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Old 06-09-2009, 02:20 PM
 
888 posts, read 2,760,228 times
Reputation: 654

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and bypass small claims? Said if I don't pay, they're sending a debt collector to get the money. This just seems to easy for them to "claim" I owe them money from my old apartment. Can anyone direct me how to find out proper "protocol?" I'm so getting screwed.
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Old 06-09-2009, 03:14 PM
 
Location: Indianapolis, IN
914 posts, read 3,730,571 times
Reputation: 831
I had this happen to me once in college. They were going after money they actually had no right to in the first place. They sent my roommate and I each a bill and then 5 months later we were getting calls collection agencies. What happened in this case, as what I would guess is happening in yours, is that the rental agency started with collections agencies. When my dad (Hehe, I was young) called to talk to them, they said their course of action was to send their outstanding bills to first one collection agency, then the next, and then finally take legal action. In this way, the rental agency can attempt to strong arm money from you without having to deal with taking you to court, because, of course, they might loose. And that will cost them money. Why worry about losing a court case when they can just threaten money out of you?

The agency told my father there was nothing they could do now that their course of action had started (total crap, but whatever), so when we finally got a call from a lawyer telling us if we didn't pay they would take us to court (note, they are still not actually taking us to court yet) we simply sent the lawyer a letter stating we disagreed with the charges and that, furthermore, according to Oregon State Law, they actually owed us money, so in they event that they took us to court, we would happily counter-sue. We never heard from them again.

So, the first question for you is: are you disputing these charges? And, even more helpful, do you have legal grounds to dispute these charges? If I were you, I would contact the landlord, both verbally and in writing (send it certified in case you have to go to court) stating you disagree with the charges. You can ask the debt collectors to stop calling, and say you prefer to deal with the issue through the landlord directly or through a lawyer. If they don't, this can constitute harassment. If they continue to hound you, tell them you are going to report them to the police. (That usually solves the problem.) I would also recommend getting very well acquainted with and state/city rental laws that apply to you. Unfortunately, it is common for some landlords/rental agencies to attempt to charge you for things they shouldn't be. (Especially companies who rent to students and other primarily young people whom they assume don't know the laws.) You should know what they can and cannot be charging you for. You may want to check local resources to see if anyone in the area can give you free legal advice regarding this. If there is a local college, you might check there (lots of college have a service like this because so many students get screwed), or check to see if your state offers help in interpreting landlord tenant law. Many have services like this if you just look.

Also, you might want to see if getting sent to a debt collector is affecting your credit. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. Luckily in my situation, I didn't. So check your credit history. If it does, and you don't agree with the charges they are leveling against you, you can dispute a mark on your credit report. (But I have never actually had to do this, so I am not sure of the protocol.)

Good luck!

Last edited by Jillaceae; 06-09-2009 at 03:32 PM..
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Old 06-09-2009, 05:16 PM
 
Location: Seaford, Delaware
3,456 posts, read 16,321,050 times
Reputation: 2585
What the LL did was sell the debt. The LL does not make much money, but they get some and let it go. the collection agency gets whatever they can scam from you. If it is on your credit report, you can disoute it and ask for details of the amount owed.
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Old 06-09-2009, 05:37 PM
 
Location: Airports all over the world
5,711 posts, read 5,866,673 times
Reputation: 96900
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skatergirl View Post
and bypass small claims? Said if I don't pay, they're sending a debt collector to get the money. This just seems to easy for them to "claim" I owe them money from my old apartment. Can anyone direct me how to find out proper "protocol?" I'm so getting screwed.
There is nothing saying they have to take you to small claims before turning it over to a debt collector. Without knowing what your situation is it is hard say what to expect. You might want to contact the state and see if there is a renters bill of rights. You may have solid ground to stand on, or may not.
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Old 06-09-2009, 06:18 PM
 
Location: Clermont Fl
1,715 posts, read 3,853,193 times
Reputation: 1221
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skatergirl View Post
and bypass small claims? Said if I don't pay, they're sending a debt collector to get the money. This just seems to easy for them to "claim" I owe them money from my old apartment. Can anyone direct me how to find out proper "protocol?" I'm so getting screwed.
Do you owe the money or not, if not show them you do not if you owe them there getting screwed and pay them
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Old 06-10-2009, 10:06 AM
 
888 posts, read 2,760,228 times
Reputation: 654
Default Wowzie, thanks for the info

Thanks for so many details. We;ve already sent certified letters that we dispute the claims for a carpet replacement. Funny is they sent pictures of the carpet they claim we ruined that look okay. They even sent some with a different carpet color completely. Maybe stock photo's?? I actually have photo's of the carpet that show it looking good. Btw, what a dad you've got!



Thanks!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jillaceae View Post
I had this happen to me once in college. They were going after money they actually had no right to in the first place. They sent my roommate and I each a bill and then 5 months later we were getting calls collection agencies. What happened in this case, as what I would guess is happening in yours, is that the rental agency started with collections agencies. When my dad (Hehe, I was young) called to talk to them, they said their course of action was to send their outstanding bills to first one collection agency, then the next, and then finally take legal action. In this way, the rental agency can attempt to strong arm money from you without having to deal with taking you to court, because, of course, they might loose. And that will cost them money. Why worry about losing a court case when they can just threaten money out of you?

The agency told my father there was nothing they could do now that their course of action had started (total crap, but whatever), so when we finally got a call from a lawyer telling us if we didn't pay they would take us to court (note, they are still not actually taking us to court yet) we simply sent the lawyer a letter stating we disagreed with the charges and that, furthermore, according to Oregon State Law, they actually owed us money, so in they event that they took us to court, we would happily counter-sue. We never heard from them again.

