Let's say you get a letter from a lawyer wanting you to pay up for a past debt. Some of the information is accurate and the debt is less than $100, but you know you're not responsible.
Do you pay anyway just to avoid any future problems?
Wendi from Surprise got a letter from Beyer and Associates law firm out of Colorado. It's an attempt to collect $75 for a no-pay parking violation at a downtown Phoenix lot.
The letter shows her license plate number and the Phoenix lot address where she apparently parked.
But Wendi says, "my car has never driven through downtown Phoenix, much less park (there)."
The firm represents Parking Revenue Recovery Services Inc. Their website states they've "been providing superior parking enforcement and collection services... in over 45 cities across North America."
But the business gets an "F" with the Better Business Bureau with 112 complaints in the last year.
Beyer and Associates LLC has 61 complaints with the BBB over the same time.
A couple of complaints from December are similar to Wendi's concern about not parking at the location in question.
Many people might just pay, but Wendi did not.
Her letter even states, "no attorney has... made any recommendations regarding the validity of the creditors claims."
The letter says they verify the violation if you file a dispute, so Wendi did dispute and let me know.
We asked Parking Revenue Recovery Services to take a look and they did, saying "the picture of the plate did not match what was entered into the handheld device and our software system."
They sent Wendi a letter stating the error.
The company acted quickly when told of Wendi's issue and it appears they resolved some of those BBB complaints as well.
Beyer and Associates sent us this response: "Beyer & Associates responds promptly to disputes. On average, my client Parking Revenue Recovery Services, issues around 180,000 parking notices a year. Mistakes will happen both with consumers and our parking lot attendants. If a parking patron receives a parking notice they do not believe to be valid, check the disputes process on the notice and follow that for a prompt response."
Parking Revenue Recovery Services sent us this response: "PRRS issues over 15,000 parking notices and municipal tickets per month. Our organization provides parking enforcement in over 15 cities for private and municipal clients. The nature of our business does not typically generate a lot of good reviews. We receive no good reviews. I don't expect people to receive a parking ticket or notice and then get online and say, 'oh, I love these people'! Unfortunately, we don't receive good reviews, but we certainly do our best to make people happy under the circumstances. The issuing of parking notices or parking tickets is a softer approach and much more user-friendly than towing or booting. In many cities people tow or boot on the first offense."
My concern is how many innocent people pay just to avoid the hassle?
With any of these things, how about verifying the debt first, then sending a demand letter.
Lesson here: If you're not responsible, fight back!