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Old 16.08.2016, 21:20
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Unjust debt collection...help!

Hey!

First time poster here, but I've been a longtime stalker...so thanks firstly for all the advice I've found around the place!

Now, onto business. A while ago, I took out a contract for a SIM card with a mobile phone company. I soon found their service to be appalling...in particular, they never sent me invoices without my requesting them, despite my repeated complaints. Eventually, they suspended and then terminated my contract, which I was rather pleased about, and I found a different provider.

Then, back in June, I was sent a letter out of the blue by Intrum Justitia, a debt collection agency, for unpaid invoices (plus, naturally, additional costs) from my old phone company...invoices that I had never received. I immediately contacted IJ, explaining my own side in detail, and they agreed to suspend and review the case. Meanwhile, I left an extremely scathing review on the phone company's Facebook page, which prompted them to contact me. Independent of the review, we started up a dialogue, and they sent me the invoices that they claimed I owed. I reviewed them, and agreed that there were two that I owed. However, I argued that the other three should not be payable, since they had by then suspended my SIM card, through their own fault. So, we've been trying to find a resolution since.

About two weeks ago, I was contacted by both the phone company and Intrum Justitia, to reassure me that the debt collection case had indeed been thrown out. Somewhat relieved, I continued my own negotiations with the phone company, feeling like a resolution might be close.

It wasn't. Late last week, I received a fresh bill from Intrum Justitia, again issued by the phone company. What was more, this bill referenced costs that the phone company had already agreed were unjust to ask of me, effectively bringing me back to where I had started. I had been in constant communication with the phone company throughout this time, and there had been no suggestion that this would become an issue again. I wrote to the phone company, asking them to contact IJ directly and cancel the debt collection process, since I felt that would be easier than my having to explain the processes over the last few months to IJ. However, the phone company replied today to inform me that they could not cancel the order.

So, that's a relatively brief explanation...hopefully it all makes sense! Basically, from here, there's a few things I'd really like to know before I push it any further. My first question is whether I have some kind of legal ground against the phone company, given that they have reissued this debt collection order with no warning, and in the middle of negotiations. Given that both IJ and the phone company had agreed just recently to throw it out, it seems almost intimidatory (or possibly just time-wasting) to me that they have reissued it straight away. I don't know if wasting time is an offence under Swiss law...but, if there's anything I can use against them, I'd love to know where to look. I have until Friday to challenge IJ...and, if it comes to it, I will provide them with my version of events once more, and ask for a suspension and review of the case. Given how much time I've already wasted on this, though, I'm keen to force the phone company to suspend it themselves if possible. My issue is also not with the debt collectors, it's worth noting...they're just doing their job as instructed by their clients. My anger is solely with the phone company.

Related to this, my other question (which maybe doesn't belong in this forum, but I'm not sure where to put it) relates to the phone company's initial treatment of me. See, due to the wording of their own contract, the phone company were contractually obliged to email me invoices...an obligation that they only ever fulfilled once, after I had complained to them. Is there any sort of consumer protection or contractual law that I can threaten them with, given their breach of this part of the contract (which led to all the other problems)? I've never been particularly interested in looking into this until now...I've just wanted them to agree that I owe them those two invoices, nothing more, and for me to pay them and finish the whole thing. However, given how long it's dragged on for, and the latest developments, I'm more and more inclined to look into anything that might scare them.

Apologies for the lengthy read, and many thanks in advance for any suggestions or ideas! I'm quite happy to explain anything that isn't clear, as well, if needed.

Many thanks!
Alexander
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Old 16.08.2016, 21:34
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Re: Unjust debt collection...help!

I can't help but there's bound to be a nugget of wisdom in one of these threads. Looks like you're not alone, not that it's much comfort.

INTRUM JUSTITIA: how badly can they screw me up

Exploitative collection agency - how can I protect myself?

Harassement by Intrum Justitia

What can be done? If creditor was paid but intrum justitia still demands payment.

Who are Intrum Justitia??

What is Intrum Justitia?
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Old 16.08.2016, 21:37
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Re: Unjust debt collection...help!

