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27 October 2006

AskMecha: I just got a call from some dude [More:]

from some company who said he was going to charge $202 dollars on my credit card for Verizon Wireless unless I pay it myself.

VW claims I cancelled my contract early and tried to stuff me with a $170 fee months ago. I thought I had it settled.

My question is, can a company put a charge on my credit card w/o my consent?
If they've got the digits, they can charge you. But you can easily dispute the charge with your company, making it nearly impossible for Verizon to get the money...

However, I'd be a bit more pro-active in dealing with Verizon, before they start sending collections agencies after you.
posted by knave 27 October | 13:57
No they shouldn't be able to do that (legally). I've noticed however that banks and credit card companies tend to side with their buddies in the making shit loads of money off usury dept. Why would the dude have your credit card number? Did you ever pay your verizon bill via credit card number? If not, tell the guy to go fuck himself sideways. If you did call your credit card company and say you want to refuse any charges from the dude (assuming you have a name, besides some dude). If not then watch your bill and deny the charge as soon as you see it.

I suspect the dude can't actually charge your card otherwise he would have just done it and he's trying to trick you into paying it.

This kind of thing is nightmarish, companies like Verizon sell debts and supposed debts to collection companies and then the bastards do anything they can to squeeze you, it's the ugliest side of a market economy. If you have any paperwork from Verizon saying the deal is resolved you might be able to fax the dude that and call him off.
posted by Divine_Wino 27 October | 13:59
I'm going to call him back in a bit and get more details.

His name, his company's name, which credit card he's going to charge, and ask him to explain how he is authorized to do it. We'll see what happens from there.
posted by sciurus 27 October | 14:05
He may tell you he can't give you a credit card number over the phone as it's against the law but he can confirm a card number if you provide one. Don't fall for it. Ask him for the last 4 digits of the card he has. If he won't give them, I think he's bluffing. (Don't even give him an expiry date.)
posted by dobbs 27 October | 15:42
If it's a collection agency, don't call him. He can't charge your card. If he calls you again, tell him you want everything in writing. Check out the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (wiki). If you do talk to him, mention your rights under the Act.
posted by brainwidth 27 October | 16:46
Not the same thing, but I do know, because it happened to the sister of a friend of mine, that if you are behind on payments to Capital One, they can and do go into your account and take what you owe. They made my friend's sister bounce checks because they did that. Scary. And I agree with the above. He may be bluffing.
posted by redvixen 27 October | 19:39
Something similar happened to me. This is almost 100% assured to be a collection agency and not VW at all. If you pay them you lose all negotiation leverage--they'll already have what they want and then it still goes on your credit report as a Collection/Chargeoff.

If you decide not to pay it, it will stick around on your credit report for 7 years. If you ever do pay it, the activity date will reset and it will stick around another 7 years. Some creditors will make you clean up unpaid debt on your credit report before they will authorize a home loan.

In some cases, people are able to negotiate payment in exchange for not reporting the tradeline on your credit report anymore. I've never done that personally, but I read about it on the forum of debtorboards. I dunno if the work is worth it to you, but I've experienced the side effects of less than perfect credit and think it would be worth the time.

braindwidth's advice is good.
posted by druja 27 October | 23:16
I changed to Verizon recently because I had to, to get DSL.

I told them I wanted a "normal" plan. I just got a bill with an over-$100-dollar charge for an under-one-hour call to Germany. Apparently a "normal" plan costs sixty cents a minute to Germany.
posted by StickyCarpet 27 October | 23:53
Stop! I don't want to have to pull out my nightstick... || Color-Themed Spaces.