My question involves collection proceedings in the State of: California.
Preparing to purchase a home, I pulled copies of my credit report from all three agencies. To my surprise, the Equifax report indicates that I have something in collections with Professional Finance Co., for a $192.00 debt to Atmos Energy, with an alleged date of first delinquency in early 2008. There are a few problems with this:
- I have never been a customer of Atmos Energy, and I have not been late on a payment to any utility company for decades.
- Professional Finance Co has never contacted me regarding this alleged debt; I learned of this only by pulling my credit report from Equifax.
I disputed it online with Equifax, but the results of that have just arrived, and are "We verified that this item belongs to you. We have verified that this item has been reported correctly." I'm not sure what constitutes "verification" but it sounds like they just asked the collection agency "hey, you sure about this?"
If this were my debt I'd gladly pay, but I'm uncomfortable with the idea of paying a debt that isn't mine just to make it go away.
My other concern is that, as far as I can tell, a debt validation request has to be sent within 30 days of the collection agency's initial communication to me - and since they've never contacted me, but it's just shown up on the credit report, I'm not sure what to make of that 30 day window.
What are my best next steps?