Collectors, Stop Harrassing Me About Mom's Debt

Michele keeps getting nasty letters and phone calls from debt collectors trying to get her to pay for her mother’s debt. One of them told her the local police had said she “should be arrested” and another pretended to be from the U.S. Department of Education. How does she get them to stop?

Michele writes:

For the last five or so years, I’ve had debt collectors harassing me through mail and even phone, although the latter has been mostly eliminated by me dropping my landline and almost never answering a call if I don’t recognize the area code. The first calls came at my weekend job in college, and the woman on the other end claimed I owed thousands in student loans. I was confused at first and wondered if I might have some liability for loans my mother took out for my education, even though they were in her name. I think I even told the collector something ridiculous like, “Uh, let me get back to you.” After checking with my mom, she said confidently that she and only she signed off on these loans. She’s reiterated this several times since then. I have no recollection of signing anything, and she didn’t forge my signature on anything.

The problem is, my mom filed for bankruptcy after my freshman year of college, due to being in over her head after my parents divorced. A couple of years later, I started getting calls. When I try to claim I was going to talk to my lawyer or the police, to get the harassment to stop, the woman on the other end claimed they had already talked to police and the local police said I “should be arrested.” I ended up filing a harassment report with police because the vultures wouldn’t stop calling me at work. It didn’t do a lot of good, since the vultures were several states away. But it did at least make me feel slightly better.

I have never been served with any sort of lawsuit for this money I supposedly owe, probably because it’s not my freakin’ debt. I suspect it has been sold and the debt collectors either don’t know or don’t really care. My mother feels bad about all this, and advises me that if they had any sort of legal leg to stand on, I’d be getting a lot more than letters from shady agencies in Ohio or Round Rock, Texas. I’ve gotten good at spotting these types of letters and throwing them into the trash without reading a word, but occasionally one sneaks up on me, like the letter I got recently claiming the U.S. Department of Education “holds a claim against you for the following student loan(s), which it intends to collect by Treasury offset.” Interesting, since the U.S. Department of Education isn’t the one sending me the letter.

My credit report also sucks, and while I contested about a dozen things with Experian over the summer, they only saw fit to take a couple of things off. I’m debating whether or not to contest reports with the other two agencies, but it really makes no sense to me that I have to contest that I don’t have a credit card account in collections from 1997 (when I was in junior high). They can put anything they want on there and the burden is on me to ask them to remove it, and I have no idea what their “investigation” into my dispute is like. The system is so unbelievably tilted against the consumer that the best you can hope for is a tie, and even that’s unlikely. You will never be able to win. I’ve hesitated to respond to these letters claiming I owe money because I don’t want to engage them unless absolutely necessary and/or I think it would get me anywhere.

It’s been 7 years since my mom filed for bankruptcy. I understand some education loans are not dischargeable in bankruptcy, but I neither filed bankruptcy nor took out any of the loans (my mom, however, has had her salary garnished by the government for some non-dischargeable loans). I did take out some loans in college, and I am paying them off each and every month without fail. I sort of feel like there’s nothing I can do except wait it out, and I know there are people with a lot bigger problems than the occasional threatening letter. But it’s not right, and I’m sick of it. I’m aware what they’re doing is almost certainly illegal, but I don’t feel like the system gives me much power to make them stop, especially since I can’t afford a lawyer right now. Any advice would be welcome.

Michele, continue to contest the credit reports with all the agencies. It’s not enough to do it with just one.

When collectors contact you, ask them in writing to send you proof that you have the debt and proof that they own it. That should shut most of them up. Those that don’t, you might be able to fairly easily sue in small claims court for statutory violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and get some nice cash out of it. This guy has made a profitable hobby out of doing just that.

Comments

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  1. BannedInBrittan says:

    Write them a cease and desist.
    Send the letter certified mail.
    Track any incoming letters and calls (record them if in a one party state).
    ????
    Sue
    Profit.

    • Opdelt says:

      You beat me to it.

      If they violate the cease and desist, it’s $1k per violation.

      • Shadowfax says:

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but impersonating a government official to collect a debt, and threatening a debtor (much less a relative of the debtor) with jail time is a violation of the practices act. From what I see, they’re already sueable.

        I’d also call the FBI and report them for impersonating a federal official which is, I believe, a felony.

