Hi everyone, I could really use some help with this.
In 2007 I moved from Michigan to Sacramento for a planned 6-month stay. I was on contract and KNEW I would only be there for that period of time. I signed a 6-month lease.
When I moved out, the apartment management company claimed I was breaking my lease and said I was on a 12-month lease rather than 6. This was BS, and being young and not realizing the potential reprucussions, I said "screw it" and didn't deal with it properly.
Whatever amount they were claiming I owed has been sent to a collections agency. I have tried to dispute it twice. Each time I do, it gets verified and I get a special, not-so-nicely worded, hand-written letter from the collection agency telling me to stop disputing it. The last time they sent me one, they also said they'd delete it if I paid $1,000. I can't really afford to do this right now and I don't really think it's fair since I didn't break the law.
I do not have a copy of the lease. I've called the land management company to see if they could provide any insight. The guy I spoke to couldn't find me in their database and had me leave a VM on another person's phone. They are supposed to call me back tomorrow.
What should I do from here? Would it help to get the collections agency to verify the debt? Is there a better way to dispute this with the credit bureaus (all I said before was "isn't mine")?
Please help, thanks!
Also, for what it's worth... I just did a little digging on the collection agency "Marathon Services Inc." in Sacramento. They have a lot of poor reviews (as one would expect for a collection agency), but it seems they also have a habit of not being able to provide proof of the collection.
The CA doesn't have to provide proof, or at least per the FDCPA. I would start with a DV to the CA if you haven't done so already. Also call the OC again and again until you get a copy of that lease.
I think you mean the OC doesn't have to provide proof, yes? That I understand.
I simply want to talk to the OC and see if they have record of it or can provide any insight. If they don't have record of it, it sure makes it interesting (e.g. how will the CA provide a proof if there's no record?).
I'm also a bit murky on debt validation. I take it that my hope is that the CA cannot validate the debt and is then required to remove the collection from my credit reports? If they do validate it, my options are then to go for a PFD, yes?
Thanks for your help!
No, the CA doesn't have to provide proof when responding to a DV, per the FDCPA. The OC doesn't have to provide proof either. However, if either were to sue, then they have to prove it obviously. You can definitely ask for proof from both and I bet if you bugged them enough, you'd get it out of them.
Here's a snippet from the FDCPA on debt verification:
(b) If the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty-day period described in subsection (a) that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, or that the consumer requests the name and address of the original creditor, the debt collector shall cease collection of the debt, or any disputed portion thereof, until the debt collector obtains verification of the debt or any copy of a judgment, or the name and address of the original creditor, and a copy of such verification or judgment, or name and address of the original creditor, is mailed to the consumer by the debt collector.
A CA has an unlimited amount of time to validate a debt. IME, most responded inside a couple of weeks, though I did have one respond a year later once. If they can't verify, then they'll go away. Most of my CA deletions were through a DV and most of those deletions happened inside a month.
If they validate, and if you agree, then send a PFD. If you disagree (e.g. you never signed a year lease), then definitely bug them until you can get ahold of that lease. IMO, I would like to have a clean report, but a clean report isn't as important as not paying a debt that wasn't mine.
That makes sense (and makes my head spin a bit too).
The thing is... I never received notification of the collection. Furthermore, this puppy is well past the SOL, so they can't sue me at all here.
I guess what I'm worried about is sending a DV and getting no response and then having this thing lurk on my credit reports forever (well, at least another 1 year, 9 months until it drops off). But that just sucks!
I'll probably talk to the OC and perhaps even the CA tomorrow. Is there anything I can say to the CA that will provide me some leverage to get this thing deleted?
Thanks for all your help!