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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
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    13,916

    Default Billed After Settling a Debt With a Bill Collector

    A consumer was contacted by a bill collector about a contract they had supposedly entered with a cell phone company. The consumer said that no contract existed, that they were month-to-month, and that they had properly given notice to terminate their account. After extensive discussion with the debt collector the person was told that if they paid $150 and returned the equipment, the case would be closed. They did as instructed. Now they're being contacted directly by the cellular company, that claims additional money is due for the remainder of the contract. How can they enforce the settlement?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Behind a Desk
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    98,846

    Default Re: Billed After Settling a Debt With a Bill Collector

    If the settlement is not in writing, they may not be able to do so. If your description is correct, they also may have misunderstood what the debt collector was offering -- it may be that all they were doing was offering to close their collection case, not to settle the balance of the debt. Whenever you reach a settlement of a debt it is important to get the details in writing before paying, as you may later find out that the debt collector or creditor has a different understanding of the deal or denies that a deal even existed.

    There's also an issue with the idea that the contract was properly cancelled if there was equipment that had not yet been returned. Even if the contract were month-to-month, cancellation would normally require returning the equipment.

    If there is a written agreement with the debt collector that waives any further collection, the customer can present that agreement to the cellular company's billing department and ask that it be honored. It may be necessary to speak to a supervisor, or even to have them submit the contract to the legal department for review. If there is no written agreement, the customer can try to convince the service that the agreement existed and try to get confirmation from the debt collector, but they may find that the debt collector claims no memory or record of any agreement.

    If it is possible to work out a resolution of the issue, get it confirmed in writing.

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