No, if the complex has turned it over to a debt collection agency, you need to send them written certified notice under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act that you require them to "validate" the debt.
Under the FDCPA, you are allowed to validate this debt, and the creditor (in this case, the collection agency) must show you proof that you owe the debt to the collection agency (not to the original creditor.)
The specific section of the FDCPA:
FDCPA Section 809. Validation of debts [15 USC 1692g]
(b) If the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty-day period described in subsection (a) that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, or that the consumer requests the name and address of the original creditor, the debt collector shall cease collection of the debt, or any disputed portion thereof, until the debt collector obtains verification of the debt or any copy of a judgment, or the name and address of the original creditor, and a copy of such verification or judgment, or name and address of the original creditor, is mailed to the consumer by the debt collector.
Plus, they must show proof positive that you owe them this debt. It's not enough to send you a computer-generated printout of the debt.
So, if a creditor can't verify a debt:
- They are not allowed to collect the debt,
- They are not allowed to contact you about the debt, and
- They are also not allowed to report it under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Doing so is a violation of the FCRA, and the FCRA states that you can sue for $1,000 in damages for any violation of the Act.
An opinion letter from the FTC clearly spells out that a collection agency CANNOT report a debt to the credit bureaus which has not been validated.
It also states that you can sue in federal or state court. So if you have them on a violation, then you have damages of $1,000 for the incident plus damages.
Request this in writing send certified mail and see what they do. If they validate the debt, then dispute it in writing certified mail and tell them that you do not accept their claim and will see them in court. Then wait to see if they actually file suit or drop it.
Right now, there is nothing for you to sue over since they are just saying you owe them if they haven't sued you and tried to get a judgment.