Debt Validation

Bills.com Team
Pro

By

Highlights


  • Ask for debt validation when a collection agent attempts to collect a debt.
  • If a creditor cannot verify a debt it may not collect the debt.
  • Send a debt validation letter immediately, because there is a 30-day time limit.
4.5
/5.0
(14 Votes)

What is debt validation and how do I do it? Also, how do I know if a debt is properly validated?

Ask for a debt validation when someone attempts to collect an old debt from you.

Collection agents are bound by federal and state laws concerning the collection of debt. Original creditors must also follow debt collection rules when attempting to collect a delinquent debt. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) are key federal laws regarding these issues. Many states have consumer protection laws that overlap with both acts, and have stricter rules protecting consumers.

he FDCPA and FTC use the word verify to describe this process. Bills.com and other personal finance Web sites call it validate or validation. These terms refer to the same process and are interchangeable.

Assignment of Debt

Most consumer debt contracts give the original and subsequent creditors the right to assign the debt. Assignment is legalese for “sell the rights to the contract.” Collection agents buy most debts for 5 to 50 cents on the dollar. The collection agent has the right to collect the entire balance due plus interest, but does not necessarily expect to collect the full amount. State laws set the interest and fee rules collection agents can tack onto a debt.

a name="SOL"> Consumers with old delinquent debt often ask how their state statutes of limitation may impact their rights. See the Bills.com resources Statute of Limitations Laws by State and How to Tell Which Statute of Limitations Applies to Your Situation to learn more about this issue.

How to Ask For a Debt Validation

If a collection agent demands payment of a debt a consumer does not owe, or more than they owe, the consumer can dispute their responsibility for the debt or the validity of the amount. The formal terms for this process are “debt verification” or “debt validation.”

A consumer should, as a matter of course, validate a debt when a collection agent attempts to collect the debt. Why? Just because a voice on the telephone claims someone owes the collection agent money does not necessarily mean the collection agent has the right to collect the debt, or that the debt is even owed. If a collection agent cannot validate the debt, it may not collect the debt or report it to the consumer credit reporting agencies. A collection agent is stopped dead in its tracks if it cannot validate a debt.

A disputed debt could be:

  • One already paid
  • One you do not owe
  • An amount different from what is demanded
  • Related to a hospital stay. If you informed the hospital you could not pay for the care, the hospital should have considered payment under its charitable care policy.
  • A time-barred collection (see the statute of limitations Quick Tip above)
  • One discharged in bankruptcy

Is it worth your time to validate a debt? Yes! Collection agents cannot validate 41% of the accounts less than 3 years old. Collection agents cannot validate 64% of the accounts 6 years of age or older. Overall, the debt industry can validate about half of all accounts (The Structure and Practices of the Debt Buying Industry (PDF)). The least likely accounts to be validat­ed are med­ical, tele­com­munica­tions, and utility debts.

Here is a template of a debt validation letter to help you get started: Sample Debt Validation Letter

Edit our sample debt validation letter to fit your needs. Then, send it USPS Certified Mail to the collection agent who demands you pay the old debt. Be sure to send this letter within 30 days of receiving notice of the attempted collection. Keep careful records of your debt validation. Repeat this process if the collection agent sells the collection account in question to a different collection agent. (See the comments from readers below for examples of collection agents that seem to sell the accounts of people who ask for debt validations.)

To learn more background information about debt validation and what information you can expect to receive from a collection agent, read on.

Debt Validation Statutes & Case Law

Debt validation rules are set by Congress in statutes and by federal courts in case law. As with other laws, Congress writes the rules, and then the courts interpret them. Here, it is important to understand both because some federal appeals courts interpreted the verification rules narrowly.

We discuss both the statutes and the case law here because other personal finance Web sites focus on the statutes only, and others offer incomplete discussions of the case law. Some discuss only state appellate law, which applies in that state only. You need to understand both the statutes and the case law to get a complete picture of your rights.

Debt Validation Statutes

Let us look at the statute first. Here is FDCPA Section 809(a) (15 U.S.C. § 1692g(a)):

  1. “Within five days after the initial communication with a consumer in connection with the collection of any debt, a debt collector shall, unless the following information is contained in the initial communication or the consumer has paid the debt, send the consumer a written notice containing —
    1. “the amount of the debt;
    2. “the name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed;
    3. “a statement that unless the consumer, within thirty days after receipt of the notice, disputes the validity of the debt, or any portion thereof, the debt will be assumed to be valid by the debt collector;
    4. “a statement that if the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty-day period that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, the debt collector will obtain verification of the debt or a copy of a judgment against the consumer and a copy of such verification or judgment will be mailed to the consumer by the debt collector; and
    5. “a statement that, upon the consumer’s written request within the thirty-day period, the debt collector will provide the consumer with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current creditor.”

According to the statute, after receiving the notice of dispute from the consumer, the collection agent must:

  • Suspend collection activities regarding the claimed debt until the collection agent receives verification of the debt or receives a copy of the judgment against the consumer
  • Provide verification, by mail, to the consumer, including:
    • The name and address of the original creditor
    • A statement from the original creditor the debt is valid
    • The amount of the original debt
    • Copies of judgments (if any)
  • Not report the debt to the credit reporting agencies, including Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, according to some interpretations of the statute. Or, according to other interpretations, may report the debt to the credit reporting agencies as “disputed.”

If the collection agent is collecting more than one account from a consumer, the consumer must instruct the collection agent how to apply any payments made to each debt. The collection agent may not apply a payment to a disputed debt.

Debt Validation Case Law

If all federal appeals courts had been asked to interpret the debt validation law and did so consistently, we would have a fair understanding of how validation is supposed to work, what information collection agents are supposed to give consumers when validating a debt, and a uniform application of the rules.

States following the 3rd, 4th, 9th & 11th standards
Source: Bills.com
Alaska
Arizona
California
Delaware*
Guam
Hawaii
Idaho
Maryland
Montana
Nevada
New Jersey*
North Carolina
Northern Mariana Islands
Oregon
Pennsylvania"
South Carolina
Virgin Islands*
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
* Must provide dates the debts were incurred to residents in these jurisdictions.

However, four federal appeals courts that Bills.com could find weighed in with definitions of validation that appear tighter than what Congress may have had in mind when writing the FDCPA.

  • In the Third Circuit, the court articulated this standard: “computer printouts which confirmed amounts of debts, the services provided, and the dates on which the debts were incurred constituted sufficient verification” (Graziano v. Harrison, 950 F.2d 107, 113 (3d Cir. 1991))
  • The Fourth Circuit uses a much lower standard: “[v]erification only requires a debt collector to confirm with his client that a particular amount is actually being claimed, not to vouch for the validity of the underlying debt” (Chaudhry v. Gallerizzo, 174 F.3d 394 (4th Cir. 1999))
  • The Ninth Circuit follows the Fourth Circuit’s lower standard (Clark v. Capital Credit & Collection Servs., 460 F.3d 1162 (9th Cir. 2006))
  • The Eleventh Circuit sets the bar even lower: “verification of a debt involves nothing more than the debt collector confirming in writing that the amount being demanded is what the creditor is claiming is owed; the debt collector is not required to keep detailed files of the alleged debt” (Azar v. Hayter, 874 F.Supp. 1314, 1317 (N.D. Fla.), aff’d, 66 F.3d 342 (11th Cir. 1995), cert. denied, 516 U.S. 1048 (1996))

Although this has no legal weight or precedent, FTC counsel seems to follow the Fourth Circuit standard, too. (Wolman-LeFevre letter dated March 10, 1993)

We could find no cases in other nine circuit courts regarding debt verification, and no federal cases contradicting the four mentioned. The US Supreme Court has made no decision in this area.

