Help/Advice with wrongful debt reported to credit bureaus
I cancelled DSL and phone service with Qwest in March. They sent me a UPS mailing label to return the DSL modem. I shipped the modem using their label and have the receipt and delivery confirmation via the UPS tracking webpage.
Qwest turned my account over to collections for non return of the modem. I attempted multiple times to resolve the matter with Qwest (now CenturyTel) and was repeatedly told there was nothing they could do now that the account was turned over to the collections agency (Afni).
I disputed the claim with Afni. Later another agency attempted to collect on the debt, and I disputed the debt with them. They reported the debt to the credit bureaus, and it is now showing up on my credit report.
I know this because I am in the process of obtaining a mortgage.
2 attorney answers
The first thing to realize when dealing with debt collectors is that you have to conduct all discussions in writing. No one will pay attention unless there is a paper trail. Keep your letters short and sweet, because a judge might wind up looking at them. As you know, if you dispute the debt it is not supposed to show up on your credit report.
In debt collection, when they contact you, you write them and dispute the validity of the debt. Explain yourself, and be prepared to send proof. Send your communications certified and keep copies of everything. If you google "debt validation letter" you'll find some useful examples of what these can look like.
Then write to the Attorney General and ask them to look into the situation. This is because you might be the 478th person having an issue this month with this collection agency, or maybe they have lost their license and have no right to be trying to collect this debt.
The phone company may be regulated by some other agency, and if that is the case, you want to bring this to that agency as well. If this situation is not resolved quickly and finally, then your option is to hire an attorney and sue Qwest and the debt collector who is currently coming after you. Attorneys who handle this kind of thing are generally listed with the National Association of Consumer Attorneys. Some may be willing to work on a contingency (they get a portion when you get a settlement or a judgment) because the penalties for this sort of bungling are pretty good.
Hope this helps. Elizabeth Powell
Using Avvo does not form an attorney client relationship.
You should immediately provide Quest (CenturyTel) with a print out of the delivery confirmation. If the debt appears on your credit report, you should ask the debt agency to validate the debt. If they are unable to verify the debt within 30 days of your request, then the credit reporting bureau must remove the debt from your credit report. If you have a copy of that delivery confirmation, hold onto it and dispute with the credit reporting bureau that this debt has been wrongly reported. It may take 30 to 90 days for them to resolve the dispute so it is also important that you regularly follow up.
Learn more about credit scores, credit reporting bureaus and the statute of limitations on debt by visiting our links.
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Legal Disclaimer: The answer above should not be relied upon as legal advice. The information provided above is based on insufficient facts. No warranty is provided that the answer is correct. No attorney-client relationship has been formed with me until a signed written contract is complete. For an official opinion, it is advised that you seek legal counsel.