Mistaken identity leads to collection woes for Knox Co. couple

Mistaken identity leads to collection woes for Knox County couple

Posted:
J.C. Cupp and his wife Lorene have been married for 60 years. He's a retired hardware manager for Sears. J.C. Cupp and his wife Lorene have been married for 60 years. He's a retired hardware manager for Sears.
The collection letter the Cupps received said they owed money to a collection agency on behalf of Columbia House. The collection letter the Cupps received said they owed money to a collection agency on behalf of Columbia House.
"I never purchased anything, ordered anything, or received anything from them," said J.C. Cupp. "I never purchased anything, ordered anything, or received anything from them," said J.C. Cupp.
"If we owe a bill we pay our bills," Lorene Cupp said. "If we owe a bill we pay our bills," Lorene Cupp said.

By DON DARE
6 On Your Side Consumer Investigator

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Cases of mistaken identity can lead to all sorts of legal and financial problems, and those mistakes have even been known to ruin people's credit.

We've told you about fake debt collectors, and how they may call or send a notice trying to pressure you into paying a bill you don't owe.

When the Cupps from Karns called 6 On Your Side about their letter from a debt collector, we looked up the agency, which is a legitimate company.

However, we discovered an extra letter in a name can cause a lot of heartburn.

J.C. Cupp and his wife Lorene have been married for 60 years. He's a retired hardware manager for Sears.

Like many people their age, they don't like debt and pay their bills on time, but earlier this month, a disturbing letter came from a debt collector.

"They state that I owe $323.08, but in the next paragraph it says, if I pay by March 17, it will only be $113," said Mr. Cupp. "I'm not planning on paying anything."

Mr. Cupp says he won't pay it until he discovers what the debt is for and when it was incurred. In the letter, the creditor is Columbia House.

In the 1970s, Columbia House was the mightiest mail order record club company that ever existed. It went out of business a little more than two years ago.

"I never purchased anything, ordered anything, or received anything from them," said Mr. Cupp.

He says he and his wife have only one credit card, and Mrs. Cupp says any bills they have are paid quickly.

"If we owe a bill we pay our bills," she said.

Mr. Cupp wondered if the whole deal is a scam, scare tactic, or someone trying to get $113 with little effort.

We checked their website. The debt collection agency Dynamic Recovery Solutions is a real company out of South Carolina.

Mr. Cupp says he called five times over two weeks and only got a recorded message.

"I'm sorry we can't talk to you now leave your name and phone number. I'll call you back at my earliest convenience," said Cupp, quoting the message. He says his call was never returned.

He then prepared a letter emphasizing his legal name, the initials J.C., but in their notice to him, the debt collector left out the letter "C" in his name.

We called Dynamic Recovery Solutions and were connected to a representative named Shanna.

Mr. Cupp gave Shanna his name and address, told her about the bill, then after looking up his account, she asked again about his name.

After a few moments of checking, she then asked him if he had ever lived in North Knox County and gave the name of the road.  He said, "No, never."

"So it looks like we do have the wrong Mr. Cupp," said Shanna.

The collection letter should have been sent to J. Cupp at the other address. Shanna explained since there had been no social security numbers attached to the account, their search came up with two potential addresses. She apologized and told J.C. Cupp his credit will not be affected.

"It might be an honest mistake, but they should know what they're doing," said Mr. Cupp.

The Cupps told the collection agency  they want a letter from them stating there had been a mistake and they're off the hook.

The agency told Mr. Cupp they will notify the creditor immediately about their error.

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