Now This Is How You Tell A Zombie Debt Collector To Buzz Off!

“RJM Acquisitions” mailed Mark a funny notice asking him to pay up $4,448.23. The address they had associated with it was indeed Mark’s, 20 years ago, that is. Not only was the debt invalid, but even if it hadn’t, the statute of limitations was well expired. Mark got to work and drafted a kickass letter to dispute the debt and tell them not to contact him again unless they wanted to be sued $1,000 each time. Here is his letter, which can serve as a good model for any other readers fighting off invalid debt collection attempts, and his story:




When I recently received the attached notice from RJM Acquisitions Funding, LLP (“RJM”), I was instantly suspicious. Although the address to which the “debt” was associated was indeed correct (albeit a former address from nearly 20 years ago), the “debt” was not recognizable. My first action was to research RJM online, and I cannot say that I was surprised to discover a tremendous number of complaints against this firm. It became clear to me that RJM is a collection agency which either purchases old debt (debt which apparently exceeds the state’s statute of limitations for the collection of same) or, in certain cases, debts which are illegitimate or even nonexistent (and falsely contributes to one’s credit history). I also examined my recent credit reports from the three credit reporting agencies (my credit history and related credit scores are near-perfect as reported by all three agencies) and found that (1) this “debt” did not appear on any of the three reports, and (2) RJM had made an “inquiry” of my credit with Experian in February of this year.

As a result of my findings, I took the following actions:

1. Wrote the attached “cease and desist” letter to RJM (redacted), on which the New York State Attorney General, the New York State Bar Association, the Federal Trade Commission, ABC Eyewitness News and my own attorney were copied.

2. Wrote to Experian requesting that it bar RJM from receiving any further access to my personal credit report and/or history.

To date (and as I requested in my letter to RJM), I have received no further communication from RJM.

…I believe that this experience is precisely the type to which Consumerist readers should be alerted. My letter to RJM can easily serve as a model for those who are similarly contacted by … illegitimate debt collection agencies.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    Let’s have a round of applause for the Exectutive Email Carpet Bomb’s big brother: The Cease-and-Desist Tactical Nuke.

    • diasdiem says:

      With weapons-grade cc to Andrew Cuomo.

    • zentex says:

      that should totally be the new tag for this kind of thing!

    • coffeeculture says:

      bravo! best of consumerist right here.

    • jefeloco says:

      Don’t forget the Access-Restricting-Daisy-Cutter to Experian.

      • Bohemian says:

        Can you actually ban a company from doing inquries on you with the credit agencies like Experian? If so how do you do this?

        • TasteyCat says:

          No, Experian will tell you to get a life. However, freezing your credit report, which can be done at any of the big three websites, should prove pretty successful. I’ve blocked at least two pulls since freezing mine at the end of last year, including Comcast, who tried to pull without telling me despite the fact that I was inquiring about a non-credit product.

          • Papa Midnight says:

            Any chances you could shoot me the information to those places? Fairly new to the credit rating scheme myself.

  2. womynist says:

    RJM acquisitions…I’m familiar with them. They’re one of the shadiest debt collectors out there. Along with NCO Financial. Good for you, Mark!

    • dolemite says:

      Seems like all of these shady debt collection agencies are run by scummy types and they are all in NYC from what I can tell. The types that will say things like “The police are on the way to your house right now unless you give me your bank account number right now!”

      • EtherealFlame says:

        NCO Financial is the DEVIL. They tried to nail me for a debt I never had too with information they bought from a survey I filled out on the internet. I purposely misspelled my last name on the survey and low and behold 6 weeks later I get a letter for a 300$ debt. I wrote them a cease and desist letter after going to JAG, pointed out the obvious and turned them and the survey company over to the Texas AGs office. I haven’t heard another word from them and the survey company has thus vanished. This was about 5 years ago.

      • thisistobehelpful says:

        New Jersey is another good candidate for scummy debt collectors. Also Virginia and Michigan.

  3. donjumpsuit says:

    How successful is it to bar debt. collection companies from accessing your credit profile, which is most likely where they obtain updated information about your mailing address and phone number?

  4. YamiNoSenshi says:

    Going right for the tactical nuke. I like his style.

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      Seven Habits of Highly-effective Pirates

      Rule #37 – There is no Overkill. There is only ‘Open fire’ and ‘I need to reload!’.