Therefore, in states in the US Third, Fourth, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuit Courts, collection agent must provide two or three pieces of data in writing when a consumer asks for a debt validation:

  • Confirmation from the original creditor the consumer owes the debt
  • Confirmation from the original creditor the amount demanded is accurate
  • Dates the debts were incurred, if the consumer resides in Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, or the Virgin Islands (Graziano v. Harrison as cited above).

It is unclear if the other circuit courts would require a collection agent to provide the dates the debts were incurred, or an itemization of the collectors’ added charges, which is what the FTC has recommended Congress add to the FDCPA.

If you live in one of the other nine circuits, then you can argue the collection agent must follow the statute, and not the standards set by the Third, Fourth, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuit Courts.

Dealing with debt? A Bills.com debt resolution partner might be able to help.

Must a Collection Agent Cease Collecting When it Receives a Verification Notice?

Collection agents must cease their collections activities when they receive a verification notice. A collection agent may resume these activities when it mails a copy of the verification to the consumer.

The 30-day period during which a consumer has a right to request a verification is not a grace period. A collection agent may continue their collection activities, including filing a lawsuit against the consumer.

In a 1997 opinion, the Seventh Circuit states "[t]he debt collector is perfectly free to sue within the thirty days; he just must cease his efforts at collection during the interval between being asked for verification of the debt and mailing the verification to the debtor." Bartlett v. Heibl, 128 F.3d 497, 501 (7th Cir. 1997) (Posner, J.).

The Sixth Circuit stated "[a] debt collector does not have to stop its collection efforts [during the thirty-day period] to comply with the Act. Instead, it must ensure that its efforts do not threaten a consumer’s right to dispute the validity of his debt." Smith v. Computer Credit, Inc., 167 F.3d 1052, 1054 (6th Cir. 1999).

There is no time limit on when a collection agent must respond to a verification. It may, for example, respond with its evidence 75 days (to pick a number out of the air for the sake of argument) after receiving the consumer’s debt validation request. It is unclear if, during those 75 days, the collection agent may not report the debt to the consumer credit reporting agencies, or if it must report the debt as “disputed.”

Conclusion

Send a debt validation letter immediately because there is a 30-day time limit for doing so. The collection agent, in turn, must respond with validation. As discussed above, what is complete and proper validation depends on your state of residence. See the Bills.com resource What if a Collection Agent Does Not Validate a Debt? if the collection agent does not comply with your debt validation request.

4.5
/5.0
(14 Votes)

179 Comments

Recent Best
1500 characters remaining
  • 35x35
    Jan, 2013
    Samantha
    In 2006, I briefly enrolled in a credentialing program With the promise I would receive financial aid to pay for the program. Even though I filed a FAFSA and required financial aid, the school never addressed this. I had to withdraw.

    A couple of months ago, the school contacted me and claims that I owe them over $6,000. I responded to them in writing within 30 days to dispute the debt and they never responded.

    Today, I received a collections notice on behalf of the school from a collections agency. I plan on disputing it right away. Should I include in the dispute letter that the statute of limitations is up? I live in California where the statute of limitations is 2-4 years. How likely do you think it is that they will get the debt verified and take me to court?

    If the affirmative defense is used, then the case would be thrown out right?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jan, 2013
      Bill
      You have several defenses.
      1. Consult with a lawyer who has consumer law or civil litigation experience. If the school promised to help you find a loan, and you dropped out shortly after enrolling because it failed to fulfill its promise, then you owe the school nothing. The $6,000 debt should not exist.
      2. Assume for a moment you have legal liability for the debt, the California statute of limitations for a breach of contract is 4 years. Here in 2013, we are long passed the California statute of limitations. Should the school or its collection agent file an action against you (a lawsuit, in other words), you have the affirmitive defense of statute of limitations you can assert. If you assert this defense at trial and the court looks at the timeline here, it will dismiss the case.

      No outsider can answer the question, "Will creditor X file an action against me," because creditors and collection agents are unpredictable. I have seen collection agents sit on collection accounts totaling tens of thousands of dollars, and other collection agents file small claims cases for $500 accounts.

      My advice? In your debt validation letter, explain that if the collection agent files an action, you plan to assert all available defenses including breach of contract and the California statute of limitations.

      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Nov, 2012
    Kimberly
    My husband received a phone call about a debt (payday loan) he supposedly owes from 2006. He was told that he would be summoned to court if he did not pay. My husband kept asking for information on it and all they told him was the amount of the debt and the name of the place that he originally had the debt to. When he asked if they could send the info to his email they told him yes and asked for his email address. He gave it to them and they never sent anything. The guy told my husband 'so you admit you owe this debt?'. my husband said he did take out payday loans before but they were paid for. when he tried to ask for more information about the loan, they kept skating around the question and tried to get him to pay money today. When he refused until he got info, they said he would be served with a summons at his place of employment. Now, I read that the statute of limitations in Texas is four years so is what the debt agency saying valid or are they blowing smoke up your... you know. lol any info would be greatly appreciated.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Nov, 2012
      Bill
      First, your spouse should reread the original article above to learn the steps necessary to validate a debt. If a collection agent refuses to give a consumer its contact information to validate a debt, then the consumer should assume he or she is dealing with a fake debt collector.

      Second, you mentioned you reside in Texas. Read the Bills.com article Payday Loans & Hot Checks in Texas to learn why the collection agent's statement your spouse could expect to be served a summons at his place of employment is possible under law.

      Third, the Texas statute of limitations is four years for a breach of contract, as you mentioned. However, that does not mean the creditor is prohibited from filing a civil lawsuit against your spouse. However, it does mean that if your spouse mounts a defense against the creditor, and the court believes the statute of limitations defense, the case will be dismissed.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Aug, 2012
    Maria
    I was checking my credit report and came across two collections due to unpaid medical bills. They claim collection on November 2011, then May 2012, and so on. I did go to the hospital in November though I had all the bills paid in April and have proof of that. Though I imagine I should have bills from 2008 when i was only visiting the country and had to go to the ER. I never received any bill since I left the country a week after and returned a year later to a different city. So, I guess they might have restarted collection on my visit to the different hospital in November. Never had any letter from them so couldn't really contact . If that has anything to do with the previous debt why the earliest date it would show would be November 2011? Can they "update " collection like that so it will never expire? If that happened due to my visit to the hospital, why wouldn't they send me any letter to the address as all the medical bills did?

    I want to clean up my credit report. Could you advise me on the steps? Appreciate any help, thanks
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Aug, 2012
      Bill
      Let me challenge several of your assumptions. Creditors, which include hospitals, do not have a private Internet or database where they share contact information about consumers. You could visit three different hospitals in one city and give them three different addresses for billing, and none would be the wiser. Also, credit reports are not legal ledgers where a consumer's financial history is maintained. Many credit reports contain inaccurate information, and the credit reporting agencies do a particularly bad job with people like you who change addresses frequently.

      Regarding your date questions, original creditors or collection agents may not reset the date of first delinquency on a debt. To do so violates the Fair Credit Reporting Act. If a collection agent resets the date of first delinquency, file a dispute with the creditor reporting agency or agencies that publish the incorrect date.

