Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I am so pissed.

Big time.

I have been getting phone calls from a collection agency for about 3 months now. Ever since my charges for shoplifting were dropped, the company that tried to extort money out of me has been calling..Or, rather, sending their dogs after me.

See, Zehrs wanted me to pay the cost of their security guards, and other related costs for my arrest. They sent me a bill for over $300. As it turns out, that is illegal. (Here in Canada, anyway) and I was advised NOT to pay. My charges were withdrawn, anyway, which means that there will not even be a record of my arrest. Done. Gone. Finito. Bye - bye. So, ever since I told the reps that wanted the $300 that I am NOT paying, a bill collector has been bugging me for an amount that I supposedly owe. That amount is now $500 that they want to collect.

Now, I don't know, but it seems strange that the same company that couldn't collect an amount on bogus charges is suddenly, after 6 years, coming after me for another 'bill.'

So, I finally tracked down someone that could pull up my account, and this is what I am told.

I had a payroll cheque go into my account on December 31st, 2002. I have not worked since NOVEMBER 2001. Someone made several deposits into my bank account from a bank machine, and then took the money out. The problem? The deposit envelopes were empty. So......

The only proof that I have that I owe this money is from the company themselves, except, they say that can not send me out copies of my bank statements because it goes back too many years. How did they come up with this info, then? Where did a payroll deposit come from, a year after I quit my job?

So, this rude guy calls me today and tells me that I owe this money. I tell him, AGAIN, that I have ZERO money coming in, and until he proves to me that I owe this amount, I wouldn't even entertain the thought of making payment arrangements. He tells me that he spoke with my husband on Monday (2 days ago) and that my husband told him that I was on vacation.

Yeah.

He says that if I have money for that, then I can pay this bill.

WTF? He screamed at me to PAY MY BILLS.

I am exhausted. I am tired of all of this. I do not owe this money. I know that I don't. How do I prove it? Who do I complain about a bill collector being verbally abusive?

How do I get off this merry-go-round from Hell?

38 comments:

FOUR DINNERS said...

When you started out 'I'm pissed' I thought 'Hey!!! Why aren't I invited?'.....

Wrong pissed....

....Simple strategy.

When they ring again you say :

"Que?"
they speak
"Que?"
they speak again
"Que? No eeengleesh"

Just carry on like that and you'll end up pissing yourself laughing instead of being pissed off.

(Voice of experience here)

Biddie said...

4D - The next time that I get pissed, you will be invited. promise.

I might try that next time..Shawn does it alot, but I have a hard time doing it without laughing. Of course, maybe you're right. The laughing will do me some good :)

Heidi the Hick said...

They can't actually do anything, can they?

Gabriel said...

Did Shawn actually receive a call from this guy on Monday, or is he bluffing?

I bet you can take action against this guy anyway. It's just a matter of knowing how.

I'm not sure I want to comment about the perpetuation of the stereotype of us Latin Americans being ignorants, so if you ask me, I'll reply 'que?' in my native tongue. Sorry, it's been many years, but I still get mad about it.

Biddie said...

Heidi - I don't know. I just want proof that I owe the money, and even if I do, I can't pay anything now...I want the abuse to stop, you know? They don't know my personal circumstances, and they have no right to judge me. Pisses me off.

Gabriel - I don't think that 4D meant that Latin Americans are ignorant. I certainly didn't mean that, either.
Usually, we pretend to be German (which we both are, but don't really speak it) to get people to leave us alone. My thinking is that if they think we don't speak english, they will leave us alone. So far, it seems to work at small intervals.
Please don't think that we would ever mean to offend you. Neither one of us would ever do that. We are all friends here :)
Shawn did recieve a call on Monday, but I was sitting right here. Shawn knew that it was a collector from that agecy and I didn't want to talk, so he said to phone back in a couple of days. There was no mention of me being on vacation, or even being gone away. He was just told to calll back in a few days.
I also don't understand how they can tell me that I owe this money, but that they can't send me print outs because they don't have information going back more than a couple of years.
What? How does that make any sense?
How would I take action against this guy? I wish that I knew....

d34dpuppy said...

next tiem tell him..o she commited suicide due 2 harrassmant , we are going to sue u....

Biddie said...

d34puppy - You have no idea how true that could be. It is soo depressing...Thanks for stopping by :) Always welcome new friends.

Ann said...

This is very simple. If they call asking for you and you don't know who is calling you (real easy when they ask for your real name and everyone knows you by a nickname), you tell them "she is not home, can I take a message?". They don't know it's you. If they ask where "she" is or if "she" has a cell phone number, again ask if you can take a message. If they get nasty, hang up!!!
If they call back, hang up again!!
They only keep calling because you engage them. Put up a wall, tell them to go play in traffic (or kiss your ass, if they piss you off), and hang up.
They won't keep calling forever if they get nowhere with you.

Biddie said...

ann - I am not going to speak to anyone else. I am done. YOU are right - if I don't engage them, then they can't get mean.
All I am asking for is proof that I owe this amount, anyway. Prove it,and I will see what I can do. Until then? Kiss my lily white ass! (Not you)

Phoenix5 said...

