Tuesday, November 23, 2004

ER Solutions

Last Friday evening I got a phone call. A woman asked me if I was Joshua, and I said yes. The person who called said, "I have some important business information for you. Could you verify that the last four digits of your social security number are [****]?" How strange, I thought, that someone was asking me to verify whether they had my social security number before introducing themselves. Well, it wasn't my social security number, but sensing a scam I told the lady "That's none of your business. It's not right to ask for someone's personal information, especially a social security number, over the phone." I hung up, satisfied that I had foiled some telemarketer or scammer.

Yesterday (Monday), I got another call from a different lady who asked me the same questions. Wow, I thought, these scammers are serious. Again I refused to verify whether the four digits she supplied were indeed part of my social security number. I asked what company she worked for, and she said a name rather quickly and mentioned that it was based in Washington. She asked me if I had ever lived at a particular address, one which I had never heard of. I tried explaining to her that my phone number is on the National Do Not Call List, and she rudely cut me off saying that it didn't matter. I told her in a little louder tone that I had never signed up with any "D. R. Solutions" or whatever she said the company's name was, and she yelled rather brashly, "You don't sign up with a collection agency." The plot thickens.

So was this a real collection agency, or was this a scam? I had no idea. All I knew was that if this was a real collection agency, I wasn't the person they were looking for, but if it was a scam to try to telephonically phish for my real social security number by process of elimination, then I didn't want to talk to these people anyway. Regardless of what the real situation was, I had no business with this group.

I don't recall exactly how the conversation ended, although I remember the lady saying that if I refused to verify whether the social security number or address had ever belonged to me then I would continue to get calls from them.

Tonight (Tuesday night—apparently they only take the weekends off from harassing people) I got another call. This time it was a man. When I picked up the phone he asked for Joshua, and rather than confirming my identity I asked who was calling. The man refused to tell me and said that it was an important business call and he needed to verify that I was who they were looking for before he could give me any information. Like the two before him, he asked me if my social security number ended in a certain four digits. As far as I could remember, it sounded like it may have been the same as before, although I hadn't written it down when the other two people called me. Again, I told the person that social security numbers were too private to verify over the phone, and a similar conversation to the one last night ensued. This time, however, I was starting to get pretty ticked about being harassed by some company when I had no way of knowing if it was legitimate, and I told him so. The man was even more brash and rude than the lady last night. He accused me of being the person they were looking for simply because I refused to answer his personal questions, and for the remainder of the conversation he talked to me as though I was this other Joshua they were supposedly looking for.

So why didn't I just admit I wasn't this other guy and get it over with already? Because I still had no way of knowing the legitimacy of this company. Anyone can call someone and claim to be someone else. I don't have Caller ID, but even if I did it's not very trustworthy. Anyone can hack Caller ID. The man offered to give me the address of their Web site, and I immediately told him that anyone can have a Web site claiming to be part of some legitimate company. I told him that if I called someone and told them I was from Microsoft and told them to go to www.microsoft.com, that wouldn't prove anything. Of course, that probably made him more angry.

After a few minutes of trying to explain myself to no avail, I told the guy to give me the company's Web address. He didn't even know it off-hand and took about 30 seconds to find it and give it to me (hmm, I thought, real legitimate). He told me that his company was called ER Solutions, and the address he gave was www.e-r-solutions.com (hm, dashes in funny places... that looks legit). I also asked for his contact information, something I could use to look up the company and call him back, and he said something to the effect of "Certainly, sir. When you're ready to admit who you are and pay what you owe, you're welcome to call me back and we'll talk." Whatever. I told him that if I continued to be harassed I would notify the police, to which he replied "Oh, I'm not afraid of that at all, sir. You go right ahead." Right. If it was a scam, what better way to make someone trust you than to say you're not afraid of the authorities?

After getting off the phone with this man, I began contemplating my options. I had looked up the Web site (which begins with a cheap Flash intro, while the rest of the site looks like it was designed in the mid-1990s). I Googled for the 800 number he provided (1-800-847-2461) and it turned up no results. So far, no evidence that this was a legitimate company. I wondered whether I should call the police right then and file a report. I looked up the local police phone number. The phone book said to dial 911 for emergencies (which this wasn't) and another number for "business calls." I didn't think my call fell into either category, and we don't have the non-emergency number 311 in my area, so instead I pondered a few more minutes. I realized that I didn't know if the phone number given me was actually real, so I called it and asked for the man by name. They transfered me to him, and I could tell by his voice (and his attitude) that it was indeed the same person. So now I finally had a real solid link between the information he gave me and his company... but unfortunately I still could not verify whether the number really belonged to a legitimate collection agency since Google hadn't turned up any results for it. As I sat processing this for another minute, an idea occurred to me of how I could get them off my back without giving them any of my private information.