  5. Ibecowtippin says:

    Wife received a letter from a debt collection company right after we were married. She had changed her name to “Jane Smith”, which happened to be the name of someone that owed debt from 4 years prior to our marriage, so her name changed triggered a bunch of calls and letters. The only way the debt collection agency would agree it wasn’t her was by giving my wifes birthday…. as if we were that dumb so they could put her birthday on the debt. A well written complaint to the BBB and a cease and desist letter ended the rest of the communication. Even after telling them neither of us lived in the area when the services were performed (x-rays at a hospital), that wasn’t good enough. I had wished they would come after us more because we would have plastered them with wrongful identification.

  6. NarcolepticGirl says:

    I have heard a lot about RJM. In my experience, they allowed me to PFD (pay for deletion off credit reporting agencies) with a debt that I owed. A lot of collectors won’t do that or just ignore your request.

    • Shadowman615 says:

      Did that actually work? I imagine the debt collector does not necessarily have the power to get anything deleted from your credit report.

      This company sounds more like a pure scam than a real debt collections agency.

      • pot_roast says:

        They’re the ones reporting it, so they most certainly do have the power to have items that they posted on your report deleted. I have had success with this in the past as well. The key is to get everything in writing, as you should always do with any debt collector.

    • NatalieErin says:

      They actually bought a legitimate debt of mine. (Younger, stupider me let an abandoned checking account just sit, until it overdrafted and the bank closed it and sold the debt.)

      Even though the debt was legitimate, I still wanted them to prove they actually owned it. Just that simple thing, which they (eventually) demonstrated they had the paperwork for, took days on the phone with people who seemed to think that resending me their bill was sufficient proof of ownership of the debt.

    • yankinwaoz says:

      You got scammed.
      A collection agency has no control over what the original creditor (O.C.) reports. It is the O.C. that put the negative trade on your report. The C.A. is not allowed put a duplicate trade on your report. In other words, the same bad news can not be reported twice.

      So… they told you that they will not report what they are not allowed to report in the first place. Wow. How generous of them.

      Rule of thumb. Assume everything a CA says is a lie.

    • twophrasebark says:

      “…they allowed me to PFD (pay for deletion off credit reporting agencies) with a debt that I owed.”

      That’s funny because PFD is illegal.

  7. ClutchDude says:

    Excellent letter. I wrote a very similar one about 2 years ago after a collections company (also in NY) refused to believe Sprint had told them the account they were collecting was fraudulently opened.

    A letter like this, with copies of the Sprint letter and their attempts to collect after the the date of such letter, did the trick in a manner that the other readers are calling “CaDTN”.

  8. Commenter24 says:

    Effective letter, albeit a bit indulgent. The guy comes off as trying to sound smarter than he is. However, I’m not sure that the fact the debt can’t be enforced in court bars ANY and ALL collection efforts. A glance through the FDCPA doesn’t reveal any provision that would prohibit this, though NY State law *might*. Moreover, the letter from RJM doesn’t even threaten legal action. To me, this letter is nothing more than seeking voluntary repayment.

    • husker64 says:

      You are right. They can still collect they just can’t use the courts to do it. Plus, how does the guy know that the statute has run out. Just cuz there is an old address on it doesn’t mean that was the last time the debt was paid on or the credit card was used.

    • RxDude says:

      Indulgent? No. The letter clearly and explicitly states Mr. George’s position and what he intends to do if the matter is not resolved. The collection agency attempted to collect a “debt” which apparently NEVER EXISTED. That, possibly, is fraud.

      My first thoughts, if transcribed onto paper, would be an expletive-laden tirade. This is the type of letter I would write after cooling down.

    • Bye says:

      I don’t understand the comment about the guy trying to come across smarter than he is; if he had used incorrect syntax or misspelled words, I’d say he was trying. However, this letter comes across to me like the guy actually is smart and very good about getting his point across.

      • Dre' says:

        The grandparent poster always makes comments like that. Just try your best to ignore him like the rest of us do.

      • Commenter24 says:

        (this belonged under here…)

        Well, for one the “presumed finding of the Attorney General’s office” that the statute of limitations has run makes little/no difference in a court of law. The only “finding” that matters in court, at least as far as a statute of limitations defense, is the judge’s. It’s nitpicky, but his “legal” analysis, while not entirely wrong, isn’t very good.

