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3 years ago I cancelled my T-Mobile account. I was charged a $250 cancellation fee, plus the amount due at the time, totaling $376.53. Recently I was contacted by a creditor saying I owed T-Mobile over $150 dollars, I was able to track down the payment details 3 years earlier. But I never recieved another bill after the final payment.

After talking to the creditor they said the $150 was billed to me 5 months after my final payment, but didn't have the complete details of the statements. I called T-Mobile asking for the monthly billing statements for the 5 months, but said it was no longer their account (claiming I had to contact the creditor).

I know I can dispute this claim, but is it worth it? I have no proof of the bills for the 5 months before it defaulted. T-Mobile won't seem to release any information to me. I know this is going towards my credit, which will hurt me. It infuriates me that I have to pay this to clear up my credit when I was told by a T-Mobile represenative that I did not owe any more money when I payed the original $376.

What are my options? How can I track down the information to figure out what I owe? My guess is that it is primarmily 5 months worth of late fees on something less that $10. Thanks for any advice!

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Why is it you that needs to track anything down? File a dispute, they have to prove that you owe money, not you. Presumption of innocence and stuff... Contact FTC if that's what it takes. Don't let anyone blackmail you. –  littleadv Jan 24 '12 at 1:27
    
Truthfully I don't know what FTC is. I don't know the steps to take, it's why I'm asking. Are they not proof themselves? I feel insecure about it, because I don't feel like I have proof to say otherwise. –  jsmith Jan 24 '12 at 1:31
    
    
They have to prove, they can't demand anything unless you really owe it. If they do - you can drag them to court with civil and criminal charges. It's the 21st century, after all. Even in the US there are certain rights people have against the mobsters. –  littleadv Jan 24 '12 at 1:38
    
I'm surprised you're not writing this in an answer. This is the type of information I was looking for after all.. :) –  jsmith Jan 24 '12 at 1:44
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3 Answers

up vote 12 down vote accepted

You don't need to pay unless you really owe the money. The burden of proof is on them. If you don't believe you really owe the money (and it sounds like you don't believe so) - you can dispute it against the collection company and the credit reporting agencies.

Here's the instructions on how to do it.

They can call and nag you and harass and threaten you into paying, but you need to remember that they can't force you to pay something you don't owe. They can just make you so stressed and annoyed that you'd pay them just to leave you alone. That's how they work, and that's what they're counting on. Don't let them do that.

There are laws that protect you against the harassment of collection agencies, and many things they do are in the gray area and some are in the very black area of being illegal. If they bother you even after you've disputed the charge, but are unable or unwilling to provide any information that shows that you really owe the amounts they demand - get an attorney and sue them - they'll end up paying you, instead of you paying them.

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+1, definitively counter any attempts to threaten or harass you. Think of it - if someone dares threaten you just to get 150 bucks from you then where's the guarantee they don't shoot you for fun later? Such behavior indicates perceived impunity and should be unconditionally countered. –  sharptooth Jan 24 '12 at 11:39
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UNDER NO Circumstances you should pay. When you have paid a cancellation fees and have record of that, how can they raise an invoice even after 1 months. File a dispute.

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T-Mobile is a truly rotten company, and I've had my fair amount of disputes with them.

Here is a method that I've found to be highly effective: Write a sharply worded letter and fax it to this number: (425) 378-4920. This fax number belongs to the outside law firm that represents T-Mobile. Demand them to cease and desist, and give them a reasonable deadline, after which you will proceed with legal action.

Works like a charm.

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I would modify your comment slightly. Demand them to show proof of the debt, or failing such proof, cease and desist all collections activities and rescind and reports to credit reporting agencies. –  Chris Cudmore Jan 26 '12 at 15:51
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NEVER talk to a lawyer without a lawyer. Certainly not threaten one. –  littleadv Jan 29 '12 at 18:35
    
It's not an approach for everyone, but I've found most attorneys to be far more reasonable, respectful and businesslike than the morons and misanthropes in the customer "service" department. –  Tony the Pony Jan 29 '12 at 18:49
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