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Received notice of an attempt to collect - creditor says I don't owe them anything - I can't find evidence of the transaction on bank statement


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This is an exhausting one...I purchased something from an online retailer back in August, 2020. It was back-ordered, so I didn't receive it until sometime in September. At some point, I started receiving "payment failed" notifications from the company saying that they had been trying to charge the card I used to purchase the item, but they weren't able to get the transaction to go through. I reached out to the company via online chat in December regarding a different issue and brought up all of the emails I had been receiving, because I wasn't sure if they were legitimate. The rep looked into it, apologized and said that they were able to complete the transaction in September, 2020 - two days after it was shipped and nothing was owed. I mentioned that the card had been compromised at some point during those months, so that could have been what happened. She said not to worry, everything was taken care. All good. 

 

Fast forward to yesterday, when I open an email from this company's 3rd party collection agency referencing the exact amount of the item and the order number saying that they are attempting to collect a debt. Spent almost the entire afternoon on the phone with the retailer trying to get to the bottom of things. The first rep I spoke with referenced the chat from back in December and said she couldn't see anything about me being sent to collections, so she wanted to transfer me to the collections people because they would have all of the information now that it was passed on to them. I said, "NO, absolutely not...I am not acknowledging this debt, no one has attempted to collect anything from me ever, I do not have any interest in communicating with anyone affiliated with a collections agency at this time.  She understood and told me she needed to transfer me to someone higher up. She attempted, and of course I lost her during the transfer. 

 

Got a new person on the line. Attempted to summarize what had transpired over the last hour. Rep says, same thing - strange, can't find anything stating the company had sent me to collections. He checks on something, comes back and says - no problem, I see that this item was paid for on xyz date, you owe nothing. He sent me documentation stating as such, referencing the accnt number etc.

 

Here's the caveat... I can not find the charge anywhere on my statements. I sensed that the original rep I spoke with was unsure about something she was seeing, and she was definitely unwilling to state that it was all a mistake or put in writing that I didn't owe anything. I really don't have a way to find her again, or figure out whom she was trying to transfer me to. What do I do now? 

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 I mentioned that the card had been compromised at some point during those months, so that could have been what happened

 

Possible the orignal charge was approved but then not posted or possibly reversed as part of what the credit card company did when the card was compromised. So if their records are sloppy they might have some that indicate the charge was approved but on the back end it wasn't recorded.  I would review everything that occurred when the card was compromised and see if this may have occurred. In any case since the bill was never posted to your monthly statements you should pay them. But you should also get a statement in writing that there was nothing you did wrong and that you will hold them responsible for any adverse consequences if collections puts it on your record even though that appears unlikely from what you've stated.

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Ok, thank you. I would have absolutely paid them had I not been told that I didn't need to pay them! I don't want any part of this. 

 

This is a debit card, btw. Don't know if that  matters or not. 

 

Nothing is showing on my credit report. The collection agency did a "soft request" on 10/14/2021. Is that customary? 

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6 hours ago, Huffnstuff said:

Ok, thank you. I would have absolutely paid them had I not been told that I didn't need to pay them! I don't want any part of this. 

 

This is a debit card, btw. Don't know if that  matters or not. 

 

Nothing is showing on my credit report. The collection agency did a "soft request" on 10/14/2021. Is that customary? 

Yes. a soft is one of the ways they locate their "customers"

Debit or credit card makes no difference.

 

I would skip the phone call and write a letter to the company outlining what probably happened and offering to pay for what they shipped you but also include the warnings I mentioned earlier. I have actually done that before when I bought a bunch of stuff from a company and they billed my credit card several thou too low. It's rare but it happens.

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They began the texting this morning. I will unsubscribe to both email and texts. I talked to another accnt specialist today and the company swears up and down they didn't start this process and that I don't owe them any money. I was practically throwing money at them. Told me to ignore the notices etc.  I just don't think I can do that, and possibly allow myself to get burned. My credit score is over 800. I'm going to send a letter to the "creditor" as advised w/warnings etc, but I'm wondering if it is still ill advised to engage with the collections agency. Their notice says to either dispute the debt w/in 30 days or ignore the notice; if you ignore it they will assume it is valid and... then what?

 

Below is the language they sent in their email (I'm sure it's pretty standard):
 

Unless you notify this office within 30 days after receiving this notice that you dispute the validity of this debt or any portion thereof, this office will assume the debt is valid. If you notify this office in writing within 30 days after receiving this notice that you dispute the validity of this debt or any portion thereof, this office will obtain verification of the debt or obtain a copy of a judgment and mail you a copy of such judgment or verification. If you request this office in writing within 30 days after receiving this notice, this office will provide you with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current creditor.

 

Where would they get my account number/order number and exact purchase amount if the retailer didn't give it to them? 

 

Thank you to those who have replied. Needing a bit of hand holding here, as I don't trust that someone somewhere didn't turned me in to the collections agency along the way. 

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I tried to edit the previous post to remove that standard collections language that everyone knows, but I wasn't permitted. I also tried to add an additional point/question. Do they say I don't owe them anything because they sold my debt? 🤔

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DV (Dispute and request verification) the debt as provided in the notice you receive.  If the information is a match for the obligation that you yourself admit is likely outstanding, I recommend that you enter into an agreement with the CA to pay the debt in exchange for the promise on their part that they won't report the debt.

 

What you receive in return should make clear who the owner of the debt is (if the debt was sold by the retailer, that should be apparent).  In any case, if this debt is a match for what you believe to be outstanding, I would pay it, despite the fact that the retailer has stated there is nothing outstanding.  The CA didn't come up with this debt using a Ouiji board.  It's quite possible that one hand doesn't know what the other is doing on the retailer end.

 

Bottom line, provided the debt is verified to your satisfaction, you want to settle it rather than risk it being reported to the CRA's.  (Since you haven't mentioned such reporting, I'm assuming it hasn't been reported as of yet.)

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