When Debt Comes Back

By: Ryan Duffy
By: Ryan Duffy

An old debt that pops up again can damage your good name and your good credit. It doesn't matter if it wasn't your fault.

Jessica Neely thought it was all behind her.

"After Christmas I went ahead and paid up the balance in full. I received a letter saying account was closed. Zero balance on my account."

But then it was back again, an old Sears credit card debt she thought was paid off. And it was bigger than before.

"I was receiving about eight phone calls a day,” Neely says.

Neely says she paid off her Sears card with a check for $452 in January. She received a letter confirming it. But then she received a call in April saying there was still $25 dollars left on the account.

And the collection calls started coming, but not all from Sears.

Neely soon realized she wasn't dealing with just Sears. They had sold her account to a series of collection agencies and she had to explain her situation over and over again.

She says she thought it was straightened out, but then in October she says another collection agency now wanted $245.

That's when 12 On Your Side went to work for Danielle.

The Citigroup company which handles Sears debts says that after six months, Sears can sell the debts to a collection agency.

They wouldn't say what caused this mix-up, but after looking at Danielle's account they agreed it should have been closed, and they finally closed the account.

"You guys are good, do what say are gonna do, I appreciate it. Like a weight lifted off my shoulders," says Neely.

They have also agreed to wipe away the collection agency notation on her credit report.

Adding Neely’s $245 to the rest of the money we've recovered for our viewers, our new total is up to $179,844.

So what are your rights in a case like this?

If you write a letter contesting that you owe, a collector by law can't keep calling. But if they send proof, then they can start calling again. If you don't think you owe, contest it within 30 days.

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