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What do you do if you and the creditor disagree about the validity of the debt validation?

I signed up for Yellow Pages ad with Dex Media. They recorded the confirmation part of the sales call. In it, the validator said, "You authorize the ad, as described, to be placed in the next publication." We said, "yes".

Then, they said they'd send out the terms and that we should read it. They specifically pointed out three sections to be sure to read.

It turns out that terms sheet had a section indicating the ad would auto-renew unless canceled. But, that section was not one of the three they said was important to read.

And, they never asked for, nor received a signature that we agreed to the terms.

In the recording, they never state that the Terms document has additional clauses that we are agreeing to.

Anyway, we closed the business the ad was for and didn't give the yellow page ad another thought.

Then, we start getting bills for the new publication. We refused to pay, saying we never agreed to it. They say we did because of the terms sheet.

Now, I've got an aggressive collection agency after me. They're doing everything by the book, but they're still pushing hard to collect. My credit score has dropped because of the collection efforts.

The amount is less than $1,000. Taking them to court seems counter-productive, since the attorneys fees would be higher than the collection.

But, I hate that DEX can get away with this.

Any suggestions on how to deal with this?

did you send written validation to the collectors?

Sub: #1 posted on Thu, 05/14/2009 - 00:48

bea2ls bea2ls
(Posts: 3840 | Credits: 370.56)

Not written. But, I explained the above. They acknowledge the facts but disagree with my conclusion. They claim, emphatically, that it doesn't matter that I didn't sign the terms sheet. The fact that I received it is implicit agreement to the terms.

Do you think I should still send it in writing?

Sub: #2 posted on Thu, 05/14/2009 - 00:55

4mythings 4mythings

(Posts: 7 | Credits: 1.38)

if it is not too late, i would send it in writing - when did they first contact you?

Sub: #3 posted on Thu, 05/14/2009 - 01:08

bea2ls bea2ls
(Posts: 3840 | Credits: 370.56)

Don't recall. Around a couple of months.

Sub: #4 posted on Thu, 05/14/2009 - 01:10

4mythings 4mythings

(Posts: 7 | Credits: 1.38)

:( they might have considered it as you have "admitted to the debt"
i would send one anyway, to be honest - i did it before and it worked out okay.
i hope someone else would be around to help more :) (i'm sure someone will!)

Sub: #5 posted on Thu, 05/14/2009 - 01:16

bea2ls bea2ls
(Posts: 3840 | Credits: 370.56)

Why would they consider it that? From the beginning, every time I talked to them, I told them I didn't believe it was a valid debt.

Sub: #6 posted on Thu, 05/14/2009 - 01:59

4mythings 4mythings

(Posts: 7 | Credits: 1.38)

I even had the state Attorney General's office contact them. But, DEX stubbornly clings to their position.

Sub: #7 posted on Thu, 05/14/2009 - 02:00

4mythings 4mythings

(Posts: 7 | Credits: 1.38)

Always, always, always read every entire contract, not just specific portions.

Sub: #8 posted on Thu, 05/14/2009 - 02:04

(Posts: 1950 | Credits: 200.54)

I understand about reading contracts. The point here is that I did not KNOW it was a contract. They didn't ask for a signature. And, they didn't call it a contract.

Since they went through the effort to confirm the transaction and record our agreement, I assumed THAT was the contract and that the paper they sent was simply a restatement of what we went over on the phone.

It's deceptive practice, even if it's not illegal.

My question, though, is: If we disagree about whether the debt is valid, what can I do? They will obviously continue persuing collection. What are my options?

I doubt small claims would accept this case. I suppose I could wait until they take it to court and plead my case. What can I do?

Sub: #9 posted on Thu, 05/14/2009 - 02:31

4mythings 4mythings

(Posts: 7 | Credits: 1.38)

It seems to me that a judge hearing this scenario would sympathize with my situation.

Big company. Lots of resources. Sells an ad to a little sole proprietor, work at home mother.

Records a summary of the ad and ask for agreement that they are authorized to place it IN THE NEXT ISSUE. Then they say the terms will be be mailed. They also state on the recording that the sole proprietor should read sections b, e, and t (for example).

The section that describes the auto renewal is NOT in sections b, e, or t. So, for something as important as auto renewal, which was NOT mentioned in the recorded confirmation is obscured by pointing out 3 other sections as being important.

The big company could easily make this term clear in the recording. Could easily include that as one of the sections in the terms to read. Could easily make sure the buyer knew about autorenewal.

By obscuring this information, it very much appears that they are intentionally trying to trick buyers into a second year without their knowledge. Then, they use their size and resources to force the little guy to pay up.

I've got to believe a judge would see something fishy in their business practices.

Sub: #10 posted on Thu, 05/14/2009 - 02:38

4mythings 4mythings

(Posts: 7 | Credits: 1.38)

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