My plight started in December 2002, when my bank called me and said they had one problem with my credit report before allowing my refinancing. It was for a collection item for $916 from Palisades for an AT&T bill from April of 2000. After getting a copy of my credit report from all three agencies, two of them had references to an AT&T account number now in collections. I was shocked and enraged at the same time!
Next a call to good old AT&T. I am a Director in the largest telecommunications company in the world, and a direct competitor of AT&T. I had never had their service, but knew my way around in the company enough to get to someone who could help research the fraudulent account. Turns out (of course) that there is no record of the account any longer so oit "must have been sold to a collections agency". That in fact was Palisades. Calls then to Palisades revealed that they had in turn "outsourced this to a third party" which was RCS Center Corp.
All along I have been fighting with the three credit bureaus to delete this off my record, but they said they can only go by what the "collections agency sends to us"!
After 10 months of fighting this battle, and suspecting all along it was a fraud or I was a huge victim of identity theft, I finally yelled enough at the RCS people (who by the way all sounded Indian) that I was given to a "team leader" Carol Lopez.
She said if I couldn't settle this debt today, then I would need to fax proof of my address at the time of the bill from AT&T. I typed a long letter of explanation, faxed that and headers from my tax returns from 2000. No answer afetr 45 days!
Today I began again in earnest, only to be hung up on twice by the reps at RCS. Finally, after the third try, I asked to speak to the highest ranking person in their office. Of course they wanted to know why and I said I just wanted to find out more about their company. They said there were no executives there but I could speak to a supervisor. I asked what the name of the president of their company was and they said "John Brown". I asked who the VP was and the said "Mary Smith".
I did find out from the supervisor, "Max Carter", that the company's mailing address is in Wisconsin, but you cannot call directly there. The 866 number I called on goes to a "back office support center in India". Explains the accents! They do not have a website, and the only means of contacting them is calling or faxing the call center in India, or writing the Wisconsin address which I have not done.
This definitely smells of a scam, and I hope that there is enough outpouring of outrage by us consumers who have been affected to get some legal or regulatory attention.