What is it with Canadian companies these days? We got a similar call from the hydro commission a couple of years ago, 3 years after we moved out of that city, claiming we owed them for the last month's hydro. I asked for proof that it was owed and got the same response as you did. Same thing is happening again with one of my former credit card companies. Again, 3 years after I closed out the account, they are claiming I still owe them (I have not received ONE bill from them during that time, and I haven't moved) and they are blocking me from getting a loan. Our constitution states that in all legal cases, the defendant is to be treated as "innocent until proven guilty", but for some reason, we are always being treated the opposite. Pisses me off too! Good luck to you!

Gabriel said...

Biddie, sorry, I didn't mean that 4D thought Latin Americans are ignorant, my rant is about that stereotype. I had a guy here not long ago, training a whole bunch of us, and used the same word "que?" to illustrate somebody who wouldn't understand a thing.

It's frustrating, and sometimes insulting, but I have to live with it.

All is fine with 4D, of course. And germans :-)

Burfica said...

To bad you can't afford a lawyer, cuz just to hire one to write them a letter saying what proof they have to give, or this will never happen, would be good. Don't you have something like the business commision, or better business bureau???

Cuz they should be turned in for that shit.

Gardenia said...

You are receiving some good advice. Try some of these tactics. I think they will not pursue you for that amount. All they can do is harrass you. Good luck.

rain said...

Adk them "do you really enjoy doing this for minimum wage? I'm sure you can get a better job, there's a labour shortage".

Hattigrace said...

Sorry you are going through all this. Grrrrrr, sounds really miserable. Don't they really have to do everything in writing for it to be legal anyway?

I like the "she's not here" one. That is the best!

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

Is there some sort of consumers advocate group you can go to?

mjd said...

That is bizarre. The charges are dropped, and they are trying to get you to pay for their mistake. Sheesh. I am sure that this will work out; however, too bad that these folks see fit to give you more heartache. Take care.

Marni said...

About once a year we get a bill from the phone company for Carl stating that he owes them $500 for long distance charges. The charges are from some state he has never lived in, and at the time he was on a ship -- at sea -- and not even in the states.

We've asked them to prove it, and they can't send proof. We told them, "then tough sh-t! You will not get any money from us. We can prove where Carl was -- you can't prove he made those calls." They quit calling for another year or so.

Drives me nuts! Don't pay it until they can prove it. Until then, don't bother with them.

CindyDianne said...

Down here I could call the State Attorney General's office and file a complaint. I'd let the company know that you did. I'd tell them they might want to be careful with how they deal with me in the future. And, I'd ask them for their mailing address or fax number. Then, I'd mail or fax them a letter stating they are not to call you again and that all correspondence must be in writing. In that letter I would also let them know that until they can prove that you owe the money, you will consider it a frivolous collection based on retribution.

That will probably get their attention, but at the very least it will stop the phone calls. (at least down here)

Guilty Secret said...

As long as you're sure you don't owe anything, this is a nuisance call. The standard way to deal with this is to put the receiver down by the phone (i.e. not hang up), walk away and come back and hang up ten minutes later. Good luck!

Christine said...

The Ontario Ministry of Gov't services outlines {hot-link is next} consumer rights when dealing with collection agencies. The doc. includes what info they must provide to you and how/how often they can contact you.

There may be more at {hot-link is next} Ministry site

You had a bankruptcy counsellor when you began those proceedingsright? Can you contact him/her to advise about this "new debt"?

Maybe you could contact the grocery chain and provide them a copy of the judgement that shows the withdrawl?

I feel terrible that I can't do more.

Biddie said...

phoenix5 - I dunno. Last year we paid a $3000 gas bill because the company said that I had made a payment in over 6 years. I tried to dispute it, but they turned our gas off in December. I had no choice but to pay it then. We are still paying the loan to pay that ($900 to go).
This is different. I have not used that account since I quit my job in Nov 2001. I know that someone has been using my info, b/c a pyroll deposit was made. None of this makes sense, but you are right. I still have been shown any proof that I even owe this $$. whatever happened to being innocent? Where's the proof of guilt?

gabriel - Thank goodness :)

burfica - I do have a lawyer that has done me small favours for free, or for very minimal payments...He is family law, though, and this may be out of his scope of practice. These guys make comission, and they want it bad. Botom line is, until I have proof (which they can not provide, b/c I do not owe this) I won't budge.
We are barely keeping our heads above water, and I don't have the resources to even think about paying for a bogus bill.

gardenia - I am getting some great advice! I get the feeling that they will keep bothering, but I am look into the laws governing them.

rain - I like that! I think that I'll use it when the jerk calls me again. :)

hattigrace - as it turns out, they do have to give me something in writing. As long as Shawn answers the phone, I will continue to NOT be home. There's no law that says that I HAVE to speak with these chumps.

whim - I am looking into it. I certainly don't feel that I am being unreasonable by asking for proof. I am going to make some phone calls today.

