A few weeks back I noted that we’d been called by collection agency, and that we later learned that we’d been sent to collections for a bill that wasn’t actually overdue. We subsequently sent a request (via certified mail) for validation of the debt, as per the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA).
A few days later we received confirmation that our request had been delivered to the collection agency (we also sent a letter to the original creditor). It’s critical that you dispute the debt within 30 days, or it will be assumed to be valid. It’s been a couple of weeks, and we still haven’t heard anything back from them. No more calls, and no validation of our debt (yet).
And guess what? If they can’t validate the debt, they’re not allowed to:
(1) attempt to collect it,
(2) contact us about it, or
(3) report it to the credit bureaus
I haven’t re-checked our credit reports to see if this supposed debt has shown up there, but that’s on my list of things to do. Unfortunately, I used up our free credit reports when I first caught wind of this. Assuming that it’s been reported, I will (of course) dispute it. Moreover, depending on how far I want to push this, I’ll be able to sue them for $1, 000 for a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (though I don’t know if it’s worth the trouble in this case — I just want a clean credit record).
Right now, here’s my plan of action… Give them a full 30 days to respond to my request. At that point, if I still haven’t heard from them, I will send them a copy of the original letter, my certified mail receipt, and proof of delivery, and a letter stating that they have not complied with the FDCPA, and are now in violation of the act if they make further attempts to collect from us and/or report us to the credit bureaus (or fail to remove the listing if they’ve already reported us).
After that? I still haven’t decided. We’ll just take this one step at a time.
9 Responses to “Still Waiting on Debt Validation from the Collection Agency”
Do yourself a big favor when the time comes to send your follow up letter. At the top of the letter in bold print write, Notice and letter of Default, then explain they are in default for not responding, and why they are in default. Make sure you go to your bank and have your signiture notorized, and don’t forget the return receipt when mailing it to them. If they start any action against you after they receive this, enter copies of the letter into the court record and point to it during your pleadings. Once the judge sees they are in default they really have no choice but to find in your favor and the collection companies know this as well.
You should have had the 30 day letter of notice and demand, requesting copies of all two party contacts (requesting the contracts is very important because they can not produce them), notorized as well, but to late for that one. Credit card applications or invititions are not two party contracts. This will also help you should you need to take action against them at a later date for breaking the law. I’m working on two companies now and will send out a default letter to one this week and the clock is ticking on the other. So far the mailings and calls have stopped, well except for the initial reaction of the collector, boy was she angry and threating, her mistake was to knowingly record it on my answering machine. Oh ya don’t forget to mention in your letter of default that now they know they are in default and their claim is not valid, selling their bogus claim to another company is fraud upon that company.
I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice just simple conversation. I’ll check back later and see how you made out and post any follow ups I may have.
Sinces you’re out of free reports I would also urge you to demand some sort of proof from the collecting agency to show you that your credit record is clean.
FIP: Not borrowing money doesn’t actually help in some cases… In this case, it was a medical bill that took forever to go through insurance (because of the provider’s mistakes) which was then sent to collections too soon after they finally billed us… I’m guessing that some sort of automated system kicked in given the length of time since the service was provided even though they hadn’t actually billed us.
I definitely don’t envy you there. I’ve had to help a couple of friends deal with collectors…it’s like pulling teeth to find intelligent life sometimes…maybe that’s why I quit borrowing money.
Colin, there’s nothing that I (or a lawyer) can legally do until they fail to adhere to the FDCPA. If they break the rules, then I’ll go after them. But until then I’m not going to get worked up about it.
Assuming that the collection agency does something wrong, then I will absolutely go to the state Attorney General, sue if necessary, etc. But right now all they’ve done is leave a single phone message and send a single letter to collect a debt that they were led to believe was legitimate.
As I have stated in earlier postings, do yourself a favor, and hire a lawyer. Yes, that will cost you, but if you sue and win, then the collection agency should be liable for your legal fees. If you still don’t want to go that route, then at least complain about the collection agency AND original creditor to the appropriate government agencies. Also, I wouldn’t wait another minute if I were you … let alone 30 or 90 days. As Red on ‘That 70s Show’ used to say, “…Play time is over”!!!
Interesting, when I read this article Google Ads displays 2 links for collection agencies and 3 for companies that will stop the collection agencies. Sign of the times;) good luck in your quest.
My bad. I thought they had 90 days, but was unable to verify that anywhere (I just forgot to remove that bit before publishing). As near as I can tell they have 30 days to respond, but I might be mistaken.
And selling the debt doesn’t technically relieve them of their obligation to validate it. Of course, this won’t necessarily stop them from trying to pull one over on us, but they’re supposed to either respond or leave us alone.
I would wait out the 90 days, if that’s how much time they have, to send a letter telling them they are in violation.
Unfortunately, they will probably either 1) continue to collect anyway in the belief that you will find it easier to pay than assert your rights (which I’m sure works for most of their “clients”), and/or 2) sell the debt to another collection agency and the process will begin again.
Good luck and keep us updated!