got a strange collection call today...

Jill_NCFebruary 21, 2003

I should say DH did but he wasn't home. Apparently this happened just before I met DH, but DH says that it doesn't sound familiar at all.

I pick up the phone this a.m. and there's someone calling from some company (she mumbled the name and my toddler was screaming and I'm getting ready to curse the telemarketer) and she asks for DH. I say "not home" and she starts in about how he signed a contract for magazines back in 1/96 and he owes $600+ ?" She goes on about how she can settle this today for $130 but if a check doesn't get sent then they're going to charge the $600+. THEN she goes on about how she's calling from a collection agency...blah blah blah...and then asks if I'm his wife...and I say "yeah, but save your breath and give me your # so he can call back". Why did she share all that w/me when she didn't know who I was? She said the original creditor was International Magazine Subscriptions. DH denies ever even hearing of them and for the last 7 yrs - we have never been contacted by anyone from a co. like that. It sounded like a scam to me. I thought usually collectors sent out letters and such. We have always been trackable and no one else has had trouble "finding" us. Does this sound weird??

The person calling this morning said that she left the office at 5:00 central time -- that's 4 here on the east coast for us -- but DH gets home around 6 here. He called back and no one answered---doesn't it sound weird that a collection company doesn't have extended hours to compensate for people who actually work a 9-5 schedule? My advice to DH was to not give them any info. but to ask that proof be mailed to us (this "contract" they say he signed) so we can dispute the charge. If this is a legit debt, then we will take care of it after we receive proof - but just to whip off a check and send it out right away w/out any other info. seems stupid to me. BTW - DH got a copy of his credit report a few mos. ago and nothing regarding this co. was on it.

If you have any advice, I'd love to hear it.


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Sounds like a scam to me. I would have them send you the paperwork and tell them you will show it to your lawyer... Be careful not to give any social security numbers or bank account information. Kathy_PA

    Bookmark   February 22, 2003 at 5:42AM
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Thx Kathy! Luckily I haven't had to deal w/too many coll. agencies, but I don't give them anything -- I just politely say that I contest the validity of the charges and ask to communicate through the mail so I have a paper trail.

I'll report back on any further developments w/this mess!


    Bookmark   February 22, 2003 at 8:02AM
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Jill -
Contact your local police fraud squad ... they might have some knowledge of a scam.

Here is a link that might be useful: FTC subscription info

    Bookmark   February 22, 2003 at 11:55AM
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Thanks so much for those links...informative & I've passed them along to DH.


    Bookmark   February 22, 2003 at 12:10PM
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IF they are legitimate, then the original creditor may have sold the debt to the collection agency for pennies on the dollar, because, the debt is practically worthless when it gets closer to the time that it can be reported on a credit report (7 years.) When do they claim that he incurred this debt? If you begin to pay them now, I think you will re-set the 7 year limit. Not sure though. Actually, looking at the date (1/96) I wonder if they can even report this on his credit report. I would recommend not paying a dime. I normally wouldn't recommend that, because I consider myself a very ethical person. But, what kind of a company charges $600 for magazine subscriptions anyway??? Doesn't sound very ethical.

Do you think that you never received any collection information from the original creditor because someone used your DH's name to buy these magazines? The original creditor may have been sending collection notices to the address of this person. Then, when the collection agency bought the debt, they traced your DH to his current address. When you get the info, check the address of where these magazines were sent, and the dates that they were sent, to make sure that your DH actually lived there during those dates. It could be a situation where, after he moved out of an apartment, the new tenant received "offers" with your DH's name on them, and signed up.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2003 at 12:36PM
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Thx Windchime! I agree with you - I am very proactive about clearing up any problems that I (or we) have run into with this kind of thing. It's weird that we got a call on 2/14, but they just left a generic message---then nothing until yesterday (Fri.) No calls on the weekend either. DH swears he didn't get any magazines (and certainly not $600 worth!), but the lady says that he specifically signed something.

