I've recieved a notice from Merchants Credit GuideCo. stating that I owe them $1786.93. The original creditor is BALLYS. I did have a Bally's fitness membership in 1997-98 (I can't remember exactly)in Pinellas County Florida when I was a college student. But I thought they canceled my membership due to moving to overseas after I graduation in May 1998, so I provided the copy of the plane ticket and my passport to cancel my membership as Bally's instructed me to do so. And I assumed it was canceled since I never heard from them ever again.
All these years nobody contacted me about this matter. I do not owe any debt except for my condo mortgage and I do have excellent credit history and score (840-870). By the way, being an international student back then, I did not have my SSN# yet.
I'm very much concerned about few things:
-Due to nature of my business I travel a lot and I got the notice of MCGC very late, the letter dated 8/15/06 and received it from my mailbox on 9/16/06. Of course got shocked and started the research and found this web site. I immediately wrote a dispute letter and ask for validation and will mail it tomorrow first thing in the morning. But I'm concerned about the validation process since I beileve they will consider my response late (the notice states within 30 days) and may never respond me with validation. The letter was dated 8/15/06 so I don't know what is the effective date of receipt by law? I am not sure how my dispute letter be effective for validation request.
-Even if Bally's didn't cancel my membership and kept charging my account I never made payments since may 98 so if there is any, the debt is from 1998 and way past SOL Florida. But can they still report to any credit agencies? I checked my credit with all 3 agencies and as of today and none shows any inquiry or any negative info from MCGC. Can I do anything further to protect my credit?
-As I said I didn't have a SSN# at the time of membership with Ballys, Can the collection agency find this info without validating this debt or any other way?
-I'm not sure what to do after sending the dispute letter. What if they never respond to validate?
Please help with some info to help me deal with these people.