The first time I was on the phone with the male employee, he jumped to the conclusion that I must be the man that they were looking for, and he revealed that the man in question had a Verizon Wireless bill of over $300 that had not been paid. I told the guy that I had never had my own Verizon Wireless account, nor had I ever cosigned with anyone else (of course, he didn't believe me). The man said that his company was contracted by Verizon to find me. Now as I sat pondering my options, the thought occurred to me that I had a Verizon account—not a Verizon Wireless account, but I did have a Verizon home phone number under my name. So, I thought, if Verizon was working through this company to find me, why couldn't the company just contact Verizon, give them the number at which they had been harassing me, and ask them to verify whether the social security numbers on the accounts matched? This seemed like a good idea; if the people who had been calling me were legitimately working for a Verizon-contracted collection agency, then Verizon would have no problems sharing information that could help track down those who owed them money. On the other hand, if Verizon knew that these people did not work for them, then Verizon would (hopefully) not divulge private customer information.

I decided to call back the man I had talked to and present him with this brilliant idea. I was certain that this would prove one way or the other whether this was an elaborate social engineering scam or a legitimate collection agency that had called the wrong person. Again I asked for the man by name, but this time I was told that he was unavailable (how convenient). I asked if I could leave my name and number (which they already had on file) so he could call me back, and the lady who answered the phone offered to help me personally. I decided that there was nothing wrong with that, since I had already verified that this phone number indeed belonged to the man's organization. I was perfectly honest with the lady, who actually let me explain myself rather than cutting me off or making accusations like the others. I explained to her why it did not seem possible for me to verify whether her company was legitmate, and that regardless of whether the four digits of the social security number matched mine I did not want to reveal this information in case it was a scam. I offered my suggestion that she contact Verizon and give them the phone number at which they kept calling me, and simply ask Verizon to verify whether the social security numbers matched. The lady informed me that Verizon Wireless was a separate branch of Verizon than the one that handles home phone numbers, and that her company was contracted specifically by Verizon Wireless. Well, my brilliant idea was foiled... but what she was saying did seem to make sense. In regard to my concern about the company being legitimate, she explained that they had three locations in the U.S. and that they were registered with the Better Business Bureau and operated under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA—she didn't know a Web address for it, but I looked it up later). She explained that my first and last name are fairly common, and she said that it may have been possible that I could be a different person with the same last four digits of my social security number (this wasn't the case, but theoretically it could have been possible). She read me the entire social security number that she had on file, and asked me if that was my number. Perhaps because she was making a lot of sense and had given me more ways to research the legitimacy of her company, perhaps because she had listened to me rather than raising her voice or accusing me, and perhaps just because I wanted to get the whole thing over with, I confirmed to her that the complete social security number she read was not mine. She asked me if I had ever lived at the address I had been previously asked about, and I confirmed that I had not. She said that she was very sorry for the trouble that her company had caused me and that I would not receive any more calls from them about this case. Before hanging up, she asked me if the man I had talked to earlier had allowed me to hear the whole social security number or any part of it other than the last four digits, and I said that he had not. She said something to the effect of, "Okay, well as long as he didn't accuse you of being the other person, that's okay." I said with a chuckle, "Well, actually, he did accuse me of being the other person." She said she would talk to him about that and wished me well. I asked her for her name before we hung up, she obligingly gave it to me, and I thanked her for her help.

I felt a little better after having talked with her. I still did not know with absolute certainty whether an elaborate plot was at work here. However, I felt obligated to do some more investigation in case I had just given into some scheme after all, and after some more Googling I came across a page that contained several bits of information on the company that matched what I had heard on the phone. Considering all the pieces that seem to fit together after more research, the probability of this being an extremely complicated scheme is very, very slim.

Nevertheless, the tactic used by this collection agency is rather intrusive and sounds rather fishy to the street-smart. Maybe some people just volunteer their social security number on the phone, but even though I had nothing to hide I wasn't about to confirm anything to anyone without sufficient proof of the caller's identity.

Be very careful about giving personal information to people who call, e-mail, or instant message you, or even show up at your door without invitation. Anyone can pretend to be someone they're not, or to be affiliated with a group when they're actually not. Know your rights, and do a little investigation before you share anything as personal as your social security number, credit card information, or bank account information. Ask yourself what's worse: dealing with a belligerent collection agency for a couple days, or having your identity stolen, your credit or your reputation fouled up, and potentially having to deal with the effects of this identity theft for years to come?


Anonymous said...

I've just checked my bank account and there seems to be 120$ missing. Courtesy of ER Solutions. This is unacceptable. Now Im trying to call them and they are closed. At 9.43 am on a Friday. How convenient.

ilikekites said...

I found your post in a web search for ER Solutions. Today, I had my own encounter with these thugs...In June, my son overdrew his checking account with Washington Mutual. He received a call from ER Solutions asking for payment for Washington Mutual. He was told that he had to have a credit card to make the payment, and that it needed to be made over the phone. I thought this sounded like a total scam, so I called them back. I told them we would prefer mailing a check to them, but I needed an invoice or statement with an address. They refused, then tried to bully me by demanding my credit card number over the phone. I had to laugh; did they think I was that dumb? I then called Washington Mutual, who told me my son should come in to the bank branch to pay his overdrawn debt. How ER Solutions found out about my son's overdrawn account is frightening! What can be done about this type of crime? Everyone needs to know that this type of scam exists.

Shawneen said...

This is the 2nd time they have contacted me. Once 2 years ago trying to collect on an account that was paid in full in 2001. I had to fax them the documents proving that it has been paid in full, which I did. Now they are contacting me again to discuss the same account which was paid in full 6 years ago, that I verified for them... 2 years ago! Someone needs to get their ducks in a row because I'm really getting pissed off about this!

