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Question By
justanothergirl

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Is this Particular Collection Practice Legal?
Hello,

I lost my job 2 years ago and my credit went down the drain. I'm rebuilding and have a good score now. However there is a collection on my account from an energy and power company. I moved and requested my electricity turned off on a certain date. Well these lame-o's didn't turn the electricity off by my requested date. They turned it off a full month later, by then the new tenant had racked up about $120 in charges. I refused to pay because I moved out and requested it turned off on my moveout day and they're the ones that didn't. Anyway, this collection is from 2009, however the collection agency, continues to refresh the "date assigned" every six months so that it continues to looks as if it is a new collection. It's the same collection agency too. Actually the debt is charged off. I've disputed it and tried to get it fix but they refuse. So the collection agency that purchased this charged off debt refreshes the "date assigned" every six months and it continues to list as a "new collection" which we all know affects our credit score more than an old collection. Even though the debt was assigned to them in 2009, they know that by refreshing the date assigned they can keep banging my score in hopes that I'll pay the measly $120 and their tactic is working. I'm so tired of this collection "relisting" itself as a new collection every six months that I'm willing to just pay the $120 even though it's not my debt. Is it legal for them to misrepresent the "date assigned" date. For example they'll list it as "Date assigned January 2012" and then refresh to "Date assigned July 2012" to "Date assigned December 2012" etc, so that it looks as if it has been "newly" placed for collection which bangs my score hard. Is this legal? And if not, what can I do about it?

As far as I know, "Date Assigned" refers to the date it was assigned to the collection agency, which should actually say "May 2009" and that date only changes if the debt is then assigned to a different agency or bounces around to different agencies.

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Get It In Writing

To add to Clarissa's good advice, I do have a questioin (and suggestiion for the future) and that was "Did you make the shutoff request in writing?"  I hope so and that you had a copy for your records.  Boy, does that carry some weight!!  Don't go paying that $120 since YOU did not incur the charges.  You might also write a short dispute of this debt of 100 words or less and send it to each of the credit reporting agencies  asking them to put it in your file.

I also suggest checking what the Statute of Limitations is in your state.  If this utility shut off was to be in May 2009 and your Statute of Limitations is 4 years, just hold tight until June of this year, then you can notify the collection agency that the Statute of Limitations on this alleged debt has expired and any attempts to collect are now fruitless.

Reply by
justanothergirl

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Hi,

What would a utility bill fall under in terms of debt? The statute of limitations in Illinois is 10 years on written contracts, 5 years on oral contracts, 6 years on promisary notes and 5 years on open accounts.

No I did not request it in writing. As far as I know, they do not provide anything in writing, at least not the Illinois power company. They provide a confirmation number and that's it. I've always simply called, let them know I'm moving and let them know what date to turn it off and it's always worked except this one time.

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