collections / lawyers

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 :)
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