5 On Your Side

Final Rent Payment Proves Troublesome For Raleigh Woman

Posted April 18, 2005 1:34 a.m. EDT

— Not paying a bill can wreak havoc on your credit even if it's unintentional. For one Raleigh woman, correcting the error was the easy part, but getting credit for the payment was much more difficult.

Liz Egland was packed and ready to move, but a kink in her credit almost threw the whole thing off. The problem involved an apartment she rented in 2003 at West Millbrook Apartment Homes.

Egland moved out a month early in May 2003, so she owed a final month's rent. She said she forgot about it until five months later, when she got a letter from a collection agency.

Egland immediately mailed a check to West Millbrook and she thought that was it. But, a few months later, the collection agency started calling. Egland told the representative she had proof she paid the bill.

"They told me that I needed to talk to the apartment complex and when I talked to them, they told me that I needed to deal with the collection agency because once it had been turned over, it wasn't their problem anymore," she said.

In January, Egland faxed a copy of her canceled check to West Millbrook. A manager told her she could not read the account numbers on the back, and therefore could not confirm the check was deposited into the complex account.

Egland then had her credit union send a letter, verifying the check was payable to West Millbrook and cleared, but it still was not good enough. Egland's concern was growing because the blip was now on her credit report.

"I was very irritated because at that point, I didn't know where to turn," she said.

Egland turned to Five on Your Side, who talked to Wayne Everett, West Millbrook's property manager, who cleared the whole thing up the next day. Egland said she just wished she did not have to go through the hassle to get it done.

"Certainly, I was very pleased that it was taken care of, but it's almost more irritating that they were able to take care of it so quickly," she said.

Everett initially told Five On Your Side he was new to the property and blamed the problem on previous staff. He later told Five On Your Side they were already working on Egland's problem and finally found a clear copy of her check.

Egland said from what she was told, her case was closed unless she could come up with a better copy.