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rated:
Hi everyone -

I need some help and advice. I purchased an item from a merchant that ended up being incorrect and damaged. Naturally I asked for a refund but they never responded - they of course didn't want to do it. So I filed a charge back with my credit card and won! So I got my money back, but after a year and a half passed I got a notice from a collection agency stating that I had to repay the debt. How should I handle this? Is it even worth the time and energy for ~$150? The collector said that I have 30 days till it gets posted against my credit score and I don't want that to happen. I only have a little over 2 weeks left.

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Most Recent Posts
Interesting, I've seen specific dollar amounts on reports. Credit Karma says (though I can't promise it's true) "In addi... (more)

gooseman13 (Jan. 13, 2017 @ 8:47a) |

the amount may be on there, but the number doesn't change the impact on score.

imbatman (Jan. 13, 2017 @ 8:59a) |

It can change how someone doing a manual review of your credit will see you. That said, a $5 collection will still look ... (more)

beatme (Jan. 13, 2017 @ 9:41a) |

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rated:
So nothing is on your credit report?
Have you asked for proof that the debt is yours?

rated:
How do I check if something is on my credit report? They said that nothing will be sent to a credit bureau until the end of the month. I'm not sure if this is the truth or not.

I asked for proof and they sent documentation from the merchant showing the online order details: name, credit card, shipping & billing info etc along with the a copy of the receipt. They also attached screenshots from their website showing no refunds etc

However I called and said that this doesn't show that I owe debt but the collector was somehow aware that a charge back was initiated after.

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pidgeynerd said:   Hi everyone -

I need some help and advice. I purchased an item from a merchant that ended up being incorrect and damaged. Naturally I asked for a refund but they never responded - they of course didn't want to do it. So I filed a charge back with my credit card and won! So I got my money back, but after a year and a half passed I got a notice from a collection agency stating that I had to repay the debt. How should I handle this? Is it even worth the time and energy for ~$150? The collector said that I have 30 days till it gets posted against my credit score and I don't want that to happen. I only have a little over 2 weeks left.

  how do they have your social security #?

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Why do you think they have my social security number?

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yurgreat said:   
pidgeynerd said:   Hi everyone -

I need some help and advice. I purchased an item from a merchant that ended up being incorrect and damaged. Naturally I asked for a refund but they never responded - they of course didn't want to do it. So I filed a charge back with my credit card and won! So I got my money back, but after a year and a half passed I got a notice from a collection agency stating that I had to repay the debt. How should I handle this? Is it even worth the time and energy for ~$150? The collector said that I have 30 days till it gets posted against my credit score and I don't want that to happen. I only have a little over 2 weeks left.

  how do they have your social security #?

  You don't need a SSN to send someone to collections.

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Do you still have the item? Did you return it?
Chargeback doesn't mean you get item for free , it means the credit card company is going to step out and you and the vendor are going to have to deal with it.

Most don't send agencies, sounds like you got one of them.
Can we know the vendor so we do not do business with them?

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pidgeynerd said:   How do I check if something is on my credit report? They said that nothing will be sent to a credit bureau until the end of the month. I'm not sure if this is the truth or not.
Are you really asking this? You get a free copy of your credit report. You are entitled by law to one free report per year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies at https://www.annualcreditreport.com/
You can also get the Experian report and FICO score for free at https://www.freecreditscore.com/
There are a few other sites that give you completely free access to your report (no credit card needed, no monthly fees), but these are the two I use.

This is an interesting situation. Technically you attempted to initiate a return, but the vendor never responded. If you didn't return the item, you owe them either the item or the money, but it also depends on their customer satisfaction guarantees and return policy. Usually for defective and incorrect item the merchant should be responsible for any return shipping. I would not pay for it if I were you -- I'd learn my rights (under FCRA, FDCPA, and possibly contract law if a purchase is a contract) and fight. If they ruin your credit, you could probably sue them not only for trying to collect money for a defective item without trying to collect the item, but also for ruining your credit.

Also very important -- don't believe anything a debt collector tells you on the phone. Many of them will lie about everything to try to collect as much as possible as quickly as possible. You should ask them to stop calling and continue all communications by mail (and if they keep calling after that, you can sue them for like $1K per call, which they just might settle quickly while forgiving your relatively small debt).

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There's a lot of questions I'd need the answer to before deciding what to do with this:

1) What did you order? and what did they deliver?
-if someone ordered my xbox360 on eBay for $150 and I sent them my original xbox I can't charge them $150 without delivering what they ordered. Otherwise I would just start a business doing this, never deliver what was ordered and keep the profits, which is fraudulent.

