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Law Pro
Law Pro, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 24870
Experience:  20 years experience in consumer advocacy, debt collection violations, contracts, construction
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My wife passed away in May 2013, She had charged on an American

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My wife passed away in May 2013, She had charged on an American Express card, now they are billing me for payment. She made the charges, the card she used was in my sons name. Do I have to pay this bill? It is not on any of my credit reports.
Hello, and welcome! I am a licensed attorney and will be happy to assist you.

You didn't co-sign or anything?

What is your son saying?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No, I took the card out so my son could have it when he went to college. He has told me the my wife used his card, why I don't know.

So you opened the card and allowed your son to use it correct?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes, he had a card in his name.

But you allowed him to use it - you were the guarantor of the card - he was just allowed to use it at college.

In who's name do the statements come - to you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

They started out in my wifes name, now thay are coming in my name.

I'm confused - why did the statements come in her name to begin with?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I's not sure, she never used my card. American Express was looking for her, I told them of her death. As far as I know, she never had her own card, nor did she ever use mine.

Then I wouldn't pay one more dime on the account.

I would immediately send them a certified letter stating as follows:

Under the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act, you are allowed to challenge the validity of a debt that a collection agency states you owe to them. Use this letter and the following form to make the agency verify that the debt is actually yours and owed by you. Keep a copy for your files and send the letter registered mail.


Your Name
Your Address
City, State Zip

American Express
Address (get from their statements)
City, State Zip

Re: Acct # XXXXX


To Whom It May Concern:


I am sending this letter to you in response to a notice I received from you on (date of letter). Be advised, this is not a refusal to pay, but a notice sent pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 USC 1692g Sec. 809 (b) that your claim is disputed and validation is requested.


This is NOT a request for "verification" or proof of my mailing address, but a request for VALIDATION made pursuant to the above named Title and Section. I respectfully XXXXX XXXXX your office provide me with competent evidence that I have any legal obligation to pay you.


Please provide me with the following:

  • What the money you say I owe is for;
  • Explain and show me how you calculated what you say I owe;
  • Provide me with copies of any papers that show I agreed to pay what you say I owe;
  • Provide a verification or copy of any judgment if applicable;
  • Identify the original creditor;
  • Prove the Statute of Limitations has not expired on this account;
  • Show me that you are licensed to collect in my state; and
  • Provide me with your license numbers and Registered Agent.

If your offices have reported invalidated information to any of the three major Credit Bureau's (Equifax, Experian or TransUnion), said action might constitute fraud under both Federal and State Laws. Due to this fact, if any negative mark is found on any of my credit reports by your company or the company that you represent I will not hesitate in bringing legal action against you for the following:

  • Violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act
  • Violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
  • Defamation of Character

If your offices are able to provide the proper documentation as requested, I will require at least 30 days to investigate this information and during such time all collection activity must cease and desist.


Also during this validation period, if any action is taken which could be considered detrimental to any of my credit reports, I will consult with my legal counsel. This includes any information to a credit reporting repository that could be inaccurate or invalidated or verifying an account as accurate when in fact there is no provided proof that it is.


If your offices fail to respond to this validation request within 30 days from the date of your receipt, all references to this account must be deleted and completely removed from my credit file and a copy of such deletion request shall be sent to me immediately.


I would also like to request, in writing, that no telephone contact be made by your offices to my home or to my place of employment. If your offices attempt telephone communication with me, including but not limited to computer generated calls or correspondence sent to any third parties, it will be considered harassment and I will have no choice but to file suit. All future communications with me MUST be done in writing and sent to the address noted in this letter.

This is an attempt to correct your records, any information obtained shall be used for that purpose.

Best Regards,

Your Signature
Your Name


Send them that letter. You need to find out who signed for the account and if anyone co-signed or guaranteed the charges.

If they have your signature on the executed agreement - then you are liable.

If they don't have your signature - then you are NOT liable and tell them where they can put their statements.

Thank you so much for allowing me to help you with your questions. I have done my best to provide information which will be helpful to you. If I have not fully addressed your questions or if you have any follow up questions, or if I have misinterpreted your questions in any way, please do not rate me yet, but simply ask a follow up question without rating so I can provide you with a fully satisfactory answer.. I thank you in advance for taking the time to provide me a positive rating!

If you have any questions, about this or anything else, please ask for me, Law Pro, directly in the question and I will try to assist you as best I can.

For example, you would state, "This question is for Law Pro . . . (then on with your question).

I wish you the best in the future.
Law Pro and 2 other Consumer Protection Law Specialists are ready to help you