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Someone made a mistake


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I apologize for all the posts but right now I feel like I am in collection hell. I moved about 6 months ago and now appear to be fighting with creditors that were paid.

1. I owned 2 houses for about a year because I bought one and could not sell the other. I kept up all my bills in both places. I rented the first one out for a fraction of the mortgage and included utilities and cable in the rent. None of my bills in either house were ever late (a miracle unto itself).

2. My cable company was Time Warner in both states.

3. This year I sold both houses and bought a 3rd (in the same state as house 2). My new cable company is not Time Warner.

4. I brought all the cable boxes to TW in both houses (4 in each house) and paid the balances.

5. Time Warner in state 1 said I still owed $100.00. I said I needed to see the final bills because I had 2 TW accounts and according to my records, both were paid.

6. TW never sent a copy of the bill but another letter demanding payment.

7. I checked my records AGAIN and again it all added up to "this was paid" so I wrote and asked them for verification of this $100.00 and told them I had 2 TW accounts that I paid and sent back the boxes and had no idea what this $100.00 was for. I stated perhaps one account was mis-credited or I paid the wrong one twice. In any event I said I wanted to straighten this out with them.

8. They sent me a letter whihch completely ignored my previous letter stating they were reporting me to the credit bureaus. I checked my report and THERE IT WAS.

9. I was composing yet another letter when I received a check from TW in state 2 for $100.00 for OVERPAYMENT.

10. I copied it and sent it to TW in state 1 and said I DID overpay it but if they did not take the ding off my credit report, I was not remitting it to them.

11. Rec'd a letter from them saying it will continue on my credit report even after I remit the payment and that my recent letter was an admission that I owe it.

Is it me or is something about this completely crazy? Do they really want their money or do they just want to engage in punitive behavior?

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Well, what you need to find out is, whether or not this was a mistake on THEIR part. Perhaps they keyed it in and pulled up the WRONG acct. I'd find that out first via checking whether or not I noted the acct number on the check/money order.

If it was an honest mistake on YOUR part, than you would've contacted them and told them such.

Either way, they should be willing to work WITH you and that includes receiving your payment AND removing the negative derog...it was an honest mistake.

If they won't, report them to the FTC, BBB and Attorney General Offices for your state AND theirs. Just make sure all those org's understand that you TRIED to resolve this yourself.

I'd attempt to call ONE more time, ask to speak to a supervisor. Explain what happened (once you find out WHICH one it's liable to be) and ask if there is ANY way he/she would be willing to accept your payment under the terms of closing out the account AND removing the negative TL from your reports. If she/he says "Sure, no problem..." Say, "Ok, that's wonderful--could you please fax me a letter indicating such and I will immediately forward the payment?"


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At what point did you tell them that you had two accounts with them simultaneously? I was with TW until it recently switched to Comcast here in Houston. My understanding is that they use your home telephone number and not SSN. So, they wouldn't have been able to cross-reference the account until you gave them both account numbers in order to research the issue.

If you notified them of both account numbers before the debt was reported to the bureaus, then they should have exercised their right of setoff and simply did an adjusting journal entry on their books, rather than send you a check.

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When I got the first letter I checked my final bills and the checks sent. They all said "Time Warner" in my book and on the checks. I have no idea who made the mistake which is why I was asking them for verification. I wrote them and said, "I have two Time Warner accounts and closed them both at the same time. My checks and the bill amounts seem to add up to everything being paid, please verify what this $100.00 is for." At first I thought it might be an overage or something. I just wanted to know what the $100.00 was for.

I didn't know I overpaid one TW and underpaid the other, but I wrote them to say that I had 2 TW accounts and both were paid in full.

They don't seem to care. They reported it as a collection to the credit bureau and told me that even if I pay it now they are keeping it on there as a paid collection.

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I don't think anyone mentioned the BBB. I had an awful time dealing with a company with a similar situation. They kept claiming that I owed them money and finally I filed online with the BBB and they sent me a check less than a week later! Good luck.

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Please understand that when you are dealing with situations like this, you are dealing with low paid hourly flunkies. They have no decision making power and no motivation to follow up on anything. They are of the "that's not in the manual" response. Little ability to think for themselves. Your letters go straight to them and are a waste of time. You need to work your way up the food chain until you get in contact with someone of mental significance. Someone who can say something other than "the computer says right here that you owe $100, so you owe it".

As a start you can get on the phone and keep working your way up the "I need to talk to your supervisor" chain until you get someone who can a) form a coherent sentence that isn't prewritten on a computer screen and B) has the ability to investigate your dispute. Someone with a name and phone# you can refer to later on.

If you don't get the desired results, you can send a letter to executives or to the legal department. I've had success with the latter.

Anecdotally, utilities and medical seem to have the biggest chance for screwing up your billing.

Word to the wise. When you turn in equipment at the depot, get a receipt. Keep it too. Get a receipt of payment for your final bill. With medical, stay on top of them. Make sure they bill your insurance. If you go to the doctor and don't hear anything for months, don't just let it slide because you figure it's all taken care of.

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Please understand that when you are dealing with situations like this, you are dealing with low paid hourly flunkies. Word to the wise. When you turn in equipment at the depot, get a receipt. Keep it too.

VERY, VERY, VERY good advice. I wasn't a flunkie, but quite the opposite with over 200 hours of college credits. But before I got lucky enough to get a gov job, I worked in a call center handling TW calls for NYC customers. Yeah, we made $7/hr.

I can't count the times I heard "well, I turned in my box so I'm not paying $100."

Of course, people in NYC have a different view of bills. They DO NOT pay them until they get shut off. I'm safe to make the generalization. It's a crazy world over there. I'd say about 90% of my calls were behind several months, and those that were not usually prepaid several months actually.

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