See update at bottom of this post
I posted more than a year ago about problems we had with Verizon mistakes and their debt collection practices. Like Poltergeist, they're back!
Before getting into this, I should also mention a more recent post I did about debt collectors.
Briefly on the older Verizon story, a long time ago in a galaxy not so far away, Verizon misspelled my name and used the wrong phone number in my yellow pages listing. To be specific, they spelled my name correctly once and incorrectly once within a couple lines of each other, and used my cell phone number in my ad instead of my toll-free number. So I made phone calls, sent letters, got no response and refused to pay. I was harassed by debt collectors for a while, and then they just dropped it.
And then they printed the ad again the next year -- still wrong. So they sent me bills and I ignored them. Eventually they started sending me threatening notices and I ignored those. Now there's some collection agency that calls me, usually at home but sometimes on my toll-free number.
As in the old debt collectors post, these debt collectors pretend to be interested in the story, and claim they're going to investigate. The other day one of them called me to tell me that I'm wrong about the ad (I have it in my office, so I know I'm not wrong about it). Then today someone else from that debt collector called. I told him I was tired of talking to his firm and was not interested in talking any more. I'm not paying. Go ahead and sue me. For $252, I just don't think that's likely.
And then he used the classic debt collector's line -- "We'll have to report this on your credit." Well oh me, oh my, dearest me. We've managed to make payments consistently on our mortgage, our home equity line of credit, our credit cards, and so on, for close to a decade. And I'm supposed to worry about a $252 report on my credit? I don't think so.
But why did he make that threat? Because it actually scares some people. People who aren't sophisticated. People who might actually need to borrow money at some point in the near future. But let's analyze this threat a bit further. It's probably been a year since I refused to pay this. It probably went on my credit report several months ago already. It's an empty threat because it was already reported on my credit.
I stand by the comment in my previous post. I used to wonder where felons find jobs after they get out of prison. Now I know. They work in the debt collection industry. So remember this before you buy anything from Verizon. They treat their customers like dirt, and if there's ever a dispute, whether or not they're right, they will turn you over to the wolves. Sadly, many other businesses seem to be about the same.
Update - Since this post I did another one in December of 2008: More Verizon and Debt Collection.
Now this letter came in June of 2009:
Looks like my "debt" has been passed off to yet another bottom feeder. And they got my address wrong to boot.