My dad opened a credit card account in his name a few years ago to help with my college bills, and he made me an authorized user. Now he’s delinquent on the card and I’m receiving collection calls and notices. Do I owe the credit card company money?
No, an authorized user is not liable. The account is in your dad’s name, and you didn’t sign anything. He’s the one legally responsible for the money owed.
I want you to be careful, though. Lots of credit card companies will badger people and use all kinds of pressure and guilt trips to try to collect money from people who don’t owe them anything. They just want their money, and they really don’t care who writes the check.
Get them to remove you as an authorized user today. Send them a letter demanding this via certified mail, return receipt requested, so you’ll have proof. Also, make sure they understand that you’ll sue them for about $10 million if they don’t comply immediately. You shouldn’t be reported to the credit bureaus for any of this, but companies can report just about anything—even inaccurate information—to the bureaus.
You have rights as a consumer, and you are not legally liable for credit card debt when you’re just an authorized user. But make sure you check your credit report regularly in the future. Some of these companies make a habit of repeatedly downloading misinformation to the bureaus in an effort to bother and bully people into paying debts they don’t owe!
* Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business. He’s authored four New York Times best-selling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover and EntreLeadership. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 6 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.