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Drinking ticket turned over to collections - Advice?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by FuckerTax, Jul 27, 2010.

  1. FuckerTax

    FuckerTax
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    TIB,

    First let me give you a little background of the situation I'm in and then I will ask questions for advice.

    A little over three months ago I went to a Chicago Cubs game with a couple of friends. When we were leaving the stadium after the game we stopped at a convenient store across the street. My buddy goes in and comes out with a 6 pack. I saw a few other people drinking outside earlier so I did not think much of it. After a few minutes a cop walks up, tells us to come to the side and of course writes us a ticket for "drinking alcohol on the public way." However, when the cop was writing the ticket he was being really cool. I will paraphrase but basically he said, "Don't worry guys, this is just a CITY ORDINANCE violation. Basically, you guys can pay if you want to but if you don't nothing will happen. You might get a couple of phone calls and that's it." We were very surprised to hear this so we asked him several questions to make sure we understood him correctly... Basically, if you want to be nice and pay the City of Chicago you can and if you don't want to don't worry about it." Ok. Done deal right?

    Nope, about a month later I got another letter in the mail that basically said that I missed the deadline to pay the $150 violation and now I owe $540. It also said there would be a court date and if I didn't pay they could put a lien, garnish wages, ect. I took this as their "bluff" that the police officer was talking about. So I didn't pay that.

    Then, TODAY, I get a call from a collections agency that says it has been turned over to them and I now owe like $600 dollars.

    From what I can only tell is the worst thing that can happen now is this hurts my credit, which I am really really worried about.

    I'm not sure exactly what I should do. Since it has been turned over to the collection agency has my credit score ALREADY went down? If so, does that mean paying it doesn't benefit me one way or the other? Is there anyway I can keep this from affecting my credit at this point?

    At this point $600 is a lot of money to me and I can not just shell out that kind of money right now. I guess anyone that has any knowledge of credit scores, collections agencies, or the law (maybe too late by this point) please chime in. What would you do in this situation?
     
  2. shegirl

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    I don't know anything about this kind of stuff but I bet someone does so I'm bumping it for you to get PMed advice. If you feel the advice is sound and could help anyone else that may be in a similar position feel free to post about them, and/or the result.

    What I do know is the cop has no way of knowing what the future repercussions are for failing to pay a fine would be unless it had happened TO HIM so he was basically full of shit, as you now know.
     
  3. Aetius

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    I have nothing to add other than to emphasize what complete bullshit it is for your creditworthiness to be impacted by a debt you at no point agreed to undertake or pay back.
     
  4. BrotherNumberOne

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    If you can pay the balance within 45 from the date the bill was turned over to the collection agency, they generally won't report it. Make that a provision (in writing, as with everything) for prompt & full payment.
     
  5. kuhjäger

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    Declare bankruptcy.

    Honestly, you don't want to know the story of my credit rating thanks to my whore sister.

    I thought her managing to get a job/ file her taxes with my SSN was the end of it. Turns out, she was able to get credit cards using my identity, and the addresses of the guys who had her strung out.

    Who the fuck gives a "person" who is a damn college student with no job credit cards with 4k limits without anymore authorization? Like sending someone to the address to have a glass of water and confirm that it really is the person.

    Hmm. I think I have a business idea.
     
  6. Disgustipated

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    First, in general, cops are morons in this arena. Don't take anything they say to you as being the truth because they generally know little about the area. All they know basically know is "if you see X, give them a ticket". They have zero to do with the ultimate prosecution, so there was your first mistake.

    I don't know the particulars of the offence, the law/ordinance or the particular processes they follow, but the general rule is that when you get a ticket it's an allegation of infringement. If you don't contest or defend it within a certain time, you're taken as pleading guilty to the infraction and agree to pay.

    City ordinance/by law stuff can be a little lax in follow up prosecution, it depends on many things. Never take it for granted. If budget's tight, or there's been a glut of people fine dodging, you can bet your ass they'll be screwing every dollar out of you.