        • coffeeculture says:

          but…but….if the debt collector is in jail, they won’t be able to harass me and get me $1k =(

          useless debt collector! not only am i out $1k, i have to pay for their jail time as a taxpayer. boo

        • Jasen says:

          They are already in violation, however if there’s no record, it would be she-said vs he-said in court.
          If you’re in a one-party state, you can record the calls without telling them, and have proof of their lawbreaking when you sued them.

    • coffeeculture says:

      Agreed, Michele can make a boatload of money with this situation. I’d be dancing with glee right about now. $1k for harassing calls..harass away!

  2. TakingItSeriously is a Technopile says:

    I was going to offer the same advice as Ben.

    Honestly go to the site Ben linked. The guy actually made some pretty significant scratch, and you could get some real satisfaction taking these Yahoos to court. Follow the rules, but don’t clue them in to the fact that you’re going to sue the @#$% out of them once they violate the rules.

    Plan a vacation or just simply pay down the debt you DO owe :)

    • magus_melchior says:

      I’ll also second Ben’s suggestion of nailing them under the FDCPA. Unless enough consumers go after them to make a huge dent in their bottom line, they will continue to violate it because the regulators are still asleep at the switch.

  3. humphrmi says:

    If you’re coming up on seven years, the debt collectors know damn good and well that you’re not responsible, otherwise they would have sued you a long time ago. Tell them to (1) Prove that you owe the debt, (2) stop calling. If they continue, sue them in small claims court.

    Be aware, there is a sneaky trick creditors try after about the seven to ten year mark (beyond a bankruptcy) – they’ll start calling again, claiming that the bankruptcy papers were erroneous and you (or your mother) now owe the debt in full. Your mom’s bankruptcy attorney should be willing to handle these fairly cheaply.

    Come to think of it, your mom’s bankruptcy attorney should be the one who helps clear these things up – including suing FDCP violators for a contingency.

    Note that IANAL.

  4. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    A poster child posting for what’s wrong with the student loan system, bankruptcy, and debt collecting practices.

  5. mauve says:

    Certified mail DV – debt validation – to each address reporting on your credit reports.

    go to annualcreditreport.com for your free annual report. Do not sign up for any of their services, and you will not have to give a credit card – print out the full report from each CRA, and PDF it.

    Send certified mail to each address listed in collections with the text “I request validation of this debt under the FCRA” and DO NOT sign it. list your account number as listed on your credit report and TYPE your name on it. (Shady places have been known to use your signature and transplant it onto other items).

    I’d also send disputes to each CRA – dispute the debts as “not mine” and provide them with any proof you have. I think doing it via USPS is best in this case.

    • Verdant Pine Trees says:

      Make sure you use return receipt with these certified mail pieces too. It costs about a buck to get online return receipt through USPS.

    • pot_roast says:

      This is true. NEVER sign anything, and NEVER send them a copy of your SS card, DL or anything. They may claim they need it for verification, but that’s BS. They had enough info to slam your credit report, they have enough information to remove it as well.

  6. mrsam says:

    Legally, if you tell them in writing to stop calling you, the debt collectors are required to comply. Their only remaining course of action is then to file a lawsuit.

    Most of these bottom-feeding vermin file suits even if they do not have a legal leg to stand on. They rely on tactics such as “sewer service” — filing suit but arranging things so that you are not served properly — you wouldn’t even know that you’re being sued, so they just go into court and because you did not show up the judge rubberstamps a default judgement, which makes it easier for them to levy your bank account or a wage garnishment. Even if you are served properly, most people don’t bother show up to court anyway. That’s what they count on, so that they get the easy default judgement and then go after your bank accounts. If you answer the suit and challenge it, most of them will drop it.

    But, at this stage, the easiest course of action is to send a “drop dead and do not call me” notice via certified mail with return receipt, and even for the few remaining dirtbags who ignore it, do not answer the call if you do not recognize the caller id.

    • mauve says:

      aka “FOAD” letter

    • oldwiz65 says:

      Sewer service is called gutter service in Mass, and is quite common for lots of thing involving lawsuits. It’s hard to prove since it is just your word against the gutter server. Unfortunately the judges always side with the corrupt servers. It doesn’t matter if you could even prove you were out of the country on business, if the server says he delivered it into your hand the judge will believe the server. Typical judicial corruption.

