2017 CenturyLink bill sent to Collections, no information as to why

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Apr 1, 2021
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Hi there,

Yesterday I received a collections notice from Convergent Outsourcing for a bill of $195.25 on behalf of the creditor CenturyLink. I couldn't recall ever using CenturyLink, so I called their customer support to verify the bill was correct and not a scam.

After hours on the phone, a service rep. was able to verify the bill was legitimate, but no representative or department could tell me why I had been charged. They were able to see that I was charged the bill in August 2017, but I had halted my service with them earlier that year in February 2017. This was verified by another service representative, who also verified that I made the phone call to stop service and pay (what I understood to be) my final bill.

I asked the representative if there is any verification that the company had tried to get in contact with me to settle this bill, because I was unable to find any trace of call or email history, and I had long since moved from that address by August 2017, should they have sent me a paper statement. They weren't able to verify that they had.

Due to the delay between my call to cancel (and pay) my final invoice with them in February 2017 and their final billing in August 2017, the failure to contact me about the billing, and that I still don't know exactly what I'm being charged for, I feel like I'm left with a debt that isn't entirely my fault and am unsure how to proceed.

Ideally, I would hope this would be resolved by dropping the charge since there's such a gap of information missing. If not, I'm considering haggling with the collectors for a lower payment.

Additional information:
- This is neither here nor there, but in hindsight, I also believe the new tenant took over the remaining CenturyLink contract--but I don't know how I could verify that since I'm no longer in contact with them.
- My credit score is still in good standing and this debt hasn't appeared on it.
- I would like to send a certified letter requesting the information I'm missing, but am uncertain who, within the behemoth that's CenturyLink, I would send that to.
- All my addresses since my 2017 residence had been signed up to mail forwarding with USPS.
- I have an end-of-tenancy letter that can verify I left the residence in February 2017.
- In total, I spoke with 6 different service representatives across 4-5 departments.

Thank you all for your help and honest feedback!
 
Last edited:
Jan 6, 2021
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Houston, TX
If you would like to dispute the debt, you would do so with the collection agency, Convergent Outsourcing. They have purchased/assumed the account from CenturyLink. You can send them a validation letter, via certified mail, return receipt requested, like this one: Sample Debt Validation Letter

In all likelihood, if you follow those steps, they will simply go away.
 
Last edited:

VoR61

Jan 6, 2015
3,996
6,091
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the United States
You can escalate this VIA EMAIL using the contacts in the following link:
do not include attachments - - offer instead to send them upon request
be sure to start at the lowest level and that you give each contact one (1) week to respond before escalating to the next level

EXAMPLE
"I am writing to you today because my efforts to resolve an issue with customer service have been unsuccessful. Here are the details:
  • On March 31st I received a collections notice from Convergent Outsourcing for a bill of $195.25 on behalf of CenturyLink
  • CenturyLink service representatives confirmed the following:

    I was charged that amount in August 2017, but I had halted my service with them earlier that year in February 2017
    I made the phone call to stop service and pay (what I understood to be) my final bill
    They could not confirm that CenturyLink had attempted contact with me to settle this bill​
I respectfully request that these charges be dropped. The service for which the bill applies was properly canceled by me.

Thank you for your time and consideration - I respect that you are very busy"
 
Apr 1, 2021
3
1
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You can escalate this VIA EMAIL using the contacts in the following link:





do not include attachments - - offer instead to send them upon request
be sure to start at the lowest level and that you give each contact one (1) week to respond before escalating to the next level

EXAMPLE
"I am writing to you today because my efforts to resolve an issue with customer service have been unsuccessful. Here are the details:
  • On March 31st I received a collections notice from Convergent Outsourcing for a bill of $195.25 on behalf of CenturyLink
  • CenturyLink service representatives confirmed the following:

    I was charged that amount in August 2017, but I had halted my service with them earlier that year in February 2017
    I made the phone call to stop service and pay (what I understood to be) my final bill
    They could not confirm that CenturyLink had attempted contact with me to settle this bill​
I respectfully request that these charges be dropped. The service for which the bill applies was properly canceled by me.

Thank you for your time and consideration - I respect that you are very busy"
Thank you for your response, I'm going to follow up now with this sort of email. .

Just to make sure I understand correctly, start with an email to customer service then take the next steps through the executive contacts, right?

Again, thanks for your response, I would have never considered sending this sort of email.
 
