Followed the recommended steps, still sent to Collections!

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Jan 17, 2018
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#1
Like most of us here, I received a notice that I had damaged a vehicle over 2 months from the return of said vehicle. At NO time was this vehicle damaged. No walk through was done on either end of the trip---on return (it was a one way trip,) we couldn't even find an agent to return the vehicle to! It was the middle of the day and we had to drop the keys in a dropbox. I do have photos, but they are early/mid-trip. We rented at Newark Airport from the Emerald lane, and on driving out to the booth, the rearview mirror fell off! They brought us out another vehicle and off we went. No one checks you out on foot, so again, no walk through done except for what we did later.

I received an email, and a letter with grainy photos of just the "damage" and no proof of license plate or any other indication it was the vehicle I rented. They gave me the name of the repair shop, one with a more than shady reputation (which I for some reason found hysterical) and no detail of the charges. I followed the recommended verbage given time and time again on this site (which I am very grateful for) and sent the email on Dec 26th with the intention of closing the file in 10 days if I did not receive the evidence and information I requested.

Yesterday I received a letter that my case went to collections. I am LIVID. I was given no evidence, no proof, and no chance to discuss the matter further. I refuse to have my credit destroyed by this fraudulent charge! I don't know where to go next. I fear contacting the collections agency will get me nowhere and make me angrier ;). I feel like I have a very small window of time before before this is reported to the credit bureaus---and once that happens it's near impossible to have it removed.

Thoughts? And thank you.
 
Jan 17, 2018
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#3
I never made it to the 2 people (out of the 3 listed as the third has requested to not get customer service inquiries.) I sent one initial response and heard nothing back. As it had been 2 weeks, I planned to email again and reiterate that as I had received no evidence or response to my email, I would assume the matter closed...but then I got the collections letter.

To that point, I am unsure if having received the collections letter would now preclude the Execs from doing anything.
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
1,179
1,963
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#4
Continue on the path of contacting the execs, one at a time. But I would recommend not waiting two weeks as usually suggested but wait only one week for a response before moving to the next name on the list. Please keep us updated as to your progress.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
12,655
12,679
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#7
Kathy posted this that came up needing moderation;

I received an email and a letter (sent to my former address, so it admittedly took a lot longer to get to me than normal,) responded with an email to Customer Service, and did receive just a letter, no call yet. It also does not seem to have been referred to the credit bureau yet! I definitely in my initial letter denied all responsibility and let them know I wanted to assist them in finding out who caused the damage as it wasn't me :)

Thank you for the letter. I wonder if I should send that immediately WHILE attempting to work with the Executive Office. Having not had much experience with collections agencies, I'm sort of working on what I've heard, which is not to engage them. I have no idea what's right.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
6,617
6,627
113
San Francisco
#9
Kelly, don't panic over this and don't get angry. The car rental companies are masters at scaring people into giving them money. My colleagues are right ... just continue marching down the path we outline and all will be well eventually.
 
Dec 7, 2017
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#12
You do need to respond -

"Dear Collection Agency:

I deny that I owe your principal anything. I have never agreed that I am responsible for the damage.

I demand that you obtain from your principal proof of damage. this means photographs, repair estimates, use logs, as well as evidence which would be admissible in a court of law that I am responsible for the repair and caused the damage.

Until such time I deny that I owe you or principal anything. I invoke all rights under the Fair Credit Billing and collections Act and demand no further contact from your office under my rights.

I will not be paying you anything without a court order. Thus, please do not call, write or harass me in any manner. If you wish to litigate the matter at this time, please do so. This is the only way I will be paying your principal anything. Please note that I will be checking my credit file regularly and if you make any filings, you had better note the full and complete dispute of the amount claimed by the alleged debtor.

This has been sent by a trackable method, thus receipt will be deemed made up third party acknowledgement of delivery.

VTY . . Former customer"


Make sure you send a copy to the first person on the list for the rental company - and make the demand of all of the information.

May we presume you did not take photos when you dropped the car off?
 
Feb 9, 2016
2,449
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#13
You do need to respond -

"Dear Collection Agency:

I deny that I owe your principal anything. I have never agreed that I am responsible for the damage.

I demand that you obtain from your principal proof of damage. this means photographs, repair estimates, use logs, as well as evidence which would be admissible in a court of law that I am responsible for the repair and caused the damage.

Until such time I deny that I owe you or principal anything. I invoke all rights under the Fair Credit Billing and collections Act and demand no further contact from your office under my rights.

I will not be paying you anything without a court order. Thus, please do not call, write or harass me in any manner. If you wish to litigate the matter at this time, please do so. This is the only way I will be paying your principal anything. Please note that I will be checking my credit file regularly and if you make any filings, you had better note the full and complete dispute of the amount claimed by the alleged debtor.

This has been sent by a trackable method, thus receipt will be deemed made up third party acknowledgement of delivery.

VTY . . Former customer"


Make sure you send a copy to the first person on the list for the rental company - and make the demand of all of the information.

May we presume you did not take photos when you dropped the car off?
I love that letter! Would you mind if I copied it into a folder so we could re use it when we saw the opportunity?
 