    Now that it's with the collection company, you're probably half past screwed for getting it reduced or wiped. First, I'd check if they're allowed to up the fees that way. Sometimes, they tend to exaggerate this as they get the cream. Write them a letter explaining your side of the story and throw yourself at their mercy. The worst you can get is end up in the same position. If the worst comes to the worst, figure out if $600 is worth potentially ruining your credit rating for years. If you think it is, goooooood luck to you.
     
  7. lust4life

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    Not exact, but somewhat similar. I racked up a ton of parking tickets back in the mid 80s in a town in NJ and never paid them. Got all sorts of letters in the mail, etc., "warrant for your arrest" yet it never affected my license renewal in the state of NJ. Fast forward to 2000 when we moved to Texas and I go for my TX driver's license, surrender my NH DL, and get a temporary from the state of TX. A few weeks later, I get a letter from TX DMV saying I have outstanding fines in Hoboken, NJ in the amount of $840 (this included penalties and interest) and they won't issue me a permanent DL until the matter is resolved. I contacted the appropriate office in the city of Hoboken, and the clerk told me if I paid the original amount of the fines (it was like $100 or so...they were $5 tickets), she'd clear it and send the paperwork to TX DMV, and it was resolved.

    Hence, I would suggest going to/contacting the appropriate office in Chicago and see if making restitution on the original fine will clear the matter. If it has hit your credit reports, I believe you'll have to contact them with proof of restitution to get it off your report. You don't want a prospective employer prying into a matter like this (and yes, some employers do run credit checks as part of their background checks), or finding yourself in the situation of having to explain it. You really don't want anything alcohol-related setting off a red flag with a potential employer.
     
  8. Crown Royal

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    It all depends on your area, and a lawyer can seriously knock down your fees (which happened to me) but of course you'll be paying even more for the lawyer unless you have connections. However, you want to end this, believe me. It will not go away with time, and only get worse. Eventually they may give you a court date, and if they do DO NOT MISS IT unless you have a lawyer or councill appear in your favour otherwise....

    I missed a court date simply because I never got the letter. It literally never hit my mailbox. The next day after the missed court appearence, cops pounded on my door like barbarians breaking down a fucking castle door. Apparently, missing a court date is worse than spoon-feeding meth to a baby while raping it. I was thrown in the county jail for NINE DAYS (I am not fucking with you) without bail, a piece of shit just like every other degenerate thieveing back-stabbing psycho in there.

    If you haven't been to jail, DON'T. It was the absolutely worst week and a half of my life- Hell on earth- and this was a "country club" jail. You can get thrown in there for the most minor, ridiculous shit. I say bite your bullet and pay your fines. It probably hasn't hurt your credit yet (but I don't know Illinois laws).
     
  9. manbehindthecurtain

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    My advice?

    Try to negotiate a settlement with the collection agency, see how low you can get them. Get them to agree to a price.

    Then call the city agency and try to negotiate with them, or better yet do it in person and be a nice fucking guy (in Chicago bring both a cubs and a sox hat to get in good with the clerks).

    See who gives you the better deal. Make it go away. Pay full price if you have to, but make sure you get the collections agency to put it all in writing. I'm still getting calls over a $70 medical bill that my FSA paid that the hospital fucked up.
     
  10. Disgustipated

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    Yep, it's treated that way. Refusing to pay a fine is sticking your finger up at the city. Refusing to turn up to a hearing set by the court is effectively contempt of that court. I see people get fucked on for that all the time.

    Whenever we take court action against anyone for work, the system's in their favour all the way through until the end and they get a slide on so many things it's pitiful. However, that all changes when we get judgment and go for an enforcement hearing. Then, it's the court ordering the person to attend and answer questions. If they don't show (and invariably do) a bench warrant goes out for their arrest and they're scooped up and thrown in the watch house until they comply. The looks on their faces are awesome.

    In short, if the court tells you do to something; don't fuck with it.
     
