No collections notices; suddenly a summons to court for a debt
I received a summons in person yesterday 3/6/2011 from attorney's office, Farrell & Seldin, Centenniel, Colorado, saying I owe $1846.00 to a Midland Credit Management, Inc (claiming the original creditor is Chase). I have never received any documents saying I owed this money nor did I even have the opportunity to send a validation letter. If I had recieved any sort of notification from them, I certainly have enough knowledge and sense to have sent a validation letter to them immediately.
Now, I have a summons (of course they haven't filed it with the courts yet because I've heard they wait to see what you'll do to save them the expense), but I know it's serious enough. I have not contacted them yet in hopes I could get some advice first on how best to handle this. I have heard once they summons you, the validation process is moot. But what if I've never recieved anything from a Midland Credit Management regarding a Chase account, or any account? Can I still send a validation letter?
I would like to try and just settle to get them off my back and would have done so prior if I had known they were looking for me, but I want to confirm first that they actually own this debt and haven't just snooped it out of public records claiming I now owe them. I received about $300 from my Colorado tax return and I would like to just give this to them since it's all I have. I've had a run of bad luck and have been living pay check to pay check. I don't have family to borrow from so that is not a possibility.
Any suggestions on the best steps to take regarding this? I think it's extremely unfair that they have given me no opportunity to contest this and validate the claim and have gone straight to a summons and complaint. So what? They get to skip the whole notification process now to avoid having to validate their claims?