Have to ask - why didn't you receive the invoices?
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Old 16.08.2016, 21:50
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Have to ask - why didn't you receive the invoices?
It's a good question, and I have no idea. I'd requested for my invoices to be sent via email (again, this was on the contract), and I know that they had the correct email address. I wasn't sure how often they'd invoice me...monthly? Quarterly? So I only knew something was wrong when they threatened to suspend my SIM a couple of months after I had started with them. I contacted them then, and they sent the invoices...but then refused to acknowledge payment and suspended it anyway, about six weeks later.

The invoices I am now being pursued for are for that six week period between them sending me the previous invoices and suspending the account, and then for four months after the suspension as well. I've informed them that I'm happy to pay these first two invoices (that they only sent me in July, after repeated hassling), and that I refuse to pay for anything after my phone SIM was suspended. At the moment, negotiations are going well, they've knocked off a late fee and a couple of the extra invoices already...which is why I was surprised by the new charges.

I have no idea how to 'thank' you, but thank you! I'll check these out later, hopefully there's something I can use...many thanks!

Last edited by 3Wishes; 17.08.2016 at 22:09. Reason: merging consecutive replies
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Old 16.08.2016, 21:54
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Re: Unjust debt collection...help!

I've probably found the best answer for you.
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Best way to deal with Intrum Justitia is to pay up and pray that karma realy is such a bitch.

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If ever I get my hands on one of these creatures, even if it is the janitor, I will go gladly to jail for the honor of beating the living crap of of it.
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Old 16.08.2016, 22:02
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Re: Unjust debt collection...help!

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It's a good question, and I have no idea. I'd requested for my invoices to be sent via email
Then the mobile billing company should have proof of the emails - if they've registered the wrong email address, then note this for future reference.

Not sure, but beware of agencies like Interim Justitia because it could / will affect your credit rating and if the billing company got it wrong in the first place you'll need to contact them with the proof, and ask them to remove / detract the debt collection proceedings.
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Old 16.08.2016, 22:09
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Re: Unjust debt collection...help!

I wish everybody from Intrum Justitia an itchy scrotum and two broken arms.
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Old 16.08.2016, 22:16
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Re: Unjust debt collection...help!

The problem is IJ work for the phone company and not for you. They will not stop while they are adding charges to your outstanding account. Only the phone company can stop your torture. The pain is that IJ are working outside the law, and rely on ruining your credit rating to get results.

Other people on EF have claimed that writing to the chief executive of the phone company is the best way.

Don't threaten anyone, with newspaper reporters etc.!
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Old 16.08.2016, 22:23
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Then the mobile billing company should have proof of the emails - if they've registered the wrong email address, then note this for future reference.
Actually, that was the very first thing I challenged them on back in June...to produce proof that they had emailed me. They fully admitted that they had been in error, and that the emails had not been sent.

My problems with the phone company now relate to the termination of contract...basically, they want to charge me for a cooling off period after the SIM was cancelled. My argument is that they cancelled the contract unfairly, given that I had paid the invoices they had sent by that point, and that I shouldn't have to pay anything past when it was terminated. I've managed to negotiate them down, and am still battling through that...again, any advice would be appreciated, but I'm relatively happy with how that's going, it sounds like my real fight might be with Intrum *cracks knuckles*

So, in summary, it looks like my problem might lie more with Intrum Justitia than I had assumed...and like, unless I can get in contact with someone higher at the phone company, I might have two battles on my hands for a little while. Hooray

Anyway, thanks for everyone's help, I guess I'll contact IJ with something formal-sounding, and try to get my case moved up the priority ladder with the phone company....if anyone has any more questions or suggestions, feel free, but I think I've got a better idea of how to proceed now. Thanks again!

Last edited by 3Wishes; 16.08.2016 at 22:57. Reason: merging consecutive replies
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Old 16.08.2016, 22:35
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Re: Unjust debt collection...help!

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Actually, that was the very first thing I challenged them on back in June...to produce proof that they had emailed me. They fully admitted that they had been in error, and that the emails had not been sent.

My problems with the phone company now relate to the termination of contract...basically, they want to charge me for a cooling off period after the SIM was cancelled. My argument is that they cancelled the contract unfairly, given that I had paid the invoices they had sent by that point, and that I shouldn't have to pay anything past when it was terminated. I've managed to negotiate them down, and am still battling through that...again, any advice would be appreciated, but I'm relatively happy with how that's going, it sounds like my real fight might be with Intrum *cracks knuckles*
Am no expert at all, but I believe that you then need to tell the mobile provider to retract the debt enforcement proceedings. Should be a minor thing if they've made a mistake with their billing.