    • Sneeje says:

      Given the consistent creative use of the law to further the ends of their clients, I would argue that your criticism applies to pretty much any legalese regardless of whether or not it was drafted by a competent lawyer. And what legal letters don’t contain some degree of empty posturing? The point is to get the other side to capitulate.

      • Commenter24 says:

        There is nothing wrong with posturing; just make sure it’s good posturing. I don’t think his is particularly good. That doesn’t mean it won’t be effective, though.

        • ben says:

          My guess is that he was going for “effective” rather than “good.”

          • Commenter24 says:

            Whether it’s not good but still effective really depends on who reads it.

            • ben says:

              I’m not really sure what you’re trying to say here. “Good” is subjective. It’s effective if it accomplishes the OP’s goal.

    • Commenter24 says:

      Well, for one the “presumed finding of the Attorney General’s office” that the statute of limitations has run makes little/no difference in a court of law. The only “finding” that matters in court, at least as far as a statute of limitations defense, is the judge’s. It’s nitpicky, but his “legal” analysis, while not entirely wrong, isn’t very good.

    • SpendorTheCheap says:

      How do you know how smart he is?

    • ShinGetterPoPo says:

      The voluntary payment is a fairly moot point when the letter is written about a debt that should have been canceled nearly a decade ago. The point is they were illegally, and I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and guess it was a clerical error, attempting to collect on a debt that had long since passed the statute of limitations..

      • Commenter24 says:

        It’s not illegal to try to collect on a debt that cannot be enforced in court due to the statute of limitations (unless NY has a specific law saying so). The statute of limitations issue only applies to court cases, not to out-of-court collection efforts.

      • Dopaz says:

        Its not illegal to try to collect on old debt…. its just not very effective or shouldn’t be, don’t be skairt, they can’t take you to court… However, if you pay them even $1 it re-ages the account and suddenly that 10 year old debt becomes current! This is a common tactic. “Pay us just $20 and we’ll blah blah blah…” As Mr. Akbar would say ‘It’s a trap!”. If you debt is past Statute of Limitations, a simple C&D to any collector should stop them from contacting you on that account. If they call/mail after the C&D (sent certified to prove it was delivered) you should get an FDCPA attorney who will work on contingency and YOU get up $1000. is an excellent place to find a FDCPA attorney

    • benk1342 says:

      I agree. This sounds like a non-lawyer trying to sound like a lawyer

  9. husker64 says:

    Your letter stinks. I was a director of a collection place. None of the stuff you did will stop them from collecting except that they will cease communications with you (per FDCPA and your request). Just because its not on your credit report don’t mean its not yours. Credit Reports are notoriously incomplete. How do you know the statute has expired if you don’t know what the debt is? The statute runs from the last date of payment or charge (if its a credit card). You wouldn’t know that unless you knew what the debt was for. They may sue you anyway because their records show that it is in statute. If its truly not yours you are better off calling them giving you name, social, dob etc…to show them they got the wrong guy with the same name. This is what happens 99% of the time with this. Mistaken ID. Because of your cease and desist they can’t call you to try and clear this up. You have to make contact now to be sure it will go away permanently. They may just sell this to somebody else and you’ll have to do it all over again, and again, and again.

    • buggurl says:

      But, if he gives them his DOB, SSN, etc. to try and prove that it’s not him and not his debt, what’s to stop the collection agency from attaching that information to the debt, and viola! it becomes his debt, because it’s got his DOB and SSN on it.

      You may be an honorable collection agency person, but there’s tons of horror stories out there about not-so-honorable ones.

    • rambo76098 says:

      RTFA… The debt was associated to an address that he has not lived at for 20+ years. I’m gonna guess no statute of limitations is greater than 20 years.

  10. Im Just Saying says:

    Unfortunately the story is thus far incomplete. Did the agency drop the issue? Ignore the letter? Sell the debt to someone else? OP should probably start lining up legal council just in case.

    • Commenter24 says:

      council |ˈkounsəl|
      an advisory, deliberative, or legislative body of people formally constituted and meeting regularly

      counsel |ˈkounsəl|
      1 advice, esp. that given formally.
      • consultation, esp. to seek or give advice.
      2 ( pl. same) the lawyer or lawyers conducting a case : the counsel for the defense.