      • MrEvil says:

        I know in Texas, at least for small claims, there is absolutely no option for service other than local sheriff of constable (assuming the defendant is in or has a registered agent in Texas). I don’t know how it works in district courts, however I would assume it’d be the same.

    • zifnab0 says:

      “Their only remaining course of action is then to file a lawsuit.”

      No, usually they sell the “debt” to another collection agency, who isn’t so bound.

  7. c!tizen says:

    Debt collectors are the herpes of the financial industry, once they get their hands on you they’ll keep popping up.

    The best trick I can provide is to pretend they called a pay phone when you answer. I know it sounds weird, but every number you call into a financial institution from is kept on file with your paperwork, that’s how they get to your family and friends. If they believe the number is a pay phone eventually they’ll have it taken off the call sheet. Anyone who worked “skip tracing” (90 days or more past due) for a recovery agency will be the first to tell you that most of the calls they make end up being to stores where a card was declined, pay phones, office lines, etc.

  8. FatLynn says:

    Yes, it is worthwhile to dispute stuff with all three credit agencies. When you attempt to get credit, only one is used.

  9. Tom Foolery says:

    You don’t, necessarily, have to sue under FDCPA to get collectors to stop…often just mentioning it will get you some relief. At one time i was getting frequent collections calls for the previous (10 years previous) owner of my telephone number. After repeatedly telling them they had the wrong number and the collectors refusing to remove it, i said something along the lines of “i’m pretty sure that calling me after i’ve told you this is a wrong number is a violation of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act. Would you care to look into that, or should i?” And the calls stopped.

    • FrankReality says:

      Had a coworker get repeated calls at work from an obnoxious collector who was looking for a person with the same name, but from a different state. I couldn’t stand it any more so I walked over to her office, had her put the call on speakerphone and said “You are in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, you must never call back otherwise our next call is to the State Attorney General’s office and the Federal Trade Commission.” The caller stammered, dropped off the line and that was the end of it.

  10. AngryK9 says:

    Contact the Attorney General in the state in which they are located. Not just once, but send multiple complaints.

  11. danmac says:

    I’m a little confused about the nature of these loans. If these are student loans, was it even possible for the OP’s mother to “sign off” on them as the primary signer? When my wife’s parents signed off on her student loans, they were cosigners, and I don’t think it was even possible for her to not be on the loan.

    Also, what is a liability loan? She mentions it like it’s something common, but I’m not really sure what it is.

  12. You-Me-Us says:

    Years ago I moved into an apartment that had been previously occupied by a guy who skipped out on a bunch of debt. This became apparent quickly when he started getting letters from collection agencies and lawyers. I wrote “No longer at this address – return to sender” on them and sent them back. Once, in opening my own mail, I accidentally opened a letter to him from an out-of-state lawyer threatening to sue for various old debts. I wrote to that lawyer and explained that I lived there now and had opened this letter by mistake. A few weeks later I got a letter from that lawyer accusing me of being the previous occupant and claiming that I had admitted as much to him on the phone and that if I didn’t cough up the money pronto he would be suing me.

    I wrote him a very nasty letter back that basically said, “Bring it on and I will counter-sue the &^% out of you!” Never heard from him again. If you are absolutely, 100% confident that you don’t owe this money, taunt them. Harass them back. Tell them to come and get you and be prepared for the shitstorm you will rain down on them in court. Once they actually start to look into it they’ll realize they’ve got nothing and leave you alone.

    • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

      Sounds like what happened to me when I moved into an apartment previously occupied by someone who was in trouble with a Public Storage-type of outlet. I kept getting countless mail from this company to this person, despite my continually writing “RETURN TO SENDER-ADDRESSEE NOT HERE” on every envelope they mailed. Finally, I had to write my own letter to them explaining “this guy doesn’t live here. Stop wasting your time mailing this stuff!” That stopped the mail. Not quite as dramatic as your story, but it was still effective.

    • jenl1625 says:

      I once worked for a company with name similar to “John R. Jones, CPA” at “Suite 101, 3333 Broadway Drive”. The company’d been there for 7 years or so (I’d worked there for 3 or 4) when a new company moved in upstairs – “Jason R. Jones, LLP” in “Suite 201″.

      He was there for several months (he was a fly-by-night mortgage broker, it turns out). He got office furniture after the first couple of weeks, and a big Xerox copier was moved in after a couple more weeks. Then one day he was just … gone. Skipped out on his rent, and as far as I know he either abandoned or stole the leased Xerox.