B-Rad said...

I just got a phone (maybe 10 min ago) call from the same number you posted. I didnt pick up b/c i am also on the dont call list, and after I rejected the call, i looked the number up and found your post. Thanks for posting your experience b/c I now know what they are all about and also not to pick up. I hope everyone sees this post to save themselves aggravation.

rwagner66 said...

It's a legit collection agency, not a scam. I just got a call about an electric bill at an apartment I moved out of. ER had the address and correct amount, so I paid them. What's stupid is that the electric company could have saved the 50% they paid ER by simply calling or sending a bill.

The percentage that collection agencies actually collect is a well kept secret. It's 15%. The collection agency keeps about half.

Anonymous said...

I just found your insightful blog after scanning the Web for information about this company. Now it *is* true that I have an HSBC Discover account that requires payment (and the company has since passed the baton to ER Solutions), but I am one of those dummies that registered with Credit Solutions, a debt settlement company, which hasn't helped me AT ALL. BEWARE OF THIS COMPANY! Anyway...I digress. Because ER Solutions called a few times about four months ago and then decided to leave me alone after talking with Credit Solutions (hm, I guess that Credit Solutions was somewhat helpful about staving them off!), I was wondering if they were one of the more helpful collections agencies out there as I want to dump Credit Solutions and just work out a hardship plan with ER Solutions. However, your blog -- and everyone else's comments -- have scared me half to death! I don't want to call these jerks but then again I've dealt with collections agencies on and off for years. Most of them are definitely rude, unprofessional and sound like scam artists when they contact you. It's rare to find someone rational or willing to work with you (instead of threatening you) on the other end of the line. BTW, I'm not always in debt but I DO have problems with credit cards. I stop using them for a few years, then I think I'm "cured" and start to use them again...only to my detriment. I declared bankruptcy four years ago and can't do it again, especially since the laws have been altered. Now I just need to pay off, albeit slowly, my current debts so I can breathe easy again. I can't stand these calls at 7 PM when you've just had a horrid day at work and then feel obliged to placate these cretins. We're not criminals! Some of us have simply fallen through the cracks and need help. (I'm bipolar, which is the main reason why I can't use credit cards. If I am hypomanic, I spend way too much and barely even notice what I am doing. But try explaining THAT to a collections agency! You'll glean as much sympathy from the devil...)

Anonymous said...

I have been getting phone calls from ER Solutions for months, except I had no idea it was them. I have caller ID, and I just don't answer the phone if I can't tell who it is. They left electronic messages a few times a week about "an important business call" which sounded like BS to me so I just deleted them from the machine. This month I decided to pull my free yearly credit report, and low and behold, there is a debt from a collection agency, ER solutions. Seeing this made me realize who the mysterious phone calls were coming from. Apparently, while I was stationed in Japan on active duty in the military, I managed to rack up a $126 dollar Comcast bill. Which is physically impossible. There was an easy fix though. I just filed an online complaint with each of the 3 credit bureaus. They each got back to me within 2 days saying the collection was deleted from my account. I never had to call Comcast or talk to ER Solutions. If the bill is legitimately not yours, the credit agencies will solve it for you very quickly.

Anonymous said...

Few days ago, I got a letter offering a settlement of an AT&T-PAC BELL debt that I have no idea of from ER Solutions. The letter looks professional. However, I have had no business with AT&T, so I don't think I owe them money. I googled the company, and found e-r-solutions.com and phone number (206) 322-4500. The web address provided in the letter was erspay.com. I'm pretty sure that I received a scamming letter. Thus, I reported it to Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org), and wait to see the result. You guys should contact BBB if you feel some fishy business.

Anonymous said...

ER SOLUTIONS is a legit collection agency that deals with overdue accounts with cellphone and cable companies. I had a cellphone bill go to these people last month and they are certainly rude and unprofessional but this is not a scam. Now,they may have you confused with another person but the actual company is a legit agency.

Anonymous said...

organizations like "er solutions" are simply parasites sucking blood from those primarily who've run into financial problems. Mine were due to layoffs, firing (for failing to commit and illegal act and medical (heart attacks, strokes, etc.)

Though I've not delt with this firm, I've run into others. One even tried to collect on a debt cleared by bankruptcy more than 15 years later.

What you need to do, if unable to pay, READ about the statute of limitations for your state. If you feel you can make partial payments a few years later, that MAY take away the SOL defense. Wait until the SOL has expired. Then use the form on the site: http://www.fair-debt-collection.com/Disputing_Collections/SoL-dispute-letter.html

This will immediately stop blood suckers like er solutions. You can also send those parasites a letter, best done registered so they can't claim not to have received it, stating that you demand they cease any further contact. This legally prohibits any further calls or letters, etc.

Very few people willingly do not pay their bills. But when parasites like er solutions get involved, it makes the blood boil. As I already have extremely high BP, I don't need such grief in my life.

Remember, before making payments to such blood suckers, see what you can work out with the original organization. You may find you can pay less than the original amount, and have them remove any negative notations in your credit history. Dealing with the blood suckers, they'll try to get you to issue post dated checks, some even want the checks with no name filled in. Pure theft of your hard earned money.