Biddie said...

mjd - I think what are doing is making up a bogus claim b/c they could not get me to pay after my charges were withdrawn. They sent me a letter threatening me with more legal action if I did not pay the amount requested related to my arrest charges. As it turns out, even if the charges would have stuck, that is illegal. When I refused to pay that, then they come up with another amount, to the same company. It seems to fishy to me.
I just want to be done with the whole thing.

marni - That's my new stance. Prove it, or forget it.
Has the long distance thing affected your credit? How many years later are they still bothering you?

Cindydianne - very good advice. I think that I will send something in writing. Until they send me proof in writing, I won't even engage in conversation with them.

guilty secret - More good advice. I think that I might try that! I'll have a bath, or do my floors - while he waits. If he wants to waste my time, I can waste his.

Christine - Thank you! I am going to check out the links, and it is so good to know what my rights actually are. I had no idea that they could only phone 3 times in a 7 day period! I'll confront this guy with the facts as I know them, and let him send me proof.
The bankrupcy is in Shawns name only, and this is a bank account in my name. If the bill was in both of our names, we could include it.
The thing is, I have zero dollars. I have noincome, and I will not have any income in the foreseeable future. None. Even if get disability, they will take off all of Shawn's earnings. It will only pay for my meds......
BTW, It's nice to see you!

Marni said...

Their charges are at least 20 years ago. And it hasn't affected our credit at all. We pulled our credit reports and it has NEVER shown up. I don't know why they keep trying to collect.

~JJ! said...

Well, they can't be rude about it...It's their problem now.

I wonder who you could call for some advice...

Good luck. I wish I had some advice for you...

Biddie said...

marni - I wonder if there is a limit on how many years later you can collect? There has to be some kind of time limit...20 years?
I had a landlord get a collection agency after me about a year ago. She claimed that I owed her rent, and the agency was phoning ALL of the time, bothering me. I told him that I would happily send in copies of my rent reciepts, and that was that. No so easy with these other guys...

jj - I have gotten lots of great advice. It's just so frustrating to deal with jerks like this. I think that I will simply tell this guy to send me tha proof IN WRITING and not to call back until I have that.

her indoors said...

lots of good advice given so let us know how it goes. in the meantime get a whistle and everytime they ring blow it down the phone!

Tod said...

Yeah, what Her Indoors said. Deafen the fuckers!

Biddie said...

Her Indoors - LOL. My Nanie used to do that! Might be the way to go.

Tod - LMAO. I just might!

Alekx said...

I don't know if it will help but bluff their asses back. I had someone trying to collect for a bill I didn't owe.
So when they called I said first I'm going to need your name, your phone number, your address and your supervisors name. I'll be forwarding this to my lawyer as we are bringing harrament charges up against your company, also defermation of character charges (get some more cool terms from your lawyer and use those) Dazzle em with bull shit.
I never heard from them again.

Biddie said...

alekx - If anyone can bullshit, I can! The next time that guy calls, he won't know what hit him!

saly said...

I changed my number recently because my number used to be a bank and I had a fax machine calling me all the time. I had my new number for one day when I got non-stop calls from a collection agency for whoever used to have that number. I had to change it a third time. I know collection agencies are relentless and they probably wouldn't believe I was not who they were looking for. AAAHhh

Biddie said...

saly - I've had that happen, too. An agency was bugging me at my new number, and wouldn't believe that I wasn't who they were looking for.
They are relentless. I could never do that job. I have am too nice :)

Camie Vog said...

After 6 years, I have finally stopped the bill collectors thru paying them. In my case, I knew I owed money, just didn't have it to pay them. They would call constantly, ask for me by my formal name and I did the "she's not home" thingy. Then I gave up and stopped answering the phone when they called. I even set up a special ring tone for them so I'd know who it was without even looking. They would leave messages, I would delete them...

When I called them this year to pay them, they said "We've been trying to contact you for over 5 years"....Yeah, You spent more money in employee wages trying to contact me than the original amount that I owed in the first place... Fuck-wits, you'd think they would have relized that and quit bothering me long ago.

Biddie said...

Camie Vog - They don't care if costs more to collect than what the debt is.
I don't have the money, but I also know that this bank account was closed after I quit my job. If what I was told is true, and there was a payroll deposit made into the account, then they should figure out where it came from, cuz it didn't come from me.
I have enough real bills to pay,I can't even think about dealing with this right now.
I'm glad that you got everything straightened out. It does feel good to have the bills paid and to have all of the fuck-wits out of your hair, doesn't it? :)

Palm Springs Savant said...

that is such a hassle! I feel for you.
btw- been enjoying reading your blog. Can I link you?

Biddie said...

palm springs savant - Link away. I was thiking the same thing when I was reading your blog earlier!

Canadian flake said...

hey hon...As a canadian that has dealt with collection agencies..I would suggest trying what Alekx said..
tell them you ARE finished being harrassed...tell them you want EXACT info such as their name, their supervisors name, their contact info..because you are gonna pass it along to your lawyer who will bring suit against them...can't hurt to try..lol.