      You asked how to improve your credit report. Read the Bills.com article How to Improve Your Credit Score to learn what steps you can take to clean up your credit report, which will increase your credit score.
      1 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jul, 2012
    Cassandra
    Source Receivable Management recently called me about a debt from 1995. When I asked who the client was, they said Sears. I told them that I received a letter in 2000 from another company telling me they'd purchased the account from Sears and I know Sears didn't turn around and buy it back. I've told them multiple times that I would not pay the debt because the statute of limitations ran out over 10 years ago, not to mention they lied about calling on behalf of Sears. I understand that being outside the statute does not excuse me from paying the debt, they just can't sue me for it or report it to the credit card companies. I received a letter in the mail from a different company, Convergent Outsourcing, about the same debt. I sent them a certified letter stating "I dispute the validity of this debt. Even if this was a valid debt, as you are aware, it is outside the statute of limitations." A week later, I received yet another letter from Resurgent Capital Services about the same debt. Each company's letter explains the same 30 day rule: if they don't receive written notice within 30 days, they will assume the debt is valid. Do I have to keep sending certified letters every time another company contacts me about this same 17 year old debt?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jul, 2012
      Bill
      Yes. Unless and until your state legislature outlaws what you described, collection agents are permitted to buy, sell, and trade old collection accounts and attempt to collect the account even though the statute of limitations is long passed. As you mentioned, should the collection agent file an action against you (file a lawsuit), you have the affirmative defense of statute of limitations available to you.

      My advice? Keep careful records of your debt validation letters. If the collection agents are alter egos of each other, you may have a cause of action against the company for an intentional infliction of emotional distress claim, or a similar claim based on your state's particular laws.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jul, 2012
      Michelle
      I happen to have the same issues with the same collection agencies as the original poster of this matter. I, too, received a collection letter from Convergent Outsourcing and in turn, I sent them a debt validation letter. A week later, I also received a collection letter from Resurgent Capital on the same debt with the same 30 days term to validate the debt. But what is different is that Resurgent did provide a validation of debt. It specifies that the so called "original creditor" is "Metris" who supposedly recently acquired the debt from "Arrow Financial Services". I looked up both companies on the internet and they are both collection agancies! I think this debt is being passed on from one collection agency to another. Neither Convergent or Resurgent can really pinpoint who the actual original creditor is! Additionally, the account is not even on my credit report! Should I send Resurgent another debt validation letter since I do not agree with their validation of debt? I really do not think that they can collect on this account since it is way passed the statute of limitations.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jul, 2012
      Bill
      Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the original creditor must validate the debt. Collection Agent A may not validate a debt for Collection Agent B, C, D, and so on.

      Regarding your statute of limitations comment, unless you reside in Wisconsin or North Carolina, an original creditor or collection agent may attempt to collect a debt after the statute of limitations for contract breach expires in your state. If an original creditor or collection agent files a lawsuit against you, you may raise the statute of limitations defense to ask the court to dismiss the case. Unfortunately, some Internet commentators concatenate this into, "The creditor can't collect the debt if the statute of limitations has expired," which is wishful thinking and a false statement in all but two states.

      My advice? Send Resurgent a notice of insufficient validation. Keep complete records about this collection account, and in particular, your proof of when you sent debt validation and insufficient validation notices.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    May, 2012
    Karla
    Issue number 1 I filed bk back in September of 2008. One of the accounts included was Drive Time. Since then, they have attempted to collect on this debt every 6 months or so regardless of cease and desist notices from my attorney. The big issue, i just noticed on my Equifax report that Drive Time is reporting a $6000 past due amount. To me, this is a passive aggressive attempt to collect a debt which violates 3 different laws: FDCPA and US Bankruptcy code for attempting to collect on a discharged account FCRA for reporting incorrect information. I feel this has unfairly damaged my score for at least 44 months. Can I handle with demand letter?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      May, 2012
      Bill
      Time to put this issue to an end and consult with your lawyer about filing an action against the collection agent. Consumers file about 1,000 lawsuits each month against collection agents that violate state and federal laws, and this collection agent deserves an expensive education in bankruptcy law and the FCRA. I do not see a FDCPA issue, but I am either lacking imagination or facts to see a violation there.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      May, 2012
      Karla
      In this case it is the original creditor.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      May, 2012
      Bill
      Once a debt is discharged in bankruptcy, a creditor (be that a collection agent or the original creditor) may not attempt to collect the debt. Doing so is a violation of bankruptcy law. A debtor in this circumstance almost certainly has a cause of action against the creditor.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      May, 2012
      Ken
      I do not see a direct cause of action here. What needs to be done is that a motion is filed in BK Court to have the creditor held in contempt.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    May, 2012
    Karla
    I have a question for a friend. She recently received a letter from a collection agency referencing a debt from 22 years ago executed in the State of California. She has since moved to Arizona. so.. 1. since the written contract SOL in CA is 4 years, she no longer owes this debt, correct? and 2) since she has lived in Arizona for the last 15 years or so, can the collection agency then apply Arizona SOL which would also be expired if I understand the laws correctly? Should she even bother with a debt verification letter or just go in for the kill with a cease and desist?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      May, 2012
      Bill
      In all states but Wisconsin and North Carolina, just because a statute of limitations for a breach of contract has passed does not mean the debt is extinguished, canceled, forgiven, or no longer collectible. In all jurisdictions except for the ones I just mentioned, the statute of limitations is an affirmative defense a defendant can raise in a trial to ask the court to dismiss a case. Unfortunately, some Internet commentators over-simplify the statute of limitations defense into something like, "when a statute of limitations passes a debt is no longer collectible," but that's simply an untrue statement. Therefore, the answer to your first question is, "no."

      See the Bills.com resource Arizona Collection Laws to learn more about the statute of limitations and other rules in that state.

      Under the FDCPA, a collection agent must file an action in the state where the consumer/debtor resides. In this case, this would be Arizona. An Arizona judge would want to follow Arizona laws when deciding on this case. However, statutes of limitations laws are tricky because the contract signed may have a clause saying in effect, "We will agree to use State X's laws if we ever have to litigate this contract." Therefore, it is possible neither Arizona nor California's statute of limitations laws apply. Go back to the contract to see which state was agreed to in the choice of laws clause.

      My advice? Validate the debt. If the original creditor does validate the debt (which I doubt will occur), then follow-up and send a cease communications letter.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      May, 2012
      Ken
      There is a cute little catch here, though. While the SOL does not ordinarily prevent a creditor from filing suit and -- generally in the case of default actions -- prevailing. Anybody other than an original creditor who files suit on a time-barred debt violates the FDCPA.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Apr, 2012
    Ken
    I had send validation letter to collection agency that had purchased debt from original creditor and they responded back me with proof of purchasing debt (bill of sales) and copy of Final Charged Off Statement from original creditor that only states amount but no details of charges and I have never received this charge off statement form original creditor. My question is, is this significant enough as debt validation? Should I send Notice of Insufficient Validation? What should be my next move?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2012
      Bill
      See the section Debt Validation Statutes & Case Law above for a discussion of the proper validation standards. If you believe the collection agent did not receive sufficient validation from the original creditor, then you have nothing to lose by sending a notice of insufficient validation.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Apr, 2012
    Maurice
    On April 8, 2011 I received a collection notice from one collection agency. On April 21, 2011, I requested validation, but received no response. Subsequently, on August 21, 2011, I received a notice from a different collection agency attempting to collect the same debt. I requested validation on September 16, 2011, but received no response. On April 5, 2012, yet another collection agency sent a collection notice attempting to collect the same debt. I requested validation on April 17, 2012. With respect to my credit report, it shows "charge-off" entries for the account since April 2011 (i.e., the month initial validation was requested). It seems as if the creditor refers the account to a different collection agency after validation is requested. Clearly, it would be a violation of the FDCA for the original collection agency to continue collection efforts after receiving a validation request. After validation is requested, is it permissible for the creditor to refer the account to another collection agency so that new collection agency can do what the original collection agency could not (i.e., continue efforts to collect the debt after receiving validation)? It doesn't seem like the creditor should be able to circumvent the FDCA in this manner. Also, is it a violation for the FDCA if the creditor (as opposed to the collection agency) reports negative information to the credit bureaus after validation is sent to the collection agency retained by the creditor?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2012
      Bill
      I'm not sure if you are referring to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) or the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) when you refer to the "FDCA."