I'd first of all give the mobile service company a call. You don't want to have your credit rating impacted by their mistake.

The rest (payments etc. can be negotiated).
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Old 16.08.2016, 22:51
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Re: Unjust debt collection...help!

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Am no expert at all, but I believe that you then need to tell the mobile provider to retract the debt enforcement proceedings. Should be a minor thing if they've made a mistake with their billing.

I'd first of all give the mobile service company a call. You don't want to have your credit rating impacted by their mistake.

The rest (payments etc. can be negotiated).
Thanks for the advice! Unfortunately, that's exactly what I tried, too. I contacted the phone company ages ago, and they agreed to withdraw the debt charges, and to negotiate the billing directly, which they did...and confirmed via telephone. I also have a letter from IJ confirming that these charges were dropped.

I've now got a new bill from them, though, which sounds like it's their modus operandi in general. I contacted the phone company (haven't written to IJ again yet) and they said, somewhat unhelpfully, that they couldn't do anything. I've asked for them to refer me to someone higher up the company's ladder, so I can discuss this directly with them.

As for the new bill, it's charging me for:
Hauptbetrag
Zinsen
Bearbeitungsgebühr bei Zahlungsverzug (Ziff 'the phone company')

If anyone wants to have a go at translating that for me, it could be useful, actually, as I'm not sure if this is solely their illegal 'admin' fees, or a renewed attempt by the phone company.
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Old 16.08.2016, 23:00
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Re: Unjust debt collection...help!

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Thanks for the advice! Unfortunately, that's exactly what I tried, too. I contacted the phone company ages ago, and they agreed to withdraw the debt charges, and to negotiate the billing directly, which they did...and confirmed via telephone. I also have a letter from IJ confirming that these charges were dropped.

I've now got a new bill from them, though, which sounds like it's their modus operandi in general. I contacted the phone company (haven't written to IJ again yet) and they said, somewhat unhelpfully, that they couldn't do anything. I've asked for them to refer me to someone higher up the company's ladder, so I can discuss this directly with them.

As for the new bill, it's charging me for:
Hauptbetrag
Zinsen
Bearbeitungsgebühr bei Zahlungsverzug (Ziff 'the phone company')

If anyone wants to have a go at translating that for me, it could be useful, actually, as I'm not sure if this is solely their illegal 'admin' fees, or a renewed attempt by the phone company.
Then you should discuss this with the mobile company, as they've seen that they are in fault: I wouldn't go into any negotiations with IJ. They wont give a damn as long as they fulfil the original debt collection contract from the mobile company.

But stand corrected.
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Old 16.08.2016, 23:04
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Re: Unjust debt collection...help!

I will repeat myself more strongly.

You should ignore Intrum Justitia, they do not work for you and they will ignore anything you write, and do not pay them any money at all !!

You need to escalate the problem with the phone company. Go straight to the top, and explain you are prepared to pay for any sensible claim, but not for extras, nor interest on the debt, because the cause of the problem is the phone company itself, and in no way yourself.
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Old 16.08.2016, 23:41
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Re: Unjust debt collection...help!

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I will repeat myself more strongly.

You should ignore Intrum Justitia, they do not work for you and they will ignore anything you write, and do not pay them any money at all !!

You need to escalate the problem with the phone company. Go straight to the top, and explain you are prepared to pay for any sensible claim, but not for extras, nor interest on the debt, because the cause of the problem is the phone company itself, and in no way yourself.
Don't worry, and thank you...I have no intention of paying them anything! When I pay what I owe, it will be straight to the phone company, and only after we have come to an agreement.

So, two absolutely final questions....firstly, how can I try and contact the company's chief executive? Is there a database or something for this? I've already requested with customer service to be sent higher, and am waiting for a reply...should that be enough?

Secondly, IJ has given me ten days to pay or to challenge. If the deadline looks like passing before a resolution, should I ignore it? Or contact them to ask for a review of the claim?

Again, many, many thanks...I've tried dealing with Swiss administration before, but this has been a new low, so thank you to everyone for helping me see a way through!

Best,
Alexander
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Old 16.08.2016, 23:58
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Re: Unjust debt collection...help!

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Don't worry, and thank you...I have no intention of paying them anything! When I pay what I owe, it will be straight to the phone company, and only after we have come to an agreement.

