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I purchased my wife's wedding ring on 12/14/04 for $2582.99(including insurance and tax) from Friedman's jewelers in Columbiana mall, Columbia, SC. I paid $500 toward the ring purchase on that same date, leaving a financed balance of $2082.99. Over the course of the next couple of years, I made many payments to the account bringing the balance down to $136.38 on 3/29/07. My wife went into the Columbiana mall Friedman's with full intent to finally pay off the full account balance(income tax return was good!). The manager (Lauren) stated the full account balance was $136.38 that day, including all financing charges etc., so that was the amount my wife wrote the check for. Everything was fine, and we did not receive any further bills, or statements, and did not shop or purchase anything else from Friedman's since that day. Then in May or early June, 2007, Friedman's corporate collections department began calling first my mother, and then my cell phone, stating that we were past due on our account. They stated that we owed $161.97 more, and we were being charged late fees for every month it was not paid. My wife called the collections department of Friedman's on 8/10/07. She spoke with a supervisor named Brian, explaining our 3/29/07 visit with intent to settle the account . He stated the stores often misread the finance charges on their "back room" computers resulting in the wrong account balances being collected. She agreed to pay whatever he said the account balance should have been on 3/29/07, less late fees. While on hold, Brian, (the supervisor) called the Columbiana Friedman's store, and they told him they showed a balance of $86.93; they admitted they must have looked up our balance incorrectly on 3/29/07. Brian said he was sorry the store manager must have made a mistake, but he would only waive one late fee, and we would be responsible for the additional late fees. Later, I called the corporate collections dept for Friedman's myself, and spoke with William Taylor out of Atlanta, GA division call center. He stated my account balance, including all fees would be $95.22(including a phone payment processing fee), and if I would pay that over the phone with him immediately my account would be cleared. I immediately made that payment (confirmation #17395) with Visa card, sometime around 9/11/07. I was curious to see if everything was resolved, so I called back to corporate collections for Friedman's on 9/18/07 at 9:23 a.m. and the phone rep stated that my account balance "was settled", zero balance. My wife and I were happy, but then in October, 2007 the harassing phone calls to my cell phone started again, often 2 or 3 calls per day from Friedman's collections department. They state each time a new and different amount owed, ranging from $48 up to $187, and they state the charges "must be late fees, and or finance charges that were somehow overlooked in the past discussions". I can only feel like a victim of shady financing and fictitious charges to increase the profits of the collections division of the corporate giant Friedman's jewelers, and cannot afford an attorney to represent my family in this stressful and undeserved financial fiasco. Why would I pay over $2600 on an account, only to leave a balance of $48 to ruin my credit? At least twice my wife and I have attempted in good faith at the direction of Friedman's representatives to settle the account, only to be told later that we continue to magically owe more. I now find out that they have ruined my credit report with a $167(apparently their new number with daily added finance charges) open balance showing which dropped my credit score from 700 down to 605. Gee, do you think someone with a 700 score would let $48 go unpaid if it was legitimate? I wish someone could help my family get this resolved once and for all!!!! And restore my good credit! HELP!!
Columbia, South Carolina