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Debt Collection on Item Never Received?


Jes84
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Hello everyone...I'm new to the forum but had a question:

About a year ago I bought my ex-boyfriend a laptop. UPS claimed that when they delivered it, they left it on the porch, but we never did receive the laptop. We called the company we bought it from to tell them we never received it but they told us there's nothing they could (or would) do because delivery confirmation says it was left at our residence. I then called my credit card company to file a dispute and they reversed the charges and gave me credit back to my card.

Now fast forward to recently, I get a letter from a debt collector saying the debt has been turned over to them for collection and wouldn't you know, I have a negative item on my credit report now! I have no idea how they obtained my SS# (:confused:), but is there anything I can do to get this off my report or any other recourse I might have?

Thanks for any help you can provide!

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Guest usctrojanalum

And what did UPS say when you contacted them about the item not being there? If the company has delivery confirmation of the lap top, you are going to be on the hook for paying for it.

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And what did UPS say when you contacted them about the item not being there? If the company has delivery confirmation of the lap top, you are going to be on the hook for paying for it.

There was no signature on delivery....tracking says item was left on doorstep.

(Why a signature isn't required for an expensive item is beyond me!)

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Guest usctrojanalum

Did you call UPS after you saw that tracking said it was there, but the item was actually not? They are the ones who you should have zeroed in on from the beginning. If you got up in front of a judge, and you said I did not receive it - and then the company says we have UPS delivery confirmation that it was left at your residence... Who is more believable?

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Yup, sure did. They said the driver claimed he left the package at the door step. Not sure if the driver is lying or if someone just swiped it from my porch...Oh, I also filed a police report as well. What would the judge think then after all the trouble I went through to show we, in fact, did not receive the computer?

(side note, do you normally give people this much hostility when people are seeking help or is it just me?)

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OK, I'll just do a little spitballing, as I'm not usually into the credit repair side of things, but here goes...

First, you respond to the debt collector, as follows (don't piddle around with a typical DV letter):

The merchandise ordered was never received, so you filed a dispute with the credit card company and had the charges reversed. You deny any amount is owed, you have closed your files on the matter, and you are exercising your rights under the FDCPA and are directing them to cease communication with you on the matter.

Second, contact (write) the company you ordered from. Tell them basically the same thing: you never received the item you ordered, and you refuse to pay. They are obligated to provide safe delivery, not leave it in an unsafe area, maybe require UPS to get a signature on delivery. A loss should be covered by their insurance or UPS insurance. You have directed their collection agency to cease communication with you, and they should pull the account back from collections, and either file a claim with their insurance or UPS, and stop trying to collect from you. Also, you want them to withdraw the negative item from your credit report.

Third, file a dispute with the credit reporting agencies. Have it put in your file that the merchandise was never delivered, so you cancelled payment.

Now, they may choose to sue you. (Alternatively, they may sell the debt to a JDB and then you will have the pleasure of dealing with those scumsuckers.) Against the lawsuit, you put forth the same defenses: the merchandise was never delivered, so you cancelled payment. Out of the goodness of your heart you filed a police report on behalf of the company you ordered from to report a possible theft, and you reported the lack of delivery to UPS so they could investigate.

Now, you may lose this case, and if you do, them's the breaks. (You may consider filing a claim with your homeowner's insurance, if you have it.) But all you can do fight the best fight you can.

I'm sorry you feel you have experienced hostility here. Please don't take it personally. The other posters were just pointing out you may be held liable in the end.

Good luck,

DH

Edited by debtorshusband
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Yup, sure did. They said the driver claimed he left the package at the door step. Not sure if the driver is lying or if someone just swiped it from my porch...Oh, I also filed a police report as well. What would the judge think then after all the trouble I went through to show we, in fact, did not receive the computer?

(side note, do you normally give people this much hostility when people are seeking help or is it just me?)

It's not hostility. Sorry that you didn't get an instant answer. But the information about the case was insufficient in the first post. I'm not being hostile with that statement at all, as we get that all the time and just deal with it by asking for more information. Sometimes the opposite happens and people post too much information and then it's harder to figure out what is going on. Really, you are doing fine, here.

The vendor should still have filed a claim with UPS. The issue of signature requirement would be between the vendor and UPS.

I would NOT send the cease communication letter, just yet. The collector may still be willing to remove the CR item, given sufficient information. Try at least one round of complaint providing them with (copies of, never the original ... if they ask for originals, tell them the originals are for the court proceedings if it has to come to that) all the evidence you have so far.

As mentioned by debtorshusband, do communicate with the original vendor, again, and complain to them that they should have handled the issue through the delivery insurance, which may be UPS directly. Insurance does cover lost deliveries when the carrier is at fault for the loss. And they are if they failed to get a signature when one was requested (if not, then it's vendor responsibility).

You may be held liable ... because the system has its flaws. Do remember that there are also scams where people hand off delivered items to friends and then claim it was never delivered. They WILL want to claim you did that. But, they only have their own say so.

That kind of thing SHOULD be getting delivery drivers to make the deliveries more secure. But in reality, the company works from percentages of loss and figures of risk. There is SOME percentage of loss which is the break even point against forcing drivers to work faster and not have to wait around for signature. It's just business. Delivery costs would go up to make the system perfect. But they WILL try to shift the costs to YOU where they can get away with it (which moves that break even percentage higher, allowing them to do even less security, saving more money to hand over to their stockholders).

A court with jury will tend to lean your way, especially with the showing that you took all the right steps, and others apparently took no steps at all.