    • Tankueray says:

      No, he doesn’t need a lawyer. When you send a C&D letter to these slimeballs they just sell the debt to someone else and it starts all over again. They can’t legally force you to pay a time barred debt, all they can do is send you letters to ask you to pay. They actually make pretty good money off of people who don’t know the rules and are scared into paying. Even for fabricated debts and accounts. Say they buy a debt of $4000 for $40. They then send out a letter and if you bite and pay more than $40, they make a profit. So they’ll never go away. I got something like this a year ago regarding a Discover card debt. I’ve never had a Discover card. When I looked them up it seemed that many people were getting these supposed Discover debts from that company when they also never had a Discover card.

      I know exactly who I owe what to, and I check my report 3 times a year. When I get these letters they go in the trash.

  11. Sir Winston Thriller says:

    Can you request a credit agency bar a company from accessing your account?

  12. dolemite says:

    My favorite part of the notice is “YES! I like:”

    I think I’d put “Other:” and write out “For you to please go F yourself, thanks.”

    • Commenter24 says:

      I actually chuckled at that part too. It’s like you’ve won a prize. “YES!” I’m kind of surprised there wasn’t more than 1 exclamation point, or that they didn’t include an eBay-esq A+++++ addition.

  13. soldstatic says:

    Did you get the confirmation letter that the issue was closed though????

  14. FightOnTrojans says:

    I was half-expecting him to bust a Ray Stantz in the letter: “As a duly designated representative of the City, County and State of New York, I order you to cease any and all supernatural activity and return forthwith to your place of origin or to the nearest convenient parallel dimension.”

  15. tweeder82o says:

    can you charge them an hourly rate to have had to do all the leg work?

  16. madanthony says:

    My understanding is that under FDCPA, all you really need to do is say “I dispute this debt. Please validate. Please do not call me” and if they don’t respond in 30 days, you have grounds to sue. The rest of the letter is pretty much unnecessary grandstanding.

    • Commenter24 says:

      You only have grounds to sue if they continue to call, outside the narrow confines of the FDCPA that allows calls after they’ve been told not to, or if they continue to attempt to collect without providing verification. If they just go away after you resist, I don’t believe the FDCPA give you grounds for a suit.

  17. anime_runs_my_life says:

    Something I haven’t seen anyone ask yet (unless they did while I was posting): has he checked his credit report. I know RJM is one of the most notorious bottom feeders, so I’m sure that they could have hit his report. I also know that they’re the quickest to fold and shuffle off the debt to another collection agency.

    I dealt with them a few years back when they tried to collect for a towing fee for my ex’s car. I had nothing to do with it, but because I was married and in a community property state *at the time the car was towed*, I was apparently also liable for his debt. Nevermind that I’d divorced him just two years previously and nevermind that the debt definitely past SOL. I found a letter on the CreditBoards forum and tossed it their way. Not a word after that. Then a couple of months later, I got another letter from another agency that had been “referred” the debt. I ended up having a friend who is also a lawyer and needing some work to take care of it for me. I haven’t heart a peep since.

    • suepw says:

      Why would anyone ask this question when it was clearly stated in the article, which we all read?

    • selianth says:

      Read the article. “I also examined my recent credit reports from the three credit reporting agencies (my credit history and related credit scores are near-perfect as reported by all three agencies) and found that (1) this “debt” did not appear on any of the three reports, and (2) RJM had made an “inquiry” of my credit with Experian in February of this year.”

  18. dwasifar says:

    If a cease-and-desist letter doesn’t work, send them a letter expressing your hope that they will get cancer and die.

    A cyst-and-decease letter.


  19. Fey Mooncalled says:

    “Nt rcgnzbl,” s nt th sm s nt wng th mn. s lndlrd, lk t pnt t tht y d NT hvng th mrl hgh grnd fr scmmng yr lndlrd t f $., vn f y dd gt w wth t fr yrs. Y r ddbt tnnt. scmbg. Y shld b shmd, nt flntng hw y gt w wth t.

    • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

      I think this was a credit card, not rent.

    • JohnG says:

      I would semi agree, but these things get blown up by fees and penalties stupid hard and fast. RJM also likes to overstate the hell out of what it thinks you owe. If you try to negotiate reducing it to something reasonable, they take it as an acceptance of the full debt and demand that.

      I had them come after me for over $6000 they said I owed. After working back through what it was, I found it was for $150 of a “last month of rent” that the place I lived at misfiled and decided to put into collections even though I had paid them in the first place and had received my deposit back. It never showed up on my credit reports. But somehow RJM acquired it and wanted to supersize the fees.

