In 2003 I received a credit card machine from Lease Financial Group. When my business failed to take off, I tried to return the machine, only to learn Lease did not want the machine back, they wanted money. I told them I had no extra money to pay for a machine I did not use, and could you please show me the contract we have together. They produced nothing, and I heard nothing further from them.
Some time later, one year approximately, I began to receive phone calls and messages from Metropolitan Adjustment Bureau with an account number that I did not recognize and a demand to call back. I had no idea or way of knowing that the two were connected, all that was on my answering machine was an account number and a name. Tired of the calls two years later (nobody was ever home when they called, we work during the day) on a day off, I answered the phone to see what this was all about. Upon learning of the connection between Lease and MAB, I told them I would be willing to pay the debt if I could use the machine when this was all settled. The agent, Mr. Lance Ferris (not sure on spelling of last name, no paperwork was ever received) informed me he could settle the $2,800 debt for $1,500 (numbers are approx.) and I would be even with Lease and in good standing. I told him I would gladly pay the amount requested, and gave him 3 payments totaling $1,500. I felt the matter closed.
About a month later I receive a phone call from a Ms. Lori Redford, who informed me they had not received my payment and were about to report a "refusal to pay" on my credit report. Her voice was raised and aggressive the entire time, even while trying to explain my side of things. She constantly interrupted me, and would not let me finish any statement. When I was able to communicate to her that I believed the debt to be paid (she acknowledged the receipt of the $1,500), she asked me for a payment contract. I stated that we had not received that paperwork from Mr. Ferris yet, and she laughed at me. She told me that no one was authorized to make a settlement offer on the account and that Mr. Ferris did not work in that office or state anymore (he is supposedly in the Las Vegas office now). She told me I had to pay the remaining $1,300 immediately, while still on the phone with her, or she would file the refusal. I desperately tried to buy a little time, as I did not have that money in my bank account at that moment. She told me that she would accept half the balance due and the rest in thirty days. When next we spoke I asked her to send to me a payment contract agreement, so this kind of thing would not happen again and again. She told me that this wasn't Burger King I don't get it my way. She said they don't do that. I said I would not pay until I received a contract from her, notarized, and at that point I would pay. She said she was going to do what they "had to do", but were not sending the contract and were commencing a 10% interest on the account.
On looking at this whole scenario I realize it is a very tight scam. They loosely get you to "agree" to lease some equipment by accepting the box, then hook you for all they can. When I showed a willingness to pay, the calls intensified in frequency and aggressiveness of tone. When I mentioned that I believed a lawyer could better handle their kind of calls and customer service, Ms. Redford began a screaming tirade which I did not hear the end of, as I told her I was expecting a contract from her and to have a nice day. The amount they want you to pay is about what you would pay for a lawyer, or less, and they give you no time to consult one, they expect payment immediately. They think it is easier to pay them off than to fight it, and I think that's wrong. I have no reason to trust them or take them at their word, and they will not do the things I am requesting to protect myself. To me that all adds up to a ripoff.
As an aside, I was told by my bank that they will help you with this kind of thing if you have a business account. I feel this is the only way to go, with someone you can talk to in a real place. It will also be considerably cheaper and less stressful. Thank you for allowing me this forum to communicate my dilemma.