Woman sent to collections for a bill she says she doesn't owe

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PHOENIX -- A Valley woman claims her old apartment complex is hounding her for money she says she doesn't owe. The dispute is over $464.

Three hundred dollars is for cleaning her carpet when she moved out and the rest is to pay a collection agency hired by the apartment complex, but Carol Powell says she shouldn't have to pay anything.

Powell says when she moved out of the Carleton Club Apartments in September, she thought everything was fine until the complex sent her to a debt collector claiming she owed money.

"It said I owed $464.02 to Carleton Club Apartments," Powell said.

Powell says she was shocked because she actually overpaid Carleton Club. If anything, she says the complex owes her money.

"When I left the apartments, my balances were paid in full and I actually had a credit of $80.42," she said.

Powell says she tried contacting Carleton Club Apartments to see why she owed money and, more importantly, why they sent it straight to a collection agency.

"No one would take my call," she said. "I was on hold frequently and whoever I needed to speak to wasn't in the office."

Eventually, the collection agency told Powell the $464 debt was for carpet cleaning. Now, that upset Powell even more because she claims she complained to Carleton Club from the day she moved in that the carpet was dirty and needed to be cleaned, but it never was.

"I was mostly mad because I had complained about the condition of the carpet since my first month and I was told I would be given free coupons for carpet cleaning, but they never had any," Powell said. "When I asked, they were out or the woman who gave them out wasn't available."

Carleton Club Apartments tells 3 On Your Side the $464 charge was for a deep carpet cleaning and they say Powell never submitted any service requests to clean the carpet when she moved in. As a result, they want their money, telling 3 On Your Side in a written statement: "We will put the collection process on hold and that will allow Ms. Powell the opportunity to resolve the issues directly with us."

Powell says it's ridiculous, saying she doubts the carpet was even cleaned when she moved out and even if it was, she's never heard of a $464 charge for cleaning a small, two-bedroom apartment.

"I think they feel powerful that they can just pull out these amounts of money and give them to collections to scare people and that we will just pay 'cause we are afraid," Powell said.

The apartment complex tells 3 On Your Side in writing that they will remove Powell from collections.

The complex also claims they are willing to reduce the $464 amount down to around $300, but they did not put that in writing for 3 On Your Side.

3 On Your Side advises to always do a walk-through with your landlord or apartment management at the time of move out and get in writing that you will not be responsible for any more charges.