    • TheSpatulaOfLove says:

      Where in the post and/or letter did it say he stiffed his landlord?

      I saw that it was a supposed Visa account and that they were trying to pin it to an address from 20 years ago.

    • newfenoix says:

      Hey Bozo, it doesn’t say that it is a rent debt and it is 20 years old so you can stick it.

    • tr41nwr3ck says:

      I can’t read that gibberish. Speak vowellish!

  20. golddog says:

    I might be missing something here, but did Mark rack up the debt in the first place? Nowhere do I see “this isn’t my account / this is the first I’m hearing of this / I never had an account with this company.” All I see is (paraphrased) “I dispute it’s validity based on statute of limitations”.

    If they take 20 years to track you down it’s certainly up for debate if they still deserve to get paid, but is that b/c Mark was that good in dodging them or b/c they were negligent? Same with if the debt was already discharged. But if you legitimately owes the debt in 1990 you kind of owe the debt in 2010…

    • rdking says:

      since creditors like to play by the letter of the law when its stacked in their favor i have no problems with someone not paying a debt from 20 years ago if they dont legally have to. the SOL expired so he doesnt owe the money. when dealing with debt collectors morality doesnt factor into the equation

      • Commenter24 says:

        Legally owing the debt and the creditor’s ability to get a court to enforce the debt are two distinct matters. He very well may owe the debt, but due to the statute of limitations RJM can’t get a court to use its power as an arm of the state to enforce collection through a judgment and garnishment/attachment.

    • Grogey says:

      Not based on statute of limitations for the state he is in. He does mention “the “debt” was not recognizable” which to me means he isn’t out right denying that there’s a chance he doesn’t have the debt but because of the time frame and the fact again that they had there chance and that he couldn’t find anything matching it on his credit report that it is fraud.

      I think the company was trying to swindle him for money he didn’t owe, basically a scare tactic just like many other scams.

    • Kasira says:

      The way I read it, it was someone else’s debt that got pinned on him by way of that 20 year old address.

  21. Grogey says:

    I also support the use of the “Cease-and-Desist Tactical Nuke” tag. CaDTN FTW……

    Man acronyms can be fun sometimes.

  22. MeCatLikesMeHamSanwich says:


  23. 420greg says:

    He had no reason to cc anyone just yet. The initial letter from RJM contains no violations.
    If it is out of SOL they can no longer take legal action to collect the debt, but they are still allowed to try to collect it until you send them a C&D.

    He can probably send them an intent to sue for checking his credit when he has no relationship with them. It’s called a non-permissible pull and they owe you $1000 bucks.

    • Bohemian says:

      Really? Anyone have more info on this? We had a bunch of these random entities we didn’t know checking our credit reports. I didn’t think you could do anything about it.

    • squidzilla says:

      If the collection agency purchases the debt, they have permissible purpose to pull your CR.

  24. ShinGetterPoPo says:

    Wow. 37.50/month for 10 years. Why would anyone take that?

    • ben says:

      If they feel morally obligated to pay the debt, but can’t afford to pay a large amount at once, it seems like a reasonable option.

    • RvLeshrac says:

      That’s pretty reasonable. Or, rather, it WOULD be reasonable, if it was a legitimate debt. That pays off the debt with only inflation as the interest.

  25. LoganDX says:

    I received a letter like this from RJM and that’s basically what I did. I also asked for proof of this alleged debt and never heard back.

  26. RvLeshrac says:

    The real question is: Why is it incumbent upon a person who doesn’t owe anything to go through this trouble?

    One of the reasons many of these companies get away with scamming people out of funds is because they don’t usually go after $4k, they go after $40. For most people, spending hours writing letters and reading up on the law is worth far more than the $40 they *might* have owed some unknown party two decades ago.

    When called on it, these companies will typically state that they “don’t have the paperwork,” but that they’re “certain” you owe the money.

    There seriously oughta be a law here… a law requiring that the company claiming the debt be able to produce documentation of that debt. If they can’t produce a contract bearing your signature, you shouldn’t owe jack.

  27. balthisar says:

    Except, in most states with statutes of limitations, it’s okay to persue a (legal) debt beyond that timeframe; it’s just generally regarded as non-collectible because the courts will no longer honor the debt beyond that timeframe. There’s nothing that prohibits them from attempting to collect the debt, as long as they’re otherwise compliant with the applicable laws.