2) How was the item damaged?
-in said xbox example, I definitely can't do that knowing my old xbox doesn't work. If someone pays for something, a fulfilled contract ensures delivery of the product in the described condition.

3) do you have copies of your original communication with the company about the issue?

4) do you have copies of everything having to do with your CC dispute?

5) Did the company respond to the CC dispute?

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Did you send the item back to the merchant after the chargeback?

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I did not send the item back. The vendor is located in Asia - it's a clothing company. I bought a dress for my wife but the size was incorrect and the decorative design was damaged and falling off. I sent pictures and tried to ask for a refund but then the merchant just stopped responding. It makes it difficult because the merchant isn't even in the US. I have the emails but I no longer have the credit card dispute resolution that the bank sent to me, however I can get them to mail another copy.

The problem is this will take time and by then the collection agency will post this to the credit agencies and it will affect my credit.

Also the collection agency never calls me, I always call them.

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What was the companies return policy when you ordered the item?  That's really the issue now.  As others have said, disputing the item on your card doesn't mean you're not responsible for paying for it, it just means the credit card company is going to step out of it.

If the company has a liberal return policy and violated it, then you might be able to make a case, however given the companies response when you had the original problem, they do not appear customer focused and probably do not have a return policy.

In the future, if you order items overseas, make sure it's insured and instead of disputing the order file a claim with the shipper's or credit card's insurance.

In all likely hood you're stuck.  You ordered the item, even if it was damaged you didn't ship it back or follow the return policies (if they even have any) and you didn't try to get remediation from any other source (shipping company, credit card insurance, etc), you just disputed the order and kept the item.
 

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AverageGuy09 said:   
In all likely hood you're stuck.  You ordered the item, even if it was damaged you didn't ship it back or follow the return policies (if they even have any) and you didn't try to get remediation from any other source (shipping company, credit card insurance, etc), you just disputed the order and kept the item.
 

  I'm not sure this is correct.
He ordered an item and it was never received.
They shipped something different (different size), and he tried to return the incorrect merchandise (which also happened to be damaged) and they simply said "no returns".


 

rated:
AverageGuy09 gave poor advice.
Yes you disputed it. Yes you tried to resolve it. It doesn't matter what the return policy is. The item arrived the wrong size and damaged.

1) Only communicate in writing
2) Simply say
a) They should only communicate in writing
b) You dispute the debt as the item arrived the wrong size and damaged and the vendor stopped communicating

rated:
Interesting that a foreign vendor can engage a local collections agency to affect OP's credit.

Is that possible?

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pidgeynerd said:   
Also the collection agency never calls me, I always call them.
 

  only communicate with them in writing.
 

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forbin4040 said:   Interesting that a foreign vendor can engage a local collections agency to affect OP's credit.

Is that possible?

  any collection agency can purchase 'debt' from anywhere.
they can try to collect from anyone based on said debt.
They likely get more money from people like OP that want the issue to go away than they get from people that sue them.
I seriously doubt the company got a collection agency to collect the debt. It's probably been bought and sold a few times in 1.5 years.

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I'm fine with arguing this and making all the great points you guys have given me. The only issue is that by the end of the month- the collection agency said they will refer the debt to the credit agencies (which could hurt my credit score). I don't want any marks against it so this is very important. I'm not sure if they are telling the truth or not though but unless anyone has the official rules I'm hesitant to take a risk. This is the first time I have ever been involved in something like this so I apologize for sounding like a noob.

Is there a certain time frame that we can go on sending letters to each other? Won't the collection agency eventually make a decision that could end up hurting my credit or are they not allowed to do that so long as I continue to dispute and argue through writing? I really don't know.

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scripta said:   This is an interesting situation. Technically you attempted to initiate a return, but the vendor never responded. If you didn't return the item, you owe them either the item or the money, but it also depends on their customer satisfaction guarantees and return policy. Usually for defective and incorrect item the merchant should be responsible for any return shipping. I would not pay for it if I were you -- I'd learn my rights (under FCRA, FDCPA, and possibly contract law if a purchase is a contract) and fight. If they ruin your credit, you could probably sue them not only for trying to collect money for a defective item without trying to collect the item, but also for ruining your credit.
 

