Today I recieved an interesting phone call, from Tyler Lowe of RMS Collection Services, regarding an unpaid UPS (United Parcel Service) invoice.
You'd think this would be embarrasing news that I would keep to myself. On the contrare, I am VERY proud of the way I pay my bills -- last year I paid a total of $2.47 in interest.
This is just a short story on a recent experience I had... and how I dealt with it. Read on...
I'm still not 100% sure exactly what happened... I either recieved the invoice and misplaced it, or it was never recieved (read as: lost in the mail). Either way, it's no big deal -- a reminder letter or statement from UPS will make me aware of the unpaid invoice. But that letter never came. Nor did UPS contact me in ANY form (telephone, fax, email, snail mail, etc.).
The original invoice was from June of this year... JUNE and I get a call from a collection agency in DECEMBER? Actually, I got a letter from RMS last Monday... I called UPS and confirmed that I had an outstanding invoice... I sat down, wrote the cheque, mailed it and called UPS back to let them know. One letter, even though it was from a third party, was all it took to make me aware of an error in accounting and the invoice was paid. I asked them to look at my account and see if I've ever been LATE, never mind not paying a bill altogether. The answer was no.
I asked UPS what steps they had taken to contact me as the paperwork recieved from RMS stated that UPS "has exhausted collection efforts" -- no answer was given to me. I told UPS that they did not "exhaust" any efforts as all it took was one letter (a phone call would have sufficed).
You know the saying "SHIT HAPPENS"? Well, shit happens... I'm human... I make mistakes -- and I accept full responsibilty for my mistakes. But to be treated as an absolute low-life because of an oversite (one lost invoice) is sickening -- especially since I've been dealing with them (UPS) for over 10 years and have had not one late payment.
Anyway, back to the original title of this post... are collection agencies a thing of the past? Why do I say that? Well, simply from my telephone conversation with Tyler Lowe from RMS Collections. After he asked for me and identified himself as a collection agency, I said two simple words to him that, litterally, cut the conversation short -- "Prove it".
"Prove it?", said Tyler.
"Yes, prove it.", I said -- "Prove to me that you are who you say you are and are not simply a telemarketing scam -- you are asking for my credit card information and my security code on the back of the card. That, to me, sends up red flags for a scam. Prove that you are a legitimate company, you are gainfully employed by that company and have been hired by UPS to collect an unpaid invoice."
"How would you like me to do that?", was the reply.
"I really don't care.", I said -- "The onis is on you, not me. You are a third party that is making claims with nothing to back them up. Until you can prove to me that you are not a scam, I will have no further dealings with you. Have UPS call me."
Have UPS call me? Yeah, the collection agency is going to call UPS and basically say "We can't collect your invoice as we cannot prove to your customer that we are a legitimate company and your customer will not deal with us... your customer would like you to phone him.". Why would a company, such as UPS, deal with a collection agency if they can't collect?
This post is more of a rant than anything... I am pissed at the way I was treated simply due to an oversite. It is also to let you know that you can stand up for yourself and do not have to deal with these collection agencies, if you ever get put in that situation -- hopefully, you will not. Ask them to "Prove it", or don't give them anything -- then call the company they are "supposedly" collecting for and let them know as well. It's like PayPal always says, always type the URL into your browser and NEVER give information to a third party claiming to be working on the behalf of PayPal.
Let me also make note that I am IN NO WAY telling you to not pay your bills -- that's not what this is about. If you pay your bills, you should never need this information -- but that's not guaranteed either, as my story above explains. Whether you pay your bills on time religously or not, it's always possible that you too will be placed in a situation similar to mine. So, always remember these two words -- "PROVE IT!".