Saturday, October 21st, 2017

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Questions About Collections? Past Due Notice On Something I Never Bought

Dear Melissa,

I used to have an average credit score of about 650, and haven’t had any difficulty obtaining credit.  I applied for a credit card today, and was declined to a seriously delinquent account.  I was so confused by this, so I looked at my credit report and saw that I apparently owe $165 to NCS on behalf of good old BMG.  My credit score is now 564.  I am pregnant and trying to buy a house, and now all the hard work I’ve done to get my credit score up has all been washed down the drain.  Apparently, according to NCS, the account was opened in 2005 in Tampa, FL when I was in college.  They said that a notice of the past due account was mailed to my dorm room in Tampa, and once I didn’t respond, BMG immediately sent it to collections.  I have since moved to Virginia Beach, VA because I am in the Navy.  I left Tampa in March 2006, and I moved out of the dorm room they supposedly sent the notice to in the beginning of 2005 approximately.  So I have no idea why this mysterious notice was never forwarded to me at my new address, and why this account is just now being put on my credit report in the middle of 2009.  BMG is very unhelpful and rude; they tell me they have no record of an account in my name (oh, I have also married since then, so the account is under my maiden name).  They said it would take about 4 weeks for them to look into this.  Am I seriously supposed to just sit around and wait for this fraudulent company to look into it?  Isn’t the past due amount going to continue to rise? 

I am going to Navy legal tomorrow and seeing what actions I can take because I agree with you–I will not pay for something that I never bought. It’s possible that I maybe looked at the website in college, but I never bought anything from them.  I think they are scamming me, as well as many other people out there. I have been looking on the Internet, and a lot of people are having this same problem. 

Please let me know what I can do to get this matter resolved because NCS and BMG will not help me.  NCS said they are not required to ensure contact with me, and that they can legally place collections on credit reports without that person ever knowing about it.  Is this legal?  It seems so illegal to me, and, if it is legal, I will be apalled!  Should I pay this debt or fight it? I never ordered anything from BMG, and now that company is apparently closed, so they really can’t help me.  I feel like I’m being scammed, and there are lots of similar stories on the Internet about BMG and NCS.  There are almost 7000 complaints to the Better Business Bureau about these companies.  I’m so worried and stressed out because now my credit is bad again.  Please tell me what I should do! Thanks for your time!

Patty M.

Dear Patty,

Unfortunately, as long as they did attempt to contact you, they are within their right to place the item on your credit.  Due to people moving, giving wrong contact information, etc. the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act does not indicate that a collection agency must have contact with you before placing item on your credit, except for the fact that they must send a written letter to you within 5 days of the first phone call.

However, they are required by law to provide you with documentation validating the account that is owed.  In the FDCPA, this is stated:  “….the debt collector shall cease collection of the debt, or any disputed portion thereof, until the debt collector obtains verification of the debt, or a copy of the judgment…” 

The FDCPA firmly states that, if you dispute the account and request a copy of verification of the debt, they cannot attempt to collect it until they have provided this to you.  Write a letter to the collection agency and indicate that you are both disputing the account and that you want proof that the debt is owed.  They must provide this to you.

Melissa Douros
Dovco Collection Solutions, Inc.

Do YOU have a question for Melissa? Email her at melissa@dovcocs.com.

As the owner of Dovco Collection Solutions, Inc., Melissa Douros uses her eight years of being a collections specialists to offer advice and answer questions pertaining to debt collection.  With running her own successful collection agency, she seeks to keep debt collectors accountable for their actions and in line with the law.

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