Anonymous said...

that her company was contracted specifically by Verizon Wireless

This comment is a blatant LIE. Companies with what they consider bad debts put them out for ANY collection agency to "take up". They do NOT call a particular agency and say handle this account. First there are far too many "bad accounts" at verizon and other such companies.

The morons at er solutions could easily contact verizon wireless and they'd contact verizon who'd verify the two SSANs are different. They may be different companies, but they still fit under the same umbrella company.

ammoniaman said...

Well,guess what! ER Solutions called me today-how did they get my "unlisted" number that I paid extra for? I have their number-281-529-3150.When they called
they asked for me by name-(which I never give out)-I said that person dosen't live here,and go F_ _ _ K
yourself!So,as I have only time,
I have decided to call them every day and cuss them out and tell them what blood suckers they are!They will be forever sorry they got hold of my number-I'll never let go of them!You ALL should call them and overload them with hate calls!

Anonymous said...

<........>I have decided to call them every day and cuss them out.....

Dumb and stupid.

Are you ready to be imprisoned?

First, such actions are extremely childish. Second, they are ILLEGAL.

If you don't owe the bill, get a small recorder. When these parasites call again, with the mike next to the phone, first, speak the date and time, then get all of the information you can, company name, callers name, etc., state that you are NOT the subject of their call and that if you receive one more call from them, you will seek legal action for harassment. If they call again, do that, contact a lawyer, and if necessary, give the lawyer a release whereby he retains all of the monies he collects in a suit. Also ask the lawyer to try to make it a class action suit. A few dozen clients can bring er solutions into bankruptcy. As one of the caveats for accepting the judgment against them, er solutions and its employees are to be barred from participating in debt collections for a period of 10 to 25 years, depending on position and length of time with the business. Maybe even require the name be modified to read, er solutions, a parasitic enterprise.

ammoniaman said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Josh Long said...

I do not advocate harassment. Please be respectful and stay on topic. Feel free to share your experiences and insights regarding ER Solutions. Thank you.

ammoniaman said...

Well,I guess I got carried away there-It's just that it seems too many entities in life are trying to squeeze people to death these days.
By the way, ER Solutions has not
attempted to call me back,but they probably will in the future.Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I was speaking with a friend this week who has run into a new gambit by these parasites. Although his account had been paid in full for several years, he wound up on a parasites list.

He answered the phone (this was the 2nd call from the parasites) and was immediately hit with a recording. The recording said it was a call for X and if he was not X to hang up. This continued on, including, if he remained on line he was acknowledging that he was X. After too many of these hang up or acknowledge he was X, a (sub)human voice took over. The caller then proceeded to call him X. My friend said, I refuse to give you my name. He was immediately told that by staying on line, he had acknowledged he was X.

My friend stated, no, I simply refuse to allow you to tell me what I can do on a phone line that is NOT paid for by some clown.

Several exchanges later, the caller made the mistake of saying why he was calling, identifying the erroneous past due account. My friend hit the clown with, Well, since I will now inform X that you informed me that he was delinquent on an account, a violation of federal law.

The parasitic clown kept trying to use the "you stayed on the line when we had told you to hang up" defense. My friend was laughing at this point. He told the parasite, if you pay for a telephone service, then and only then, can you determine who can use that telephone and when. When you call a number, that does not give you the right to tell the party who answers what they can and cannot do. The only thing you know when someone answers is that someone answers. Have fun explaining to a federal judge why you released privileged information to a 3rd party.

I'd say it is highly unlikely that parasitic company will hassle him again. But in addition to the parasite, the original company could also be libel.

Unknown said...

As far as paying "extra" for an unlisted number; you've got to consider that if the folks that you're doing business with aren't getting their payments from you, indeed the balance will get sent to collections and any information obtained from the creditor will also be forwarded to the collection agency so they can collect on the delinquent account. i don't understand how MOST consumers can get angry for receiving collection calls after NOT paying their bills. Yes there are financial struggles. YES people can be a little more empathetic about your situation; but you've got to understand, creditors/collectors have jobs to do and companies to keep in business.

What I don't condone, however, are the way SOME collectors mistreat the debtors. There's no excuse for that. Most of the time collectors are willing to arrangement payments for the consumers, however some consumers are rude right off the back...There's no excuse for that either.

Jack said...

er'solutions - erspay.com -

no phone call came but a letter from this did arrive the other day in the mail. It said 'they'would accept 50% of the $500+ that was owed.
just an amount supposedly owed was mentioned...not mentioned was to whom, for what and from when, nothing to make anyone go 'oh ya, i do owe THAT. well is THAT! think i'd remember owing anyone over 500 bucks.
and very strange.

all the letter said was... here's the deal, we'll accept 50% as full payment, mentioned the ny city dept. of consumer affairs lic# 1099671 - said to call between these certain hours, CST time - but no phone number was ever given to call them at.
again - very odd and strange.

