Not my name, and not my debt
April 16, 2009 4:36 PM   Subscribe

I need help writing a strong letter to a collections company trying to collect a debt that isn't mine.

Yesterday I received a letter from ALW Sourcing, LLC that claimed I owe $6700+ dollars. Thing is, it was addressed to "Genesta La M_____". My mother has told me that "La M_____" has shown up in her house mail before. (Not sure if it was the same first name though.) I'm wondering if it's one of my grandmother's debts since I was named after her but with a "J" instead. It's not on my credit report. The creditor was listed as "Pinnacle Credit Services, LLC" and the former creditor is listed as "Commercial Credit". So this is just the selling of info. from company to company, right?

They claim I can contact them by phone, but I've done it twice with no results and I really don't want them to get any more of my personal information anyway. I need to write them a letter to dispute the debt within 30 days they say. What is the official/legalese way of saying "this is not my debt, so go away and don't contact me anymore!" I'm going to send it certified mail to the three addresses on the paper, so I want to make that $16 count!

Thanks to any and everyone who can help.
posted by Jenesta to Law & Government (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Here are two sample letters. There are many more on the internet to choose from.
posted by dersins at 4:41 PM on April 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

Don't send them anything. Don't respond. They are sharks. They don't have any legal right to sue you or anyone else. The debt they are trying to collect is not yours so just forget about it. Yes these people bought this debt from someone else and now they are trying to collect it from you. If you write anyone a letter it should be the credit agencies to provide proof that this is your debt, but only if this false debt ever shows up on your credit report. Otherwise just pretend you never saw this letter. You will do yourself and your credit rating far more damage by making any contact with these people than if you just forgot about it. They cannot touch you. Make no contact whatsoever!
posted by wherever, whatever at 5:05 PM on April 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: The magic Google keywords! They're hard to think of sometimes when I'm upset. Exactly what I needed. Thank you! :)
posted by Jenesta at 5:06 PM on April 16, 2009

Response by poster: Hmmm... I will consider that. I admit that I am nervous about that because I had to file a police report to show Verizon (who I had no dealings with at that time) that I was not Jesensta at an address I never lived.
posted by Jenesta at 5:10 PM on April 16, 2009

Have you checked your credit report? Is the collection on there? If not, and if this is not your name, then I would ignore it.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 6:08 PM on April 16, 2009

Yesterday I received a letter from ALW Sourcing, LLC that claimed I owe $6700+ dollars. Thing is, it was addressed to "Genesta La M_____"

Unless you are Genesta La M_____, no you didn't. You received a letter at your address for someone who isn't you. You shouldn't have opened it. Next time you get a letter addressed to Genesta La M_____, follow whatever the correct procedure in your location is for returning misaddressed mail. Even if it were your Grandmother's debt, that is nothing to do with you.

I live in rented housing so we get debt collection letters all the time, we mostly ignore them since they're aren't addressed to us. I know technically we should put them pack in the post with 'not at this address' on them but we don't usually bother.
posted by missmagenta at 2:02 AM on April 17, 2009

Response by poster: miss magenta: What concerns me is that my name is Jenesta M______. My name is often mispelled (by just about everyone), and there was no identifying information on the outside of the envelope beyond an address. Like I said, I've been nailed for misspellings before, which is why I'm concerned.
posted by Jenesta at 3:36 AM on April 17, 2009

Response by poster: I've had time to think it through further, and miss magenta did help me figure one thing out. Since Genesta M_____ does not live here, then the threat that no reply equals admission of debt validity is meaningless. There is nobody here by that name to accept that debt.

It's too late to send it back return to sender now since I opened it, but the next time I'll just do that.

I still thank everyone very much for replying. Though it turns out that I will simply do nothing in this case, this information will be very useful for either me or my mother if this happens again. Like I said before, this isn't the first time that I've had a problem.
posted by Jenesta at 4:34 AM on April 17, 2009

Even if you don't respond to these letters, you should check your credit report to make sure your file hasn't become mixed with your grandmother or with any of her accounts. That can happen to people with similar names or other similar identifying details. Do this.
posted by chinston at 4:51 AM on April 17, 2009

Call the Attorney General for your state. They will have a Consumer Affairs division, whose job it is to deal with letters like this. I don't believe any of it is enforceable, and it's probably illegal, and you should bust them. The AG's office will be on the state's website.
posted by theora55 at 3:21 PM on April 17, 2009

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