Q. I purchased a car from an auction (VA) and arranged financing for the vehicle with a finance company (CO) associated with the auction. The term was 2 years and I paid the vehicle off early even though it was no longer running (vehicle was donated). Years past and I went to finance something else and the car transaction showed up on my credit as “unpaid.” I contacted the finance company and they asked me for proof that I had insurance on the car. I no longer had the insurance papers as proof since years had passed. The finance company was/is charging me for “forced place insurance” on a vehicle that had already been paid for (and they list the car as paid for). We're unable to get anywhere. First question, Is this legal? Secondly, this occurred 7 years ago. What is the statute of limits for negative items on a credit report? Last, but not least, how might I deal with a charge like this and an uncooperative creditor? Thank you, 1st Jaguar
Anonymous, Charlotte, NC 7/12/04
A. 1st Jaguar -- Seven years from the last active transaction is the limitation for negative information on a credit report. I would write letters the credit bureaus explaining the discrepancy about the car payment, including proof that you paid off the loans. In the meantime, you should be able to get insurance records from the company you used for insurance in the past, if that's all the finance company needs. If the finance company won't back down, file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and state consumer protection office in Colorado.
Andrew Shain 7/12/04
Q. I have been getting phone calls from Waterloo, Iowa, a collection agency for Direct Television Inc. I am also being sued by DTV (as are 100 thousand or more people in the US) claiming I bought a Technology Avancement Device off the Internet. Now this collection agency says I bought a DTV Receiver and I did not have it activated, so now I need to pay them $150. I refuse since I did not buy this Product, and they say it will ruin my credit if I don't pay. I have asked for Proof that I bought it, and if I did, I will gladly pay them - but I know I haven't. And they just keep calling and saying they will ruin my credit history. What can I do to stop them. I am at a point to just pay them and get it over with - but if that happens, I'll be sending them 15000 penny's in a wooden box. Thanks in advance for any advice.
Nautilas2004, Louisiana 5/15/04
A. Collection agencies must show you proof of your debt. They also are not allowed to threaten you and must stop contacting you at your request. You can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and the Louisiana Attorney General's office.
Andrew Shain 5/17/04
Q. When I went to the Mecklenburg County Tax Office to pay my vehicle fee, I discovered that I was out of checks; I was handed a sheet with a graduated schedule of "convenience fees" if I chose to pay with a credit card. To my astonishment, I saw that I would have had to pay $16 just for the privilege of using my credit card which already charges me interest! At the highest listed payment, one could be charged this additional fee of nearly $2,200. I am flabbergasted that one of our public officials was given the authority to choose a company (Official Payments Corp.) that processes these fees. This appears, to me, to be a flagrantly irresponsible decision made on behalf of Mecklenburg County's taxpayers.
Ted, Charlotte 5/11/04
A. Ted, County officials said in April they are considering a new credit-card payment system that does not require high convenience fees. Official Payments does not get any money from the county for handling credit payments. The company makes money from the fees changed taxpayers.
Andrew Shain 5/12/04
Q. Received an e-mail from " Dark Profits.Com. with an e-mail address. It is headed as "Important Notice". To Quote,"We have just charged your credit card for money laundry service in amount of $234.65 (because you are either child pornogrophy webmaster or deal with dirty money which require us to layndry (sic)then send to your checking account) If you feel this transaction was made by our mistake, please press "No". If you confirm this transaction, please press "Yes" and fill in the form below. It has 2 boxes for filling in credit info. Can something be done about this obvious fraud attemp? This is the second time I've gotten one of these. I have SpyBot, which caught it. I can forward this to you, if you would like. A response would be appreciated.
John Lambert, Harrisburg, NC 10/10/03
A. John -- You received a piece of spam (unsolicited commercial e-mail) that's going around the country. There's not much you can do except click "delete." Never provide personal financial information in response to an unsolicited call, e-mail, mailing, etc. A popular scam lately has been e-mails that appear to come from legitimate businesses (Bank of America, Best Buy, eBay) asking consumers to confirm account information. If you get an e-mail like this, call the company to confirm the message. Or you can just click delete.
Andrew Shain 10/13/03
Q. My roommate keeps getting calls from creditors regarding a "private label account." He swears he's taken care of it. These calls have really began to disrupt the lives of myself and my other roommate. Is there anything I can do to get them to stop calling? The only response I've gotten from them is "you should tell your roommate to be more responsible with his finances." Thanks for the help!
A. If the debt has been repaid, get a letter from the creditors saying so. If the calls continue, I'd use the letter as evidence when filing complaints with the Federal Trade Commission and N.C. Attorney General's office. (For contact information, see my "Consumer Resource Guide" on my Web page)
Q. I am receiving threatening, harassing phone calls from a collection agency concerning a debt with Direct TV. A Direct TV representative applied charges to the incorrect account. This was verified by a Direct TV supervisor in a telephone conversation with me. My account with them was closed in May 2002. This charge was applied in May 2003 and is related to an address in another state no less. A telephone call with a Direct TV supervisor was supposed to have corrected this problem but we are still receiving harrassing calls from the collection agency. How can I correct this problem? How do I check to see if this went against my credit rating? What follow-up recourse do I have? Thank you
Robert, Kannapolis, N.C. 10/05/03
A. Robert -- I suggest getting a letter from DirectTV, saying the debt no longer exists and send a copy to the collection agency. If their calls don't cease after that, file complaints with the N.C. Attorney General's office and the Federal Trade Commission. (You can find numbers for both in my "Consumer Resource Guide" on my Web page.