ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO (KTVI) - A Florida debt collector racks up complaints from coast to coast, and a local woman adds her name to the list of confused consumers. There`s hardly anything pleasant about the way some third party debt collectors demand payment on old bills. One St. Louis county woman calls it harassment. Renae Cunningham says a Visa credit card account has been closed for years. She defaulted and it ended up in collections. Unbeknownst to her, that was the start of her financial nightmare. She`s learning that her old account is an attractive one for a third party debt collector. 'That debt was I guess about six or seven years old.'
Her Visa debt was bought by Intuitive Account Management in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Randall Goins is listed as the company`s CEO. In the spring of 2013, Cunningham received a call about making payments. 'They told me they wanted to seize my property if I didn`t pay the balance I owed which was $559.00.'
Cunningham says she wanted to pay the debt so that she could clean up her credit. She told them she would make partial payments. 'And I could only agree to pay a certain amount. And I agreed to pay 25 dollars a month.'
She agreed to automatic payments with her debit card. At $25 dollars a month her $559 dollar debt should have been paid off by fall of 2014. But she received correspondence saying she still owes $289 and she's in breach of the contract. 'They kept calling and harassing me for more money. And my balance was never going down. But I was keeping records for what my balance was for myself.'
I found multiple numbers for the business in Florida. Most were disconnected. But I eventually reached a disgruntled worker who refused to identify herself. She would only say office workers had not been paid for weeks. In 2011 Washington state labor officials cited Goins for failure to pay workers at a similar business in the Seattle area. He owed tens of thousands in back wages.
Old debt is often sold by the original creditor. The third party debt collector buys it and some of them use high pressure tactics to get payment. Something Cunningham says she experienced. 'It`s been very stressful for, You thinking a company is real and you paying a debt. And it`s just not going anywhere.'
You may be protected from lawsuit if the statute of limitations is reached before the creditor files the suit. In Missouri and Illinois the statute of limitations on debt collections is between five and ten years. In some states including Missouri and Illinois making even a partial payment on an old debt will re-start the time period for the statute of limitation.