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Need advice before calling SBC


grich63
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In 1998 I had a roommate who, while I was at work, was receiving collect calls from a friend. When I received the April 1, 1998 phone bill, it was $582.17 for calls through 03/23/98. I get my mail at a POB which I collect about once a week, so it was probably about the tenth before I saw the bill.

Stated clearly on the front page of the bill is this statement:

"Payment Information The Long Distance Availability Limit on Your Account is $200.00"

This statement is right below the summary section which shows the $437.58 in new AT&T charges(plus tax)

Of course I called SBC and told them to disconnect my long distance and asked them why my self imposed limit had been surpassed. "...delay in receiving data blah blah..."

By this time I had tossed the roommate (should have tossed her out the window). Th next bill arrived with a grand total of $853.28 (May 1, 1998 bill, last LD charges 04/06/98)

I told SBC I would pay for calls I made and valid services (about $250), but no more.

They refused, stating that I owed it all. I told them (very politely) to disconnect my phone.

Of course it later went to CA, to whom I explained the situ (like they cared) and offered the same $250. (no dice)

This discussion board has been extremely helpful in educating me in the science of debt and CRA management. Thank you all.

My Plan of Attack is:

Call SBC again on Tuesday, if not immediately resolved on phone, write dispute letter to them.

Send Dispute letter to CRA's

Send validation request to CA (CAC Financial which shows CO 10/99) and dispute CA on CRA's

Should I bother with validation to SBC? Do the OC/CA rules apply to the phone company?

After disputing with SBC I can request a review of their investigation and if still not satisfied I can file complaint with Texas PUC (TX PUC rules state that you must first dispute with SBC, if I read them correctly)

The entry on CR (TU only) for SBC shows:

Type: Collection Acct, Status: Open, Date Open:May 2002, Balanc:$924, Payment status: Collection acct.

The last letter from CAC is dated 10-06-99 requesting $721.90.

I understand the SOL on this should be 4 years (I'm in Texas) so I'm not too worried about the CA. I also know that all mail should be CMRR.

What all have I forgotten?

I don't like telephones, so I haven't cared about not having one in my name, but when this is resolved I will request service in the hopes that they hassle me so I can file again with PUC (childish vengeance)

Please advise and thanks again.

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Welcome to the board!

It appears that you have your "Attack Plan" pretty well organized. Reminder:

DO NOT TALK TO CA! DO NOT TALK TO CA!

There is only one way of communicating with a CA and that is through CMRR.

As far as SBC, it should not be difficult for them to trace the calls made by you and only you! If they persist in having you pay for your roommates bill, and it is apparent you don't care for her...sue her for the amount owed!

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What state are you in??

I know in Indiana you have to prove complete accounting history and I would stick it to them if they cant provide it

I'm in Texas (til I die)

They sent me copies of each stmt several years ago, but perhaps I should re-request them. Good idea.

Do you have any ideas about how I can "stick it to them"?

I will gladly pay debt owed, but they have annoyed me, so if I cause them to have a negative mark with PUC I won't be upset.

Also, what is there in the sky about which I should be warned?

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In Texas the statute of limitations for written contracts and open eneded agreements is 4-years. If it has been more than 4 1/2 years (date of last activity or charge off date + 180 days) since SWB charged off the account or it went past due, then it would seem that the SOL has expired and the debt is untenable. You might want to spend some time reading at WhyChats website: http://community-2.webtv.net/Y-Chat/WhyChatsCredit/

Especially this seciton: http://community-2.webtv.net/YCHANGE/STORAGE/page13.html

Michael

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I understand that the SOL is expired, but does that mean I can just forget it? OK, they can't sue, but can I get a phone in my name through SBC? Assuming SOL expires and CRA's can't verify, will SBC ever forget?? I don't object to paying a debt that is mine, but in this case they won't "hear" me so the entire debt will just wash? Seems foolish on their part.

Please advise

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I understand that the SOL is expired, but does that mean I can just forget it?

Well not really, it is not in your best interest to simply forget it!

OK, they can't sue, but can I get a phone in my name through SBC?

Actually that does not mean they can not sue you, it simply means that if SBC or whatever collection agency is ont he case can not prevail in a court of law on a time-barred debt. Unfortunately this will only hold true if you are aware of the court proceedings and answer the summons, then are present to raise the affirmative defense of the debt being time-barred.

It is not unheard of for attorney's in the collection business to serve papers at past addresses and then when that does not work, to rely on service by publication in a newspaper!

As for telephone service, well it could go either way. More than likley, regardless of whether or not you pay the debt, if you are able to get able to get SBC telephone (or a subsidiary) service, then this will probably require a very large deposit.

Assuming SOL expires and CRA's can't verify, will SBC ever forget??

The expiration of the SOL does not prevent this derogatory item from continuing to appear on your credit report for a period of 7-years from the date of last activity or date of charge-off plus 180-days - ie. 7 1/2 years in the case of a charge off. If you can pay SBC directly, then do it. If SBC charged-off the account and it has been more than 4-1/2 years since the charge-off, then a CA would have no legal standing from which to fall back on in order to get you to pay the debt.

Michael

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You might by Ok by just sending a C&D letter to whomever calls you given the time-barred status. The company had ample time to enforce collection and they knew where you were at all times, so times up! Just be sure to stay off the phone for a few years or go mobile!

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  • 2 weeks later...

The one thing that no one else mentioned that I could see is the fact that SBC can legally deny you service until the bill is paid. Even though the SOL has passed for any legal recourse, they can still send you dunning letters and deny you service for eternity. What you could do is contact them, explain the situation again, and offer to pay your balance off. As to the disputed balance, you will pursue litigation against the "ex" and all funds collected will be signed over to them as you are aware they cannot go after the "ex". If they say they can for any reason, give them the info and let them do it. I doubt if they can, but, using the "did not have permission" defense, it is worth a try. They may say you gave permission to use phone, so you are liable. Does not matter whether you said yes or no as to long distance calls or collect calls. Myself, I don't agree with that as it is too broad of a statement, even though it is true, and is what they can legally use as a way to get their payment. I learned this from a family member's identical problem. This way you can be released and be free of it. True, they may want a deposit for a couple of years to prove yourself, but, that's okay. You just need to satisfy this for the benefit of both parties. Make it clear you will only deal with SBC. Don't be afraid to ask any questions or make offers that you feel would result in a satisfactory solution for both. All they can say is yes, no, or why not this, meaning a fair counter offer to yours.

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