Turned into Collections 9 days after Making a Payment

by Jered
(Coos Bay Oregon)

When I was 16 I opened a tire account with a local tire store and signed a contract. 10 years later after always making my monthly payment and paying my bill I was turned into collections 9 days after making a payment. I obtained my payment record from the collection agency and the tire company shows that I haven't made a payment for a year and a half. the collection agency told me on the phone that If I can prove that I was a minor when the contract was signed that I wouldn't have to pay the collection fee or the interest. i did so and then their story changed. now they are taking me to small claims. Will I be obligated to pay these outrageous fee's and interest on a contract that was clearly signed by a minor? And turned over to collections without my account even being past due?

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Jul 05, 2010
Sued for a debt made to a minor
by: Gerri & Mary

Jered,

While it's true that contracts against minors are often not enforceable, it's also our understanding that generally a minor must void the contract before he or she turns 18 or soon after. If we understand you correctly, you are now 26 years old and you've been paying on this contract for 10 years. That may eliminate that defense. However, we are not attorneys and we certainly don't want to take this as legal advice.

It also appears that there was some kind of billing error that resulted in your payments not being properly credited to your account. Were you receiving monthly statements? Did you notice that your payments were not being properly credited? You do have the right under the federal Fair Credit Billing Act to file a dispute if your payment on your credit account is not properly credited, but there is a time limit on that.

We see two options for you here. One would be for you to consult a consumer law attorney who can tell you whether or the contract was enforceable and whether the collection agency may be breaking the law in its attempts to collect from you. Find out how to get FREE or low cost legal advice about debt collection from a consumer law attorney here.

Your other option would be to show up in court when you are sued. Bring copies of any information you have to show that you were making monthly payments as agreed, as well as any other documentation you may have that backs up your side of the story.

Personally, we would suggest you go ahead and at least talk with a consumer law attorney to find out what your rights are. We would be very interested in hearing how this turns out. If you get a chance, come back and follow up using the comments link below.

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