      It is common for original creditors to sell all rights to a collection accounts to collection agents. It is also common for collection agents to buy, sell, and trade collection accounts amongst each other. If, as you suspect, the original creditor still owns the account and is re-assigning it to different work-for-hire collection agents (who do not own the account) for the purposes of harassing you, then I think you have an argument for a FDCPA violation.

      If you are dealing with collection agents who are playing the game of hot potato with your account, then I do not see a FCRA or FDCPA violation. Consult with a lawyer who has consumer law experience to learn if you have a cause of action against any of the collection agents or the original creditor.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2012
      Ken
      This is not uncommon. Unfortunately, however, there is no FDCPA violation. What precise section of the FDCPA do you believe was violated? Simply selling an account is not a collections attempt under the Act.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2012
      Maurcie
      It is my understanding that under the FDCPA, once debt validation is requested, further collection efforts must cease. My concern is that the creditor could circumvent this rule by re-assigning the account to a different collection agency once the previous collection agency has received a debt validation request. By doing this, the collection efforts are able continue on the account — albeit from a different collection agency — even though the the debtor has requested debt validation. This seems to go against the spirit of the FDCPA. Also, it is my understanding that reporting negative history to a credit bureau after receiving a timely debt validation request is prohibited by the FDCPA. By sending the debt validation request to the collection agency, the collection agency would be prohibited from reporting any negative information to the credit bureaus. However, would this prohibition also extend to the creditor? If so, and the creditor did report negative information to the credit bureaus after the collection agency (which was hired by the creditor) received a debt validation request, this would arguably be a violation of the FDCPA.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2012
      Ken
      First, the FDCPA does not apply to original creditors. (Editor's note: The following states have FDCPA-like laws that apply to original creditors: Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.) It applies to debt collectors only, and even then there are exceptions as specifically stated in the Act. While we might think a collections agency should not be permitted to sell a debt that they have not been able to validate, the simple fact is that they can -- and often do. You have no recourse under the Act whatsoever should they choose to do so and that is extremely unlikely to change in the near to distant future as the debt is, basically, property and exercising prior restraint on one's chosen disposal of their property would be legally very challenging.

      Regarding credit reporting, again, the original creditor is not bound by the FDCPA and may report as they see fit as long as they are compliant with other relevant legislation such as the FCRA. As for collections agencies, since credit bureau reporting has been determined to be a collections activity, they may not report subsequent to a timely placed request for validation. Where there is some disagreement is whether they must remove credit bureau tradelines placed prior to a request for debt validation once you have made your debt validation request.

      Remember, your debt validation request must be timely made.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Apr, 2012
    Henry
    An attorney who alleges he was retained by CACH contacted me regarding a debt I still owe Washington Mutual (It was acquired by Chase several years ago). A different attorney, from a different state, also alleging to have been retained by CACH, contacted me a short while ago about the same debt. Besides debt validation, shouldn't I also ask each one of them to document that (1) they were truly retained by CACH, and (2) that CACH should show proof of assignment of the alleged debt? On the other hand, if I do ask them to show CACH's proof of assignment, don't I implicitly acknowledge that I owe the debt before I find out what records they have in their possession to document I owe the debt?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2012
      Bill
      Validate the debt with both collection agents immediately. That is step one. If one or both validate the debt, then I urge you to consult with a lawyer in your state who has consumer law experience.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Apr, 2012
    Nick
    Hi. I just stumbled across this page when researching my student loan debt. I am a recent college graduate, and different companies are sending me notices that I owe back student loans. I keep copies of all my loans that I took out, and so far, everything seems to match up. My question is: Is there any reason to request validation of my debt? What harm could it cause? If i send a request for validation letter, and they do not respond until the first payment is due what do i do? Thanks
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2012
      Bill
      A debt that cannot be validated may not be collected. The general rule is, when a collection agent first starts the collections process, the consumer should validate the debt as a matter of course. At minimum, it delays the collection process for a month or so while the collection agent asks for and then processes the validation from the original creditor.

      In my opinion, there is little reason to validate a debt an original creditor is trying to collect because, well, it is the original creditor.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Apr, 2012
    Tiffany
    I recently received a phone call from a debt collection agency who claim I owe appx $150 on an account that was recently sold to them. All they would tell me was the amount, who the debt was originally with, and eventually, they let out that the account was opened in 1998. In 1998 I was 14. As far as I am aware, the statute of limitations in my state (NH) is 3-6 years, depending on the type of debt. I did receive a verification of debt letter from them this week, which again included the amount and who the debt was purchased from (they are the 2nd or 3rd debt agency, at a minimum). I also called the original creditor, as I was at a loss for what this was for, who stated they have no file on me, and have no files kept in their system prior to 2004. Therefore, nothing must have been ordered from them in my name following that date. As I have received the debt validation letter as required, how am I to respond and proceed? Thank you so much!
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2012
      Bill
      I assume you sent the collection agent a debt validation letter, and it replied with a poor excuse for a validation.

      Send the collection agent a notice of insufficient validation. Why? It appears the collection agent did not receive a validation from the original creditor stating the debt was yours for the amount indicated in the collection agent's claim. You can find a sample notice of insufficient validation on the Bills.com Debt Do-It-Yourself page. Send the notice Certified Mail so that you have a receipt it was delivered. Keep all of your documents, letters, receipts and so forth regarding this debt in one file folder so that if you need to refer to them in the future, you have everything in one place.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2012
      Ken
      Again, there is confusion about what is or is not proper validation. In the US Court of Appeals, the Third Circuit articulated this standard: "computer printouts which confirmed amounts of debts, the services provided, and the dates on which the debts were incurred constituted sufficient verification" (Graziano v. Harrison, 950 F.2d 107, 113 (3d Cir. 1991)). In every other circuit the bar is set much lower. As long as the collection agency a) contacts the original creditor, verifies the amount owed with said original creditor and provides a breakdown as to how the amount claimed was reached, proper validation has occurred. That the collection agent must provide contracts, past statements or anything else is a wicked myth that refuses to die. The FTC has also given a direct opinion on the matter in an advisory dated March 10, 1993 in the form of the Wolman-LeFevre letter.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2012
      Bill
      Thanks, Ken. It is unclear if Tiffany's collection agent sent her a validation from the original creditor. A "validation" from another collection agent is meaningless.

