express was a third party service provider selling blocks of numbers from AT&T, not on behalf of AT&T, but purely as a 3rd party provider that offers budget no credit bad credit options to its customers, oh any they did not offer service where I live, imagine that. AT&T rep also did his own little search and found Express Telephone Services has a a few rip off report items and BBB item (now they have another one ;).
So I called Jason back at National Legal Services (btw I have been very nice and professional with Jason all along) but he has been increasingly testy and cocky towards me for asking questions. He would say things like, "well I can see that you are refusing to cooperate since you're not paying this bill" and I was like, "if you think I'm not cooperating because I won't just 'shut up and pay the bill' and not ask questions, then no, I'm not cooperating". I have cooperated all afternoon by researching both companies, writing a letter to the PUC, and now this RipOff report, I think I'm cooperating quite well. Anyways, Jason went on to say that I've committed a felony by not fulfilling my contractual obligations and yada yada yada, that I will be summoned to court and appear before a magistrate. Ok then lets go.
Here are a few things that I didn't like about this scam other than the obvious scam tactics, and yes it was a scam, I do not owe any telephone company money other than for the services I use right now through AT&T, this is fact. Jason tried to compel me to pay by saying that he knew my social security number, and he did, or at least the first five which are the ones you don't want people to have!, and that he knew I had references like my parents and sister, and he did. He claimed that this was proof that the bill is real and legitimate. He did have my middle name wrong, he also had my cell phone number and I'm not sure how they pulled that off since it is a 2yr old business cell phone that is strictly business use, never given the number to anyone not related to business or registered with any web site, and no I did not call him on my cell phone. I do have a theory about the cell phone that I won't bore you with here.
I was victim of identity theft back around the time this guy claims I opened phone service through Express. Someone had enough information about me to open a cell phone account in another city in my state but the cell phone carrier (one of the major carriers but not AT&T) caught on to the fraud and contacted me to let me know someone had my information and that the account was closed with no balance owed by me.
Don't lose sleep over National Legal Services.