  
This is the best advice so far. But I don't think it's that interesting of a situation... the seller failed to deliver the ordered merchandise, buyer (rightly) refused to pay, and seller has initiated collection activity and is threatening to harm the buyer's credit.

OP handled this correctly by asking for verification of the debt and should continue to assert their rights under the law. I'd write a brief letter saying that the seller failed to deliver the ordered merchandise and has no right to payment. I would also state that any further communication be in writing. If the collection agency does report to the credit bureau, OP should dispute the record with the credit bureau and file complaints with the FTC, their state AG, the collection agency's state AG, and CFPB. If the collection agency continues to attempt to collect, OP may be able to sue the collector under FCRA and FDCPA. I doubt it would get so far, but if the collection agency sues, OP will easily win in court.

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pidgeynerd said:   Is there a certain time frame that we can go on sending letters to each other? Won't the collection agency eventually make a decision that could end up hurting my credit or are they not allowed to do that so long as I continue to dispute and argue through writing? I really don't know.
 


It is a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) for them to report information to the credit bureaus that a reasonable person would doubt the accuracy of. Sending them a letter explaining that you did not receive the merchandise you ordered and your attempts to resolve the issue with the merchant were met with silence should be enough to produce such doubt. They certainly can report it to the credit bureau, but you could sue them for actual, statutory, and punitive damages plus attorney fees under the FCRA. Many consumer attorneys will take these cases on a contingency basis.

If you have access to a lawyer (through a group legal plan or a friend), you might ask them to send a letter to collection agency to demonstrate that you are serious about enforcing your rights under the law, that might be enough to get the collectin agency to drop the matter.

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I agree with ellory. In writing as ellory said tell them to prove the debt.

I don't believe this is a debt. Wrong item, wrong size damaged. CC reversed the charge.


A lot of companies sell their in default accounts after 90 days.
Sounds like a cheesy company that might have done what other cheesy companies do. They mail their own fake collections letters.
Otherwise these debts even as new as 90 days from questionable companies with lots of complaints sell for 0.01-0.02 on the dollar or less.



OT when I was in collections I watched a colleague get a debtor to reaffirm a 20+ yr old debt for 25k+. He got a settlement in full for 8k. Elevated him to legendary status at the office.

rated:
So I will send a letter to them stating something like this:

This is not a debt. The merchant sent items that were damaged and incorrect. The merchant refused to respond and resolve the issue. Therefore the Credit Card company reversed the charge.

Anything more I should add to beef this up?

​I appreciate all the input so far.

rated:
"I dispute the debt"

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pidgeynerd said:   So I will send a letter to them stating something like this:

This is not a debt. The merchant sent items that were damaged and incorrect. The merchant refused to respond and resolve the issue. Therefore the Credit Card company reversed the charge.

Anything more I should add to beef this up?

​I appreciate all the input so far.

  Don't say "this is not a debt". It's obviously a debt to someone
say something more like
"I dispute this debt. The item ordered was never received. A different item was delivered than what was ordered, and the seller did not respond to my attempts to resolve the issue by returning the item. From this point forward, do not contact me by phone and send all communication via certified mail."

others can suggest something else.
When it comes to stuff like this, the shorter the better, don't add fluff that's not needed (the fact that the item was damaged is superfluous to the argument that you did not get what you paid for).





 

rated:
pidgeynerd said:   So I will send a letter to them stating something like this:

This is not a debt. The merchant sent items that were damaged and incorrect. The merchant refused to respond and resolve the issue. Therefore the Credit Card company reversed the charge.

Anything more I should add to beef this up?

​I appreciate all the input so far.

  I think first they have to prove it is your debt. Ask them to prove. After you feel it is correct, Next step will be to send the above.

rated:
javaman2003 said:   
pidgeynerd said:   So I will send a letter to them stating something like this:

This is not a debt. The merchant sent items that were damaged and incorrect. The merchant refused to respond and resolve the issue. Therefore the Credit Card company reversed the charge.

Anything more I should add to beef this up?

​I appreciate all the input so far.

  I think first they have to prove it is your debt. Ask them to prove. After you feel it is correct, Next step will be to send the above.

  he already asked them to prove it. They sent receipt for the transaction we're all talking about.
 

rated:
imbatman said:   
javaman2003 said:   
pidgeynerd said:   So I will send a letter to them stating something like this:

This is not a debt. The merchant sent items that were damaged and incorrect. The merchant refused to respond and resolve the issue. Therefore the Credit Card company reversed the charge.

Anything more I should add to beef this up?