      And then I started getting occasional debt-collector calls for Jason. And of course, the more persistent debt collectors found it very hard to believe that such similar names (and addresses) were sheer coincidence. There was one guy who just flat out didn’t want to believe me that we were unrelated companies – until, for whatever reason, the day that I got annoyed enough to snap back at him that if he did in fact manage to find Jason, he should tell Jason that Bret-the-building-owner was still owed rent. For whatever reason, that was enough to stop the calls…

  13. Starrion says:

    I find it interesting that a lot of the people over in the “people go to jail over debt” insist that people have to be “served” over and over again before it happens without acknowledging that the debt collectors knowingly have the paper “mis-served”.

    So the first thing some of these people find out about the lawsuit etc, is when the cops show up.

  14. JonBoy470 says:

    As has been stated here, send each creditor a letter demanding validation, proof, of the debt. That should shut them up pretty good…

  15. balthisar says:

    Are you sure you’re not the victim of identify theft? Yes, I mean by your own mother. It’s not unheard of. If it were *just* a student loan, then, okay, they’re getting your name because your name is somehow attached to it. But didn’t you mention a credit card or something? Are you sure your mom didn’t use your SSN?

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      I was sadly, thinking the same thing. I’ve known unscupulous parents with bad credit to open phone bills, credit cards, and other various credit accounts in their kids’ names.

      Those poor kids never saw the train coming when they applied for credit… squish.

      • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

        A girl I grew up with did that to her child. Her daughter was 17 or so and she somehow got all kinds of stuff in her name without her daughter knowing. She went to jail for a few years for that and embezzling from her company.

        It is really sad.

      • MrEvil says:

        Those bad marks are easy enough to expunge from a credit report. A contract you allegedly signed when you were 12 is unenforceable as 12 year olds aren’t old enough to enter into contracts.

        Your friend should just dispute those items on his credit report citing his date of birth and the date the marks were put on the report. Should get them cleared off pretty quickly I’d think.

    • Corinthos says:

      When my friend tried to get his first apartment he couldn’t get the electricity put in his name because he owed 700 dollars and would have to pay a 500 on top of that. This was from 6 years ago whenever he was 12 because his parents put it in his name.

    • operator207 says:

      This.

      The OP is talking about some debt she “knows” is not hers on her credit report.

      I don’t doubt she does not know about it, but I would bet her mother does. (or maybe father)

    • wonderkitty now has two dogs says:

      Thanks to my mom, I’ve had bills in my name since I was 8. She once used my SSN for a hospital stay of mine when I was still a minor. The hospital called looking for me, and I did the math with the rep on the phone- she quit calling me and started calling my mom.

      It makes this harder, for sure.

  16. Nuc says:

    The guy (Craig Cunningham) who was suing the collectors, got a bit sloppy in his big case and appears to now have to pay legal fess for the collection agency:

    http://www.insidearm.com/go/arm-news/-celebrity-fdcpa-litigant-slapped-by-texas-judge

    • danmac says:

      Wow…Cunningham sounds like an asshole, and it couldn’t have happened to a better person, but the really disturbing part of that story is in the comments section. It made me feel slimy just reading them.

    • uber_mensch says:

      He got extremely greedy and was baiting them. He deserved it.

  17. Nuc says:

    The guy (Craig Cunningham) who was suing the collectors, got a bit sloppy in his big case and appears to now have to pay legal fess for the collection agency:

    http://www.insidearm.com/go/arm-news/-celebrity-fdcpa-litigant-slapped-by-texas-judge

  18. twiggr says:

    February 5, 2009

    Slime E. Wad, President
    XYZ GROUP, LLC.
    DBA Illegal Debt Recovery
    2491 Paxton Street
    Looserville PA 12345-6789

    Dear Mr. Wad:

    This will serve as your legal notice pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. Section 805, to Cease and Desist all further communication with me in regard to any alleged debt or debts. You are hereby instructed to cease collection efforts immediately or face legal sanctions under applicable Federal and State law.

    I will file suit against Slime E. Wad and/or Smell E. Wad personally, and XYZ GROUP, LLC.
    corporately if you contact me again.

    I will file a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and the Attorney General of Pennsylvania if you do not comply with this letter.

    I will digitally record any future telephone conversations or messages from you.

    I will file suit against you if any negative information is placed on my credit reports.

