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A little over a month ago, I received a voicemail from a debt collections agency stating that they wanted to collect on $200 from an apartment complex that I moved out of 6 months earlier. I assumed it was some sort of scam and ignored it and two subsequent calls several weeks later. My move-out was smooth and I had a zero balance at my complex, though I never asked for anything to be written to that effect, so I'm of the belief that the claim is totally baseless and may be a clerical error or some other mistake. The agency has never mailed me anything in writing, only left voicemails.

When my monthly credit report was updated last week, I saw an entry under collections accounts that listed the $200. I opened a dispute with the three credit bureaus and today I received my first response from one of them (Experian) stating that they could not validate the account and it has been deleted. I'm still waiting for the other two to get back to me.

After the response from Experian, I went online to see if I could use their deletion as grounds to get the collections agency to stop bothering me as their claim has been deleted. I discovered that if I dispute the debt within 30 days of first contact (which has now passed, if voicemails count as contact), the agency is barred from contacting me until the dispute is resolved.

My concern is that Experian has already removed the item from my report and I'm expecting Equifax and Transunion to do the same shortly. Once the item is off my credit report, I assume it's impossible for the collections agency to add it again without new information. If I reach out to them to dispute the debt directly then all I'm doing is giving them new info and I don't want that to be a reason for them to try and add the item back to me credit report again.

So, in short, if all three credit bureaus delete the account from my credit report, is it even worthwhile speaking to the collections agency, or should I take solace in the fact that, for all intents and purposes, the claim won't ever be reported to anyone?

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I would say you can ignore calls but not a summons.

You can send a drop dead letter at anytime too if they keep calling.

Here is an example one.

http://www.fdcpaclaims.com/gathering-evidence-to-win-my-fdcpa-claim/what-constitutes-abuse-of-the-fdcpa/sample-drop-dead-letter/

John Oliver, on a show not too long ago, illustrated very plainly that this can be passed around from 3rd party to 3rd party with no evidence that you even owe money. And every time a new third party gets word that you might owe money a whole new round of calling could begin.

So off topic but... If they decide to take it to court and you do not show, the court rules against you and you will owe the money even if you didn't. It's absolutely crazy.

Never ignore a court summons.

  • Thanks, I definitely think (hope) I'd know if they actually try and sue me, although they clearly don't have much to stand on. So if these things can be traded from company to company, what's to stop them from trying to report to credit agencies again once it's deleted? I assume the agencies track deletions and would say "hey, that looks just like this thing we already removed" but that may be expecting too much... – Brian R Jun 29 '16 at 18:55

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