Prayer Request: Collection agency came calling

Prayer Request: Collection agency came calling

Toyota TercelThis morning we were woken by a collection agency that wants $2,000 from us immediately.

Back in November 2005,I wrecked my little beat-up Toyota in a traffic pile-up caused by a driver in the wrong lane. The car was totaled, towed to a lot, and I signed the paperwork agreeing to give the title to the lot owner if I didn’t return to pick it up in 30 days.

I never went back for it, the title passed into the lot owner’s hands. We were notified of the title transfer. All was fine.

Now, today, we’re told that we owe something like $75 a day for 25 days of storage, or some such. We were never notified of such a bill, I never signed anything stating that I would pay such a fee, and we never received or signed for any certified mail indicating that we owed such an amount. We never got a phone call, a bill or anything. We never saw mail about it. (That’s not saying the mail wasn’t delivered, but if it looked like junk mail, it might’ve gotten tossed.)

This is among the last things we need while we have no income except for occasional freelance work.

I called the collection agency back. They’re willing to put us on a “hardship” payment plan for something like $20 a month after I fax them my unemployment letter. But, the thing is, I would rather get this debt entirely relieved. I’ve called the tow company, but the owner is in Arizona and probably won’t be in town until next Monday.

So, please pray that God give me favor and grace with the owner of the lot, the one who sent this to collection. I would really like to have this debt relieved without having to pay $2,000, and I don’t want to have to pay for a lawyer to help with it. Like we could afford that, either.

:: sigh ::

Rich

[tags]BlogRodent, car crash, Toyota tercel, prayer request, collection agency[/tags]

16 thoughts on “Prayer Request: Collection agency came calling

  1. Marc V

    I think you mean November 2006, since if it was 2005 then you would be looking at 13 months of payments.

    Smells like it, feels like it and tastes like a scam. Unfortunately you stepped in it too. See if the owner is a brother in Christ. Otherwise find a merciful lawyer who can at least advise you.

    Blessed Jesus,
    Please send relief to Rick,
    and help him to see his way along this crooked path.
    May You be glorified through all of this as we praise your name, our precious Redeemer.
    Amen.

  2. Cory Whitehead

    Wow! When it rains, it pours.

    I’ve heard so many people have to deal with unjust things like this, it just discourages me about mankind.

    All I can do is pray. All you can do is the same….and keep on the company and collection agency about this. It’s ridiculous.

  3. Rich Post author

    Thanks Marc, and Cory, for your prayers. I really appreciate it.

    Marc, yes. It was November 2005 when I wrecked my car and the police had it towed to a local lot. Yes, that was 14 months ago. And, no, we never got a bill, a phone call, or registered mail.

    We do have some advice on how to proceed, and I’m doing additional research. The difficult part, right now, is documenting the event, since it’s been over a year, and I have no idea where the paperwork is.

    However, the towing agency and the collection agency should be able to document this, themselves, which is the first step in validating the debt.

    Thanks,

    Rich.
    BlogRodent

  4. Cory Whitehead

    Guess what. I got a letter tonight from a collection’s agency. For a bill I paid two years ago.

    Why is this world incompetent? And why is it now my problem to run around, be stressed, and try to fix it?

    Cory

  5. Rich Post author

    Sorry, Cory.

    I heard from a former debt collector (they must feel like the reviled and despised tax collectors of old …) that if you require the debt collector to “validate” the claim, it stops the process and forces them to itemize the bill and any attempts to contact you previously.

    Since this happened, I’ve heard some weird stories about how unscrupulous companies use debt collection agencies to pray on folks. Most people, apparently, just roll over and pay the alleged debts, but the debts are not always legit.

    My mother in law reported that once a collections agent contacted her about a significant medical bill that she’d already paid long ago. Turns out the doctor had move his offices, lost all his billing paperwork, and was simply using the collection agent to contact all former patients to attempt to get them to pay the original balance on all the old bills. If the former patients objected, the agent would simply mark the account as paid. If they didn’t object and paid anyhow, the doctor’s office may well have gotten paid twice.