There needs to be a proper way for consumers to be sure they are not ripped off. That includes not leaving property out in the open unsupervised, keeping doors locked, etc. You will show you do those kinds of things regularly, as a matter of procedure. You will then show the delivery company and vendor failed to afford you the same opportunity to keep things secure.

Be sure your lawsuit demands all itemized investigation costs (keep a thoroughly detailed record of this, including how much of your time is used to keep this record), legal costs (filing the suit, and all the attorney's time and costs).

Be sure there was a way for the delivery driver to have reached you if you were at home to get the signature.

Me personally ... I'd actually be looking for the opportunity to sue them (possibly all three ... the collector, the vendor, and the delivery company). But I'd also take all the steps to be sure they have all the opportunity to understand the issue and correct it, completely. That would be so my lawsuit would have the best chance to grant every award I ask for in full.

Edited by Torden
Me personally ...
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You have 60 days to dispute the charges, you did that. I doubt if this case would hold up in court. If you are taken to court, you can hopefully provide documentation that the charges were reversed.

Do what you've been advised, send a DV letter to the collection agency.

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You don't, by any chance, have an insurance policy that might cover theft of personal property from your residence, do you?

If so, it wouldn't necessarily help with the debt collection problem, but it might help replace the computer.

OP got her money back when the bank reversed the charge and credited to her account. The bank did the right thing in this case.

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You have 60 days to dispute the charges, you did that. I doubt if this case would hold up in court. If you are taken to court, you can hopefully provide documentation that the charges were reversed.

I don't think that charges being reversed would be a disputed issue between plaintiff and defendant. Plaintiff would support their complaint by providing evidence that defended did reverse the charges. If they asserted the chargers were not reversed, they would have no case at all, prima facie.

Do what you've been advised, send a DV letter to the collection agency.

Agreed. Send it by CMRRR and keep that green card forever (or at least for 10 years). More steps later depending on what happens.

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OP got her money back when the bank reversed the charge and credited to her account. The bank did the right thing in this case.

Not necessarily. Depending upon when (during the shipping process) OP took title to the computer, the bank chargeback may have been improper.

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Hello everyone...I'm new to the forum but had a question:

About a year ago I bought my ex-boyfriend a laptop. UPS claimed that when they delivered it, they left it on the porch, but we never did receive the laptop. We called the company we bought it from to tell them we never received it but they told us there's nothing they could (or would) do because delivery confirmation says it was left at our residence. I then called my credit card company to file a dispute and they reversed the charges and gave me credit back to my card.

Now fast forward to recently, I get a letter from a debt collector saying the debt has been turned over to them for collection and wouldn't you know, I have a negative item on my credit report now! I have no idea how they obtained my SS# (:confused:), but is there anything I can do to get this off my report or any other recourse I might have?

Thanks for any help you can provide!

Your BF bought a computer which he never received, the amount was charged back to the seller and the seller put it on YOUR CRA?

And you haven't sued them yet for the FDCPA violation of misrepresenting the debt (that it is even YOURS)?

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Your BF bought a computer which he never received, the amount was charged back to the seller and the seller put it on YOUR CRA?

And you haven't sued them yet for the FDCPA violation of misrepresenting the debt (that it is even YOURS)?

She bought the computer for him.

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Not necessarily. Depending upon when (during the shipping process) OP took title to the computer, the bank chargeback may have been improper.

If OP did not receive the computer, as the OP stated (sure, we don't know if the OP is lying or not, but until I see at least evidence or logic to the contrary, for the purpose of discussion I assume the OP is truthful), then the OP has cause to do a chargeback.

The business relationship the OP has is with the retailer, not with UPS. UPS has the business relationship with the retailer because: (1) the retailer chose to use UPS, (2) the retailer paid UPS, (3) UPS made its (alleged false) report to the retailer, and (4) compensation for losses in delivery would be paid to the retailer. Anything done between the OP and UPS is merely investigative.

It is the retailer's responsibility, through its agents (UPS being an agent when delivery is made through UPS), is to deliver as promised (or with an implied promise where applicable by law). If the retailer gives the OP a choice in how delivery is made, then we get into grayer areas where OP can have responsibility based on choice. I don't know if THIS retailer gave the OP a choice between signature required or not. I do know every retailer I have purchased from online (about a dozen) never has offered such a choice. I do know for expensive items, these retailers have opted for signature required.

Because I live in a rural location, the delivery companies usually choose to not even seek a signature even though one is required. That shifts the responsibility from retailer to delivery company. The delivery company can then balance the costs of loss of theft against the costs of seeking and acquiring the signature. This was explained to me by a Fedex driver, once, when I asked why a previous package was left on my porch (this time I happened to see the truck come up the hill to my house and came out to meet). In town, especially in the more dense areas of town, the risk would be greater.

The OP cannot do the chargeback to the delivery company because the OP didn't pay the delivery company (though sometimes that happens ... one retailer I've used, CDW, does offer the option to charge the shipping cost to the recipients shipping account ... and that would change the relationships around).

My sense of this is this is a case of the retailer failing. I sense that the retailer did not insure the package either through purchased insurance or self insurance, and did not require a signature (or give buyer the option to waive it to save the cost). Multiple things here all point to the retailer failing ... with respect to the relationship with the OP. The shipper may well have NOT failed with respect to what the retailer asked them to do. Again, OP doing the chargeback to the retailer is the only appropriate initial remedy.

Any contract terms the shipper may have that says "we reserve the right to leave shipment in plain sight or in an open place" is a relationship between the shipper and the retailer. The responsibility to the OP is not met until OP actually receives the item.

I'd do no less than what the OP did. I'd even do more, potentially spanning from suing the retailer/CA to blogging/tweeting, etc.

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