A Texas woman says she has been dealing with a debt collection fiasco for months, all because of a clerical error.
The woman, identified in the local news report by only her first name, Yolanda, said she received a debt collection bill for $153,000 in September and has been struggling ever since to figure out why she’s being hounded for such a large sum.
“I feel like I’m at the end of my rope and I don’t know what else to do,” Yolanda told the local NBC affiliate, News 4 San Antonio. “I looked at it, and I almost had a heart attack.”
The bill came from a former residence, which she moved out of a month before her lease ended after she experienced a break-in. Yolanda said she thought she left the apartment complex on good terms.
Yolanda described a frustrating experience with the debt collection agency, in which she says she was transferred repeatedly every time she called, getting no answers to her questions. Exhausted by being the metaphorical hot potato, Yolanda asked News 4 San Antonio to help her get to the bottom of her six-figure debt.
A manager from the apartment complex told News 4 San Antonio the collection figure was “the result of a clerical error,” and called the collection agency to fix the problem: Yolanda’s debt is $1,530, not $153,000.
Yolanda’s experience reflects common sentiments among people dealing with debt collectors — that it’s stressful, overwhelming and confusing to understand the origin of an unexpected debt collection account. Getting answers often requires persistence and sometimes benefits from a little outside help. As frustrating as it may be, battling for information is worthwhile, because the consequences of having a collection account on your credit report can be severe, like limited access to loans or trouble finding a place to live. The sooner you can address the debt, the better. (You can check your free annual credit reports for collection accounts and you can see if a collection is impacting your credit scores for free on Credit.com.)
When you receive a notice from a debt collector, request a validation letter detailing the source of the debt, and follow up with the original creditor or company you were doing business with to make sure the collection account is accurate. Once you’ve confirmed you owe the debt, make a plan to repay it or, if you can’t afford it, see if you can settle the debt for less.
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This article originally appeared on Credit.com.