I called the collection agency yesterday.
This was after calling the apartment people on Monday.
The apartment manager could give me no information. She claimed that she only works there some days and had to look at my file. She said that it didn't make sense that the complex had not tried to contact me about anything I may have owed.
The collection agency was a different story all together.
The lady on the phone answered and started talking as though she was out to get someone.
I remained calm. I had made a list/script of what I wanted to say.
Before I could get all of it out, the lady was interrupting me and telling me that I had no case; that I had broken a lease, and despite that the complex did not put in writing that I would owe something after only staying there 5 months (the lease had provisions for if you were there 7 or more months) that I "should have known that I would owe something since [I] broke the lease agreement."
I tried to inquire about a few other issues I was not clear about - why they went straight to a collection agency rather than talk with me, why none of this was in writing, where exactly the numerical value I owed came from.
But she interrupted me again and told me that the complex had every right to charge me what ever and that I was lucky they were not charging me for a full year of rent. She said they did not have to go through any channels to contact me beside going straight to a collection agency.
At this point, I asked her to calm down since she was almost yelling at me in her harsh tone. She said she was not getting upset. I told her that I was speaking to her calmly and would like to calmly get answers to my questions. I asked her to let me finish all of my questions so I was clear. I asked her to stop interrupting me. I let her know that I never said I did not owe the complex money, I had been willing to pay another month before I left. I let her know that I was just trying to understand the charges and how the process worked for my case.
At that point, she seemed to calm down and stop trying to antagonize me.
She allowed me to finish my questions, answered them, and then said that if I could pay that day, she would take off a few hundred dollars off of the charge and make sure that it did not go on my credit report.
I did that.
Now I have to make sure they only take the amount of money agreed upon and that this really doesn't go onto my credit report. I trust her company about as much as I trust a politician.
I stayed calm and patient the entire 14:33 second phone call.
Once I hung up the phone, I literally started tearing up and cried for about 2 minutes. It was a mixture of the stress of the call and trying not to return the rudeness of that woman, the relief of being done with the situation, and the anger at having to shell out so much money after I am finally starting to build some reserves again, along with a long day of teaching.