Credit Blemished Over Imaginary Credit Card

The NES collection agency is coming after Nancy for a debt on an account number she’s never owned. She’s trying to beseech BoA billing for a resolution and to fix her credit history. That may be completely the wrong way to go about it. Here’s her story:

Nancy writes:

I had an MBNA credit card for years, which I canceled, and naturally after the cancellation, I never received any correspondence from BoA or MBNA. It turns out, however, that several months after I cancelled the card, a charge apparently went through, on a new account number that I had never used before. The first I heard of the charge, however, was when I received a collection notice several months after *that*. When I contacted BoA about this issue, they insisted on calling me “delinquent,” hung up on me twice, and also insisted that they sent statements to my home and “called” about the charge.

They also told me that I should have contested the bogus charge within 60 days after it was made, even though I continued to try to get them to understand that I did not know about the charge until they wrote off the account and sold it to a collection agency, who somehow had no problem contacting me repeatedly by phone and mail.

Finally, they instructed me to send my complaint in writing, which I did, in mid-August (certified and return-receipt requested). I have not heard a thing since then, and I figured 6 weeks was long enough to wait for a result. My credit report is, not surprisingly, unchanged at this time as well.

My question for you is- what is the next best step, in your experience?
– email an executive
– snail-mail an executive
– hire an attorney (extra expense, but as my credit is ruined, it may be worth it)
– other?

* other. Your next best move is to dispute the item with all 3 credit bureaus. It’s not hard, you can do it online, for free, at annualcreditreport.com. Simply by disputing it as invalid you may be able to get it taken off your credit report if the agency reporting the debt to the bureaus doesn’t respond to the verification request.

(Photo: Getty)

Also – have you considered the fault might be with NES and not MBNA/BoA? NES could have either gotten your and someone else’s records legitimately mixed up – or they could be knowingly attempting to fraudulently collect an invalid debt. Either are entirely possible.

Comments

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  1. BloggyMcBlogBlog says:

    The NES Collection Agency, huh? That’s a job for Super Mario!!

  2. kathyl says:

    If BoA has records relating to the bogus charge that seem to have the OP as the account-holder, though, isn’t it almost impossible that the problem is a mixup on NES’s end?

    I mean, I suppose BoA could be lying to her, but if they’ve written the account off, how much do they really have to gain from that? Anything?

  3. altryan says:

    If the dispute doesn’t work, hire an attorney. Its not worth the ding.

  4. FDCPAGuy says:

    Step 1: Dispute debt with NES and request validation
    Step 2: Dispute with bureaus once NES get’s your dispute and validation request
    Step 3: Get a hold of someone higher up the food chain at BoA!
    Step 4: Wait. NES should respond to the validation request with something (most likely an affadit of debt which is crud) and the bureaus might verify it as yours with NES… but they might not. Also by doing it in this order you leave a few traps for NES to fall into like not reporting to the bureaus as a disputed account once they go to verify with them.

  5. Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

    BofA invented an imaginary credit card for me that I never owned when they bought MBNA (where we had a joint card) and completely refused to believe me that I’d never had the card and I certainly hadn’t had it for TEN YEARS. They finally agreed to close the phantom card and pay for fraud watch on my credit scores, but they never agreed I hadn’t opened it. They continued to insist I had, even when I pointed out I hadn’t been legally old enough to open a credit card on the date they claimed I had done so.

    It was bizarre. Fortunately (and knock on wood), I have had no problems result from this.

  6. SkokieGuy says:

    Would contacting BOA’s fraud department and / or filing a police report for identify theft be appropriate?

    Since the OP has proof the account was closed and this is a new and different account in her name, sounds like identify theft, yes?

  7. SadSam says:

    This is one reason I always ask for a letter documenting that I’ve closed an account and then keep such letters for years and years.

  8. twophrasebark says:

    This story sounds flaky to me.

    • twophrasebark says:

      @twophrasebark:

      Let me clarify.

      “a charge apparently went through, on a new account number that I had never used before.”

      The OP parses her languages carefully. The OP never clearly states whether or not this was indeed something she did indeed charge herself. She finally uses the word “bogus” but seems to be trying to make the case they never told her about the charge, not that she didn’t make the charge.

      I work with children a lot and this sounds like something we call a rehearsed explanation.

      I am going to guess that she did make the charge. What it sounds like happened what she canceled the card while a charge was pending. What happens then is exactly what the OP describes. A new account number is created and the customer is billed.

