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I Paid Macy’s But They Sent Me to Collections. – Matilda

“Dear Steve,

In March 2013, I purchased $74.98 with a brand new Macy’s Star Rewards card. They sent a statement, I paid the full amount, on time, in their enclosed envelope. They claim they never got the check and pressured me to pay by credit card over the phone. Since they had called me, I declined.

Then they sent me to a series of credit collection agencies. I maintain I paid them on time and they should open the envelope with my check in it.

I’ve checked with my bank, the check has not cleared.

Now the Macy’s balance that started at $74.98 is $215.67, all from fees and interest. What should I do?


Dear Matilda,

Thank you for reaching out to me for help.

It’s likely you never ran into this problem before and thus didn’t quite know how to handle it.

Even though you wrote a check and sent it off to Macy’s, the fact they never recorded it is not their fault unless you have proof of delivery.

Mail gets damaged, lost, shredded, or mis-delivered on a daily basis and never reaches the intended recipient. If you owe a creditor, your responsibility is not just to put the check in the mail, but to make sure it was cashed by the creditor.

If the creditor shows no record of receiving the payment and the check has not been cashed you would either need to make a payment an alternative way, like over the phone, or put a stop payment on the original check and send another.

I’d love to be in your corner on this one but it’s a costly lesson learned. Not only do you owe the $215.67 but it might have already been reported as a delinquent account on your credit report. That can lower your credit score and lead to more expensive credit in the short term.

I’d suggest you pay the amount due to the collection company as soon as possible and consider this a costly lesson.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.

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About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode
Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
  • Jml

    That is exactly why I won’t do credit cards period credit score or no credit score

  • Jared Strauss

    It would be absolutely foolish to settle a $215.67 account. The reason: when you settle they report that you settled versus “paid in full”. The difference in reporting is not worth the $100 that she would save. Not even close…

    • Steve Rhode

      Thank you.

      What he said!

  • neveragain

    That same thing happen to me but it was a hospital bill that I sent and paid in full. After I sent it it was a month and A half the hospital called and ask for the payment . I had told them I sent it in about 45 days ago then they said they never received it so i got on line and looked at my bank account and sure enough they did not receive it so I called them back and just made the payment over the phone. .So it was no big deal

  • Link R.

    Very good point – how about offering her some “debt settlement” techniques, like making them a 50% (or less) offer to settle in full ??? I am very surprised….

    • Steve Rhode

      Frankly, with just the basic of the payment getting missed and refusing to pay it I thought keeping this as simple as possible would be the smarter thing to do. But if you want to offer up tips on what to do, go for it. I’m not holding you back.

  • Redheadsays

    That answer u gave Matilda on her Macy Acc could have been better. The total amount due might be less than the collection agency is trying to get her to pay. She should see what Macy’s reported and if it is indeed that 200+ she can ask for a reduced amount to pay. Never give collection agencies the full amount unless they prove it. They try to tack on their own fees. In some cases the debt is old and u need to make them prove the debt is yours.

    • Steve Rhode

      What Macy’s reports on the credit report is not an actual balance. It should not be misinterpreted that way.

      Yes, she could settle for less but for such a low amount it’s time to minimize the damage caused. The last thing she needs reported is part of the balance charged off to P/L.

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