Question about a utility company screwing up, putting me into collections, realizing they screwed up and what happens if I agree to pay a small amount to end it.

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When you pay any amount you legitimize the debt. First question is do you really owe them this or not?

Robobvious

Is it the utility company or a collection company you are dealing with? You skipped over whether or not the debt is valid/you already paid it. If you have proof that you paid the charge and/or they haven’t verified it, or you have it in writing that they made a mistake, then don’t pay them a dime. The next step is to file a complaint with the CFPB. The company has a time limit to respond and correct the issue, and they tend to take it very seriously. If you actually do owe them the money (being signed up for autopay is not proof that you paid), then that is an entirely different matter. In that case it may actually be ok to settle with them, but get everything in writing. ​ I suggest you start by reading the VERY comprehensive guide to collections for this subreddit

TrineonX

Ask for verification of debt from bill collector.

iranisculpable

You first speak to the telecom company, and ask them to validate the debt. If you owe it, you have other issues, but if they say you do not, then you don’t pay them a dime. You contact the Public Service Commission, and reach out to the division in charge of telecom. You present the last bill you had received, and you tell them “I do not owe this company money. I left with a $0 balance. They are attempting to collect funds from a former customer, without justification.” You also call the credit agency, and place that amount in dispute, asking for the debt to be *validated,* and removed the report.

ZevKyogre

Dispute the debt. Paying any amount would make the debt legitimate. If you need to, bring it to court (filing fees should be minimal) and they are very unlikely to show up or have the necessary documentation to prove you actually owe the debt.

Blendisimo