Legal Representation For Consumers

Collector trying to collect from the wrong person: me

A couple of days ago I got a collection letter from a company trying to get me to pay for three old traffic tickets.  The letter threatened that, if I did not pay, I could lose my driving privilege or harm my credit rating.

Even though I have never had a “moving violation”, I’ve had my share of parking tickets–which from time to time I forget to pay and then wind up running up extra fines.  Go ahead, nod your head approvingly, you’ve been there too.

Having made good with the Clerk of the Court a couple of years ago and bringing current my ongoing parking ticket account, I was puzzled by the collection company’s asking me to pay $513; that’s a bunch of money for three late parking tickets.  Who knows, maybe I did forget to pay some subsequent ones and now was getting hounded by these folk to pay them.

My assistant Dagmara did a bit of research at the Clerk’s office and confirmed that the tickets did not belong to me.  As I could see on the Clerk’s printout, there was some clearly wrong information about me.  Glaringly, my date of birth, license number, tag number and zip code were wrong.

So, if it was so clear that those tickets did not belong to me, why did I get the collection letter?  My hunch is that the company used a skip-tracing system which was not very specific and linked the other “Leonardo Bueno” to my address.  I called the company and told the not too friendly representative that they had the wrong guy.  Hopefully that will be the end of it and these folk will leave me alone.

There is a lesson here for you.  Whenever you get a debt collection letter, and definitely before you agree to pay a dime on it, make darn sure the debt belongs to you.  As you can see, debt collectors sometimes screw up and try to collect from the wrong person.

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