Opinions please

hilltop_gwNovember 19, 2005

I keep books for our business out of our home. We farm & live in an area where most everyone knows everyone else. Last year we made a first-time purchase from a local seed sales rep ($5000 worth) with free delayed financing through the parent company and no benefit for paying cash up front which we usually do on everything. Initially we got a postcard indicating the quantity of item purchased with no $ amount listed. In mid-June we received the bill (due Dec. 1) in the mail with an additional $14000 in product and charges listed. We called the local rep & asked about it & he said he wanted to take full advantage of the parent company's delayed financing for his clients so he used part of our unused quota and let others put it on the account. He also said we shouldn't have even gotten a copy of that bill and should just ignore it because he'd pay it when it came due. I was angry, didn't like it, we immediately paid our portion of the bill in full & told him to get the balance paid. Fast forward 6 months, we got another bill that the balance on the account is due Dec. 1. We called the local sales rep, told him to get it paid--we're hoping & pretty confident he will, but this is WRONG. I want to call the parent company & say it's identity theft. He's using our credit for the benefit of others, and we face the risk if it doesn't get paid. If something happened to the sales rep, or the true purchasers didn't pay up, ultimately we'd be responsible. We can indirectly prove we didn't use the product because we have receipts from other seed purchases, plus employees/others could verify our side; however, ultimately it's our word against his. Am I irrational and over-reacting & should calm down? We'll never do business with him again but I think the parent company should know as it cost them any of our future business. I should mention the sales rep stopped by the other day when I was gone & hubby handed him over all of the paperwork we had regarding the situation. I want to call & ask the company to fax me a copy. What steps would you take--on one hand I can ignore it on the other extreme get him in big trouble.

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Report him immediately! If this guy is playing this fast and loose with your credit, what else is he doing under the table? I'm sure it is not just you but other clients that he has "borrowed" credit from. If he had to use your credit to get them merchandise there is a reason- they obviously have had problems paying for things in the past. The chances are good they will not pay again, and then it is you left holding the bag. I would write a precise letter detailing exactly what he has done. Save a copy for yourself and send it to the parent company registered mail, return receipt requested. It wouldn't hurt to speak to an attorney locally about helping you if they don't voluntarily fix this and cc: them on the bottom of the letter. CC the Better Business bureau too if they are a member. This situation has disaster written all over it if you don't get it cleared up.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2005 at 9:50AM
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Hello hilltop,

And your hubby gave all of your paperwork to the local rep???

Oh, my God!!!

Did you make photocopies (I hope)?

Take action - now!!

Try, first of all, to get that paperwork back from the local rep.

Log all of the actions, as closely as you can remember, now.

What the local guy did was **fraud**!

Good wishes - I hope that things work out better than it appears that they might.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   November 20, 2005 at 1:53PM
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I know that what the guy did was wrong wrong wrong. The thing that bothers me most is that we're a moderately large farmer in the area & we'll look like the bad guy trying to pick on the popular guy trying to help the other guys. But it's at our potential expense! I was sooooo angry at my husband for turning over the paperwork. I'm going to call the company tomorrow & have them fax me the paperwork they have. Also, we have a tax appointment scheduled with our CPA/attorney tomorrow anyway, so I'll hear what he has to say.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2005 at 9:29PM
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Call the credit reporting bureaus and explain the situation to them. You need to get an explanantion of this in your credit files ASAP. The amount of credit you have available to you and the percent of that credit that you use are part of the equation for calculating a credit score. The local rep's actions could potentially impact your credit score by using part of your available credit.

Call the parent company and let them know about their rep's unethical and illegal activities. They need to know.

Good luck and keep us posted on what happens next.


    Bookmark   November 21, 2005 at 6:33AM
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Since Dec. 1 is only a week away, you're not losing too much time by waiting until then to see if you need to contact anyone else. That's what I'd do. Reporting it now would seem to make it less likely that the bill would get paid; the company would probably freeze the account to investigate, the rep may get fired, and then what about this money? Then you have to go to court hope to be believed over someone else.

What you probably should have done was demanded that the bill be paid immediately when you got it back in June, but it's already November now, so why not just wait and see what happens?

    Bookmark   November 21, 2005 at 8:39AM
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Our attorney/CPA tended to agree with cowboy that we should wait till after Dec. 1. More than likely the problem will solve itself & the guy will pay the bill. After that we can send a stern letter to the guy & his parent company indicating that we felt what he did was wrong and should never happen again. If for some reason the bill doesn't get paid, he said there's absolutely no way we'd have to pay it since we didn't receive the product being billed for. He wasn't too concerned.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2005 at 8:05AM
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In the meantime - you're the one holding the bag for that unauthorized credit, not him.

Though, granted, he has some serious risk factors, as well.

What on earth possessed him to do it without consulting you?

Didn't he realize that the action would come to light - and that the barnyard by-product would hit the fan, big time, when it did?

I'm certain that his job will be in jeopardy over it.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   November 22, 2005 at 3:21PM
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Just speaking personally, if the bill got paid, I'd talk individually to the sales rep about it, I probably would not do business with him again, but I would not contact anyone else. The guy is probably not dishonest, he's not out to defraud anyone, but he did do something stupid. If anything, owing a big balance on your credit and then paying it off probably helped more than hurt your credit score.

What I would do, though, is contact the parent company and tell them you want your credit account closed. Just in case he gets this bright idea again, he can do it with someone else's account and not yours.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2005 at 12:07AM
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I don't think the parent company would look too favorably on this rep for doing such a thing. If so, don't you think the company it's self would be extending credit to these people? Or to their rep, for that matter? I'd keep an eye on that bill. I believe I would also tell them that my part was paid .

    Bookmark   November 30, 2005 at 1:49PM
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Well, here's what's transpired with the deal. I called the parent company on Nov. 28 and had them fax me a copy of our statement for our records (since sales rep had taken all earlier paperwork). It's now Dec. 2 & I called the company to see if the balance had been paid which it had not so it was starting to accrue finance charges. I then explained to the lady in accounting that I was EXTREMELY upset & that the bill wasn't ours & I had receipts from other companies and means of proving we had purchased & utilized product from elsewhere. I also wanted proof that our account was cleared. She then talked to the National Sales Manager & then called the local sales rep (who said the check was in the mail). She called me back and apologized for the situation and said they were putting the entire account in the local sales reps name and would be sending us a statement saying our account balance was $0. So I guess it all worked out in the end. I got my point across that I thought it was unethical & reflected poorly on how he handled business. There are higher ups aware of what he did & will handle it accordingly.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2005 at 10:53AM
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