ARE they a scam or legitimate?
Does anyone really know from experience?

and to the guy who anonymously wrote: "... just checked my bank account and 120$ is missing courtesy of ER Solutions..."

well this happened to me a few eeeks ago, when i was over drawn a buck something at rite aid - and this is how they legally do that crap now:

they can make what appears to be a 'bill pay' check, one of those computer generated ones, deposit it into your bank account, with a letter stating you gave them your verbal ok to do so. and bing! it's taken out if you got it - or you've just gotten insufficient funds fees depending on your balance at the time.

welcome to the new milenium!

all they need is a BS letter stating you verbally said ok to it. if they have your chking info, they can and will do it.
i wrote a check at a rite aid on a thursday night, had no food and my check was coming the following saturday. i thought i had time, but nope! they must have run my check to the bank that very night for it posted by the next business day. yes, no longer is a check good for a few days loan before pay day.

they tried to put in a 20 dollar check like i mentioned above, probably like the anonymous person who said.."I've just checked my bank account and there seems to be 120$ missing..." - but lucky for me - sort of lucky, my only house phone has been busted for 3 months, so no way could they have called my home and received a verbal 'ok' from me - so my bank is now returning that 20 plus the over drafts it caused.

just throwing that bit of info out there as well.

- jack

Anonymous said...

Here's another ER solutions phone number:
1 425 562 3215
Thanks for your blog . . .
not sure why they are calling,
but am glad that I read your post.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone ever found out their address? I don't know if every state has this, but in Oregon we just need to write a letter to these companies and tell them DO NOT CALL me anymore regarding this account! I need to write to them too!!!!

Anonymous said...

ER has been calling for the past two months. They do not identify themselves or why they are calling. Very rude and nasty. Our daughter joined the military a few months ago and I'm sure this has something to do with her cell phone at ATT. They have been contacted and have yet to send a revised bill so her father and I can pay it. They abviously just sent it to collections. I strongly suggest sending your complaint to the Attorney General in Washington (easy form to fill out on line) where ER Solutions is based. Not everyone is a dead beat and the training of the employees needs to be addressed.

Unknown said...

As far as a location for the company there are actually a few of them...For the record, and I understand that this has already been said, but ER SOLUTIONS is a legitimate company. Depending on the location, determines exactly what departments they are covering.

To my understanding there is one in Washington, Texas, Alabama and a couple of others.

In regards to having access to unlisted numbers, if you're familiar with the world of collecting debts, then you know that any 3rd party that a collector gets in contact with will be probing for information. If that 3rd party happens to be cooperative and knowledgeable then there goes one of the possible avenues as to how collectors get the information.

There's no reason to get ugly with a debt collector and vice versa. If you cannot pay the debt off, most respectable collectors would be more than willing to set up some kind of payment plan to relieve the debt. A "i scratch your back, you scratch mine" sort of arrangement.

I don't get how most spend countless paragraphs trying to play detective about some of these LEGITIMATE companies. If you do indeed owe a debt, my goodness, own up to it. No matter how much of a hardship you're going through, it doesn't remove the fact that you're in debt to someone.

When you had services rendered to you, it wasn't the original creditor subjecting themselves to YOUR expectations, terms and conditions but it was YOU subjecting yourself to theirs.

Anyway, here's one address : 800 SW 39th St
Renton, WA 98057.

But if you're receiving collection calls from ER Solutions, please believe you should be receiving a validation letter explaining your debt in their office, which will also include their return address as well as the original creditor's address.

Anonymous said...

- even if this were a company who was doing legal things, collecting collections owed, etc etc - all legally ....

this is not what is happening here...
Here they FORGED letters stating i gave them my permission over the phone to remove money from my account.

FORGED a legal document -- to take 20$ out - 20 huge bucks! - probably thinking people wouldn't notice a 20 here, maybe not even a 100 there. and they probably keep way more than they are caught, since they keep on doing this and if they weren't making money they'd have stopped by now.
right? right.
according to some people...
i must owe money then...
do i owe monies and have simply forgotten? no. i am not an idiot. and did i give them permission over the phone and say, was simply mistaken or i forgot again? - no...
the only phone i had that month didn't work, was using just my cell phone, and so they couldn't have spoken to ANYONE at THAT NUMBER as THEY STATED in their LEGAL documentation.

Robbing - stealing money out accounts using forged documents by use of computed generated checks - that is called fraud.

Now that leaves only 2 options - this is for you esp Olet:
1.) a kind, helpful co. called er solutions is having their good kind name tarnished by a group of stealing thugs using their name to commit their activities -
2.) the group of thugs are all one in the same.
for really - would good company even allow this to go on with out shutting the thugs down in court?
this has been going on well over a year at the very Least!

so no.
common sense dictates they are the same crooks. but then common sense isn't as common as it used to be is it.

so uh - when people come across these postings, and say you do indeed owe money some place, and you assume this er solutions is just collecting on that money...
well today - that would be a great guess since many, many people owe money. But don't be victimized! you think if a company using these illegal tactics is really even putting the money they steal/take towards money you may actually really owe some where?
um, doubtful. plus any real company would be on anyone using their name for illegal acts quite quickly.
and since this has been going on so long now -
looks like one ion the same group to me.
- jack

Unknown said...

Well jack, thank you for addressing my comments about the oh so wonderful ERS company.

I cannot even begin to make excuses for the violations that occur in this corporation. But is ERS, as a whole, a crook company? No. I can safely say that they are not.

When matters such as the one that you're faced with do arise, take the necessary steps to get your issue dealt with---whether legal or belligerent, it's all up to you of course.

