I paid $530 to Allen, Lewis and Associates for a debt on a musical instrument. They told me that everything was taken care of and paid off. I am now getting calls from another collector charging me $900 for the same thing. The music store has no record that they ever sent my info to Allen, Lewis and Associates, and all of the collector's phone numbers are now disconnected. Not sure how to prove that I've already paid this off, as I never received a letter stating that my account was paid in full. Where do I go from here?
I do have my bank statements showing the monthly payment of $53 that I made to Allen and Lewis from 3/2012 - 10/2012, which also includes an account number.
Did you get anything from Allen Lewis advising that they were offering to settle for $530? That with your bank statements showing the payment to them is probably sufficient to prove the debt was satisfied. You may also call Allen, Lewis and ask that they contact the new collector to advise that the debt was satisfied.
If no joy from any of that, go find yourself a good consumer rights attorney and start suing for an FDCPA violation. Good luck!
What William said. It is possible that you were the victim of a scam, but if you have any documentation from Allen, Lewis & Associates that they were collecting on behalf of the instrument lessee, you may be able to document that you paid its agent, releasing any future claim.
Personal Injury Lawyer
There are a lot of things that can happen to a debt. For instance, it is easy to pay what you think is the balance of the debt, but miss some daily accrual. Sometimes more than one debt can arise from a single transaction. In that case, they may have a rightful claim against you.
If you have proof that the exact debt was previously paid, you need to prove that it was paid. If you have other unsecured debts, you may want to consider bankruptcy. If you have filed bankruptcy and the bankruptcy stay is in place, further collection attempts could subject the collector to sanctions and possible FDCPA violations.
Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Attorney
Unfortunately, there are scam artists posing as debt collectors.
Most often, we find them pretending to be payday loan companies.
As others have suggested, you are going to have a tough time without paperwork--never, *EVER* provide money to a debt collector without appropriate paperwork.
Having proof that you paid the debt collector is important, if you paid by check or credit card, go back and get the old statement showing the payment. With regard to the collector, if memory serves me right, Allen Lewis was a California debt collection agency that went out of business in 2010 when the owner died, if it is the same entity I am thinking of, which would explain the disconnected number.
As for the new collection agency, they must validate the debt and send you proper notice. Collect all of the documents you can (including envelopes) related to this debt, and make an appointment with a consumer protection attorney. A consumer protection attorney can review the correspondence and advise as to any violations of Fair Debt Collection Practices Act violations or Nevada Consumer Law.
You may also want to explore the National Consumer Law Center's Consumer Website. It has numerous articles and brochures on consumer law, debt defense and what your rights are as a consumer.
This answer does not constitute legal advice, and is provided for general informational purposes only. This answer does not establish an attorney-client relationship, and no attorney-client relationship can be established with this attorney without a written fee agreement or mutual acknowledgement of representation.