So...last week, I was informed for the first time of a debt I owe from November 2017 (an old apartment complex I moved out of in November). When I moved out, they signed forms showing I had $0 balance. I now received proof from a collection agency showing that this was false and that I owe $800ish (and I think they're right). I had a 650 credit score before this and don't want it to affect my credit, but since I hung up on the collection agency guy after being on the phone with him for 2 minutes a month and a half ago (asking him why he's calling me from my area code when his business that Google said is a scam is listed as being in Georgia), they claim it's now listed on my credit report. I didn't believe him about the debt for a second considering I have never had debt before and I just closed on a condo 2 weeks prior and never heard anything about a debt owed, and he didn't provide me with any specifics (until this week). If the voicemails I received from them weren't robocalls from fake phone numbers in my area and gave specifics on what was owed, I would've fixed this mess quickly.
A more thorough explanation of what happened is below. Any suggestions on what I can do to fix this and get it off my report? Convert the explanation below into a letter to the collection agency asking them to do so, perhaps? Thanks for your help.
I lived at a Quantum Real Estate Management apartment complex in 2017. I moved out in November 2017. I signed move-out forms with property management where property management wrote that I had no balance due. Should I have known about a missing payment, I would have paid it immediately, as I always do.
I first learned of this outstanding debt last week after a National Credit Systems rep finally got a hold of me on the phone to explain the situation. While I received automated voicemails from National Credit Systems in the past, I never believed they were actually from a legitimate business as they always came from +1 973 area codes. Calls coming from +1 973 (my area code, which I still have from when I lived in NJ) normally signify a scam calI. I receive those types of calls weekly from individuals posing to be IRS agents and credit card companies with the goal of extorting money. I also never received anything in the mail about this debt I supposedly owed, which seemed like another red flag to me.
If the National Credit Systems voicemails were personalized to me rather than being automated, and if they mentioned that I had an outstanding debt from Mass Place Apartments – a name I recognize – I would have called back and rectified the problem immediately. Without that, as someone that has never had something go to a collection agency before, I felt there was no way that the calls were legitimate. Despite having my e-mail address on file, National Credit Systems also never sent me proof of the debt I owed at the onset. If a representative did, it would have cleared away all suspicions I had.
I had one other very brief (5 minute or less) conversation with Mr. Dubois on the phone earlier (perhaps August or September), but it was so brief that I never heard the name “Mass Place Apartments” from him, which would have rung a legitimacy bell in my head. On the call, I asked him what business he was with, and he said National Credit Systems. I quickly Googled the business and noticed that people reported it as a scam. Likely, they were individuals who just had no intention of paying their debts and reported the business as a bad one so they could blame someone else for their problems; nevertheless, those Google postings led me to believe this supposed debt owed was a farce by yet another phone scam operation.
If my memory serves me right, all that Mr. Dubois and I discussed on that brief 5-minute call in August or September before I disconnected was why a debt collector that Google says is based in Georgia would be calling me from a +1 973 New Jersey area code. Never was I asked for my e-mail so he could send PDFs of my lease and the account ledger as evidence of the legitimacy, which would have caused me to act quickly. If I received more details in a voicemail, e-mail, or other form of communication regarding the debt, I would’ve understood the legitimacy of the call and acted quickly.
After that brief call, I phoned my most recent apartment complex (RiverHouse Apartments, where I lived from December 2017-August 2019) to see if there was any debt that I owed. They said there was not, so I assumed I was in the clear. Additionally, I just closed on a property purchase in August and this issue never came up on the credit report that was needed to close. So i was sure there was no issue.
However, last week, I finally received PDFs of proof from Mr. Dubois last week after our first “real” conversation, and after making several calls to the old Quantum Real Estate building management immediately after from receiving this information from him to verify that it was all legitimate, I have determined that it seems to be accurate. In my first couple of calls, management told me there was nothing owed on my end, but after I followed up, I received a different Mass Place/Quantum staffer who managed to pull up my account and confirm.
This isolated incident was an anomaly that stemmed from a misunderstanding. It would have been paid promptly if I knew exactly what was going on.