    I will keep a detailed log of any future contact you make with me.

    Sincerely,

    Worst F. Enemy

    This is an attempt to make a debt collector obey the law.
    Any information obtained, will be used for that purpose.

    • humphrmi says:

      That’s actually a great C&D, I’d like to keep that one around…

      • twiggr says:

        Please keep and use it and share it. It has NEVER failed to stop a collector for anyone I shared it with. What helps is to research the owners of the agency, their street address as many hide behind PO boxes. Search names, phone numbers, web address WHOIS data and anything else you can dig up. If you are having trouble with a collection company chances are many others already have and have posted data somewhere on the web. I recommend paying your legitimate debts to the original creditor. Always follow though with a state attorney general complaint when a collector ignores your letter or violates the law. Some collectors have web sites with useful information about them. Thank God for Google!

    • jim says:

      wow, that scared me just reading it…

      but for the OP, the reason debt collection is so effective is because they wear people down over time. If you want to stop this you will have to do more work with all parties.

  19. clarkbarr says:

    My dad died and left over a quarter million dollars in debt. Lawyers kept sending me registered letters. I refused to pick their letters up at the post office. One lawyer kept harassing me on the phone at work and he made a threat that a supervisor at work also heard. Big mistake. One cannot threaten a Federal employee and that fool finally got the message when Federal agents paid him a visit and read that jerk the riot act.

    He stopped.

    • Frankz says:

      Big difference, tho, is that the OP’s mother hasn’t passed away.

      If your father passed away with any debt(s), then his estate and thereby whoever inherits it can be held legally liable for that debt, depending on the laws of the state in which he passed away.

      • humphrmi says:

        Not to split hairs (heirs?) but beneficiaries do not inherit any of the deceased’s debt beyond the value of the estate. So in other words, if there is $50K in assets and $250K in debts, the creditors will get the $50K assets but nothing else. Which means of course that the beneficiaries get nothing, but they also don’t owe anything.

      • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

        Beneficiaries do not inherit debt. You cannot be held liable for debt that you had no control over. They can take it out of the estate, but if there is no money/property, then there is nothing to take and they are SOL.

      • MrEvil says:

        Ummmm, no. The estate does have to pay any outstanding debts. However heirs and executors are not personally liable for any debts incurred by the decedent. Look up “probate court” on Wikipedia. That court determines validity of any wills, and ensures that any inheritance is distributed appropriately. By Appropriately I mean its also a chance for any creditors to collect on any of the decedent’s outstanding debts. Once an estate is out of probate there’s little recourse for creditors, other than to illegally harass any heirs.

        Generally speaking, this is why people take out a sizable life insurance policy. Not just to cover funeral and burial expenses, but to also cover any outstanding debts.

  20. dougp26364 says:

    A certified letter telling them to stop should do the trick. After you get the signed reciept for the letter (and keep a copy of it), start taking notes of anyone and everyone who calls to collect the debt. Make not of the time called, the name the caller gives you and any pertinent information they threaten you with. In many states, it only takes one persons consent (yours) to record a converstation. Go to a store like Radio Shack and ask for an adapter to record phone conversations. It connects to a basic casette recorder and begins recording the instant you pick up the phone (you’ll need your land line back). Turn it off when it’s someone you know but let it run when the vultures call. After you have a few phone calls, take it to a law office and let them have at ‘em. You may be the one collecting from them in the end.

  21. sven.kirk says:

    FCRA only protects the debtor, nobody else. That is it. Legally, they can continue to harass the person until the end of time. It is a loophole in the law.
    But when they threaten, intimidate, or impersonate, that is when things change.

  22. Frank_Trapasso says:

    Student loan debt collector here – here’s my take after a day on the phones.

    It sounds like the master promissory note, when it was filled out, listed the student as the borrower, not the parent.

    My next step would be to check http://www.nslds.ed.gov and see who currently services the loan.

    Federal servicers do work on behalf of the US Department of Education. Also, ACS used to/may still bill themselves at that, even though they’re now just one of the federal servicers.

    • Hi_Hello says:

      yea something doesn’t sound right… either the mom used her name or it’s on the OP’s name as the borrower.

      I didn’t know you can get a ‘student loan’ if you are not a student. or for someone’s else education. plus loan has student name on it.