All calls (as with majority of the call center industry) are documented/monitored and OR recorded which serve as a legal binding document, should you choose to go the legal route. Every company definitely isn't perfect in complying with their own policies and unfortunately the ones that fall victim to the poor tactics of scammers/liars have to suffer a bit for it.

Now I do recall recently hearing about scammers who have been posing as "legitimate" agencies in a means to, well you know, scam! Still not excusing the possibility of these random acts of robbery from ER Solutions or any other collection agency for that matter, there's just no telling what it is. With the number of people handling most things electronically for "convenience" and "security" purposes increasing, it's surely no wonder that it opens the doors for an increase for hacking, phishing, scamming, masking and what have you...Take a look around you folks. With the economy the way it is, people are going to be trying to make their money no matter what way they have to turn. (Sad but true). You even have other people on the other end of the collection spectrum POSING as debtors(even so much as going into debt with creditors) and contacting collection agencies in a means to catch a collector up in violating the FDCPA (fair debt collection practicing act) so they can get some money. It can be up to $1,000 per violation.

But I digress. Jackie, I understand your skepticism and suspicions about the company. Believe me when you read that.
But even "decent" companies have their crooks and of course the majority of the consumers have their slander. I don't think that will change...Take it from an insider and I will close with that.

Anonymous said...

In this day and age where the econamy sucks people want to blame someone so why not blame the bill collector. When who they really need to blame is themselves. The bill collector has a job to do which is to collect the money you failed to pay to begin with. People need to realize that the problem began with you not paying your bill. No one asked you to stop paying you just did. So now its the bill collectors job to ask you to pay something you should have paid for in the first place. You are not a customer anymore. You lost that right when you becam a debtor. If someone owed you money and was dodging you after receiving bill after bill phone call after phone call you wouldnt be very customer service like either.
Dont blame the bill collector blame yourself. If you had of paid your bill to beigin with then no one would have to call you ask you your persnal information. You had no problem giving out that info when you were requesting the credit or opening the account so now that its time for you to pay you dont want to give it?
I dont see how you have the time to post blogs and complain but yout not making the time to pay your bills or maybe getting a job so you can pay your bills and stop the phones. Maybe you should be come a bill collector so you can see how it to have someone esle mad at you becasue they couldnt afford to pay for the credit they received to begin with.
So if you dont want someone to call and ask you about your personal information then my suggestion is to pay your bills and stay out of collections!!

Josh Long said...

To the most recent anonymous poster:

If you had bothered to actually read my article, you would have noticed that...

1) I published this article on my blog in 2004, not in 2009

2) I never had any debt or unpaid bills either from Verizon Wireless or any other company

3) This agency (or a group purporting to be this agency) harassed me and asked for confidential information over the phone with no proof of who they were, and I wasn't even the person they were trying to track down

Anonymous said...

I just got voice mail from this company and I don't owe anyone anything. I never recieved any "under payment" notice from anyone. This seems a scam and how they got my information is scary.

Anonymous said...

Been dealing with these a-holes for 3 months. Most rude and unprofessional people I have ever talked to.

Anonymous said...

I posted this on paypal's forum webuste, I want to assure that they have constructive knowledge of this problem so if this lawsuit does proceed or at minimum a complaint with the FTC & Attonrey Generally they can be held jointly liable for this.

It seems like they are intentionally enducing the victim (the alleged Debtor) into settling for a balance owed that does not exist with the original creditor.

I'm no lawyer (I'm actually a 2nd yr law student) but I know a fraud when I see one. It looks like we have all been harmed by ER Solutions in a similar way, enought to justify combining all of our claims and one claim for relief (injunction, compensatory and punitive damages) against the fraud that ER Solutions is committing and the ongoing misrepresentations that a debt is owed as exemplified by each separate phone call and letter that everyone has received.

This is what I believe is the fraud: ER Solutions buys a client list, whether or not a debt is owed, they generate an amount due and claim that it is a balance due from the 'original creditor' Paypal. So when they attempt to collect they know you won't pay in full, that you will claim that nothing is due, but they will turn around and offer you a settlement at 60% or lower with the anticipation that you will believe it is not worth it and pay it, thus making their profit.

What I find suspicious is that Paypal never claimed a balance due, ER Solutions just appeared. So has this happened to anyone as well?

Is there anyone who would be interested in pursuing this? Should I start a forum? put an ad on craigslist (re: ER Solutions Fraud) and get this centralized? The reason being is that to do this one of us, or a chosen representative (any of us victims) would have to contact an attorney and provide detailed factual information along with proof that ER Solutions's claims are unsubstantiated and we have the documents to prove it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your blog post. I googled the 800 number that has been repeatedly calling my business cell phone for weeks., and happened upon your blog. After reading your post, I decided to call them, and ask what they were calling about. Everyone is right in saying they they are extremely rude. The odd thing is that they were calling my business line looking for my mother, and we don't have the same last name. The woman I spoke to was so rude, and when I said it wasn't me they were looking for, she asked me to pass the message along, which means they knew it wasn't me they were trying to reach AND they know I know this person. Shady. She made a snide remark, in a deep smoker's voice, as she hung up on me.

Anonymous said...


