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Collections Law/Magazine Company sending debt to collections

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Question
Hello Steve, I have a question regarding the legality of a magazine company sending a debt to collections. I first was contacted about a "free" gift card that came with a "small" cost of a magazine subscription.  Embarrassingly enough, I believed them and gave them my debit card information.  Only later did I realize that the gift card they sent me was for a online site that charged large amounts of money for shipping which the card conveniently did not pay. After calling the company to cancel my subscription, I was repeatedly told I couldn't and was even threatened with the debt I now owed them being sent to collections. Swallowing my pride, I agreed and paid for the eight months I signed up for. Only later was I contacted about the cancellation with a man who claimed I had to re-record the original phone agreement with assurance that I was not making another renewal even though it sounded like I would. Sadly enough I fell for this as well taking him on his word. A few months ago I was charged by another company I had never contacted, and now both companies are charging me. Each time I call to cancel, I am repeatedly told I cannot and am threatened again with a debt collector. Recently, I was contacted about renewing a payment method as I had changed my bank card due to the original being stolen and I again expressed my desire to cancel. The man told me he was sending the debt to collections and hung up. Am I in any serious risk of financial problems? What should I do if these companies threaten me again for an expensive subscription I barely even use?

Answer
As long as they think they can strong-arm you into paying they will. Magazine subscription services (and all "services" where they promise a future delivery of the product/service) are notorious for this. If you don't pay them \fast enough they are quick to cancel your service and then still insist you pay without ever restoring the service you are being asked to pay for.

I would simply tell them to drop dead, you have no intention of renewing, that was not your intention in the second phone call and if they interpreted it any other way that's their tough luck.

The problem is you have no "paper trail" of written communication - everything is on the phone. It is now time for you to get off the phone and send them a long letter detailing what has happened so far and that you have no intention of renewing.

Then let them send it to "collections". As soon as a third party enters the picture you actually have MORE rights that you do when dealing with the original creditor.

I also suggest you pay a visit to www.debtorboards.com - it is a web site I set up about 10 years ago that shows people how to deal with collection bullies like this,

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Steve Katz

Expertise

Debt Collection, Credit Reporting, FCRA, FDCPA, TCPA issues

Experience

Founder of Debtorboards, co-author of Debtsmanship, former Collector, Credit Counselor

Education/Credentials
MBA

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