In 2005, I left an apartment in Los Angeles while apparently still owing So Cal Gas Co approx. $80. PMR Progressive was contracted to collect this debt, and began sending notices to an address that I hand't occupied since 2002--they were sending bills to an address three years OLDER than the one I had occupied when I incurred the debt they were attempting to collect.
I did not learn of this debt until January of 2010, when I pulled my credit report in anticipation of buying a home. I promptly contacted PMR Progressive, and after being lied to by one representative in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (who told me they could go ahead reporting this item forever and it would not be removed from my credit report unless I paid him immediately) I demanded to speak to a supervisor. Mike Banks was put on the line, and despite his initial attitude ("it's not our fault you didn't get our notices") he agreed to "extend me the courtesy" of deleting the item from my credit report if I paid in full. After receiving this agreement in writing (not an easy thing to talk Mr. Banks into), I paid in full using a credit card over the phone.
Following this, it took three months of phone calls to get PMR to live up to their part of the bargain; many of my phone calls and emails went unanswered, and it got to the point that I would be disconnected as soon as I identified myself. Calling ANY of the corporate numbers that various representatives provided me with early on in our communications were automatically rerouted to the voicemail of "Steven Bright," who never returned a single call and who doesn't, as far as I know, actually exist. Finally, however, in April of 2010, the item was deleted from my credit report and I thought my travails were over.
How wrong I was. A letter dated October 25, 2010 was mailed to me from PMR attempting to collect an "unpaid balance" of "$0" and informing me (in the standard parlance of such letters) that my credit could be adversely affected if I did not promptly pay them the "$0" I owed them. I cannot get in touch with anyone but the low-level phone operators employed by the company, who can't figure out what is going on with my file there at all; voice mails and emails to several different people in the company have again gone unanswered.
I understand that people rarely like collection agencies, but this one really takes the cake. THEY screwed up sending bills to an old address, then acted as if I had been trying to dodge them; they accused me of harassment when I kept calling them trying to get them to fulfill the written agreement we had made; and they act as if it simply isn't their problem to make sure they do their job responsibly. I have filed four separate complaints against the company with the FTC for various illegal practices I encountered during this ordeal and have contacted an attorney regarding a lawsuit, which he says I actually have some hope of winning.
A complaint has also been filed with the So Cal Gas Co; if anyone knows of any other companies that hire PMR to collect their debts, I would appreciate the change to contact them and let them know of the abuses that this company engages in.