  23. mystery79 says:

    I have a very common last name, and my mother’s name is Martha, but she goes by Marti as a nickname. I have recieved a couple of very nasty collection call from debt collectors but I finally get them to mention that they are looking for MARTIN.

    The one lady said they were going to send a sheriff to my parent’s house and basically violated the fair credit reporting act by telling me about this debt (recall above, they have the wrong person and think I am related to this guy, but I am not). Obviously they didn’t but it’s a pretty intimidating act and they shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it, especially when they are knowingly not talking to the debt holder.

  24. Plasmafox says:

    This is illegal. Period. Sue them. Chances are the settlement will be worth more than your mom even owes.

  25. dg says:

    Ask them for their address – don’t answer any questions of theirs about whether you are going to send in a payment, just say “What’s your address so I can send you something?” Never tell them what the “something” is.

    Then send them a certified letter demanding they cease and desist from any and all contact with you because the debt is not yours and is invalid.

    Keep the records of receipt. If they refuse or don’t accept the letter – DON’T open it. Keep it unopened in your file. When they contact you again, engage an attorney and SUE them for violating the FDCPA. Keep track of every date/time they call or send letters, etc. Ask for treble damages in the suit. If the Judge asks whether you ever contacted them you can either say “Yes, here’s the certified letter receipt” or “No, but here’s the certified letter I tried sending them, which they refused” – then let the Judge open it…

    OR, have them personally served by a process server. Then if there’s any question about it – the process server will testify (prime facia) to the fact that a certain letter was delivered personally to the schmucks… (that gets rid of the “All she sent was a certified envelope your Honor – we got nothing in it.” claim).

    And keep contesting every inaccuracy on your credit reports.

  26. EcPercy says:

    FDCPA — I would recommend looking this one up. You need to know what your rights are. With this company that says you owe a debt. Ask them to send you all the paperwork they have so that you can verify whether or not you actually signed for anything.

    If your name is not on the paperwork there is nothing the debt collection company can do. You aren’t automatically responsible for a family members debt because they can’t pay it.

    Once you see the paperwork and your name is not on it. Send them a letter. Tell them they are not allowed to call or write you because you are not responsible for your mother’s debt.

  27. Greyfox2401 says:

    if they refuse to disclose information consider contacting your states attorney general. that’s usually enough to scare scammers

  28. Pax says:

    If the debt never was and still is not yours, and they are making false reports to the credit rating agencies?

    IANAL, but to me, that sounds like an open-and-shut case of Defamation. Which is legally actionable, and you should sue them for it. There’s a very non-zero chance that the damages you’d be able to name would be more than the debt they claim is yours.

  29. SolidSquid says:

    pay off the debts on your mom’s behalf with the money you get from suing the collections companies? Seems win-win to me :P

  30. George says:

    Greetings;

    As a tech who fixes computers on the side to make extra money (I do house calls at $30 an hour, most things take about an hour) I could say that I really like Geeksquad because of the money I make fixing the computers they mess up…..

    NE way

    It could be one of three things

    1.) Your internet connection is at fault. Bad line into the house, too much noise, configuration problem at the ISP, etc
    2.) Your router is bad, exchange it for a new one or RMA it
    3.) Your router is good but it isn’t configured correctly.

    • Dalsnsetters says:

      I’m sure this is very good advice, but exactly how does it pertain to this woman’s problem?

      (I know you posted in the wrong thread….couldn’t resist.)

  31. George says:

    It is illegal for them to tell you about other peoples debts and to threaten you with arrest, etc… so you can sue them and get some $$$.

    Dave Ramsey has a lot of info on that.

  32. g051051 says:

    She’s got it backward with regards to contesting an erroneous entry on a credit report. The rules are actually very much in the consumers favor. When contested, the credit reporting company must (by law) suspend reporting of the contested item and refer back to the creditor for confirmation. Things only go back on when the creditor confirms the debt. At that point, you need to take action with the creditor making the report to correct the error on their end.

    And you do have to do this with each of the big 4 reporting agencies, since they all have independent data.

  33. jedsa says:

    You get them to stop by hiring an attorney and suing the schmucks.

  34. kc2idf says:

    I must again raise the issue that some small claims courts will not take a case that you can’t tie geographically to their jurisdiction. This is what I learned when I wanted to sue SlyDial. The court would not even hear the case because they have no presence in my county, and I would have had to sue two states away.

