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As a next step, I would recommend that you initiate a credit dispute with each of the three major credit reporting bureaus. The credit bureaus will conduct an investigation and if they determine that the information on your report is erroneous, they are under legal obligation to remove it. These are your rights provided by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act. You might get better results with the credit bureaus conducting the investigation, because they have a little more muscle to exert. You will have the opportunity to provide the credit bureau with your side of the story and all applicable evidence and documentation, and they will take this into consideration. The links to open the credit bureau disputes are as follows:
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Dear Wise Owl 58,
Thank you for your prompt and assistance. I do have a follow up series of questions and issues for which I need clarification please:
First, I did ask Experian to dispute this for me but they claim they cannot do it, because Monterey Collection now owns the debt. I don’t know if I am listed with the other bureaus but based on the bullies I’ve been dealing with at Monterey, I’m certain I am.
I spoke to a very nasty, bullheaded and vicious representative at Monterey Collections yesterday. She basically called me a liar and told me I owe the money and the contract is valid (it is NOT because Mr. Hogan released me from it, although he lied about this later to Monterey and told them he never cancelled it). The rep is demanding I make the payment of $1,295, unless I provide written proof that I cancelled the contract with Sean Hogan. I do not have written proof, because Mr. Hogan called me to cancel the contract and did it over the phone.
I never heard from Compass or Sean Hogan again, until about one year later when Monterey began sending me a series of collection notices and demanding payment. I tried to dispute the charge with my bank. Suddenly, Sean Hogan came out of the woodwork after a whole year's absence to produce bogus keyword entries his company supposedly made to improve my site, when in fact he had not been on my website for 10 months.
Now, Monterey is demanding that I show written proof that the contract was cancelled. They are treating this issue as if it is one-sided, as if Mr. Hogan had no responsibility here. His side of the contract required his SEO expert to come to my website every day and do SEO and daily stat monitoring. Point 2 Agent (my hosting service at the time) verified that Compass never came back to my website again after the first two months I hired them. So Sean Hogan reneged on his part of the contract. However, the customer service manager at Point 2 Agent REFUSED to put this crucial fact in writing for me. Why, I don’t know. But it is one of the reasons I immediately dropped Point2Agent and never used them again to host my site.
The worst part is this: Yesterday the representative from Monterey demanded that I prove a negative. They want me to prove Mr. Hogan cancelled the contract on the phone. How can I prove what he said in a phone conversation? Once we got the notice from Monterey one year later that the contract was still valid, I remained in contact with Monterey. My husband tried to contact Mr. Hogan numerous times, and each time he called Compass they hung up on him and refused to talk to either of us.
I made the reasonable suggestion: Why doesn’t she ask Mr. Hogan to PROVE he actually did work on my site for the entire year the contract was supposedly active? She refused. So the demands for Proof are only upon me. According to Monterey, I owe the money and Compass has no requirements upon them to do work on my site. Nor did they meet the obligation (in the contract) to get me on page 1 of Google for the search phrases I paid for.
I personally believe this company Monterey Collections is working in cohorts with Compass and Sean Hogan. I am beginning to think they were paid off by Mr. Hogan to browbeat me into submission by paying monies I do not owe. Otherwise, why it should take a whole year for Mr. Hogan to suddenly decide the contract is still valid? The only answer is, he was working with Monterey Collections to figure out a way to get this money from me, and Monterey probably worked out a deal and perhaps bought half of the "debt" Mr. Hogan claimed I owed.
Also, it is very difficult after one year to go backward and prove anything that was in writing. My website was no longer active with Point2Agent so I had no access to my old dashboard to prove Compass did not enter the site. But for the first couple of months, I had proof. How convenient that Monterey comes forward a year later and demands retroactive proof when I was told there's no contract, and no need for proof anymore.
As indicated in my previous lengthy post, Mr. Sean Hogan is a liar and thief. This fell on deaf ears yesterday when I was arguing with the woman rep at Monterey.
I am very distressed over this and it is affecting my health. I will never be able to get a loan, get an apartment or do anything until 2016 unless something is done about Monterey.
Can I sue Monterey Collections? Is there a governing agency that collection agencies report to, and if so who is it so I can contact them and let them know that Monterey Collections is abusing me? I can’t stand what is happening here. Please, I realize this is a long follow up but it is a very serious problem that can happen to anyone.
For the records, they are a horrible company and I want to do anything I can to expose their bullying tactics. I've never seen anything like this, or like the disgusting person I spoke to yesterday. I feel unbelievably helpless.
Thank you so much for your kind attention and time to thsi matter...!
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One more quick follow-up question to this:
You mentioned I should get a consumer protection attorney because the collection agency is violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. I am taking your advice and am seeking a consumer protection lawyer (I'm looking on Martindale.com).
Question: Monterey Collections is located in California, but I live in New York City. Also, Compass Internet Systems (the company I hired and had the contract with) is also in California.
Should I get an attorney where the collection agency is, in California, or in New York? On Martindale and all the other sites, you need to indicate the state. I'd rather use an attorney in New York, if possible.
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