    Apparently, with debt collection, you’re presumed guilty untl you extablish your innocence.

    :: sigh ::

    Rich
    BlogRodent

  6. James Imperial

    I think if you pay even the twenty a month… it will be a sort of an admission on your part.

    I would look over the paperwork you signed carefully first. If it does not mention fees, I would not give them a dime.

  7. Rich Post author

    Thanks, Kathi, for your valued prayers. Really.

    Yes, James, I agree. I expect to get documentation next week — the burden is on them to prove it.

    Regards,

    Rich
    BlogRodent

  8. carl

    Hate to get spiritual at a time like this but…

    Count it all joy, my brothers,when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

    I am in a very similar situation. Praying for you!

  9. Joe Aleman

    Have you resolved this issue yet? I deal with this kind of field often. Remember, don’t just pray for miraculous delivery — pray for wisdom (James 1).

    Peace…

  10. clarkw

    Was searching around for some kindred spirits and ran across your blog spot. Hope the car incident is now history for you. A similar thing happened to my best friend, and the collection company was demonic.

    Father Don

  11. Rich Post author

    Good to know that the alleged cyber-personna of Steve Jobs is looking out for me. If only it actually were Steve…

    Thanks Don and Joe for your sympathy and compassion.

    Yes, we finally got this resolved. After repeated phone calls, no call backs, many vengefully ignored voice-mails, and some strenuous words, I finally got through to the “boss” at the collections agency. After much frustrated back and forth, I finally began to realize that not only did the collection agency, but perhaps the government, may have me by the short hairs on this one. So, as I was venting my frustration, I remembered, as though a voice were speaking in my head, “So, you pride yourself on being a communicator, communicate with this guy!”

    So, I took a breath, stepped back from the cliff-edge mentally, and took a more reasonable tone with the collections agent: “Look,” I said, “here’s the situation from my point of view. I don’t have a job, I’ve been without work since November, and I keep getting this feeling that way back two years ago when I had my accident  — caused by somebody else  —, it’s almost like everybody was winking at everybody else except me. There was nothing on the paperwork that said I’d be on the hook for some sort of storage fee, so why would I expect one later on? It’s almost like the towing company is just wringing their hands, saying, ‘This poor sucker’s going to find out that this worthless heap of junk is going to be worth $2,000 bucks one day, boy will he be surprised!’. I understand there might’ve been some sort of fine print on the notice I was to have received from the State regarding the transfer of the title, but I didn’t expect to see any fees owed to the towing company simply because there was no language to that effect on the contract I signed. This, really, is a bait-and-switch operation, at least, that’s what it’s beginning to feel like to me.”

    I don’t know if what I had to say really helped, or not, but the manager suddenly said, “Okay, look, how about I offer you a ‘severe hardship discount’ and we’ll call it even?”

    “How much?”

    “$600.”

    Done.

    So, I paid the $600 over the phone that day, and I haven’t heard from the collections agency since.

    Which actually kind of bothers me, since I haven’t seen the paperwork in the mail that they were supposed to have sent me.

    So, for all I know, I may have given some elaborate con operation $600 and I never had a real collections agency gunning for me after all.

    Oh well. I don’t have the time to worry about it right now. I wish I’d thought of that before, but it only occurred to me after shelling out the money. (Sometimes so-called smart guys can be idiots.)

    Rich

  12. Kathi Sharpe

    Rich — pull your credit report. Now, and in six months. See if/how it’s listed there.

    If it’s not, or if it’s listed as paid or settled in full, then I wouldn’t waste any more time worrying on it.

    if it is on the CR, vigorously dispute it, send a letter to assorted gov’t agencies (nothing helps a collection agent get on the ball more than hearing from the FTC, the BBB, and their state attorney general all in one afternoon) and force them to sign off on it… on your terms.

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