So, the first question for you is: are you disputing these charges? And, even more helpful, do you have legal grounds to dispute these charges? If I were you, I would contact the landlord, both verbally and in writing (send it certified in case you have to go to court) stating you disagree with the charges. You can ask the debt collectors to stop calling, and say you prefer to deal with the issue through the landlord directly or through a lawyer. If they don't, this can constitute harassment. If they continue to hound you, tell them you are going to report them to the police. (That usually solves the problem.) I would also recommend getting very well acquainted with and state/city rental laws that apply to you. Unfortunately, it is common for some landlords/rental agencies to attempt to charge you for things they shouldn't be. (Especially companies who rent to students and other primarily young people whom they assume don't know the laws.) You should know what they can and cannot be charging you for. You may want to check local resources to see if anyone in the area can give you free legal advice regarding this. If there is a local college, you might check there (lots of college have a service like this because so many students get screwed), or check to see if your state offers help in interpreting landlord tenant law. Many have services like this if you just look.

Also, you might want to see if getting sent to a debt collector is affecting your credit. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. Luckily in my situation, I didn't. So check your credit history. If it does, and you don't agree with the charges they are leveling against you, you can dispute a mark on your credit report. (But I have never actually had to do this, so I am not sure of the protocol.)

Good luck!
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Old 06-11-2009, 08:55 PM
 
850 posts, read 4,078,201 times
Reputation: 676
That's really common, especially in the apartment industry. When you have hundreds of apartments to manage, it's not practical to take them all to court personally, so you send it off to a collection agency to handle that for you. The collection agency can pursue collection and court activity if necessary. There's no right or wrong way to do it, it's all based on the landlord's preference. Obviously with a collection agent, they have to give them a portion of the debt, so some landlords choose to do it on their own.

How are they saying the carpet was damaged? Do they have carpet samples in addition to the photos? If they just have photos and you do as well and they're contradictory, then they'll have a tough time in court. However, if they have the actual damaged carpet (which they may not even tell you they have, you have to ask), then it's much more difficult to fight.
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Old 06-18-2009, 11:24 PM
 
Location: New Orleans
525 posts, read 899,461 times
Reputation: 478
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jillaceae View Post
I had this happen to me once in college. They were going after money they actually had no right to in the first place. They sent my roommate and I each a bill and then 5 months later we were getting calls collection agencies. What happened in this case, as what I would guess is happening in yours, is that the rental agency started with collections agencies. When my dad (Hehe, I was young) called to talk to them, they said their course of action was to send their outstanding bills to first one collection agency, then the next, and then finally take legal action. In this way, the rental agency can attempt to strong arm money from you without having to deal with taking you to court, because, of course, they might loose. And that will cost them money. Why worry about losing a court case when they can just threaten money out of you?

The agency told my father there was nothing they could do now that their course of action had started (total crap, but whatever), so when we finally got a call from a lawyer telling us if we didn't pay they would take us to court (note, they are still not actually taking us to court yet) we simply sent the lawyer a letter stating we disagreed with the charges and that, furthermore, according to Oregon State Law, they actually owed us money, so in they event that they took us to court, we would happily counter-sue. We never heard from them again.

So, the first question for you is: are you disputing these charges? And, even more helpful, do you have legal grounds to dispute these charges? If I were you, I would contact the landlord, both verbally and in writing (send it certified in case you have to go to court) stating you disagree with the charges. You can ask the debt collectors to stop calling, and say you prefer to deal with the issue through the landlord directly or through a lawyer. If they don't, this can constitute harassment. If they continue to hound you, tell them you are going to report them to the police. (That usually solves the problem.) I would also recommend getting very well acquainted with and state/city rental laws that apply to you. Unfortunately, it is common for some landlords/rental agencies to attempt to charge you for things they shouldn't be. (Especially companies who rent to students and other primarily young people whom they assume don't know the laws.) You should know what they can and cannot be charging you for. You may want to check local resources to see if anyone in the area can give you free legal advice regarding this. If there is a local college, you might check there (lots of college have a service like this because so many students get screwed), or check to see if your state offers help in interpreting landlord tenant law. Many have services like this if you just look.

Also, you might want to see if getting sent to a debt collector is affecting your credit. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. Luckily in my situation, I didn't. So check your credit history. If it does, and you don't agree with the charges they are leveling against you, you can dispute a mark on your credit report. (But I have never actually had to do this, so I am not sure of the protocol.)

Good luck!
Other companies and businesses do the same thing. I see nothing wrong with it. It is a business isn't it?
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Old 06-20-2009, 09:25 AM
 
Location: Indianapolis, IN
914 posts, read 3,730,571 times
Reputation: 831
Quote:
Originally Posted by mading6 View Post
Other companies and businesses do the same thing. I see nothing wrong with it. It is a business isn't it?
It depends on what you mean by the "same thing". Yes, businesses use collection agencies all the time. The issue I am discussing is sending someone to collections over a debt that isn't actually lawful to collect; that some landlords do this because they know if they go to court they will lose. You see nothing wrong with that?
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Old 06-20-2009, 10:36 AM
 
850 posts, read 4,078,201 times
Reputation: 676
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jillaceae View Post
It depends on what you mean by the "same thing". Yes, businesses use collection agencies all the time. The issue I am discussing is sending someone to collections over a debt that isn't actually lawful to collect; that some landlords do this because they know if they go to court they will lose. You see nothing wrong with that?
Credit card companies are doing this all the time. Google "junk debt buyers," it's crazy. These companies are essentially collection companies and they're preying on unsuspecting people who don't know any better and getting judgements against them. The majority of the time, they don't even have the necessary paperwork and contracts to be able to do so, but people don't fight them and they get a default judgement against them. So, just because a debt isn't lawful to collect doesn't mean they can't try. And unfortunately, most people don't know any better and end up paying it.
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