Advice on how to handle collection debt in Ohio
I attended Lakeland College in 2008 in Willoughby, Ohio and I do I owe the college the balance of $945.45 for tutution. The account has been sent to from the Ohio State Attorney Generalâ€™s Office to for collection and currently the law firm is stating that I owe around $1600. I recently (3 months ago) dealt with this law firm as I just paid in full a balance $2700.00 from another College (Cleveland State University) that was sent to them from the Attorney Generals Office. The original balance that I owed Cleveland State was $2100 the remaining $600+ I just chalked up to late fees/charges/collection cost, etc.
I intend on paying this debt but my concerns are:
â€¢ The State Attorney General in Ohio has claimed a previous balance of $322 refund from my state tax in 2008 and I have been leaving messages with them in an attempt to determine where and when this money was applied to any of my previously balances, because I never saw this money applied to the Cleveland State nor Lakeland College account. So I want to verify that my balance is correct before sending out payment. How should I handle this since the State Attorneyâ€™s Office refuses to answer/return phone calls?
â€¢ I sent a debt validation letter to the law twice notifying them to provide me with the following information:
1. Agreement with your client that authorizes you to collect on this alleged debt.
2. Agreement that bears signature of the alleged debtor where he promises to pay the original creditor.
3. Complete payment history on this account, to prove that the amount you wish to collect is accurate.
â€¢ The law firm finally provided my with a copy of the agreement that bears my signature and the amount due to the college but there was no notification/agreement listed on these form that mentions any fee or penalties expect for a $50 late fee penalty from the college. The law firm never provided me any documentation containing the breakdown of fees proving that I owe an additional $600 (penalty, interest rate, etc) which I assume is higher now since itâ€™s been a month or so since I last received any updates from this law firm.
My concern is that I feel the law firm is just making up random fees; I received a letter from them on June 14, stating that I owe $1,575.89 and on July 15 I received a letter stating that I owe $1,496.55. (the balance the next month is less, doesnâ€™t make any sense to me.)
Also I received a signature required notice in the mail from the USPS and itâ€™s obviously from this law firm and before I respond to them I wanted to get some advice on the best way to handle this.
Finally when I search the civil records online in Willoughby Hills, OH I did notice the that is a case open under my name but there is not a date nor judge listed as of yet, the docket is as follows:
8/3/2011 Complaint LAKELAND COMMUNITY COLLEGE C/O STATE OF OHIO COLLECTIONS ENFORCEMENT vs. Claim Amount: $945.45 Court Costs Interest Rate: 4 Term: Year Begin Date: 7/28/2011 End Date: Principal Sum Amount: 945.45 Lump Sum Amount: 0 Interest Rate: 0 Term: Year Begin Date: End Date: Principal Sum Amount: 554 Lump Sum Amount: 0 Action:
COMPLAINT FILED FOR MONEY DAMAGES W/ EXHIBITS Claim Status: Filed
8/25/2011 Service Item: Summons Participant: Date Issued: 8/25/2011 Type: Certified Mail Cert. Mailer #: 7010 1670 0000 6768 4089 Tracking #: Date Returned: Current Status: Issued Perfected: Date Perfected: Served Upon: Remarks:
Any advice would be greatly appreciated on how I should proceed.