​I appreciate all the input so far.

  I think first they have to prove it is your debt. Ask them to prove. After you feel it is correct, Next step will be to send the above.

  he already asked them to prove it. They sent receipt for the transaction we're all talking about.

  Correct

rated:
also, when it comes to credit disputes, creditboards.com is typically a better resource than here. If I were you, I'd post over there too

rated:
I will post this at creditboards too.

Also something to note is that the Credit Card used isn't mine but is my parents (used with their permission of course). So even though they have my name on the order and shipping address etc. the credit card and payment technically isn't mine. My parents went through the charge back process, I just helped them out through the whole thing. I still need to make sure that nothing happens to their credit but they don't even have their names. The collection agency addressed the debt to me (since it was ordered and shipped in my name).

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pidgeynerd said:   I still need to make sure that nothing happens to their credit but they don't even have their names.
 

  
It won't affect their credit.

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doveroftke said:   
pidgeynerd said:   I still need to make sure that nothing happens to their credit but they don't even have their names.
  
It won't affect their credit.

  However it can still affect mine right?

rated:
Don't be scared of it hitting your credit report, still try to rectify but a $150 debt is not going to have a huge effect on your credit score.

rated:
Is saying the credit card isn't even mine when writing to dispute this with the collections agency a valid point to make or don't say that?

rated:
pidgeynerd said:   
doveroftke said:   
pidgeynerd said:   I still need to make sure that nothing happens to their credit but they don't even have their names.
  
It won't affect their credit.

  However it can still affect mine right?

  maybe

rated:
gooseman13 said:   Don't be scared of it hitting your credit report, still try to rectify but a $150 debt is not going to have a huge effect on your credit score.
  you're saying the amount of the debt has something to do with the magnitude of the impact on the report/score?

rated:
pidgeynerd said:   Is saying the credit card isn't even mine when writing to dispute this with the collections agency a valid point to make or don't say that?
  leave it out. All it will do is give them someone else to hassle.

rated:
The merchant and now the collection agency (assuming it's even a real collection agency) are scamming / defrauding you. You have the photos of the wrong and damaged product and the emails attempting to resolve. I think your obligation ends there, you owe them nothing. Pay up, and everyone will know you're a chump (and may pull the same scam on you in the future).

Did you request debt validation in writing or over the phone? Wikipedia says "only a written request sent within thirty days of receipt of the first written notice of the debt triggers validation rights under the FDCPA".

rated:
scripta said:   The merchant and now the collection agency (assuming it's even a real collection agency) are scamming / defrauding you. You have the photos of the wrong and damaged product and the emails attempting to resolve. I think your obligation ends there, you owe them nothing. Pay up, and everyone will know you're a chump (and may pull the same scam on you in the future).

Did you request debt validation in writing or over the phone? Wikipedia says "only a written request sent within thirty days of receipt of the first written notice of the debt triggers validation rights under the FDCPA".

 I requested it over the phone.

​So I should sent a certified letter stating that I require validation?

I found this: http://www.creditinfocenter.com/forms/sampleletter9.shtml
 

rated:
Request it in writing. But, for the letter, you need to also state that you dispute the debt as the item arrived the wrong size and damaged and the vendor stopped communicating

Skipping 14 Messages...
rated:
gooseman13 said:   
imbatman said:   
gooseman13 said:   
imbatman said:   
gooseman13 said:   Don't be scared of it hitting your credit report, still try to rectify but a $150 debt is not going to have a huge effect on your credit score.
  you're saying the amount of the debt has something to do with the magnitude of the impact on the report/score?

  Yes, am I incorrect here?

  yea. A debt sent to collections has the same impact whether it's $5 or $5million.  All that shows up on your report/score is "you have a delinquent account that is in default".

  Interesting, I've seen specific dollar amounts on reports. Credit Karma says (though I can't promise it's true) "In addition, the amount of damage to your credit score may be affected by the collection amount, or how much you owe. For example, if the original debt you owed was less than $100, the resulting account in collections may show up on your credit report but it may not significantly hurt your credit score or even hurt it at all. Some credit scoring models may also differentiate between types of debt, such as medical versus non-medical, or disregard accounts in collections that have been paid."
https://www.creditkarma.com/article/accounts-in-collections

  It can change how someone doing a manual review of your credit will see you. That said, a $5 collection will still look way worse than no collection at all.
Score-wise, I don't believe there is any difference, and the score is generally what is used as the first cut anyways.

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