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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Pacific Palisades, California, United States
    Posts
    2

    Default Debt Listed on Credit Report from an Unknown Creditor, No Prior Notice

    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:

    1. I have never been a customer of Atmos Energy, and I have not been late on a payment to any utility company for decades.
    2. 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?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Somewhere near Canada
    Posts
    35,894

    Default Re: Unknown Debt on Credit Report, No Contact from California

    Have you ever resided with or been married to anybody who DID have an account with the energy company?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    153

    Default Re: Unknown Debt on Credit Report, No Contact from California

    Did you contact Atmos and inquire? Contact them, if it truly isn't yours and they determine that..they can remove from your credit report.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Pacific Palisades, California, United States
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Unknown Debt on Credit Report, No Contact from California

    Solved it (thanks to these two clues).

    I sent a courteous, non-threatening letter to Atmos directly, explaining that I did not believe this debt to be mine, and providing them with my last 10 years of addresses (and the names of the utility companies I'd used at each of those addresses, none of which were Atmos).

    They replied within a few days of receiving my letter. Turns out, the residence I left 11 years ago used a utility company which was later purchased by Atmos. After a subsequent divorce, my name and SSN remained associated with that account, albeit as a secondary, not a primary. Five years later, ex didn't pay her bills, and my credit report eventually got the ding, but without any communication to me.

    The short form is that Atmos Energy and Professional Finance Co. have both sent me letters confirming that they will have this item removed from my credit report.

    One final question: should I send copies of these letters directly to Equifax, or should I pull another copy of my report after <n> days to confirm that it's been done?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    18,827

    Default Re: Unknown Debt on Credit Report, No Contact from California

    Unless you are actively seeking a mortgage or something now, I'd wait 90 days and pull another credit report to check. If you're in the process of looking for credit, you might enter the dispute text in your reports (all three who have it, not just equifax). Will cost you little more than a stamp to do so.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,830

    Default Re: Unknown Debt on Credit Report, No Contact from California

    Most creditors report information to CRA's monthly, so unless you were told that the updated information would be submitted within a couple of business days you may have to wait a while.

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