  11. dixiebandit69

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    Ok, did you still have to pay the fine after that? About 5 years ago, I racked up an unbelievable amount of tickets for just about every automotive related violation possible, but never paid them.
    A couple of years ago, I had to do a few months in jail, and I wrote every judge in every municipality explaining that I couldn't pay them because I was incarcerrated, and if I could just serve jail time for the violations, and it worked, which was good, because I owed a few thousand dollars (for awhile I was getting pulled over/harrased about once a month.).
     
  12. dewercs

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    Here is what I would do, this is the same advice I give my clients when they have collections and they have to be paid to get a mortgage loan.

    First get a copy of your credit report get it from all 3 credit agencies, Equifax, Transunion, and Experian and verify you actually do have a collection.


    Next do not speak to the collection company until you are ready to pay it off, when you are ready to pay it off DO NOT under any circumstance give them access to your bank accounts, DO NOT under any circumstance give them post dated checks.

    Remember a collection company buys your debt for pennies on the dollar so there is no reason you can not settle for 50 cents on the dollar or less.
    When you have a few hundred bucks call the collection company and tell them you are willing to settle for less than the balance and negotiate a settlement, once you have reached a dollar amount make them send you something in writing saying that for X amount they will report to the credit bureaus that the account has been satisfied and there is zero balance.
    Send them a cashiers check or if is local go in and pay them directly and get a receipt and make copies.

    30 days later check your credit again to verify they have reported the account satisfied and follow up with a phone call to the collection company to verify zero balance with them as well.

    A few other things to remember, people who work for collection companies are very good at manipulating you and trying to make you feel like you are sub human and a bad person, when you contact them do not play their games, call with a game plan and stick to it, it is a negotiation start low and if you get flustered so goodbye and call them later when you have your shit together.

    As far as your credit rating goes, one collection will not do huge damage to your scores provided you have other satisfactory trade lines ie. credit cards, car payment

    If you need any help pm me, I can pull your credit for you and help you out.
     
  13. Nitwit

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    Dude, try to pay the city directly.

    After they accept payment, if the credit agency is still reporting to the credit bureau, dispute it as 'not my account'. The agency then has thirty days to prove that the debt is current and valid. Otherwise, the mark is removed from your file.

    In other words, try to "PAY THE CITY DIRECTLY" before you even acknowledge the collection agency other than to tell them that the debt has been satisfied and to go fuck themselves.
     
  14. Nettdata

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    Over $600?

    Worst. Advice. Ever.
     
  15. kuhjäger

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    Hey. Free ticket out, you know what I am saying? He ought to open up a bunch of credit cards, max them out before hand as well, and have a ton of neat stuff.

    (This folks is why you should never trust advice on the Internets)
     
  16. Nettdata

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    What's really scary is that most people probably aren't aware of the recent legislation that was lobbied for by the credit card companies and enacted that excluded credit card debt from personal bankruptcies.

    Pure awesomeness, no?
     
  17. dewercs

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    The "Go fuck yourself method" does not really work in this case, if the city sold the debt to a collection company the city can no longer legally collect on the debt.
    The collection company can legally collect on it, and can report it until they have been paid or it has been satisfied.

    Do your homework and don't waste your money, call the collection company and talk to them.
     
  18. Noland

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    Negotiate it down to $300 or so and then pay it with a money order.
     
  19. E. Tuffmen

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    If the city sold the debt to the collection agency, doesn't that mean the city won't go after him with jail time or revoke his license? If the city has washed it's hands of it, then, I would just say fuck it and take the hit on my credit report unless I was looking to make a major purchase in the next seven years or so, a house, a car, or get a large loan of some type. If that was the case I'd want to try to negotiate with them and pay it off.

    If the city is still involved I would imagine he would be hearing from the courts. In that case I'd pay that shit off fast or ask the court for more time.
     
  20. cdite

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    Don't pay it, and about a year later get in a accident driving (wasn't racing, wet street is to blame) your drag car on the street and get arrested for not paying it. Then you get to see a guy crying to his mom on the phone about paying bail get knocked out by another guy because he was taking too long who picks up the phone and says "Dont worry he call you back".