Laid Off? You May Be Asked To Pay Off That Corporate Credit Card Anyway

Rob lost his job, but kept the company credit card. Well, not so much the card, but the unpaid balance that went with it. As Rob’s employer stopped cutting him paychecks, it also stopped making payments on the account as well, and the creditor started hounding Rob, who wrote in to syndicated columnist Todd Ossenfort.

Ossenfort’s response:

Unless you remember signing a credit card agreement where you would be solely responsible for the charges made on behalf of your former company, it is likely that you are only an authorized user on your account. As such, you are in no way financially responsible for the balance on the account.

Should the collector make good on the threat to report the account to the credit bureaus in your name, the report would not be accurate and you would need to dispute the item with the credit bureaus that report it. Dispute the item as “not mine” with the credit bureaus. The credit bureau must remove the item if it finds no proof the account belongs to you. I would also report the collector’s actions to the Federal Trade Commission, which enforces the rules of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

An exception comes into play if you took out the card in your own name, used it solely for company expenses, then paid it off via reimbursements from your employer. If you were laid off before the company reimbursed you, Ossenfort explains, you’re on the hook for clearing the balance or risking a hit to your credit report.

Laid off, stuck with credit card bill []

(Photo: northernplateguy)

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.