Colo. Man to Go to Trial in May Over $42 Girl Scout Cookie Purchase

PHOTO: Tad Osborn’s $42 worth of Girl Scout cookies turned into a more than $700 legal headache one year later.
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A Colorado man's purchase of $42 of Girl Scout cookies has led to a court date and more than $700 in debt for what he says was an error by a Girl Scout troop's bank.

Tad Osborn, an IT professional in Fort Collins, Colo., bought about a dozen boxes last year from a scout from his neighborhood. He wrote a check for $42 and enjoyed the cookies with his family.

Then last summer, he received a notice from a collection agency, informing him that his check had bounced and more than doubled his bill to $82, as first reported by CBS4.

He called the local Girl Scout troop who directed him to an office in Denver.

"When someone called me back, they said my account was marked as closed. That was the first sign that we had a problem here, because my account was not closed," he told ABCNews.com.

He explained to the Girl Scouts that his account was not closed, even asking his bank manager to send a letter that his account had remained opened.

Osborn said he believes the Girl Scouts' bank had an issue processing his check.

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Rachelle Trujillo, a spokeswoman for the Girl Scouts of Colorado, declined to comment specifically about this case due to pending litigation but said the cookie operation is like any other large business. The state organization sells 3.5 million cookies.

"When a check is reported as bad debt by a troop's bank, the troop attempts to contact the customer and the council then attempts to resolve the debt," the organization's statement reads. "Like any other business, after multiple attempts to resolve, we use a professional collection agency."

"The problem is I was never notified," Osborn said, claiming he never received a phone call, letter or knock on the door notifying the check had bounced. "Because they never contacted me, I never had the chance to set this straight."

The debt collection agency, AAA Collectors Inc., sued Osborn for $739.85, the bulk of which is $450 in attorney fees, followed by court and principal costs.

An office manager for AAA Collectors Inc. declined to comment to ABCNews.com, explaining that the company is bound by federal law from discussing a collection with a third party.

Osborn had to pay $100 to file a legal response just so the agency doesn't win a judgment by default.

That cost was "the thing that really got me upset," he said.

The attorney for the agency, Randall Purvis, has asked Osborn if he wants to settle, Osborn said, but he declined. Purvis did not respond to a request for comment.

Today Osborn received a notice for a trial date of May 8, and he feels he will likely need to hire an attorney. He has filed a complaint with the state attorney general's office on Monday.

The legal headache hasn't prevented him from buying Girl Scout cookies this year however.

His daughter recently became a Girl Scout in an unrelated troop.

"I like the Girl Scouts and their Girl Scout cookies," he said. "I have no problem donating the money to them. This is making me think twice about writing a check. Just cash -- lesson learned."

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