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Collection Agency

Collection Agency
By Joe Phillips Dear Me
Collection Agency
By Joe Phillips Dear Me

There was a time. Unless one was born with a silver spoon or bottomless purse, most, at one time or another, came up a little short. There was a time when I was financially wiped out and it took a time to get over it. By working three jobs, my resources improved, my credit restored and things have stayed afloat since then.

It was my own making, that mess. I can't blame anyone else for not taking the advice offered.

My father hammered me on the value of good credit when I didn't know what “credit” was.

When my allowance was raised to fifty cents a week, ten percent was saved, another ten percent went into the offering plate at church, and the rest was mine to use.

I don't think a nickel to the church made much difference, and at five cents a week, it was not worth the bank's effort to create a savings account for me, so it went into a plastic bank. Piggy.

There was a surprise when I opened an envelope and found a demand for payment from a collection agency, a big one, in Nashville, TN.

The attached letter included a couple of “therefores” and a “failure” or two mentioned, but the gist was that I owed a medical practice several hundred dollars from a few months back.

The letter was signed by an attorney who worked for the agency.

I didn't think so. There was a form allowing one to indicate disagreement, known as “contesting” the debt. I mailed the form back to Nashville and waited.

I called the medical practice to determine what was “up” with the collection agency. The lady in the business office said the debt was turned over to a collector. I was bounced back to Nashville.

In a couple of weeks another envelope came from Nashville, a duplicate of my contacts with the medical practice listing charges, co-pays, insurance payments and showing that I didn't owe the medical practice, and certainly the collection agency, a dime.

However, there was an unexplained charge of $12.92 due to the collection agency.

Calling the 800 number produced a live employee who explained that after contesting the charge, a deeper dig showed that I actually did NOT owe the medical practice anything, there should not have been a “referral” to the collection agency, but the $12.92 was to reimburse the collection agency for their cost to attempt collection of continued from page

a debt I did not owe. Never did.

I was further admonished that the $12.92 was a real debt and according to the laws of Tennessee I was required to pay it. Or else.

Assuming the debt collection laws of Tennessee are just and fair, I mailed the collection agency a check for $12.92.

Believing my time and efforts are worth something, Using certified mail I sent the collection agency a statement and demand for payment for my “billable hours” in responding to their baseless claim. I'll probably get nothing but fun out of this, but we'll see just how just and fair the debt collection laws of Tennessee are.

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