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What to Do About Collection Agency Making Unauthorized Credit Card Charges


lilacbouquet
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I recently agreed to settle a debt with a collection agency. This was before I found this forum, so unfortunately, I did it via phone. I asked to pay $50 per month. The rep agreed but said I had to pay $105 (two months of payments plus a $5 fee) in order to set up the plan. I did not have the money at the time, so my fiancee let me use his credit card to make the initial payment. I asked the agency to forward me the information in writing so I could make additional payments via check/money order.

I just found out that, three weeks after the initial payment, the collection agency took another $105.00 from my fiancee's card. Not only did I not authorize any other payments on that card, they charged me $105.00 instead of the agreed-upon $50.00 monthly payment.

My fiancee disputed the charge, but do I have any legal recourse? If they are doing this to me, they are doing it to others. Some people only look at their statements once a month, so people might be missing out on the opportunity to dispute these bogus charges.

Edited to add: I just found a paper they sent me. I asked for a paper outlining the terms of the settlement. They sent me a payment notice with no payment amount written in. It says "This is a friendly reminder that you have promised to make a payment of on or before." There is no payment amount or date. Not sure if this helps.

Edited by lilacbouquet
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Disputing the charges with the credit card company is the right move. You have no recourse against the agency. Obviously they will deny they did anything wrong and even the written confirmation has no payment amount on it.

Not sure if you would recourse anyway since it's not your card, my gut feeling is no. However, it's a moot point. You have no way to prove what the agreement really was.

Of course not to pile on but to help others that might read, never give a collection agency your or anybody else banking information and never enter into any agreement that does not have iron clad written terms.

Personally, I'd dispute the initial payment. According to you there was no clear meeting of the minds so no contract.

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Thank you. I realize it was a mistake to do business over the phone. I was just so distraught and wanted to make things right. I could only afford to offer $50.00 a month to get things settled.

I think the dispute period has passed for the initial payment -- it's been more than 30 days. I will have to look and see what the max time to dispute is. How would he even dispute that? I mean, he did authorize the payment, but they didn't live up to the terms. So I'm not sure how to file that with the credit card company.

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Thank you. I realize it was a mistake to do business over the phone. I was just so distraught and wanted to make things right. I could only afford to offer $50.00 a month to get things settled.

I think the dispute period has passed for the initial payment -- it's been more than 30 days. I will have to look and see what the max time to dispute is. How would he even dispute that? I mean, he did authorize the payment, but they didn't live up to the terms. So I'm not sure how to file that with the credit card company.

The very fact that they demand even more money (two months up front), and then take more than they demand (another two months worth just 3 weeks later) shows what kind of people you are dealing with. A proper collection agency would work with you (but it seems a proper collection agency is history in this country).

Please help us spread the word that the ONLY way to deal with them is to do it all in WRITING ONLY. Even then, keep in mind they will try to weasel out of any commitment, and will lie to you at every opportunity, including about payments received. One common one from CAs is "bookkeeping error" and "just send another payment and we'll fix it" (e.g. any alterations to the agreement need to ALSO be in WRITING ONLY). If a CA says "we don't negotiate in writing" then just say "I don't negotiate by phone" and hang up.

Try very very hard to resist the urge to say "goodbye" to a CA on the phone. Just hang up.

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Stay off the phone with them!:evil: Do everything in writing! They will lie in every way to extract money from you. :censored: If they continue to call you harassing you, get their address and send them a cease and desist letter. :boxing: As the others stated, NEVER give your financial information over the phone to anyone!:hmph:

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Also, fiancee needs to have his CC account number changed. They WILL do this again. Treat it like the CC number has fallen into the hands of scammers. The only difference between this and common cases is you know who the scammers are.

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