      Tiffany stated she contacted the original creditor, which told her it has no record of the debt due to its age. My guess is if the original creditor has no records of Tiffany's account, it will be unable to validate the debt.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2012
      Ken
      I tend to agree. I have seen, though, cases where the initial CSR or even the collections staff of an original creditor not really knowing about old accounts -- especially those charged off to P&L. What I would probably do is write a letter per your original suggestion to the collection agent and challenge them on having received confirmation from the original creditor. At the same time I'd put them on notice that when contacted by the consumer the original creditor disclaimed any debt being owed. Given the age of the debt, a cease & desist might work wonders.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2012
      Tiffany
      They contacted me by phone, asking if I was Tiffany (maidenname) and I confirmed. They then told me who they were. They had my address, and told me the amount of debt, the original creditor (Franklin Mint), that the account was opened in 1998, and when I informed them of my age at the time and requested more information (What did I supposedly buy, and when? To what address was the item mailed?), they said they would send me a debt validation as I wished to challenge it, and hung up on me. I received the letter a couple of days later. One page includes "Verification of Debt" as the title, the date, my maiden name, their name(s), the account number in collections, the name of the creditor they purchased it from, the amount of the debt when purchased as well as the current debt (a few dollars more), a statement that the debt will continue to increase due to fees, their customer service number and the name of the previous creditor, which on one page says the Franklin Mint, and the other another collections company. There's no information about what was purchased or when (I understand that's not required, which is ridiculous), but again, Franklin Mint stated it must have been pre-2004. There's nothing from the Franklin Mint other than their name having been tossed in there. Actually, looking at the first page, it looks like this is a dummy verification of debt, and that they'll obtain and send me the verification of debt or judgement after I dispute it in writing. On to that step. I will certainly send all further correspondence via certified mail and keep all receipts for tracking. Thanks for the tips!
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2012
      Ken
      I don't really see any problems here. Even though kids all the time order stuff from the Franklin Mint, the following three facts sufficiently enable you to safely write them a cease & desist and prohibit them from contacting you further:
      1. The statute of limitations has long passed so they cannot successfully sue you;
      2. The credit reporting time period (7½-years since the date of first delinquency) has long run and they cannot report this debt to any credit bureau; and
      3. You were a minor at the time and incapable of entering a legally binding contract.

      Why continue to waste time with these people?

      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Mar, 2012
    Wilma
    In the "Recommendation" section, you state: "The collection agent, in turn, has 30 days to respond with a proper and complete validation." Based on this information, in my debt validation request letter, I stipulated that the collection agency had 30 days to supply the requested information. It is now 60 days since the agency received my letter, and to date, I have not received the requested documentation. I have not been able to find this requirement online in any law or act. Would you please point me to the exact source of this information so that I can cite this in my "cease and desist" follow-up letter? Thank you.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Mar, 2012
      Bill
      I edited our original answer above to clarify the law on validation.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Mar, 2012
      Aretha
      Hello Bill, I started working on my credit file to strengthen the score. After clearing almost everything up, I received a letter from a Collection Agency about a debt. It gave me the right to validate the debt and I did of course. However, I rechecked my credit file and the Collection Agency appeared on my credit file. The Collection Agency is yet to validate the debt. How do I have the debt removed from my credit file?
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Mar, 2012
      Bill
      Dispute the derogatory item you mentioned.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Mar, 2012
      Aretha
      The report was disputed but it came back stating that they received info from Collection agency that debt was valid.. However, I am yet to receive the validation of debt. So what do I do now?
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Feb, 2012
    Ken
    You may want to revisit your statements of what constitutes proper debt validation. It is pretty much settled law that a debt collector is not at all required to provide account statements, loan agreements or credit card applications in a proper validation. This issue has been visited by just about every federal Circuit Court of Appeals and pretty much the common denominator is that a debt collector needs to provide absolutely nothing in the way of documentation absent the existence of a judgment.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Feb, 2012
    Daniel
    I received a debt collection notice from a collection agency for an unpaid utility bill from six months ago, around the time I moved and closed the account with the utility company. It's possible that this was the amount I owed the utility company at the time I closed the account, but I have paid every single bill from this company on time and to my knowledge, have no unpaid bills that I owe them. I never received a bill from the company in the amount that the collection agency is stating I owe. I am willing and able to pay the bill in full (and would have at any time had I received any communication from the utility company), but this is the first I'm hearing of this unpaid amount. I think it's very unfair that my credit might suffer as a result of the utility company failing to inform me of a bill I owed them. I also am not sure if the amount the collection agency is stating I owe includes any late fees, interest, collection fees, etc. but the amount is somewhat higher than most of my bills from this company had been. 1) Should I simply negotiate with the collection agency to pay the amount in return for their not reporting this to credit agencies even before requesting validation of debt? So far this has not appeared on my credit report. 2) If the collection agency can prove that they are entitled to collect the debt, can I still refuse to pay anything over the original owed amount (I don't believe I should have to pay late fees, interest etc. on a bill I never received). In other words, can I still dispute the debt on the basis of non-receipt of the original bill and negotiate with the collections agency after I get a valid debt verification letter?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2012
      Bill
      Not receiving the original bill is, in my opinion, not a valid issue legally. Certainly, it is a moral issue, and an argument you can make when negotiating, but I do not see a solid foundation to base a case upon. That said, your state's public utility commission may have consumer friendly rules that require a utility to present an invoice to a consumer in a certain number of days. Call your state's PUC to learn what, if any, consumer protection laws may help you here.

      Regarding your questions: Yes, validate the debt, however I do not see any language in the FDCPA that concerns the debtor not receiving the original invoice as a reason for the debt to be invalid. If the original creditor validates the debt, then by all means negotiate a pay for delete.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Feb, 2012
    Danielle
    I filed bankruptcy 4 years ago and included two out of three accounts from Patelco in the bankruptcy. I recently request a debt validation in attempt to clear them off of my credit report. I before that called ahead of time and asked if they had any records of my accounts and the rep advised after three years their records are purged and would not have any record. Their response to my request to validate a debt was that I included them in bankruptcy and they will not be deleting the record. Is that a valid response or do they have to send original signature or statements? And can I now follow up with the CRA to dispute it with them?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2012
      Bill
      Debt validation or verification is the process a consumer follows when challenging a collection agent or original creditor's right to collect a debt. In your case, I assume the debt in the two Patelco Credit Union accounts were discharged in your bankruptcy four years ago, and no one is trying to collect on these discharged debts today. If someone is, then consult with your bankruptcy lawyer about this violation of federal law.

      I think you are really asking about disputing a credit report. See the link I mentioned to learn the steps.

      You are really asking me Patelco's record retention policy on debts discharged in bankruptcy. It sounds like you received contradictory answers to that question. A dispute costs you your time and a postage stamp, so the upside to a dispute is high.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2012
      Danielle
      Thanks for the reply. I have another question. I recently sent a debt validation to Kay Jewelers and they sent me a letter back asking for my drivers license. Can they do this or are they required just to send me a debt validation?
      2 Votes

  • 35x35
    Feb, 2012
    Linda
    I just received a phone call from a collection agency about a $200 bill from 1989! The caller had my old address from 23 years ago to confirm she was talking to the right person. She could not provide any verifying information on the debt other than it was with the NYN Company on an old store credit card. I suspect this is an old case from the 80's that I disputed back then as an error on an old credit card. At that time after receiving a collection letter I sent my "cease and desist" letter requesting they drop any further collection attempts without proof that I owed the bill. Today is the first time I have heard that this old dispute may still be active. The agency calling today stated it was re-entered into the system in 2001 as an active case. Does this mean a third party agency bought the debt? What can I do to prevent further harassment for a debt that was never mine in the first place? After I insisted on some type of documentation on the details of the debt they claim I owe, the phoning collection agency stated they could not provide that information but would take me off their call list. Does this mean they will really drop the case or will it rear its ugly head again in some other fashion? I did not give them my current mailing address but they obviously now have my cell number. If they make further attempts to contact me for this 23 year old case what should I do? DO I give them my mailing address so they can send a collection letter which I will then dispute AGAIN and send another cease and desist letter?? Or am I better off not responding with any further information assuming they cannot validate the debt anyway, and hope they will drop the matter entirely? They are still trying to collect on a 23 year old $200 debt? I am more than willing to pay a debt I truly owe, but I will not pay a dime without proof I am responsible for this bill.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2012
      Bill
      Your case illustrates the power of a timely debt validation, which we outline how to do on this page. Learn the mailing address of the collection agent. Send them the collection agent a debt validation letter Certified Mail so that you have a record of the collection agent receiving your request for validation.