      Closing your account does not release you from any pending charges. As for whether or not she received any statements, again, I think we only receiving part of the story.

      • AD8BC says:

        @twophrasebark: I’m gonna give her the benefit of a doubt here. She probably just wanted to properly dictate her writing. Writing is different than speaking, and she is not a child.

      • Anonymous says:

        I am most certainly not a child. I am a 41 year old woman. The bogus charge went through 6 months after I closed my account. I did not make the charge, and I certainly did not receive goods or services for whatever the charge was for. What was posted was a brief, edited summary of the situation. If you would like the story in excruciating, blow-by-blow detail, I would be happy to give you that. My credit has taken enough of a hit; please don’t attack my character as well.

  9. katiat325 says:

    I also wonder if the OP moved after she closed her card? It’s possible BoA may be using an old address on file, whereas the collections agency may have updated information. It sounds shady. But the above advice from posters is great, and is something the OP needs to do right away.

  10. bastion72 says:

    I had BOA reissue me a line of credit I opened for an Apple loan that had been closed for 3 years. I called and asked them about it and they said when they purchased the issing bank they opened up a lot of closed credit cards and lines of credit. I had them close it immediately. What a great scam they have!

  11. Bahnburner says:

    Whatever agreement, settlement, course of action or otherwise you get from BoA (or any other credit company), GET IT IN WRITING OR IT NEVER HAPPENED. Then, put it all together with every other scrap of correspondence (letters, statements, emails etc.) and keep it FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.

  12. donjumpsuit says:

    MBNA WAS the biggest fraud agency ever. They used to provide Apple Inc. loans for computers. I bought a computer with a preapproved loan in 2003 for around 5k from Apple (should have read the fine print but trusted Apple as a reputable company). Come to find out I get my first bill (mind you this was before the computer even shipped) announcing my first payment was due, and my interest rate was 29.9%. I called MBNA and said it was outrageous to charge someone who has a FICO score of low 700’s 30% interest and they would have to reconsider or I would be paying off the balance in full tomorrow. No dice they said. Of course I used one of those 2.99% for the lifetime of the balance offers from another card to pay it off, thank god.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Go to the creditinfocenter.com site. Great for giving you all the steps to resolve.

  14. jsboehm79 says:

    NEVER dispute online. EVER! All they do is verify your address electronically, a human never sees your dispute that way. In addition, disputing on annualcreditreport.com extends the 30 days they have to investigate the matter to 45 days. Don’t do the work for them and don’t give them more time to do it.

  15. floofy3223 says:

    This sounds similar to what happened to me. I had an old BOA credit card that was discharged in a Ch. 7 in 2002. Suddenly the account showed up on my credit report as delinquent 90+ days beginning in 2006! I sent a certified letter to BOA’s registered agent stating that the debt was discharged in bankruptcy and that it was illegal to refresh the date of a debt. I gave them 30 days to correct the info or I would sue. I had it fixed in 10 days. Seems if you threaten legal action to the right person, it gets their attention.

    The excuse they gave me was that when they bought out MBNA all the old credit card account #’s were changed and some old info was being reported to credit bureaus. Pretty scary if you ask me.

  16. Pious_Augustus says:

    First off this can be a legitimate debt, instead of wondering what did the creditor do wrong we must ask ourselves what did the debtor do wrong and this happens more often then not. It’s called overdraft protection or other services that sometimes come with a credit card that you sign up for or opt into.

    Depending on the service it will charge you something each and every month. You should always check your credit cards and make sure their canceled there is no excuse to expect it’s canceled without confirmation and until I see it with my own eyes and have the paper work to back it up then it’s not canceled.

    Biggest mistake most people do is they opt into services such as various protections and then this sends them either into NFS or into debt with your various credit cards.

  17. Tankueray says:

    How does one bad entry “ruin” your credit? I fought for years to clean up my report after ID theft, and a few years ago I had one bad account on my report and got a platinum card with a $7000 limit. If it’s not your fault, I understand why you don’t want it there and you should fight to get it off, but it’s not the end of the world. You’re probably better off going to [www.creditboards.com] and asking for WhyChat’s help. Or hit his site at [whychat.5u.com]
    I haven’t confirmed this myself, but I’ve heard that if you send in one of these form letters they recognize that you’re going to fight so they just go through the process to get a judgment against you. Could be incorrect, you might want to ask about that on creditboards as well.