My question involves collection proceedings in the State of: SC
I signed up for an internet service. The service was 2 months late on installation. I paid a few months, then needed to terminate early due to moving. I expected the final bill to be last month plus maybe an early termination fee, however I was hit with all kinds of fees and a much higher amount. I went to the company in person to discuss the amount and was told that I had a special rate due to a year contract and that since I was terminating prior to that year, I would be charged a higher monthly fee (for all months already paid), plus an early termination fee, plus they based what I owed on when the contract was signed and not when the service began (2 months later).
I asked to see the contract I signed where it stated all this (especialy the part about a higher rate if terminated prior to a year), however they cannot find my contract. I have been there a few times to work this out and have been told just the amount they say I owe, but they still cannot produce any contract that I signed. I also do not have a copy of the contract. Now I am getting calls from a collection agency.
I would like to pay what I believe I owe (last month, plus a reasonable early termination fee) however now I don't know who I deal with; the company I owe the money to, or the collection agency? I am not trying to get out of paying, just want to pay what I believe I should and since they cannot produce a signed contract stating anything different, I don't think I am being unreasonable. I am a college student and on very limited means, but most certainly don't want to hurt my credit.
Do I need to get a lawyer and if so, are there any legal services for issues like this for those who cannot afford a lawyer?
Any advice is truly appreciated.