This should be interesting -- we have been fighting MCI over what they say are charges we incurred when we switched to their long distance carrier 3 yrs ago (and we switched back to our reg LD carrier after only having MCI 3 wks!) -- every time they've contacted us (I think 2x) I've asked specifically for a detailed bill of the charges and they NEVER end up providing it. This time a collection co. sent the letter and I wrote back and only said that I disputed the validity of the debt because their notice said that if I did that they would have to provide a detailed bill----it's been a month now and they haven't sent anything back to us---which was what happened when MCI was trying to get the same $ from us. DH in fact switched us (the phone was in my name only) after they promised to send a check to cover the cost of switching (we have a co-op phone co.) and a coupon for a bunch of free minutes of long distance -- which they never did. It's only $70 but it's the principal of the thing. I definitely know we didn't make $70 worth of LD our mothly bill for LD is never over $25.

Fun fun fun :-)


    Bookmark   February 22, 2003 at 2:09PM
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You're wise to be skeptical of this outfit. I agree it's probably a scam. If they call back, make sure they provide you with the full company name, the full name of the person calling and require written documentation be sent to you, but do NOT give them an address. Ask for them to give you the address they have. Tell them to send it to the address on file too, give them no information. I wouldn't even tell them when your husband will be home or not home, it's none of their business. They should have an 800# and should give you their business license #. Check with the state they operate from and check on the business. See if a phone number is listed (you can do this on the internet) for the business. I'd also pull a credit report immediately to see if they tried filing anything on you.

If you can, try to record the call. If they balk at giving you any info, call the attorney general and the local police.


    Bookmark   February 22, 2003 at 8:55PM
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Thanks--great advice! I've jotted down the info. you've provided, since I will be the one that gets called again. I'll keep y'all posted on where this thing goes.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2003 at 9:12PM
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thought I'd post an update on this thread....

My DH called the # that they left back the day I posted this. Of course it was 5:55 EST, but the office of these people (central time) had already he left a voice mail simply stating that he absolutely disputed the validity of these charges and that they were welcome to call back to discuss this with him further. He swears he was polite, but to the point. Guess what? No calls back. No proof sent by snail mail...nothing! too weird! I'm certain that they will surface their heads again, but for now it's quiet.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2003 at 10:30PM
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To set the record straight. Central time is one hour behind eastern time. So, 5:00 PM central time is 6:00 PM eastern time which is the time you are on.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2003 at 1:33PM
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thx Judith :-)

I did a bad job trying to make my point that at 5:55 p.m. here on the east coast - it was only 4:55 p.m. there so DH was really confused about why this so-called "collection agency" wasn't reachable at a normal business hour.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2003 at 3:48PM
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Final item on P. 26, 5.75 years ago.

Much interesting and useful material in those 26 pages!

Thanks to all who contributed ... to add to the store of knowledge of the rest of us.

And not a large amount of erroneous information imparted, I think ... though one does need to be careful, for not all information is accurate, even though the original poster who offers usually understands it to be so.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   November 1, 2008 at 6:40AM
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The internet has put our personal information out there for anyone who seeks it, for whatever purpose. Often the phishing/phone scams are from prisons and foreign countries with lax laws.

The date was random and the demand to send immediate payment definitely stinks. It's a scam, for sure. No reputable company especially with "International" as part of it's name would make a first attempt to enforce a contract over 10 years old. Have the buggers fax you a copy of the contract. Then report it to your appropriate local authorities. There are plenty of people (especially seniors) who would fall for this.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 9:35AM
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This post is almost six years old... I don't think the OP is seeking advice anymore!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 12:53PM
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Get every collection attempt in writing, see if legitimate but forgotten debt, otherwise ignore, could well be ID theft.
If persistant attempts continue, tell collectors you will call local TV consumer affairs hotline, send written complaint to FCC, local district atty or police with complaints against THEM.
When one outfit persisted in calling me a year after the time limit for creditors against my mother's estate, I said she had moved to Colma & gave her new address & phone number -- the cemetery.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 8:34PM
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