Call Collett: Billing glitch leads to relentless collection calls

Nobody likes receiving calls from debit collectors, especially when you’re paying your bills on time.   One Lowcountry veteran called Count on 2 Investigator Rebecca Collett saying he was hounded mercilessly for months.

Retired Navy officer Glenn Arnett spent $14,000 on new home furnishings from Conn’s Home Plus as part of his Summerville home remodeling project.

“They were new in town,” he explained. “I figured I’d check them out.”

He bought a new television, speaker, a recliner and the dining room table set where he shared his story with News 2.

“You talk to everybody, and everybody is going to get the account straightened out,” he said. “Nobody ever does.”

When Glenn bought his first purchase in the summer of 2016, he set up automatic billing.  Soon after the first draft came out of his account, collections started calling him saying he was delinquent on his bill.

“He all but came through the telephone trying to get his $74,” Glenn explained, describing one of the many calls from collections.

For months, the auto draft paid Conn’s Home Plus, but the collection calls kept coming.  The company also reported him to the credit bureaus, and his credit score dropped some 40 points.

“I sent them 49 faxes all the way back to July 2016,” he said.  Those faxes to Conn’s Home Plus showed the debits from his account.

It didn’t fix the problem, and he called News 2.

“I’m down to the last straw,” he said. “It has made me so nervous about any account I have being late and about wrecking my credit.”

After meeting with Glenn and reviewing his bank statements, we reached out to Conn’s Home Plus.

Initially, they sent a statement explaining Glenn has two credit accounts, but he was only paying on one account, triggering the collection calls.

Since we’d already reviewed his bank statements, we knew that couldn’t be right. With his permission, we sent Conn’s Home Plus the bank information.   The next day they sent an updated statement explaining Glenn has “multiple credit accounts” and sent payment “without providing an account number.”

Here was the problem.  Each purchase is assigned a unique account number and must be paid separately. Even though Glenn paid, the money wasn’t applied to the items correctly.

The company told News 2 they are reviewing their billing procedures.

Since our involvement, Conn’s Home Plus reimbursed late charges and removed credit marks.

So far Glenn hasn’t received any more debt collector calls.

To deal with billing issues, you can ask to speak with a manager or supervisor.  They often have more power and experience to resolve problems.  Keep everything in writing.  And if you can’t get resolution on your own, you can try agencies like the Department of Consumer Affairs and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) who mediate consumer issues for free.

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