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NICCIO

Sent to collections for company mistake

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Hi there!

 

I have a quandary that was hoping one of the credit gurus on here could help out with.

 

Last spring we had a cell phone plan with two phones and a child device. The child device is incapable of receiving data, messages, etc. and could only be programmed to accept four numbers by a phone that was on the network and had a particular app installed. The child device cost a $5/mo access fee, this comes into play later.

 

Last spring we decided to change carriers. We got a new plan and called the old carrier to have our phone numbers ported to the new carrier, the child device deactivated, and the account closed. They switched over the numbers and closed the account letting us know what the final billing would be and we went on our merry way. A few months later I found out that carrier #1 was still billing us nearly $50/mo. I called them to see what it was and they said:

1) It was for the child device that they did not deactivate correctly

2) Because the child device was an add-on they had to start a new line of service for ~$50/mo

3) They had sent text notices to the child device, but since it does not have messaging, there was no way we could have known or set up an account to view the charges since it requires text verification.

4) They could not credit back the charges since they had already posted

 

I asked what I could do to get the money back and they said to call the bank and do a chargeback. So I did.

A few weeks later, I got a bill for all of the money the bank recovered plus $20 for each chargeback (3) for a total of ~$210.00. I called the company and they said that it was a mistake and they would put in a ticket to get it cleared. A month later we got a notice that the $210 was sent to their in-house collections company and if we did not pay, it would go on our credit. I called again and they said that they were going to fix it and they would clearly note the file and they would send us a credit statement in the next ten days confirming that they had credited the account by the amount owed which would bring the balance to $0.

 

Two weeks later we got a collection notice from a third party collection company and it was reported to our credit as a delinquent account.

 

The question is, what can I do to get this cleared? The original cell provider says it's not their problem since they sold it and the collection company says they don't care because to them it's just an amount owed. Do I have to pay it even though it was the cell provider's mistake? Do I have any recourse?

 

Thanks for your time and knowledge!

 

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Most likely they have an arb clause in their agreement; most of the majors do. I would file for arb on this and see if they want to spend 6K in startup fees to haggle over $200. I bet they won't. If they refuse to arbitrate and still won't pay up, it's off to federal court we go under USC 9.

Edited by legaleagle2012

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Thanks all, the original carrier was Verizon. I went through their arbitration/mediation clauses and they are refusing to arbitrate or mediate because the original bill was more than 180 days ago. I would think that each time they gave the expectation that the matter would be resolved would toll their time limit, but I think this may end up in small claims court.

Edited by NICCIO
Grammatical error

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As Marv appropriately asks...who was the carrier? 

 

Without knowing who the carrier is, better guidance cannot be given. 

 

Another issue is it appears that actions are being contemplated based upon phone calls and NOT written communications which also serve to protect one's rights.  If this is NOT the case, then please indicate what letters were sent to the corporate office and various regulatory entities...

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Make sure you have everything documented and then sue them in small claims court.  You can probably earn a bit for you time and trouble.  

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I'll respect the advice above, but offer my take:

 

I think you have potential remedies to explore before litigating (or having suggested arbitration -- although I understand why you were inclined to do so).  While it's been ages ago, I satisfactorily resolved a dispute with Verizon in my favor by contacting their executive customer service office.  (This was after making an offer to pay 40% as "full payment", which was rejected by a CS Mgr out of hand.  Instead, the exec office cleared the balance and removed the adverse credit reporting -- the amount is engraved in my memory ... $687.)

 

An internet search suggests that this is the current contact to request such assistance ...

 

Nancy Clark
Senior Vice President- Consumer Customer Service
1 Verizon Way
Basking Ridge, NJ 07920
nancy.clark@verizonwireless.com

 

Ms. Clark's Linkedin profile indicates that this information is accurate.

 

I recommend as terse an email as possible, relaying what you have discussed here:  Nature of the erroneous debt, your attempts to resolve it and the verbal agreement to correct, and the unsatisfactory outcome (additional detail available upon request). 

 

And, this time, if any promise is extended in response via phone, always ask them to confirm the details by email or a letter.  Best wishes for a successful outcome!

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