Barry & Slade, LLP

MN law office. Their TM is "We Sue Abusive Debt Collectors". My understanding is that they will not argue about the debt, just whether or not the company has violated FDCPA.

This company has come up in my work a shady context and I was searching for information. As was mentioned, someone could be posing as ER Solutions, Debt Collection. I would document and record all contact/conversations with the company...if you wish to sue them, you will have to prove they did something wrong.

Freya said...

I just received a call from them...they are using a digital recording with a British accent...I didn't let it get too far because it said "by continuing to listen you are confirming that you are ...". I am NOT confirming that I'm anyone until I know what these people want!

OhGre8One said...

Hey Josh...I just got a call from one of their reps by the name of Jacy Howard looking for my wife...which is how I found this posting. Looks like one of the owners in IL is also a decorated war veteran who wouldn't be inclined to ruin his reputation for a business. see attached link with pic. http://www.usar.army.mil/arweb/organization/commandstructure/USARC/OPS/377Sus/Commands/103ESC/Commands/89SUSBDE/Leadership/Pages/Burroughs.aspx

Portfolio Recovery said...

Nice job Josh. Its all about educating the consumer.

Meloney said...

So... dude... You knew the delinquent persons name (same as yours) you knew previous address, (if you wrote it down) and you had his social security number (the last lady gave it to you)

No telling what harm you could have caused by taking this info and using it.
Although, technically if they were dead beat (or fallen on hard times unintentionally, maybe became sick or had a sick baby or spouse) you might not have been able to do something with it then.

Interesting what information
"the wrong" person can get just by answering the phone.

These places are scary. I just had a call from "ER SOLUTIONS" a few minutes ago, and because something like this happened to me in the past (the person they were looking for was in the phone book the name after mine, address and phone they wanted and all)

I just ain't answering. Life is hard enough then to be accused and harassed when you ARE paying your bills.

It really bothers me they gave you the name, previous address and social security number of someone else. REALLY.

Anonymous said...

I got sent a letter regarding a Tmobile acccount, called Tmobile & said they'd never sent anything. I just recently called again, knew who I was the second I called, she answered with 'Tmobile', I'm like 'Is this E R Solutions??' she replied with 'yeah'. & I asked what was up in a semi-tone & hung up on me. Second time no answer. Third time 'Debt has been settled, disregard the letter', like WTF! I have a number so we can bombard them with fraudulent phone calls: 1800-903-2319 -ext. 2218- Supposedly a 'Debra Flow' answers that extension, don't think there is even an option to dial an extension. UGH! ANNOYING! & to think some people fall for this :(

Josh Long said...

To the most recent anonymous commenter:

Regarding your remark, "I have a number so we can bombard them with fraudulent phone calls," I do not advocate harassment. I published your comment because you shared information that might be useful to people researching the company and its practices. If you call and harass someone who harassed you, how does that benefit anyone? It doesn't.

If you have a legitimate harassment claim, consider filing a report with the appropriate authorities or agencies rather than stooping to the level of the harasser.

Anonymous said...

I keep getting calls from them but i never answer. They never leave messages. Drew Peacock

Anonymous said...

First it's not illegal to call ER solutions and cuss them out. Thats a lie. It's illegal to call them an threaten them. You can cuss them out all you want. If you can't afford to pay, however, it's better to simply wait, ignore them, until the statue of limitations on the debt runs out. It is childish and pointless to argue with these folks. Their whole purpose, when calling, is to make you have a bad day. It's much better to ignore them or, if you can afford it, pay them what you lagitimately owe. However most folks get collections calls because they can't afford to pay the bill. Normally it's only a few years.

Mrs Randall said...

Wow! I was reading a lot of the posts and it's scary! I have an account in collections with ER Solutions. I called the company (Midnight Velvet and was given this number for ER Solutions. 800-557-2117/2114. I am leary about calling them now because I don't want them to have my cell phone or work number. What should I do? I only owe 167.88. Any advice would be appreciated.

Wanda D. Randall

Anonymous said...

I just received a collection letter from a company called Convergent Outsourcing from Texas, claiming I have a $1005 debt from another CA called LVNV Funding, original creditor Sears. It is an offer to settle. Research found Convergent is hired by LVNV to make contact. I know I've gotten letters from LVNV before but can't remember who for. I have never had a Sears account, I applied a long time ago but was denied. I have also been getting alot of calls from Maryland and Pennsylvania but I don't answer if I don't know the number. They never leave a message. Last year I got collection letters regarding Lamont's department stores which I have never had an account with but was from a city I used to live in but not when this account was supposedly opened. They threatened to sue me but after I called and sent letter telling them to prove it, I never heard from them again. I just looked at my credit reports tonight, because I just tried to open up a Sears acct today (still pending), ironic I get home and there is this bogus collection letter re Sears! You'll never guess what I found on two of my reports! Request for info from ER Solutions, one out of Renton, WA & one from Hayes somewhere. Me thinks they're all in cahoots! Unfortunately the copy from Transunion that I saved to PDF file, two pages are overlapped and illegible, of course right where the ER info is. All I got was collection and an April 2012 request date. I emailed Transunion to try to get another free copy and I'm going to send Convergent a cease and desist letter and provide proof (that doesn't exist) of their claim, or I will take legal action, and they damn well better not put anything on my report! This better not affect a decision for Sears to deny me credit. It really pisses me off that these guys are trying to scam me for debts I don't owe and accounts I never had! I'm just getting my credit in goodstanding after major illness hardships from a decade or more ago!