So, two absolutely final questions....firstly, how can I try and contact the company's chief executive? Is there a database or something for this? I've already requested with customer service to be sent higher, and am waiting for a reply...should that be enough?

Secondly, IJ has given me ten days to pay or to challenge. If the deadline looks like passing before a resolution, should I ignore it? Or contact them to ask for a review of the claim?

Again, many, many thanks...I've tried dealing with Swiss administration before, but this has been a new low, so thank you to everyone for helping me see a way through!

Best,
Alexander
Forget about taking up contact with the CEO (not sure if that was meant as a joke originally?).

Fill out whatever form the IJ has sent you, talk again to the mobile company and if all's as you say it is then the problem should be over by tomorrow, with a nice greeting from the mobile company tomorrow.

Courage - just a phone call!
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Old 17.08.2016, 00:12
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Re: Unjust debt collection...help!

Actually phone calls are probably useless at this point. It is clear that the last phone was useless as whatever was agreed was just ignored apparently.

At this point any communication should be by registered mail.
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Old 17.08.2016, 10:57
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Re: Unjust debt collection...help!

Dear Alexander

This is Michael Loss, Intrum Justitia's Head of Communications - and here to help.

I do appreciate some of the other member's advice as to contact the original creditor, in your case the mobile phone company. But since it is obvious that there is need for action on our side as well, let's tackle that together.

In case I may assist you, please let me have a case number (to be found on the upper right of any IJ letter) and your contact details via my media relations e-mail address: medienstelle@intrum.com. I will get back to you right away and get things going from there.

Sound good?

Cheers, Michael
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Old 17.08.2016, 11:37
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Re: Unjust debt collection...help!

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Dear Alexander

This is Michael Loss, Intrum Justitia's Head of Communications - and here to help.

I do appreciate some of the other member's advice as to contact the original creditor, in your case the mobile phone company. But since it is obvious that there is need for action on our side as well, let's tackle that together.

In case I may assist you, please let me have a case number (to be found on the upper right of any IJ letter) and your contact details via my media relations e-mail address: medienstelle@intrum.com. I will get back to you right away and get things going from there.

Sound good?

Cheers, Michael
Absolutely first class service, pity the guy had to spend so much effort getting it, but credit where credit's due, you stepped up to the plate to try and resolve the problem
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Old 17.08.2016, 11:44
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Re: Unjust debt collection...help!

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Absolutely first class service, pity the guy had to spend so much effort getting it, but credit where credit's due, you stepped up to the plate to try and resolve the problem
Part of the problem is still the very concept of Intrum Iustitia though: The company puts charges on debt that are excessive for Swiss standards and typically do not hold up when it comes to a Betreibung - the fair, transparent and legal process for financial disputes unique to Switzerland.


Their very business is to prey on people who do not have the intelligence or education to understand the system as well as expats thinking they have to pay as they receive some strongly worded letters.


The company has been a regular topic in all Swiss consumer protection programs and magazines. As Sbrinz has said: Do not pay their fees.
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Old 17.08.2016, 12:22
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Re: Unjust debt collection...help!

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Dear Alexander

This is Michael Loss, Intrum Justitia's Head of Communications - and here to help.

I do appreciate some of the other member's advice as to contact the original creditor, in your case the mobile phone company. But since it is obvious that there is need for action on our side as well, let's tackle that together.

In case I may assist you, please let me have a case number (to be found on the upper right of any IJ letter) and your contact details via my media relations e-mail address: medienstelle@intrum.com. I will get back to you right away and get things going from there.

Sound good?

Cheers, Michael
So where where you when your Cretinous phone drones hounded me for 800 Chuff´s over a period of six months long AFTER I had paid the phone company and BEFORE the Frist? As I told you lot then, (have a look at the, registered, correspondence) the whole thing was an admitted error on the phone companies part due to the phone company sending bills to an old address after failing to understand that I no longer lived there and that I was long gone to Basel. Officially Abgemeldet, done and dusted! Thing is Michael everything was sorted out via registered mail, that you chose to ignore, long before your band of modern day highwaymen smelt blood in the water and let slip the dogs of war.
Was it just an overzealous Mitarbeiter or is it company policy to overcharge and screw people over and over again?
Knowing what I know now you SOB´s would not have seen a single Rappen.
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