07-06-2012 08:14 AM
I need some advice on how to get a baddie removed from my scores.
a year ago - I had a utility bill (gas) that when I moved and closed (moved to an aparmtment that had all utilites paid for by the landlord). When I closed the account they sent me a "estimated" bill based off my average usage to my new address and said this is what is due to close your account. I paid the amount on that bill (have the returned check as well as the origional bill they sent me).
Fast forward to last week. I went and pulled my reports and everything was as I remembered except for 1 thing! it showed the utility company saying I had a charge off of $7.56 and that it was months past due. Below that was National Recovery showing me owning them the $7.56. I called the gas company and said "I paid the bill I was sent and I have the bill, the returned check etc." they looked into their system and showed that the "estimated bill" didnt' cover the actual usage when they then went and read the meter and that the $7.56 was the difference of the charges plus some interest. I asked why I never recieved a bill and they said "well we sent one". So I paid the bill over the phone (incurring a $2 fee for convience, but I figured it would be easier and quicker than paying at one of those shoddy bill payment places PLUS it would be instantly credited to my account within 24 hours).
Literally 30 mins after hanging up the phone and paying the bill I get a call from National Recovery (first time they contacted me - no letters, no phone calls, etc). They confirmed the address they had on file as being my current one.
I said "I don't acknowldege knowing anything of this debt and you will need to send me something in writing prior to me discussing this any further. They responded with a couple things that had me REALLY worried (plus the fact that they were already reporting me owing them money on my credit score).
1. they said they had sent a letter last year and they were only required by law to send 1 letter if requested to prove the debt and that my window has closed. I asked for another be sent with signature confirmation and they said they legally don't have to prove it to me anymore that they can collect a debt on the gas company's behalf.
2. they can and will continue to report me to the credit bureaus until I pay them and once I pay them it will just go down as "paid in full" but remain on my score for 7 years since i technically have a new debt with them.
3. If I don't pay them directly, they can keep this debt open for as long as they want (obviously I know SOL will eventually expire it out - but just the fact that its there isn't healthy).
Obviously I know I dispute the charges but I'm assuming the gas company did sell them the debt then they will have documentation that I owe them - and that I paid the gas company would mean nothing thus they'd have proof I owe them.
I kinda figure they aren't going to do a Pay to Delete of $7 considering in all my years, every debt collector has been willing to send you whatever to prove to get you on a payment plan as soon as possible, but I'm assuming over $7 they could care less if they get their fraction of a penny and would just rather not waste the money on postage and labor...
I know it won't have a huge effect but ever since this whole recession thing, I know alot of the GOOD banks won't give you any consideration if you have ANY baddies on your report even if they are $7 and years old.
any thought on how to get it off?
07-06-2012 01:24 PM
They are, for the most part, correct.
The FDCPA requires them to provide dunning notice, and within that notice, advise the consumer of their right to request debt validation.
You can request validation at any time, but unless sent within 30-days from dunning notice, it does not impose a cease collection bar on the debt collector, and they can choose not to respond.
If your DV is timely, it does not require validation, it requires their cessation of collection activity.
If they provide verification, they are then able to continue collection on the debt. "Proof" of debt is not a requirement of the statute. What is required is that they obtain verification, and communicate that to the consumer. If they provided what they consider to be adequate verification, then they are correct. They have met their obligation.
If you dont consider their verification to be adeqate, you can assert a violation of their cease collection bar by their resumption of collection activities.
You would then have a factual issue to be pursued by complaint to the FTC, civil action on your part, or informal complaint to third parties, such as the BBB.
Asserting a requirement for documentary proof of the debt is not supported by most case law. Only a judge can compel such "proof."
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