collections / lawyers
Im not exactly sure where to post this, but perhaps some of you could send me in the right direction. Im 24 and and rebuilding my credit. I have a few credit cards with little to nothing on them and a car loan. Ive been slowly repairing the damaged I caused when I was 18-19. I was irresponsible, ran up credit cards, and didnt pay them. Honestly, I just made stupid decisions. In an effort to clean up my credit, I of course obtained a copy of my credit report. I started with Experian. I found a few things on there I did not recognize, but I assumed that perhaps some of my old debts were sold off to collection agencies, and that is why I did not recognize the names. One struck me as especially odd (New Century Financial) because of the amount. It said date opened: 9/1/2006 and the first time it showed any activity was a key derogatory under December '06. I disputed it with Experian (no knowledge of account) and they quickly removed it. This was in December. I had planned on checking my other credit reports within the next month or so. Today, I get a letter from a law office (Pressler and Pressler) citing a docket number in NJ Superior Court, Special Civil Part. Its actually in a county I dont live in, and have never lived in, so that makes no sense to me. If they were going to sue me for the amount I owe, they would have to sue me in the county in which I live. Ive lived in the same county for almost 4 years now. Not only that, this is the first time Ive heard of this debt and these companies. The letter basically says to send them an amount I dont readily have. I could pay it off in a few months, but first I want to know what the hell its for. I should mention that Ive googled both companies and found some pretty negative things ( example 1), so I feel as if I need to "gear up" to find out whats going on. So, before I start calling around demanding answers, I want to arm myself with as much knowledge as possible. What is the most effective way to get this resolved? I know the obvious answer is to contact this law firm (which says to send them the payment, but made out to New Century Financial) I am thinking that sending them a certified letter asking for proof of the debt is the first step. I wont send them a dime until I know what the debt is for, and I will pay back any debt I honestly owe. But the thing is, Experian removed this for me when I listed the reason as no knowledge of account. Does this count for anything ? Should I ask Experian for proof of them removing it and send that with a letter to this law office? Are they (this law firm or financial company) legally required to send me proof of the debt? The court has never notified me, I would think that contacting them maybe a good idea, but Im also thinking contacting this law office first is a good way to go. I scanned the FCRA to see what they say, and I found this:
Consumer reporting agencies must correct or delete inaccurate, incomplete, or unverifiable information. Inaccurate, incomplete or unverifiable information must be removed or corrected, usually within 30 days. However, a consumer reporting agency may continue to report information it has verified as accurate. Consumer reporting agencies may not report outdated negative information. In most cases, a consumer reporting agency may not report negative information that is more than seven years old, or bankruptcies that are more than 10 years old.
So basically, Im trying to figure out a plan of action, or at the very least, where to start first! Any suggestions, information, etc is appreciated :)