Virginia rental dispute II: Disputed their damages bill into a giant vat of nothingness, and months later they want me to call them back. Should I call them or not?
This is a follow-up from my previous question Lawyer Now or Lawyer Later
about Virginia landlord/tenant dispute process.
In a nutshell: they claimed the carpet required replacement, added wall/paint damages after the walkthrough inspection, and demanded $1000 on top of my security deposit.
I sent them a detailed dispute letter in which I disputed their charges, cited relevant VA laws, and requested a copy of the leases, pet addendum, and receipts for the carpet replacement (current and previous).
The comment about the 2-week deadline being a hustle was pretty accurate: ten days later, their deadline came due but I had heard nothing except for a phone message from an "unknown caller" ID with a number that connected me to a fax machine. I sent them another letter, reaffirming that I was interested in settling the disputes and re-requested the documents.
Shortly thereafter, I received an email with scans of the leases, addendum, and receipt for the current carpet replacement (which didn't specify which apartment and included charges from another apartment). They never itemized painting and wall repair.
In early August, I sent them a third dispute letter, citing my previous disputes and that based on a 5-year depreciation cycle for carpet and an assumption that the carpet was 4 years old (average of 3 and 5), I cited them a corrected balance of just under $20 more than my security deposit and included a check for that amount (said that upon remittance of the payment, I consider the matter closed, etc). About this time, the "unknown caller" left me another phone message and left a call-back number with one different digit than before (so I'm assuming it's correct this time).
The check has not been cashed.
Today, I received a third phone message from "unknown caller", stating that today is his last opportunity to discuss the matter with me before it is no longer in his office. This seems to be implying that it'll go to collections after this. I'll continue disputing it and have read some of the basics of how to deal with collections.
Should I call the guy back, or is that a bad idea? I had requested communication in writing in the initial letter, but have not received anything but that one email since, besides three voice messages.
If I should call him back, what should I expect and what should I say? What should I expect from this process?
Again, this is not legal advice, etc.