      The collection agent all but admitted it cannot validate the debt. As a practical matter, I doubt the original creditor will be able to validate the debt.

      This debt may not appear on your credit report. If it does, dispute it.
      2 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2012
      Linda
      Thanks for the fast response! I have downloaded all the debt dispute/validation documents available on your website. Thanks for that great service! My question is do you feel I should proactively pursue this NOW by attempting to get the collection agency's address and mailing a debt validation letter or should I wait and see if any further attempts are made by them to contact me? I got the sense when she said they would take me off the call list that it would not be worth their effort to pursue since I was not going to offer up any payment based on one vague phone call. Do I let sleeping dogs lie if they truly stay sleeping from this point forward? Obviously if I receive a formal collection letter or my credit report is affected (I have a credit reporting service to alert me to any negative entries) I will initiate an emphatic dispute. Does a collection phone call hold the same significance as a formal collection letter that I receive in the mail?
      1 Votes

  • 35x35
    Feb, 2012
    shevily
    Hello I have been paying $50 a month to a collection agency on an amount of roughtly $2500 with a balance of $1900 I recently found a letter from the original creditor stating that I only owe $1027 is it too late after about a year of payments to ask a validation of the debt amount. I only want to pay the $1027 that I owe nothing more.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2012
      Bill
      It is too late to require a debt validation.

      Contact the collection agency and reopen negotiations to settle the debt at for a lower amount.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Feb, 2012
    BridgetI was sent a letter regarding a debt that I have disputed for several years now. I have sent
    I was sent a letter regarding a debt that I have disputed for several years now. I have sent 2 debt verification letters, to all of the companies that have indicated they own the debt. The last certified letter I sent was in July 2011 and I have not heard from them until I got another letter from a different company today, 2/2/12. What can I do about this? I'm concerned that when I go to apply for a mortgage I will be turned down due to this issue. Any advice?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2012
      Bill
      The most certain way to remove a debt from a credit report is to negotiate a pay for delete contract with the present collection agent. Otherwise, you can cross your finger, dispute the debt with the latest collection agent, and hope the debt is removed from your credit file at the moment the mortgage underwriter pulls your credit report.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jan, 2012
    Sean
    Hello, I.have an old insurance bill on my credit report for $94. Date opened 9/2006 date reported 9/2011. I am trying to write a debt validation letter but I do not have complete account number. Can they try to say they can't verify it without complete account number on letter? My goal is to have it completely removed from my Credit report. I called original creditor and they couldn't find account. I live in NC so I believe it is past SOL. Please advise! Thanks
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2012
      Bill
      I am not aware that a complete account number is required to request a debt validation. Your name and address at the time the account was open should be more than enough to track your account down.

      Be sure to validate this debt because the original creditor all but admitted to you it cannot validate your collection account.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jan, 2012
    Joesph
    The debt collector is scheduled to take me to court within the next three weeks. Is it too late to send a debt validation letter? What recourse do I have?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jan, 2012
      Bill
      You can send a debt validation letter, although the lender or collection agency does not have to restrict their activities unless you meet the 30-day limit. If you are in doubt regarding the debt, then send a letter to the collector stating clearly that you want proof of owing the money. If a court date has been set, then I recommend you consult with a lawyer regarding your options. If you believe you owe the money, then try to settle with the creditor before the court date.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jan, 2012
    C
    Can you still send a debt validation letter if you missed the 30 days to confirm that they actually have legal standing to collect on the debt? This is in regards to a very large outstanding private student loan. Thanks!
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jan, 2012
      Bill
      The collection agency is required, by law, to answer your debt validation letter, if received within the 30 day period of initial notification. However, you can still write a debt validation letter, asking for all pertinent information about the debt. This will not stop the collection efforts. In any case, do not disregard further communication with the collection agency. It is possible they will pursue a court judgment against you.

      If you are dealing with a large private student loan, then you should know if you owe the money. Contact the original lender and see who now owns the debt, and with whom you need to speak in order to negotiate a settlement. I recommend that you read the Bills.com article about private student loan settlement.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Dec, 2011
    Sarah
    I messed up my credit a lot when I was 18-20 )I applied and got a lot of credit cards, then I was hospitalized for a month and could not catch up). Anyway now I am in my late 20's and trying to clean up my credit. I have a lot of "bad" reports on my credit, but companies have bought and traded so many time some of them I have no idea who and what I owe. Can you tell me what I can do, if I do validation letter and they prove that I owe it, does my SOL start over and can I do validation letters if I don't have the 30 day notice from this companies. Thanks
    1 Votes

    • 35x35
      Dec, 2011
      Bill
      The debt validation letter does not restart the SOL (statute of limitations). Making a payment or recognition of the debt will start the SOL. It is wise of you to check the SOL on each debt, but remember, if there are court judgments, you then need to pay attention to how long the law allows a judgment in the state in which it was issued to remain in force. The SOL for a judgment can be much longer than that for a debt.

      As regards the thirty day period, you have thirty days to respond to the creditor, after receiving a detailed notice from them, in writing, regarding the debt. For the details regarding the contents of the letter from the creditor see the FTC publication about Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, section 809. Even if you have not validated the debt, it does not mean that you owe it.

      If you still owe money, and you may face legal action, then you may need to work on debt relief solutions. If you are paying off the debt, remember to try to negotiate a pay for delete, so that the credit line will not continue to appear on your credit report.

      If you have larger debts then I recommend that you read the Bills.com article about debt relief.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Dec, 2011
    Aretha
    An independent processor, so she says, left a message this morning stating that I had 48 hrs to respond before she serves a summon for complaint. I called back and the office stated that they were an attorney office working for a PayDay Loan company and that I did not pay them back on a loan that I am very unaware of. However, she stated that they had attempted contacting me via e-mail but I normally delete anything that doesn't spike my interest such as this. This is my first time hearing that I owe a Payday loan. Do I have the right to submit a Validation of Debt or is it too late?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Dec, 2011
      Bill
      The circumstances you described have all of the earmarks of a scam. See the Bills.com resource Fake Debt Collector to learn how to respond.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Dec, 2011
    Aretha
    Hello, when does the 7 year window begin? Would that be the day that the account was opened or the date that it was placed on your Credit Record? How do I determine what is considered to be after 7 yrs?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Dec, 2011
      Bill
      Federal law (US Code Title 15, §1681c) controls the behavior of credit reporting agencies. This law is known as the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Under FCRA §605 (a) and (b), an account in collection will appear on a consumer's credit report for 7½ years. The clock starts approximately 180 days after the date of first delinquency on the account. To learn when an account will be removed by the credit reporting agencies (TransUnion, Equifax, Experian, and others), add 7½ years to the date of first delinquency. Subsequent activity, such as resolving the debt, is irrelevant to the seven-year rule.
      • A tax lien appears for seven years from the date of payment.
      • Bankruptcy will appear for ten years from the date of the final order.
      • Delinquent federal student loans can be reported indefinitely, i.e., for as long as they are delinquent.
      • Delinquent private student loans follow the seven-year rule.
      • Judgments appear for seven years or your state's statute of limitations, whichever is longer.

