How Did $42 Girl Scout Cookie Purchase Become $800 Legal Bill?

legalfeesA Colorado man says he was just trying to help out his local Girl Scout troop (and get some cookies in return, of course) when he wrote a check for $42, but it’s turned into a monster headache that has made him the target of a debt collector and cost him hundreds of dollars.

The man tells CBS Denver that it was six months after he’d purchased the Girl Scout cookies that he received a notice from a collections agency that demanded $82 (the collector tacked on $40 in fees) for a check had allegedly bounced because his account had been closed.

Since then, it’s spiraled into $800 worth of legal expenses trying to clear his name and shake the collections folks off his back. He got documented proof from his bank showing that his account was not closed, but the collection action continued.

He also claims that he attempted to send another payment to the troop but it was refused because they had already turned the debt over to collections.

“What did I do to deserve this? I just wrote the check. I was helping the Girl Scouts and now I’m having to go court over and over again and answering legal questions that I have no business answering,” he says.

A rep for Girl Scouts of Colorado explained to CBS that “When a check is reported as bad debt by a troop’s bank, the troop attempts to contact the customer and the council then attempts to resolve the debt” before it goes to collections.

However, the customer says that “No Girl Scout ever came to my house or left a note on my door.”

So now the man has advice for anyone looking to buy Girl Scout cookies: “pay cash!”

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  1. MathManv2point0 says:

    The troop reported $42 to collections? Am I reading that correctly? Hopefully there were several cases of people not paying and the troop decided enough was enough.

    • schwartzster says:

      Why shouldn’t they turn it over to collections? It probably doesn’t cost them anything (assuming the collector gets paid by tacking on those fees) and they have a chance of recovering the money.

      That being said, I’m guessing the local troop was not very diligent in attempting to contact the customer before resorting to a debt collector. If this guy ignored notices, that’s on him; if nobody attempted to contact him, that’s on the Girl Scouts.

  2. SingleMaltGeek says:

    The real question is, who first reported the check as unredeemable and why? IANAL, but from what I understand, if they were sloppy or made some sort of stupid error, whoever first claimed that might be liable. If it was a representative of the troop who misinterpreted what their bank told them, that’s one thing, but if it was this guy’s bank that screwed up, then that’s obviously different.

  3. CommonC3nts says:

    Sorry, but I would never buy girl scout cookies again if they do crap like this.
    Why torment a guy when his bank account was legit and able to pay out??

    • sylphon says:

      To be fair, the troop would turn the check in to the bank, and if they’re told the check is refused because it is a closed or invalid account, why would they think otherwise? Granted the bank must have made a mistake, mistyped or something, and I think going to collections is a bit much, but there may be other back story of them trying to contact the guy.