    In short, debts don’t expire, but the courts’ willingness to hear complaints does expire.

  28. brant says:

    Sometimes you run into financial trouble, and some crooks buy a claim to a signed-off debt for pennies on the dollar, and then try to intimidate you into a settlement. Let them sue you. File an Answer to their Complaint. Then send them by certified mail a Demand for Documents. Set a court date some weeks after they have had time to receive and respond to this demand. Do not settle. It is up to them to provide proof. If they fail, and you get it dismissed with prejudice, the matter is permanently over, except for your credit rating being bad for a while. But if you do this, seek legal advice. Many areas have pro bono programs to help the self-represented. If you are in Brooklyn, look up CLARO. They are very helpful.

  29. floor9 says:

    Congratulations to Mark on helping another zombie debt collector go unpaid! After learning that a debt collector had illegally “corrected” one of their accounts to show my name — while they were really looking for the former owner of my house — I can vouch for how great it feels to shut down a runaway debt collector.

    However, I have a few suggestions for anyone considering doing the same:

    1) Keep your letters brief. If you include more than 3-4 sentences, you’re doing it wrong. Just say “I am disputing this alleged debt in full”, send it certified, and leave it at that.

    2) Debt collectors are threatened with lawsuits all the time. People always threaten to report them to the Attorney General. When you start including wordy legal threats, it only serves to tell the debt collector that you found a “sample letter” online (those are notorious for including vague, often inappropriate legal citations). So don’t bother wasting the wear & tear on your keyboard – just keep it short.

    3) To the general public, PLEASE do not send a “cease & desist” letter unless you really, really know what you are doing. In this case it’s entirely appropriate, as the statute of limitations has long since expired. But if you send a C&D while a debt is still valid (perhaps the debt is 20 years old, but three years ago you made a token payment of $20), it is almost guaranteed to trigger a lawsuit.

    4) One final point – it is not illegal to attempt to collect a debt at any time, unless that debt is in a “proper” dispute (notice of dispute has been communicated to the debt collector within 30 days of initial communication; if you dispute a debt several months after the communication, your dispute is meaningless). Don’t be surprised if you receive another letter from a different debt collector regarding the same account in a few months. A few states are slowly starting to clamp down on this, but most are not — and the FDCPA fully permits a debtor to collect, in theory, a century-old debt if they so choose.

    Good job nonetheless. The debt collection industry is so overrun with deceitful tactics and outright fraud that it has truly become a case of 95% of the industry giving the remaining 5% (those who operate within the bounds of the law) a bad name.

  30. okcancel says:

    Personally, I think it should be fraudulent to attempt to collect a debt after the statute of limitations. I think it is sort of wrong to be arrested for a crime that was committed at least one statute of limitations ago, so why shouldn’t it be sort of wrong to do the civil equivalent?

    If nothing else, the whole “pay them a dime or say the wrong thing and it resets the clock” is vile. The FDCPA does little to protect the naive consumer, and doesn’t discourage a predatory collector that backs off when threatened.

  31. pot_roast says:

    Overkill. he doesn’t need to CC anyone. Just write a VOD (verification of debt) letter. They won’t be able to verify it. If they do, then write back telling them to sod off since it’s past the statute of limitations. (this varies on the type of account and state)

    Oh, and NEVER sign anything that is being sent to a collection agency/debt collector. Signatures have a way of mysteriously finding their way onto other documents. (certainly illegal, but it happens.) There’s no need to sign anything you’re sending to them unless it’s an agreement.

  32. darksly says:

    Big Hands, Big Feet….

  33. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    They accept credit card payments on old credit card debt?

  34. godlyfrog says:

    The problem with this letter is that the OP is assuming that the debt is 20 years old because that’s when he lived at the address, but the letter just says that it was a previous address, not that the debt was owed at the address. Addresses like that are often tossed onto the letter to indicate that they are talking to the right “Michael George”, often after they do a credit report to glean some information, which they did, according to the OP.

    If you look at it from the collector’s point of view, all the OP has done is claim that the statute of limitations has expired and is not valid because of that, but if the debt is not that old, they’ll just ignore it and send another letter. If the OP tries to go to court and collect $1000 on the assumption that the debt is 20 years old, he will likely simply be wasting his time since he is the only one making the statement that it is, in fact, 20 years old. What he should have done was denied its validity on the grounds that it’s not his debt, and stuck with that rather than focusing on the statute of limitations argument which he really has no facts to back up. I would not be surprised if he were to hear from them again in the future.