  35. flipdad1 says:

    Naturally, you don’t want to be held liable for loans you didn’t sign for, and I agree with that.

    However, the big picture here is that your mom took out loans and didn’t pay them back and you got a free education out of it. And somehow the banking system is the bad guy…

    You are exactly the type of person that characterizes what is wrong with America.

  36. DoktorH says:

    for the mails, don’t open them: just mark Return to Sender and drop it back in the mail. for the calls, since they’re calling on a debt that doesn’t even have your name on it, tell them they have a wrong number.

  37. maruawe says:

    I have had the same problem with creditors wanting me to pay for someone else’s debt (inlaws)
    The thing that I did was to ask for the original contract with my signature on or to stop calling.
    i did report one to the Texas Attorney General and have had over six months of answering the phone with ease (no more creditor calls). Maybe this will work for you, hope so

  38. donovanr says:

    Not only does suing get you some nicely vindictive cash but it gets you put on a list of people to never collect from. But this won’t show up on any credit report so your credit becomes twice as save.

    The key is to get a phone that is easy to record conversations. My older Motorola will do that by just pressing and holding one button.

    The number one factoid is to never in any way shape or form acknowledge that you have anything to do with these debts. If you so much as hint that you are responisble they can restart genuine proceedings. A simple way is to even pay one cent of this debt. But even saying something like “Those loans were taken out for me by my mother” is enough to get them on shaky ground which is enough for these yahoos. When talking to them just say over and over things like “Don’t contact me again.” Then you can’t go wrong.

    I suspect though that there are lines that tend to get them to cross various lines; so learn those.

  39. dush says:

    It looks like that guy didn’t fare so well on his latest litigious venture.
    http://www.insidearm.com/go/arm-news/-celebrity-fdcpa-litigant-slapped-by-texas-judge

  40. magstheaxe says:

    Someone posted the following debt response letter on TheConsumerist forums. I suggest that Michelle send it pronto via certified/registered mail to the “collector”:

    ====

    To Whom It May Concern:

    This letter is being sent to you in response to a notice sent to me on (date). Be advised that this is not a refusal to pay, but a notice sent pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 USC 1692g Sec. 809 (b) that your claim is disputed and validation is requested.

    This is NOT a request for “verification” or proof of my mailing address, but a request for VALIDATION made pursuant to the above named Title and Section. I respectfully request that your offices provide me with competent evidence that I have any legal obligation to pay you.

    Please provide me with the following:
    * What the money you say I owe is for;
    * Explain and show me how you calculated what you say I owe;
    * Provide me with copies of any papers that show I agreed to pay what you say I owe;
    * Provide a verification or copy of any judgment if applicable;
    * Identify the original creditor;
    * Prove the Statute of Limitations has not expired on this account
    * Show me that you are licensed to collect in my state
    * Provide me with your license numbers and Registered Agent

    At this time I will also inform you that if your offices have reported invalidated information to any of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian or TransUnion) this action might constitute fraud under both Federal and State Laws. Due to this fact, if any negative mark is found on any of my credit reports by your company or the company that you represent I will not hesitate in bringing legal action against you for the following:

    * Violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act
    * Violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
    * Defamation of Character

    If your offices are able to provide the proper documentation as requested in the following Declaration, I will require at least 30 days to investigate this information and during such time all collection activity must cease and desist.

    Also during this validation period, if any action is taken which could be considered detrimental to any of my credit reports, I will consult with my legal counsel for suit. This includes any listing any information to a credit reporting repository that could be inaccurate or invalidated or verifying an account as accurate when in fact there is no provided proof that it is.

    If your offices fail to respond to this validation request within 30 days from the date of your receipt, all references to this account must be deleted and completely removed from my credit file and a copy of such deletion request shall be sent to me immediately.

    I would also like to request, in writing, that no telephone contact be made by your offices to my home or to my place of employment. If your offices attempt telephone communication with me, including but not limited to computer generated calls and calls or correspondence sent to or with any third parties, it will be considered harassment and I will have no choice but to file suit. All future communications with me MUST be done in writing and sent to the address noted in this letter by USPS.

    It would be advisable that you assure that your records are in order before I am forced to take legal action. This is an attempt to correct your records, any information obtained shall be used for that purpose.

    Thank you,

  41. jacobs cows says:

    Since you got the benefit of a paid for education, then why dont you woman up and relieve your mother and pay the debt?