Our household received a letter from Nationwide Collections dated June 1, 2007 concerning an alleged Columbia House debt with only a first initial and last name given. In early 2001, we had received a letter from Columbia House stating whoever this first initial belongs to owed Columbia House $30.85. We wrote Columbia House not only disputing the debt but asking for a detailed statement. We got no reply. A month or so later, another letter came from Columbia House and once again, we wrote them a letter telling them this was the second time in a short time period that we were responding to them disputing the debt and asking once again for a detailed statement. Again, no response from Columbia House and then no communication for the next six and a half years until we received this collection letter from Nationwide stating they now own the debt and unless they receive payment, they are ready to consider the issue of legal proceedings in the county court, signed "Sincerely, Tom Lincoln". We also had a phone call from Nationwide on our caller ID but weren't home when they called.
Sine we are aware of the statute of limitations regarding attempted debt collection, before we wrote back to Nationwide, we contacted the Attorney General for the State of Louisiana to verify the exact number of years for collection activites on debts and verified what we found online that it is five years for the State of Louisiana (it can vary state to state). We wrote Natonwide giving them this information and quoting in bold print their statement about considering legal proceedings against us which makes them in violation of Section 807, Item 5, of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act of 1977, as amended, which states:
807. False or misleading representations [15 USC 1692e]
A debt collector may not use any false, deceptive, or misleading representation or means in connection with the collection of any debt. Without limiting the general application of the foregoing, the following conduct is a violation of this section:
5) The threat to take any action that cannot legally be taken or that is not intended to be taken. (Source: www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/fdcpa/fdcpat.htm)
We ended the letter by stating we are in no way acknowledging the validity of the debt and that we wish to serve notice that any further communication from them should be in writing and should be limited to their discharge of any further collection attempts fir this account or for finding this debt to be invalid. We also stated that any further attempts to collect this debt, or any reporting of this debt, without the notice that the validity of this debt is disputed, to any credit reporting agency will constitute violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and will be forwarded to the Federal Trade Commission and the Louisiana Attorney General, and may result in legal action on my part in accordance with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Section 813.
Of course, we are also going to send a letter to Columbia House giving them basically the same information and demanding the debt be found invalid and that we want this in writing. It would be too easy to send $30.85 and if it was owed, we would have paid it at the time it was owed as we pay our debts on time but if circumstances had occurred that caused us to be unable to pay the full $30.85 back at the time it was allegedly owed, we would have made partial payments and NOT waited until we got a letter from them telling us we owed a debt and it would be turned over to collections if we didn't pay it ("we" or whoever "C" is). We really don't know the date because we only got a letter from Columbia House telling us the debt was owed but they never sent us the information we requested detailing the date the debt supposedly was incurred and what was supposedly bought, or not bought in case they were saying the debt was owed because of failure to complete buying a certian number of CD's within a certain time period. Since they didn't say in either of their letters and since they failed to respond to our request for detailed information, we have no idea what the debt is.
What we do know is we will not have our credit score wrongfully "attacked" when we worked so hard to build it.
Bottom line is we will not be bullied for a debt we do not owe and that no one apparently cares to share the details! The Attorney General's office told us if we get another collection attempt from Nationwide, THEY will write a letter informing them that we could take legal action against THEM as well as writing the FTC to get a file started on them or add to one already started. We know the FTC will not do anything until the number of complaints gets to be quite numerous but it has to start somewhere.