  35. technos says:

    I had this company (RJM) send me a demand for $800 last year. I honestly think they had to have made the debt up, or just sent it to everyone they could dig up with a similar name. Why? They chose a company I’d never had an account with, for a service I couldn’t buy, in a state I’d never lived in. On top of that, they misspelled my first name on the demand letters.

    After five or six demands I sent them a letter back:

    Regarding your letter of 12/12/09

    I am not “Jamie Xxxxxxx”, and this is not my debt. I am not even female. I have also never lived in Chicago, nor the state of Illinois, nor have I ever had an account with Verizon, nor any other company that was bought by Verizon. Also, at the time of the supposed bill fifteen years ago, I was a minor and unable to enter into a contract with Verizon.

    Do not contact me again. Ever. You know damn well how badly this will look in front of a judge.

    James Xxxxxxx

  36. sopmodm14 says:

    awesomeness !

  37. somethingmorbid says:

    RJm.. Heh I used to work for them. Easily the worst job I ever had. Not just because of people like Mark, but just because working the phones for eight hours a day is murder.
    I hated when people did the live action version of his letter while I was listlessly ignoring them waiting for the righteous indigation to peter out before I said ” That’s fine, I’ll close out the account”
    Yeah, as one person who worked that job lemme tell you. If the debt is past statute the collection agency has no recourse to try and acquire it, but generally they’re also cool to ignore it and write it off as a loss. Those letters and complaints don’t get you any further than calling the company up and telling them you’re not going to pay in a polite fashion.

  38. zzxx says:

    is it just me but……

    If I would get this letter for a credit card that I never had or paid off I would say that. All he said was that the statute of limitations ran out and to quit pursuing him.

    I think he owed the money and never paid it.

    I think he and all other dead beats cause too much trouble in this economy.

    The guy sounds very educated in writing this letter. He probably makes good money. He should pay off his debt. Now comes time to pay for those Chipwiches and Members Only jackets you put on the card in the ’80s.

    • grumpygirl says:

      That would be a perspective worth considering if it weren’t for the fact that junk debt buyers assign old debts to the wrong people with predictable regularity.

  39. MongoAngryMongoSmash says:

    Totally OT, but I give the OP +1 for cc’ing Nina Pineda. Being from Pittsburgh, I remember her from our local ABC affiliate, WTAE, pre 2001. She left for NY and then gained instant historical notoriety when she covered the 9/11 attacks and was on camera as the wall of smoke and debris came rushing at her as one of the towers fell.

  40. kccricket says:

    It’s pointless to redact the user’s address and yet leave the Intelligent Mail barcode visible…

  41. yankinwaoz says:

    Sorry. This letter is a terrible and should NOT be used as a template.

    First some facts. It is not illegal to attempt to collect a old debt debt. It is not illegal to sue for an old debt.

    Second: Don’t throw around “State A.G”, “BBB’, “FBI”, etc. I don’t get the State’s A.G. involved unless I feel that someone has broken state law. The FDCPA is federal law. There may be state laws above and beyond the FDCPA that you can sue, or complain under.

    Third. KISS. Keep it short and sweet. Just tell them that (a) you don’t know who they are, and (b) that you deny owning the C.A. any money. Demand proof, and tell them they are not allowed to contact you until they provide proof.

    Wait for them to file a suit before evoking the SOL. Learn what the SOL is for the type of debt they are suing on. Then file a response evoking the SOL and ask the case be dismissed. The court, not the A.G. will dismiss the case. These are bottom fishers and they won’t sue because that costs money.

  42. lyllydd says:

    Golf clap for the tac nuke approach. Very nice form.
    Extra points for the size of the brass ones required to cc ABC news.
    This thing of beauty should be published as a form letter so that other victims can use it to free themselves from the shambling, brain-eating clutches of zombie debt collectors. Or at least, please post links to the state AG, the Bar Association, and the news outlets.
    And again, thank you sir!

  43. greendragon2000 says:

    Mark is not denying the debt, he is just not required to pay on that debt as it is past the statute for the state he lives in. After a certain # of years, the debt is erased. It may not fix your credit, but it does allow the report not to show against you as a nonpayment.