Awards said...

I just got a phone (maybe 10 min ago) call from the same number you posted. I didnt pick up b/c i am also on the dont call list, and after I rejected the call, i looked the number up and found your post. Thanks for posting your experience b/c I now know what they are all about and also not to pick up. I hope everyone sees this post to save themselves aggravation.

Anonymous said...

This company has been calling me. Must be over a Verizon bill that was paid but Verizon thinks not. I changed phone plans paid off the last month then started the new plan . Verizon was sending bills for the old plan for three months even though it was paid in full before new plan was initiated. Now these new folks are after me. Be a cold day in hell before they get a cent from me. Im retired working part time I make a game out of F%$king back with these people and will do it till the day I die.

Anonymous said...

I have had my share of phone calls from ER Solutions. I get a call at least once a day. That's been going on for about 2 months. I don't take their calls. In case anyone is interested, I posted this info on other forums about Convergent Outsourcing (and ER Solutions):

"If anyone is interested, I have Convergent Outsourcing's address and phone number (which seems to also be doing business as ER Solutions, as they have the exact same phone number). The below address and phone number was taken directly off my credit report from Experian.

If you want to get ahold of Convergent Outsourcing, their address and phone number is:

Convergent Solutions
800 SW 39th St.
Renton, WA 98057
(800) 444-8485

Good luck!"

Anonymous said...

Block the number.Force them to provide proof of debt. Also there are statute of limitations for collecting on a debt.

Anonymous said...

Since there still seems to be some interest on this blog post and people are still finding it helpful, I'd like to post my two cents. I am a former employee of ER Solutions. We're talking years ago, like a two whole months in 2001.
They are a legitimate collection agency located in Renton, WA.
I do not think of myself as a scum sucker or parasite. I got all kinds of rude interactions with people I had to call for this job regardless of how I talked to them. I ultimately decided this wasn't the place I wanted to work.

Just try and remember that these are people that are calling you. They aren't calling you to make your day worse. They're calling to try and do their job. Some are rude but not all will be. They are trying to collect money for a company which someone has taken services from and never paid for. I do know what it's like to be bullied by a collector so I'm not trying to say they are always in the right. They deal with some very shady people and are just trying to keep as many contact options open as possible. That's why they find phone numbers for you. They skip trace and look for avenues to contact those that avoid paying what they owe.

ERnestina said...

In the year 2010 and 2011 I was receiving telephone calls from ER Solutions, from 6am througout the day and as late as 8PM. An asian woman accent and she would ask me for my social security number. When I refused, she would hang up and call later with the same dialogue each time. One day I was on my PC when she called again, I happen to be conversing with an attorney from LA, CA, and I mentioned the annoying calls and he stated that referred to as "harrasment" calls and were illegal. That I could take legal action against and ER Solution would be liable to pay a fine of $1,000.00, plus attorney fees of $3,000.00. So I asked him to do
so on my behalf. I received a check for $1,000.00 in 2011. In 2012 I received a 1099-Misc and NO 7 was checked stating Nonemployee compensation and the description states (Shows nonemployee compensation. If you are in the trade or business of catching fish, box 7 may show cash recieved for the sale of fish). This 1099 came from ER Solutions, inc. 800 SW 39th st. Renton WA 98055.
In 2012 this 1099 was sent to IRS along with an other 1099 from HSBC TECHNOLOGY & SERVICES USA ONE HSBC CENTER, BUFFALO, NEW YORK 14240. This was also sent to IRS. SO NOW I have IRS dogging me to pay taxes on based on these two 1099's. I am a disability retiree and my annual amount of annuity is below any amount, therefore, I have not filed federal nor state income tax annual for several years. In 2010 or 2011 My age was 77 years old. This is a major scam and fraudulent data being sent to IRS. I just received another notice from IRS today. As on 09/2011, I lost property, my entire lives accumulation to a major fire that left me with severe burns and much mental anguish. So for two years I have not been able to cope with defending my self against fraudulent allegations of these 1099's and the demands from IRS.
Now I am older to the age of 80 and forced to cope with fraudulent greed and false allegations. I would like to see major legal actions again st ER Solutions and HSBC.

Wendi said...

I have also experienced the same issues with convergent/ER solutions. They won't give me any information about "the personal issue" until I verify my last four if SS, bdate. Or address. Which I will not do Until they tell me why they are calling. They then tell me they will report that I refuse to cooperate, and hang up. There has to be something that can be done to stop the. Harassment. When I call any of huge numbers listed above, whichever company it is for, convergent or ER, I get transferred to the opposite one. It may be a legit company, but I don't owe anything to my knowledge and posts above concern me that they could get to my bank account.

Wendi. said...

After calling EVERY number in this blog until I got a real person and not just a recording, the lady on the other end said she was going to remove my number as I am NOT the person they are looking for. I explained to her that the previous caller, had harassed me about giving personal info, before they would tell me who they were or why they were calling. So hopefully, this will end 2 months of this craziness. Optimistic as she was the first person who wasn't rude and was willing to help.