WTF? Update



After endless wrangling on the phone today I was just informed ten minutes ago, to my amazement, that this levy was not from the Alabama Department of Revenue but from a 20-year-old credit card I believed I’d paid off long ago. (I certainly haven’t received any calls or mail from them, let alone notice of a court order.)

This is in direct contradiction of what I was told yesterday and of the printed document they gave me that distinctly says “tax levy.” (I can provide people with a copy of the document if anyone wants to see it; I don’t want anyone thinking that I’ve been raising money under false pretenses.) Apparently Wachovia itself had been under the impression that it was a tax levy, and only when I finally got through to the creditor’s attorney did I find out otherwise.

I realise that many people who donated yesterday or today may have done so solely because they thought my emergency was tax-related. If anyone would like their gifts or loans returned in light of this new information, please let me know and I’ll get your money back to you as soon as I can.

Obviously I still need help just as much, whatever the cause, but I don’t want to exploit specifically libertarian sentiment to get it.

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27 Responses to WTF? Update

  1. Jon July 22, 2009 at 3:00 pm #

    Perish the thought Rod; no matter who left you in debt you are still in need and it would be a cold soul indeed who would take money from a needy person that they gave in good faith just because the party that left you in need was private rather than state-based (although since the entire banking system has been warped and mutated by the state’s meddling you really can’t say that any debt to a financial institution is truly private)

  2. Mike July 22, 2009 at 3:11 pm #

    You need help and we are your friends…keep my donation.

  3. Pete Eyre July 22, 2009 at 3:18 pm #

    @Jon I tend to agree with the civil society-undertones of your statement but in fact there is a HUGE difference between being left in need from a private institution rather than a State institution: the former is voluntary while the latter is not.

    If people make bad decisions on contacts or other agreements that they voluntarily enter into they need to be held accountable. You cannot allow them to the benefits and disperse the With freedom comes responsibility.

    Fortunately what happened to Roderick just sounds like an accounting error that compounded for years so it should get cleared up. After many phone calls and wasted time I’m sure.

    • Jon July 22, 2009 at 3:28 pm #

      Of course, I was not at all suggesting that private debts should not be repaid; merely that the character of the creditor should not stop you from being charitable to the debtor.

  4. Bob Kaercher July 22, 2009 at 3:23 pm #

    So instead of this being tax-related, it’s privileged-banking-cartel-related. Same difference. I’ll still drop a few coins into the plate.

    Has the creditor provided you with any proof of this unpaid debt? Do they have any legal documentation that they can do this? (Court order or something?) Do they have any proof they previously tried to contact you about this alleged debt?

    My wife and I once got behind on paying on some credit cards several years ago and they went into collection. We eventually paid them all off (and we have remained debt-free ever since). But every once in awhile we still get a letter from XYZ Collection Agency alleging that one of us still owes an unpaid balance on one of those cards even though the debt has been repaid in full. Fortunately, we saved all the pay-off letters we received and we send them along to whatever collection agency is trying to re-collect the already paid debt and they back off.

    Financial institutions sell off unpaid debt accounts to collection agencies all the time, and the agencies who buy them frequently sell those accounts to *other* collection agencies. I’m betting that there’s a lot of bureaucratic laziness and bungling going on–maybe even some deliberate fraud?–and some collection agencies are selling and buying accounts that have already been settled.

    Whatever’s the case, I hope you get this resolved soon.

    • Roderick July 22, 2009 at 3:32 pm #

      Thanks. A related but much less unpleasant snafu is that I regularly get bills from two credit cards that I paid off long ago — but these bills are for $0.00.

      That’s right: month after month, two different companies with whom I no longer have accounts are spending money to print and mail bills for zero dollars and zero cents.

      • Bob Kaercher July 22, 2009 at 4:08 pm #

        Did you get this credit card in Massachusetts by any chance? When you were in school, maybe? I did some quick Googling and saw that Alabama has a 3-10-year statute of limitations on unpaid debt while Mass. has a 20 year limitation, which seems quite onerous to me.

        • Roderick July 22, 2009 at 4:33 pm #

          It would have to have been either New York state or North Carolina.

  5. Brandon July 22, 2009 at 3:35 pm #

    Wait. Who sent you this document a few months ago saying you owed $12k? What was this form you filled out asking to pay the money back in monthly installments? Who has been cashing your checks?

