Allied Interstate the collection agency from Hell Columbus Ohio
I received a letter from Allied Interstate, saying that I had a delinquent AOL account in the amount of $95.60. This account had been sent to them because of failure to pay. I don't have an AOL account, so I called to see what this was about.
I spent an entire afternoon trying to reach Allied at the number given in the letter. But I got a busy signal each time. After several hours without success, I decided to wait till close to closing time (they listed their hours). But even that call was unsuccessful. Finally, I decided to see if their phone rang at all, so I called an hour after closing time. I got a busy signal again. So I went on the internet and found another number to try.
The next day, I used the other number, and had success. I spoke with a very nice woman named Mimi Powell (she's a supervisor). She explained that their accounts have been moved to an office in India, and that she had only limited access to account info. She even called the other number for me, and she said 2 people answered but she couldn't transfer my call (she tried).
After hanging up, I called the other number. I didn't get that person's name. When I told him I didn't have an AOL account, he insisted that I did, and that I need to pay it. When I kept insisting that no, I did NOT have an AOL account, he suggested I call AOL and get a cancellation number, then call Allied back with that information.
I called AOL and got everything straightened out. Turns out an old account had been accidentally reinstated. It was an error on their part. They cancelled the account, erased the debt, and gave me a cancellation number. I then called Allied again, to give them my AOL cancellation number. The rep (whose name is Sam) was reasonably polite until he realized he wasn't getting any money from me. He insisted that I had to pay this account RIGHT NOW. When I told him the account had been cancelled in Sept. 2004, he said No, it was cancelled in April 2005. You have not paid your bill, and that's why it was sent to us. You need to pay this today. I told him that I have a cancellation number, and he said We don't care about that. That won't do anything. You need to pay the bill or give us a letter from AOL stating that the account has been cancelled.
I then hung up and called AOL to see if they could send me such a letter. They said no, they don't do that. So I called Allied again, and told them I couldn't get a letter from AOL to prove that my account had been cancelled, but that I did have a cancellation number. I was again told We don't care about that. A cancellation number won't do anything. We need a letter from AOL.
Again, I called AOL, and again they told me they don't send letters like that. They advised me to just ignore any calls or letters I got from Allied.
After 2 days, 16 phone calls, and 1 fax (to AOL), things seemed to be taken care of, at least for awhile. But this evening, at 5:15 PM, I got an automated phone call stating that there was an urgent matter involving a member of my household. Somehow, I knew it was from Allied, but I called the number given by the computer anyway. Sure enough, it was Allied. But it wasn't a person. I got an answering machine, telling me that they closed at 5 PM and urging me to call back during normal business hours.
It looks like I'll be on the phone again Monday morning. These people are still trying to collect $95.60 that I do not owe.