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Apr 1, 2021
3
1
3
29
If you would like to dispute the debt, you would do so with the collection agency, Convergent Outsourcing. They have purchased/assumed the account from CenturyLink. You can send them a validation letter, via certified mail, return receipt requested, like this one: Sample Debt Validation Letter

In all likelihood, if you follow those steps, they will simply go away.
My problem isn't necessarily with the collector. In regards to the debt, it seems to be legitimate and they've provided validation of it in the original billing letter that they sent me.

My problem is that I'm uncertain why I was charged by CenturyLink in the first place, having settled an account with them years ago, only to find out they had billed me months after without information as to why. Also, funny enough, CenturyLink will still allow me to pay off the bill with them instead of the debtor.

But thank you for the template. I'll send it alongside my discussions with CenturyLink and see if it buggers them off, anyways.
 

Comicman

Jul 13, 2020
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Years ago I had a good friend who was working for a collection agency. As he got big bonuses for closing cases ( based on the percentages he could collect) , if he was unable to find the person owing this debt but he could find someone with the same name. He would send the debt collection letter to the same named but wrong person. If the person paid ( And sad to say many paid) he got his bonus and the case was closed. There is no way I would pay any of this debt until someone shows me that I owe it. If I never heard of the company they say sold them the debt they will need to show me proof that i own this debt. If they went to court they would need something to prove you owe this.
 
Sep 18, 2018
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FWIW, CenturyLink has odd collection practices, and they always seem to revolve around canceling service. When I canceled my CenturyLink landline years ago before going solely to cell service, CenturyLink referred my final bill to a collection agency immediately after I did so. There was no in-between. I never received the final bill from CenturyLink. It sounds as if the same thing happened to you.
 
Jan 6, 2021
141
541
93
Houston, TX
FWIW, CenturyLink has odd collection practices, and they always seem to revolve around canceling service. When I canceled my CenturyLink landline years ago before going solely to cell service, CenturyLink referred my final bill to a collection agency immediately after I did so. There was no in-between. I never received the final bill from CenturyLink. It sounds as if the same thing happened to you.
I’m sure they sell off their accounts for pennies on the dollar to clear their balance sheets and take the write-off.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
10,823
12,603
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San Francisco
My problem isn't necessarily with the collector. In regards to the debt, it seems to be legitimate and they've provided validation of it in the original billing letter that they sent me.

My problem is that I'm uncertain why I was charged by CenturyLink in the first place, having settled an account with them years ago, only to find out they had billed me months after without information as to why. Also, funny enough, CenturyLink will still allow me to pay off the bill with them instead of the debtor.

But thank you for the template. I'll send it alongside my discussions with CenturyLink and see if it buggers them off, anyways.
I agree with you, and that's why my colleagues are advising you to follow up with both entities. For all you know, the collection agency may be just an arm of CenturyLink, so covering all your bases should do the trick.
 
Oct 10, 2015
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My problem is that I'm uncertain why I was charged by CenturyLink in the first place, having settled an account with them years ago, only to find out they had billed me months after without information as to why. Also, funny enough, CenturyLink will still allow me to pay off the bill with them instead of the debtor.

If you cannot figure out where a particular charge came from or why it was imposed then you are perfectly free to inquire of the biller (collection agency or original creditor) and delay payment until you get the explanation you agree with.

A collection agency billing you has to give you the explanation, including quantity of anytime minutes you talked or description of the merchandise shipped (as applicable) as you requested in your inquiry, in the same manner as the original creditor must do, in order to justify the debt.
 
Jan 6, 2021
141
541
93
Houston, TX
Also, funny enough, CenturyLink will still allow me to pay off the bill with them instead of the debtor.
Of course they will! If they do, they keep the pennies on the dollar for which they sold your account to collections, they get your money for the account balance, AND they clear a charge-off from their accounts (likely in a new quarter so that they've already received the tax advantage.)
 
Jan 6, 2021
141
541
93
Houston, TX
If you cannot figure out where a particular charge came from or why it was imposed then you are perfectly free to inquire of the biller (collection agency or original creditor) and delay payment until you get the explanation you agree with.
This is misleading. You are certainly able to request validation of the debt (using a letter like the one I provided in Post #5.) Whether you get an "explanation you agree with" is beside the point. The standard for debt validation is extremely low; they may send a screenshot of the account that simply has the balance owed and that fulfills the requirement of debt validation. Whether you agree with it or not, they are still going to attempt to collect.