Likes: Nancy
Jan 17, 2018
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#15
Hi all...I copied and modified slightly the Collections letter and sent it to both the agency and National Corporate Offices. Sadly, I have yet to hear a thing from Corporate and need to make a call today. I am genuinely shocked and frustrated that not one of my many attempts to communicate has been responded to. Not one! Thanks again for your help thus far. I think I had 30 days with the Collections agency before it hits my credit so I hope to at the very least get them off my XXX! I have worked to hard on my credit to let this fraudulent attempt to (not to be dramatic but) extort money ruin it.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Dec 7, 2017
125
172
43
SoCal - EAST
#16
Hi all...I copied and modified slightly the Collections letter and sent it to both the agency and National Corporate Offices. Sadly, I have yet to hear a thing from Corporate and need to make a call today. I am genuinely shocked and frustrated that not one of my many attempts to communicate has been responded to. Not one! Thanks again for your help thus far. I think I had 30 days with the Collections agency before it hits my credit so I hope to at the very least get them off my a$$! I have worked to hard on my credit to let this fraudulent attempt to (not to be dramatic but) extort money ruin it.
I wouldn't panic about your credit report . . . if you timely send the letter the collections agency will not report you and will forward the letter back to their creditor. They don't want to get sued. They know that no matter what they do, if they report the debt to a credit bureau they're are going to get sued in the face of your letter- so its not likely they will report - its more likely they will return the file to the creditor and take no action.
 
Feb 9, 2016
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#17
From what I am coming to understand (@Its Not Me can correct me if I am wrong)

when a company issues a claim against you and requests monetary compensation as a resolution, such as these car rental damage claims do, you MUST formally dispute the claim ASAP to put the car renal company on notice that, if they turn over your account to a collections agency, they must disclose the fact that you are actively disputing the debt.

Here's why that is VERY important.... again @Its Not Me correct me if I am wrong....

Collections agencies purchase debt from the debtor. the debtor gets paid a reduced amount and then the collections agency comes after you to pay the full debt. If you dispute the charge, the debtor MUST disclose this to the collections agency. This is important because not the collections agency has the burden of proof that you actually owe the debt.

Think about it.... what collections agency is going to have fleet logs, rental documents, maintenance documents, etc?

Once that car rental company alerts collections that you are actively disputing the debt, I don't think the collections agency will touch that debt with a 10 ft pole.

So step one should always be - IMMEDIATELY dispute the claim formally.
Step two (in conjunction with step 1) is to stay asking for documents as Elliot and his staff advise.

@Kelly Jane Doyle the reason why you haven't heard from the car rental company may very well be because they know they are now stuck between a rock and a hard place and they are trying to decide how to handle this.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
12,655
12,679
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#18
Hi all...I copied and modified slightly the Collections letter and sent it to both the agency and National Corporate Offices. Sadly, I have yet to hear a thing from Corporate and need to make a call today. I am genuinely shocked and frustrated that not one of my many attempts to communicate has been responded to. Not one! Thanks again for your help thus far. I think I had 30 days with the Collections agency before it hits my credit so I hope to at the very least get them off my a$$! I have worked to hard on my credit to let this fraudulent attempt to (not to be dramatic but) extort money ruin it.
If it has been more than a week - move to the first executive we show on our company contacts. Don't use the phone - do everything via email.
 
Dec 7, 2017
125
172
43
SoCal - EAST
#19
@sas80 - first off - collections agencies also operate on a per file basis - or a retention basis. They do not always buy the debt for pennies.

Often [and more commonly with the corporate owned collections agencies) they work on a retention basis - meaning the company gets $$XX per month to handle up to YYY collection matters for company Z. Then, if they are successful in collecting a matter, they then share in the recovery. The agency never owns the debt.

I would not worry about collection agencies having fleet logs and estimates - this is not a liquidated claim - meaning you have never agreed to the amount of the claim - its not a credit card, a car loan, a mortgage or even a hospital bill. These are much much harder to collect and you will NEVER get sued over this - and the threat to ruin your credit is now illegal. They will never able to prove the case in court - "you owe us $1000" Why? "well, you rented a car and it was damaged?" Who damaged it? When was it discovered etc etc etc. No one at the collections agency can testify to that - so - if you have ASKED for all that information - when the time comes for someone from the rental agency to testify - you object to testimony since they never produced the requested documents related to the claim. The sanction against the plaintiff is called a discovery sanction for refusing to disclose information clearly relevant to the claim. If they cannot testify as to damage, loss of use, cost of repair etc etc they're gonna lose.

BTW: If they call you again - insist that the only way you will speak with them is if you can record the phone call. . . they'll refuse - which means you are ahead of the game because you will never have to speak to them again.

Please - just follow the recommended steps - sooner or later they'll go away.
 
Feb 9, 2016
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#20
@sas80 - first off - collections agencies also operate on a per file basis - or a retention basis. They do not always buy the debt for pennies.

Often [and more commonly with the corporate owned collections agencies) they work on a retention basis - meaning the company gets $$XX per month to handle up to YYY collection matters for company Z. Then, if they are successful in collecting a matter, they then share in the recovery. The agency never owns the debt.

I would not worry about collection agencies having fleet logs and estimates - this is not a liquidated claim - meaning you have never agreed to the amount of the claim - its not a credit card, a car loan, a mortgage or even a hospital bill. These are much much harder to collect and you will NEVER get sued over this - and the threat to ruin your credit is now illegal. They will never able to prove the case in court - "you owe us $1000" Why? "well, you rented a car and it was damaged?" Who damaged it? When was it discovered etc etc etc. No one at the collections agency can testify to that - so - if you have ASKED for all that information - when the time comes for someone from the rental agency to testify - you object to testimony since they never produced the requested documents related to the claim. The sanction against the plaintiff is called a discovery sanction for refusing to disclose information clearly relevant to the claim. If they cannot testify as to damage, loss of use, cost of repair etc etc they're gonna lose.

BTW: If they call you again - insist that the only way you will speak with them is if you can record the phone call. . . they'll refuse - which means you are ahead of the game because you will never have to speak to them again.

Please - just follow the recommended steps - sooner or later they'll go away.
Thank you so much @Its Not Me
It's good to have a legal perspective. The car rental companies literally attack you and make you feel vulnerable. The lay person doesn't understand the things you just said - which keeps you in a job!