Can a company turn my account in for collections if they never tried to notify me first?

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Can a company turn my account in for collections if they never tried to notify me first?

I just received a collection notice from a library for late fees, of which I did not know of. I would have been happy to pay the fines, but I never received a statement or notification for the past due amount. I moved from the area, continued to use the same library system (just a different location). The library had a current address, they could have sent a statement, or even put a hold on my library card, but they didn’t. The only piece of info that wasn’t updated was my phone number. The bill is now twice as much. This doesn’t seem right.

Asked on April 12, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, California

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

That does indeed sound odd that you would not receive any notices regarding the over due payments, especially since you were still using the library system.  Might I suggest that you go down to the library and try and straighten it out with them directly and then ask them to straighten it out with the collections people?  The branch itself may not have anyone that deals directly with this matter but they can possibly give you the name and number of the person who deals with the issue for the library system as a while.  Explain what you have explained and ask if you can pay the original fines in full as full payment of the debt allegedly owed.  Explain that you had no knowledge at all of any late fees and while you are not admitting to having them you would not like to dispute the issue with the library.  See if that helps.  Otherwise, you are going to have to deal with the collection company.  Good luck to you.


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