      Note that federal credit reporting laws and state statute of limitations laws are separate and independent from each other.

      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Dec, 2011
    Kris
    If I send a letter of validation to a creditor will it reset the statute of limitations on a debt?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Dec, 2011
      Bill
      Sending a debt validation letter to a creditor will not reset the SOL on a debt.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Nov, 2011
    I was freelancing with a company in 2008 who paid an invoice twice in the amount of $4000. I tried to rectify the situation but was told by an administrative asst that it wasn't an overpayment. Eventually got hired full time by the company. Three years late, I'm being laid off. And just received a refund request for the $4000. In order to receive severance, the company requires that I sign a release and discharge from any legal claims. Wondering if this is all legal and what my rights are. The company is a large corporation in California. Thanks!
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Nov, 2011
      Bill
      A severance agreement will generally include waiver to sue clauses. Have a lawyer review the document and explain your rights.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Nov, 2011
    Adam
    So I've been reading a handful of your articles and after reading the Do It Yourself Solution Post I was going to dispute a few accounts on my credit reports that should have been closed and removed. After actually following all of your steps, and getting new updated copies of my CR... all of the argued accounts have exceeded the 7 years and been removed from me current CR's, as I have not had any contact with any of the companies claiming I owed them money... but now my question is, why are two of them still sending me letters asking to settle on the accounts. Should I send them a Debt Validation letter? I clearly don't want to "reopen" something that has been closed and removed from my CR's but it's still frustrating to receive these letters and I would like to continue building my credit for the better... what should I do?
    1 Votes

    • 35x35
      Nov, 2011
      Bill
      Congratulations on disputing items on your credit report and successfully having them removed.

      You do not want to reopen your accounts with the creditors, and the first step is not to send the creditors debt validation letters. Start by seeing if the the Statute of Limitation has passed. Even if it has, this does not bar the creditor from suing (except in WI), but you can use the SOL as a defense and not pay the debt if the court agrees that the SOL has passed. Don't pay on the debt, before you find out if the SOL has passed , as you can bring an expired debt back to life.

      Just because a debt does not appear on your report any more does not mean that the obligation to pay has expired. If the SOL is longer than the 7 years it took to fall of your report, you would still owe the debt.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Nov, 2011
    Laura
    My husband was garnished today - only we do not know what for. He has a call into the payroll office. We believe it's from a voluntary repossession of a car we turned in 2008. Don't they have to serve us? or notify us of the balance owing after they have sold the car? Since then the company has change over to 2 other companies...what are my rights in Washington State?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Nov, 2011
      Bill
      All states require a defendant to a lawsuit to be served a summons and complaint. Consult with a lawyer in your state to learn your specific rights and liabilities. Your not being served may give you grounds to attack the judgment, and have it revoked. In the meantime, see the following Bills.com resources:

      As mentioned, a lawyer will be able to advise you what, if any, response you can take to the garnishment.

      Contacting the payroll department is proper. Someone there should be able to tell your spouse who is garnishing the pay. A bank levy may be following the wage levy, so move money out of the account, until you know you are safe from levy.

      1 Votes

  • 35x35
    Oct, 2011
    Gabrielle
    I am trying to help my fiance clean up his credit. He received a collection letter from RPM, LLC about an old Verizon account. I sent them a debt validation letter (certified mail) on August 26. 30 days went by, so I pulled his credit report. It is still showing and I do not know where to go from here. Do I need to contact the CRA's? Or file in small claims court?
    1 Votes

  • 35x35
    Oct, 2011
    Heather
    The collection agency has not made any phone calls or any other attempts to contact me besides a letter sent to my house. This debt isn't even showing up on my credit report. Do you still suggest a cease communications letter? By the way, this Web site is super helpful, so thanks!
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Oct, 2011
      Bill
      Send the collection agent a Notice of Insufficient Validation. At minimum, it will put the collection agent on notice that you are aware of your rights, and are not willing to acquiesce to its assertion you are liable for the debt. This may be enough to nudge your collection account into the "Not Worth The Bother" pile on the collection agent's desk.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Oct, 2011
    Heather
    I received a letter from a collection agency for a debt that was sold in 2003. I sent a validation letter and all they sent back to me is a printed letter saying who owns the debt now with the account number and balance. I don't feel as that's a good enough validation. Am I right? What do I do now, especially since the statue of limitations in my state is 6 years. Thanks.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Oct, 2011
      Bill
      See Debt Validation Statutes & Case Law regarding proper validation and how some federal circuit courts have decided what proper validation means.

      Let us look at a few facts and terms you shared in your message, and others that were implied:
      • Charge-off / write-off. An accounting term that means a creditor has moved an account from its current-accounts book to its general ledger as a bad debt. It does not mean the account is canceled, forgiven, or extinguished. See the Bills.com resource Charge Off for a more complete discussion of this oft-misunderstood phrase.
      • Time and Credit Reports. Seven years is how long most derogatory items can appear on a consumer's credit report file. The seven-year rule has nothing to do with charge off. It also has nothing to do with a state's statute of limitations. See the Bills.com resource Fair Credit Reporting Act to learn more about what can appear on a credit report and for how long.
      • Statute of Limitations. Just because a statute of limitations has passed does not mean a creditor may not collect a debt, except in Wisconsin. The passing of a statute of limitations gives a defendant in a lawsuit an affirmative defense, and nothing more. See Statute of Limitations to learn more.

      A collection agent working on an ancient debt that is older than your state's statute of limitations may contact a consumer to attempt to collect an ancient debt (except in Wisconsin). It can even file a lawsuit against the consumer. However, the consumer has an affirmative defense if there is such a lawsuit.

      The 7-year clock does not reset when the consumer makes a payment or settles the debt. There is no reason, from a credit score perspective, to pay debt older than 7 years in age. If the creditor files an action — a lawsuit — against you, you may have an affirmative defense if your state's statute of limitations has passed.

      My advice? Send the collection agent a Cease Communication Notice.

