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concernedveteran

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Can i get a debt collection agency to send me a copy of the original bill?
Alright so here is the situation,

About 3 years ago, i broke a lease with an apartment complex because i was going out to sea (I was then in the united states Navy), immediately after doing so, the apartment complex tried to charge my wife around 800 dollars for breaking lease. After she explained to them that Military Clause and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act allowed for spouses to break lease as well, they dropped the subject and returned our security deposit.

About a year later, after i get out of the military i get a bill from a collection agency stating that i owe 800 dollars (What a coincidence), i asked them what the debt was about, they said the apartment complex had stated that as i signed a year lease i got "20 dollars off a month because of the year lease, so they are charging me the 20 dollars i got off for each month i spent there, and also around 140 dollars for a cleaning bill".

Now the problem i am having is since we only stayed there for around 6 months, the debt does not add up. 6 months at 20 dollars a month = 120 dollars, add the 140 too that the total debt should have been 260 dollars, but instead i got charged 800 (the original amount they charged my wife for breaking lease).

But the real issue is, they never contacted me about this debt, never sent us a bill or anything, instead they just sent it to a debt collection agency, and i learned about it after it sat for almost a year.

Now again my main question is can the debt collection agency get me a copy of the original bill? because i really want to fight this, considering it is a bogus debt i should not owe.

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FDCPA says "YES!!"

Under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA), you definitely can demand a validation of the debt and the name, address and phone number of the original creditor.  Send this request for validation to the collection agency.  Until you receive a response from the collection agency, all collection attempts must cease.

Did you receive (and keep) copies of the lease agreement and any communications from the lessor?  Those can provide valuable information on your behalf.  Most important would be the Mililtary Clause, which should have been on the lease, or added through the Housing Office on base (they are the ones to okay a lease for military members).

Your wife was so correct in exercising her rights under the Military Clause since the service member is the one whoi is usually responsible for the lease, not the spouse.

Do go to annualcreditreport.com and get all 3 credit reports.  Look them over carefully and file a dispute on each error with the credit bureau reporting same.  For the attempted collections on the lease, you may want copies of the lease agreement (military clause highlighted) or go online to get copies of the Serviceman's Civil Relief information to send with the dispute.  Write the information you have reported here about their actions and how they violate the law.

Hope this helps.

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