    • Roderick July 22, 2009 at 3:59 pm #

      No, the Alabama Dept. of Revenue does claim that I owe them $12,000, and they did provide me with this form they never acknowledged, and I have been paying them. They’re just not the ones that placed this levy.

  6. Charles July 22, 2009 at 3:49 pm #


    Whatever the source of the lien, the ability to file a lien is granted by government. It is only the power of government that allows someone to put you in this position without any warning.

    Please keep my donation. You provide good value on your blog and in many other ways, and have never before asked anything in return.

    Good luck, and keep us posted.

    • Roderick July 22, 2009 at 4:45 pm #

      Well, as a left-libertarian, I suppose it’s appropriate that I should be shafted by the government in its role as ally of private business — on the theory that everyone should be shafted by the version of government oppression they’re best known for opposing. (I’m not sure I can defend that theory, though.)

  7. Eric D. Dixon July 22, 2009 at 3:58 pm #

    I’ve enjoyed a great deal of your writing since I first encountered it about 12 years ago, so I’ll still consider it a small token of appreciation for all you’ve provided. Besides, finding that the problem has a different source than you initially thought doesn’t change the fact that you’re in much the same predicament as you were before this new information came to light.

  8. Life, Love, and Liberty July 22, 2009 at 3:58 pm #

    I naturally agree with the enforcement of valid contracts. Nonetheless, I don’t think Roderick should starve this summer for forgetting to pay off a credit card ~ looks like an error or intentional theft on the credit card company’s part.

    • Roderick July 22, 2009 at 4:02 pm #

      Thanks. Plus, even if it were my fault, which as far as I can tell it isn’t, it’s certainly not my mother’s fault, and they seized her account too.

  9. Life, Love, and Liberty July 22, 2009 at 3:59 pm #

    Not that anyone is proposing he do so.

    Just addressing the Libertarian ethics issue hanging over this lol.

  10. Glen L July 22, 2009 at 5:00 pm #

    All the work you’ve done and provided to us all for free is well worth some money as a heartfelt thank you

    good luck! as has been noted above, the lein was put in place with the coercive power of the State behind it, but even if you just found yourself in a bad spot for any reason, i think all of us are glad to help

    in summation, Smash the State

  11. Roderick July 22, 2009 at 5:35 pm #

    I think I may have figured out why it was listed as a tax levy, or at any rate why both I and my bank misread it as being so listed.

    It was a scope error.

    The document I was given yesterday listed it as “TAX LEVY/GARNISHMENT.” Both I and the bank interpreted “TAX” as the general category applying equally to both disjuncts “LEVY” and “GARNISHMENT.” But I now see that the “TAX” must have been intended as part of the first disjunct. In short, I read it as:

            TAX         LEVY/GARNISHMENT

    when I should have read it as

            TAXLEVY        /        GARNISHMENT

    (Of course it didn’t help that when they read from the document to me before showing it to me, they just read the words “tax levy” and didn’t mention “garnishment” at all.)

  12. Bob Kaercher July 22, 2009 at 7:40 pm #

    North Carolina and New York both also have legal limitations on debt collection on revolving accounts that are well under 20 years.

    Roderick, someone is jerking you around here!

    • Roderick July 22, 2009 at 9:00 pm #

      I’ve asked them to send me the precise details on dates and amounts.

  13. Anon73 July 22, 2009 at 11:00 pm #

    It sounds like if you don’t take legal action they would just ignore any requests you make of them.

    • Roderick July 22, 2009 at 11:45 pm #

      Well, I know they’re legally required to answer that kind of info; so if they don’t I’ll certainly law-ify them.

      • Aster July 23, 2009 at 12:07 am #

        I’m not sure what ‘legality’ means in post-Bush America.

      • Kevin Carson July 23, 2009 at 12:20 am #

        Seems to me they’d be pretty leery of bad publicity about a thing like this–especially cleaning out your mother’s bank account. Maybe they’d be more responsive to you if they heard from some reporter doing the human interest angle.

        • Brandon July 23, 2009 at 12:34 am #

          Well, he is going on the radio tomorrow.

  14. public servant July 23, 2009 at 11:21 pm #

    Well, That changes everything buddy. I want my money back please, preferably in unmarked $20 bills.

    Thank you very much,
    uncle sam

  15. MBrown July 28, 2009 at 10:17 am #

    Any updates? I would like to think you got something straightened out with your bank.

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