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Old 05-09-2011, 10:16 PM
 
Location: CA
15 posts, read 142,825 times
Reputation: 20

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So i'm a 22 year old college student and sometime last year I was approached by a student on campus giving out forms for a free LA times newspaper subscription trial. At first I didn't care to do it but I decided what the heck and filled it in. I only filled in my name, address, and phone number. The guy then gave me a copy of the form and said something vaguely like he was working for some 3rd party company and LA Times will call me to verify that I subscribed to the trial. They will then ask me how much I paid for it and I should just tell him "$30" or something like that, I can't remember what was the exact amount to say as this was a while back.

Well I may or may not have gotten any newspapers cause I live in an apartment complex and I think any newspapers to be delivered just gets thrown in over the front gate which I very seldom go in and out of.

Basically after a few months I started to get bills from LA Times saying I owe them a balance. The balance is under $15. At first I ignored the letters and then eventually got phone calls from them. They called me twice and on both times I basically explained to them what happened and how this guy on campus seemed to be kinda shady in retrospect and they should look into it. I told them I never signed up for any paid subscription. Both times they said they were going to remove the balance from my account and look into what I told them.

Then suddenly a couple months ago I got a phone call from a collections agency claiming that I never settled with LA Times and they transfered my account to collections. I explained to the guy on the phone what happened and that I disputed the debt but either he suddenly hung up or the call got dropped.

Well a week after that I got a letter from them saying I owe this debt and just today I got another phone call from that agency. I explained to them what happened and the lady on the phone just said well I must have not settled with LA Times cause they transfered my account to collections. At the end she told me well if I don't want to pay then they will put me down as refusing to pay. I basically said ok and that was the end of the call.

My question is can they get to my SSN and submit a negative credit report? On the bills from LA Times and the letter from the collections agency, they spelt my last name wrong. They also seemed to pronounce it accordingly when they address me by phone.

I think the only thing they have is my name, address and phone number. No credit card info, SSN, or anything else.

Just trying to figure out what I should do because I do not want anything negative to reflect on my credit. So far I have 2 credit cards, 1 for over 3 years and have been paying them off in full every month and have never paid a penny in interest.


Thanks
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Old 05-10-2011, 05:16 AM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
65,018 posts, read 72,756,755 times
Reputation: 33869
Quote:
Originally Posted by StriderTacticaL View Post
So i'm a 22 year old college student and sometime last year I was approached by a student on campus giving out forms for a free LA times newspaper subscription trial. At first I didn't care to do it but I decided what the heck and filled it in. I only filled in my name, address, and phone number. The guy then gave me a copy of the form and said something vaguely like he was working for some 3rd party company and LA Times will call me to verify that I subscribed to the trial. They will then ask me how much I paid for it and I should just tell him "$30" or something like that, I can't remember what was the exact amount to say as this was a while back.

Well I may or may not have gotten any newspapers cause I live in an apartment complex and I think any newspapers to be delivered just gets thrown in over the front gate which I very seldom go in and out of.

Basically after a few months I started to get bills from LA Times saying I owe them a balance. The balance is under $15. At first I ignored the letters and then eventually got phone calls from them. They called me twice and on both times I basically explained to them what happened and how this guy on campus seemed to be kinda shady in retrospect and they should look into it. I told them I never signed up for any paid subscription. Both times they said they were going to remove the balance from my account and look into what I told them.

Then suddenly a couple months ago I got a phone call from a collections agency claiming that I never settled with LA Times and they transfered my account to collections. I explained to the guy on the phone what happened and that I disputed the debt but either he suddenly hung up or the call got dropped.

Well a week after that I got a letter from them saying I owe this debt and just today I got another phone call from that agency. I explained to them what happened and the lady on the phone just said well I must have not settled with LA Times cause they transfered my account to collections. At the end she told me well if I don't want to pay then they will put me down as refusing to pay. I basically said ok and that was the end of the call.

My question is can they get to my SSN and submit a negative credit report? On the bills from LA Times and the letter from the collections agency, they spelt my last name wrong. They also seemed to pronounce it accordingly when they address me by phone.

I think the only thing they have is my name, address and phone number. No credit card info, SSN, or anything else.

Just trying to figure out what I should do because I do not want anything negative to reflect on my credit. So far I have 2 credit cards, 1 for over 3 years and have been paying them off in full every month and have never paid a penny in interest.


Thanks
just pay it and next time, just say NO
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Old 05-10-2011, 11:23 AM
 
824 posts, read 1,049,538 times
Reputation: 959
Do you still have a copy of the form you completed? That would be the solution to this issue. If you don't have that I would demand that the collection agency document the debt such as a copy of the original contract and not just a claim from the LA times you owe the payment.
If you decide to pay the item make certain you get an agreement, in writing, from the collection agency this will not be reported to any credit agency. It may seem like a hassle but they can report the collection based on the information you gave them and that will "hang" on your credit report for 7 years. Obviously you do not want to risk that.
In no event, do not trust the collection agency staff to honor anything that is not in writing and I would use the US Postal Service for that, not email.
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Old 05-10-2011, 11:27 AM
 
Location: Coachella Valley, California
15,489 posts, read 34,080,469 times
Reputation: 13033
They can get all the info they need on you, including your social security number, from the information they have on you now. They obviously have your phone number because they called you and you spoke with them over the phone. You don't think they can get your SSN from your phone carrier? They have your address, don't you think they can get your info from your landlord? The amount is so small - just pay it! You signed up for it so now you have to pay. You don't want to ruin your credit over something this insignificant. This is one of life's little lessons - don't sign up for things you don't want.

*Ordinarily you have 72 hours to rescind the contract. You waited several months before even thinking about doing anything. Since you did not rescind the contract, your non-rescission is acquiescence to it and you are liable for payments due.
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Old 05-10-2011, 11:31 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
2,506 posts, read 4,186,827 times
Reputation: 2532
Definitely pay it. I unfortunately have had experiences with collection agencies. After my son was born (there were complications) and the insurance company didn't want to pat the bill even though it was apparent that everything should have been covered. It took over a year battling with them and the collections people (the hospital eventually sent it to collections after about 3 months when I told them I was NOT paying that bill). Collections people are not there to determine whether or not you owe the money. They are sharks who are trying to collect. Usually they buy the debt from the original company so they don't care if you owe it. They've taken a risk that they can get it out of you.

IMHO, pay it and be more careful next time. Good luck!
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Old 05-10-2011, 12:43 PM
 
Location: CA
997 posts, read 1,853,839 times
Reputation: 755
It's such a small amount. Just pay it for peace of mind. You're just creating more unnecessary mayhem. My mate is in debt of $80k from medical bills. It could be so much more worse.
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Old 05-10-2011, 03:01 PM
 
362 posts, read 642,735 times
Reputation: 160
For 30 bucks, just pay it and take it as a lesson learned... and consider that the lesson could've been learned on a much more costly endeavor instead. (and I'm someone who normally puts up a fight if done wrong, but 30 bucks isn't worth the time)
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