Collections Law/Credit report issue
First let me thank you for your help. I just ran my credit to purchase a house and I found a bill from my former energy company that has gone to collections. I moved out of the apartment that the bill is associated with over 4 years ago and closed the account with a zero balance before moving. I have never received a single bill, phone call, or any notification of this "outstanding bill". I called the company and they are refusing to take this off my credit. How can I get them to remove this?
There representative is claiming the bill was generated after the account was closed due to balanced billing but I was never issued a bill or notified that it even existed. I don't even care about paying it I just need it off my report.
Unfortunately, utilities do this all the time. Since you are trying to buy a house, you have very little time and not much leverage in this matter. I am unclear about just who placed the trade line in your Credit file - the Utility company itself or a Collection Agency.
If the Utility itself my advice would be to just pay the bill. The Trade line will not be removed but it will be updated to "paid" which is just as good for your purposes.
If a Collection Agency, then you have some rights here. Since your contact with them was (I assume) less than 30 days ago) you should dispute the bill to them in writing, demand "Validation" (this is a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act term - FDCPA for short) and in this letter state that "all telephone calls are inconvenient" - also a FDCPA thing. Then wait 30 days and dispute the trade line with the Credit Bureau as "not min". When the Credit Bureau checks with the Collection Agency and the Collection Agency says the trade line is correct, you may have grounds to sue the collection agency if they do not mark the account as disputed. Since their claim against you is most likely less than $1000 and Statutory Damages under FDCPA is $1000 which you will be suing them for, they will probably want to settle, and you can make removal of the trade line as a condition of the settlement.
I suggest you visit a web site I set up 9 years ago - www.debtorboards.com - where you will get more help and will be shown how to sue your creditor.