Bug_girl, Private Eye

I’m trying to get my credit house in order before putting my actual house on the market this year, and I am learning a LOT about collection agencies. in 1996, I bought something using a store credit card. Hey, I got a great discount!

Problem was, the card was through Household/HSBC, which I have now learned has been cited–repeatedly–for predatory lending.
When I moved and updated my account, they changed the zip code to my new address–but not the rest of the address. So, of course, I thought I had paid the thing off–no more bills! (In my defense, I had paid it down before I moved to about $20.)

BUT–turns out that when I finally got my mail many months later, they had not only hit me monthly for an overcharge fee, but then hit me with extra interest charges–that increased each month. So, by 1997, I supposedly owed them >$2000.

Obviously, I didn’t want to pay, and wrote a lot of letters.

And then they sold my account to the first collection agency.

I gave them copies of the documents that showed that the original creditor made the mistake–and the letter they sent admitting the mistake, and demanding money.
The account got sold to a new collection agency.
Repeat process.
Account sold to new collection agency.
I got tired of the phone calls, and agreed to pay $300 to make them go away.

Now, I find out that all the collection agencies were actually part of the original creditor–now under RICO indictment, BTW.
I have 3 different collection accounts clogging up my credit report for the same original debt–that wasn’t my fault–and they are all the same people!

It’s part of a practice commonly called “debt Re-aging.” The relevant bits:

Multiple Listings of the Same Debt: Junk debt buyers are often responsible for multiple reporting of the same debt as these change hands among buyers and sellers. Usually, these same debts are reported by the original creditor as well. Thus you could have the same debt reported multiple times.

Man, I’m mighty cheesed.