In May 1996 my new vehicle, financed with Chrysler Financial, was destroyed when a kid ran a red light (for the 9th time) and broadsided it. Insurance paid the van and I paid the so-called residual value of $7,000+ (difference between what the van is appraised at and what is owed). I had to borrow nearly $5,000 to pay it. Bill was paid and all three credit bureaus had the account noted as PAID ACCOUNT, balance 0 from 1996. In March, 2000 I got a letter from Equifax's collection division offering me a "generous settlement" of $2800 on the $7,000. This was the first notice ever of any kind. They acknowledged that it was the first.
I told them I did not owe any money. They were rude and the supervisor told me I had to take it up with Chrysler Financial. I called them and she said she would have to locate the files and would call me on Monday (that was a Friday). She never called. I called again and she advised that no files could be found but that the burden of proof was on me to prove I paid it.
I had kept my paid receipts for 3 years and no longer have them. I figured once the bill was paid in full, the credit bureaus all had it noted as paid and zero balance that after 3 years it was a closed matter. NOT TRUE. Now I don't have the receipt.
What a beauty of a scam this is. People pay their bills, credit reports reflect that and years later go after them for the money with a generous settlement knowing that most people won't have a receipt by then. If someone has a receipt they can always say, oops, sorry.
I will have to get an attorney and sue them over this because of the collection notice on my credit report and shouldn't have to.