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Authorized User preparing to be contact by Estate Recoveries, Inc.


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I am preparing for a call from a collection agency (Estate Recoveries, Inc working for a debt owed to American Express). I was an authorized user on a company credit card my brother had (He passed away in 2009, and I am the Administrator of his Estate). Recently, the collection agency has been notified by the Estate's lawyer that it will be unable to make good on any portion of the owed debt (approximately $23,000) as the IRS will be taking the remainder of the Estate's assets.

I have in my possession a breakdown of the bill. It claims that I charged around $1,000 on the card, and the lawyer has told me that Estate Recoveries, Inc. will (so nice of them ) let me out for that amount. I fully dispute that I owe even that money, but would be willing to pay it if I was 100% assured that I would never hear from them again regarding the remainder. I have never received anything from them or American Express regarding this debt, and it has yet to appear in any form on (my) Transunion or Experian (I am not sure about Equifax). They told the lawyer that the offer would stand for 2 weeks.

Further, I do have a copy of part of the original American Express contract. My first time seeing it was last week, and it basically, states that a "cardmember" (the "basic cardmember" or "Authorizing Officer" is responsible for all charges made by everyone. In this instance, that's my deceased brother and his company.) can be held responsible for debts charged by HIM. This was news to me, as I thought Authorized Users always carried no liability. In any event, I know they legally cannot come after me for the full amount, but I still feel they may throw it on my credit just to see if it will stick.

Basically, I have the Collection Agencies Contact Info and the lawyer suggested I call them (He doesn't represent me in this matter, and I don't really trust him because he told me that I was liable for the entirety without even reading the contract... I called him out on it, and he admitted to not reading it.) I am considering doing it from my old workplace since I don't want them having my contact information.

Should I call these people? Should I negotiate for payment upon release? I have been reading the site and at least plan on going through the debt validation process, but there is a big part of me that thinks I should make them come to me. I have never had a claim on my credit, and I check it regularly because I have worked so hard to keep it clean. I can't afford to get another lawyer, and it would be rough to pay out even the $1,000 Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

TL;DR... authorized user who has seen a contract that implies liability on his charges wondering whether he should take action or wait.

Additional Info: I live in Oklahoma. Estate Recoveries is out of Baltimore, Maryland

Thanks,

J

Edited by Jshark5333
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I recall reading somewhere a while ago that the problem with authorized users is that most "users" never saw or

signed an agreement. The primary cardholder is generally the one requesting the card. Can't imagine they would get

a court to agree you owe anything. Especially in the case

of a Corporate Card.

But just because it might be wrong doesn't mean AMEX won't act like greedy dogs and put it on your report.

I bet they are full of crap and I wouldn't give them a dime. Authorized users are always an issue with bad debt. There

must be threads on here about it.

If you don't want them getting access to your phone number, get a Google Voice number and make the calls from your computer. Caller ID will show the Google Voice number. It's FREE. And it's the best thing for debt collection. You can easily record the calls and all calls are

saved, so you can have a roadmap of call violations that

you can easily access if necessary.

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The problem with getting an AMEX "corporate" card thru a company, is that the fine print that comes in the terms and conditions when you receive the card says that the card has the company name on it, but YOU gurantee to pay the charges you make if the company doesn't. In other words, you're NOT an AU...you're a card holder who just happens to have a company name on your card.

You might want to see if there is a www.naca.org lawyer in your area that will advise yoy on this.

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Thanks WillingtoCope... I was specifically hoping to hear from you because because I had seen your previous thread discussing this. It blows me away that they can have a contract with someone else and have it apply to another party. I just saw the contract for the first time last week... It's pretty infuriating.

Thanks again for your response,

J

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