      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Oct, 2011
    Rick
    We received a call from a CA requesting our address, etc. We provided no info to them so they stated they would send a letter. It has been about 2 weeks and we haven't received their letter. Should we send them a request for validation anyway? Thanks
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Oct, 2011
      Bill
      Impossible for me to answer your question without knowing more. Under section 809 of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act the collection agent has a duty to disclose the following information in the initial communication or five days later in writing:
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Oct, 2011
      Rick
      They did not state any of those items, but did identify themselves as Progressive Management Systems. We looked them up and they seem legit. Should we run a credit report to see if they made a report or just continue to wait for a letter. My concern is they may claim they sent a letter, but we never received it and so didn't request they validate. Any suggestions?
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Oct, 2011
      Bill
      The collection agent is not compliant with the FDCPA. A careful, "legitimate" collection agent that makes an effort to work within federal law will not lie in court about sending a consumer a section 809 compliance notice. Your safest course of action is to send a debt validation using the USPS Delivery Confirmation or Certified Mail service so that you can prove someone at the collection agent's office received the validation request.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Oct, 2011
    Joe
    I was wondering if there is a time period the original establishment where I had debt has to wait to send to collection agency? I never received any calls that I owed anything and it was sent within 20 days to a collection agency.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Oct, 2011
      Bill
      There are no state or federal laws I am aware of that set a minimum limit on the amount of time that passes before an original creditor can assign a collection account to a collection agent.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Oct, 2011
    Pamela
    I received a call from asset acceptance regarding and old telephone bill with SBC from 2006 when i was living in Indiana for $176.11. I was offered a settlement for a once time payment of $19.00. Which I agreed to and paid just 2 weeks ago over the phone with my credit card. Today I received a call from another collection agency R.M.S stating that they have an open account for me regarding and old SBC bill in the amount of $174.50. When i told them that I just paid the bill 2 weeks ago with another collection agency they said that was impossible because they had the right to collect on that bill. He read off my ssn and my current address. but when he told me what the old telephone number was I did not recognize it. Another this that didn't make sense to me was that he said the account was opened in 2001 and i did not move to Indiana until 2002. I'm am not sure what to do and if the SOL applies to indiana where the phone bill was or if it applies to ohio whitch is where i live now. or if should dispute this bill because of the inaccurate dates. please help!
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Oct, 2011
      Bill
      Start by validating the debt. From what you wrote, it sounds like the first debt is one you agree was yours, but there is good reason to doubt that the second one is.

      SOL questions are tricky. and the fact that it involves you moving to another state (and I am not clear when you did) makes it trickier. You have to address the SOL to an attorney, though the cost in doing so may not make sense. In any case, the validation process may put the issue to bed.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Sep, 2011
    tanya
    Hi,I am trying to help my mother with a mortgage loan that she has. She called the original creditor to make arrangements on the account and was told that they had no information on it anymore. They said they could not even pull up the account in their computer. She received a letter from a collection agency demanding payment. She then sent a debt validation letter and received a letter back saying that they no had no record of her and were not reporting the account to the credit bureau. However, the original creditor still also says they have not record. This is a mortgage on her home, what does she do next??
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Sep, 2011
      Bill
      No one you contacted seems to have the right to collect on the mortgage. Your mother may have just won the mortgage lottery. A quiet title action will resolve a dispute regarding the ownership of real property. If no creditor claims the right to the mortgage, the owner may be able to void whatever encumbrances exist on the title. Consult with a lawyer in your state who has experience in filing quiet title actions. Please return here to let us know how this situation was resolved.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Sep, 2011
    Kelly
    I pulled my credit report back in August and found a collection had posted a debt owed to the local utility company from 2006, it was something I guess was an oversight on my part so since I never received notification from either company I sent off a debt validation letter to the CA and now it has been 30 days with no communication back accept they did update my credit report saying it is being disputed. What is my next step now that the 30 days are up and nothing has been changed? Everything was sent certified, I have confirmation they received my letter, is there a good follow up letter template anywhere? And have I gone through the process correctly?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Sep, 2011
      Bill
      Consider sending a notice of insufficient validation. See the link in the original answer above to the Bills.com Debt Do-it-Yourself page for a sample letter.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Sep, 2011
    Michelle
    I received a letter from a collection agency on an auto loan, of which I still have the vehicle. My last payment made was in 2008, and I've moved several times since then, so if an attempt was made to repossess the vehicle, they had a hard time finding me. At this point, would a validation letter be in order since I still have the vehicle? My credit report shows the account was charged off by the OC. The CA is wanting payment of around $1,200 (that includes interest) by next week in order to release the lien. What should my next step be? Thanks!
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Sep, 2011
      Bill
      If the vehicle is worth more than $1,200, I would advise jumping at the offer if in addition to releasing the lien the $1,200 is a final settlement on the debt. Get all promises in writing — in other words, a contract.

      If the vehicle's blue book value is less than $1,200, then offer the collection agent a counter-offer that is below the book value. Take your negotiations from there.

      You have the right to validate the debt, but I see that as a delay tactic that may not help you in this situation.
      1 Votes

    • 35x35
      Oct, 2011
      Michelle
      Thank you for your reply. I sent a letter requesting payment arrangements or a reduced lump sum amount. I described the circumstances that have transpired over the last three years, which lead to my default in the loan. I have an account with a credit monitoring agency, and received an alert of a hard inquirty from this particular collection agency. It's my understanding that hard inquiries appear when authorization is given to a creditor to pull your credit report. On the one hand, it's a positive thing because they can verify the circumstances I described to them (two evictions). On the other hand, I didn't give them permission to pull my credit report. Is this something I should be concerned with, or dispute?
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Oct, 2011
      Bill
      There is no right or wrong answer to your question. In my humble opinion, concern yourself with resolving the debt and not a hard pull on your credit report. You can dispute the pull later if it is causing an issue for your credit score.
      1 Votes

    • 35x35
      Oct, 2011
      Michelle
      Hopefully I'll be able to resolve this debt soon. Thanks again for your advice.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Sep, 2011
    Dorsi
    if you send a debt validation letter and they cant verify the debt, it gets removed from your credit report. My question is can they put it back on your credit report, when they get the info or once its removed, it cant be put back on?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Sep, 2011
      Bill
      If the collection agency or creditor doesn't validate the debt, then all collection efforts must cease. If collection efforts continue, you can pursue a case for a violation of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act. You can dispute the invalidated debt and have it removed from your credit report, but if the creditor is able to validate the debt later on, the debt can be reported again to the credit bureaus.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Sep, 2011
      Bill
      I just found this site, it's great. I have a question based on the above scenario. If a CA/Creditor can't validate a debt, would it restart the clock on a statute of limitations since you as the debtor even requested validation in the first place? I would assume if the debt is validated then the clock restarts but maybe that is not even the case since the debtor is only asking for validation and not actually aknowledging said debt. Thanks in advance if someone knows the answer to my disjointed question.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Sep, 2011
      Bill
      State laws vary on the details of the answer to your question, but in general, two things reset the statute of limitations clock. One, make a payment. Two, acknowledge the debt. A consumer can avoid reinstating or acknowledging a debt by using language like, "Although I am not acknowledging responsibility for this debt, I wish to discuss a settlement of the debt you claim I owe," or "By requesting validation of this debt, I am not accepting legal responsibility for this account."
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Sep, 2011
    Norma
    Can I ask to validate more than one charge at the same time? Thank you!
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Sep, 2011
      Bill
      Yes, you can validate as many debts as you like, but for accuracy and record preservation you should probably use one letter for each account and make the creditor give you a documented validation response on each case.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Sep, 2011
    Scott
    Long story short, in 2009 I received a collection letter from a debt collector. I disputed the debt, asked for validation, never heard anything more from them. One year later another debt collector had apparently purchased this disputed debt. I asked for validation, never heard anything more from them. Now, a little over a year later there is a new debt collector. The twist this time is they are having a law firm act as their collector. I requested validation of the debt and they simply sent back a regurgitation of the amount owed, the creditor's name, and the time the account was opened and when it was closed. I don't believe this actually constitutes validation, as all they're doing is repeating what they said and not showing the debt is truly valid. And considering that the other two companies could not show it was a valid debt my suspicion is this is just a scare tactic as it's a bare account. I want to write back and dispute that fact but read that there is an established case which states that a collector can just write and say, "Yeah, you owe this and that's all the validation you're going to get." Yet your article, along with others, say otherwise. Am I correct in disputing in how they responded?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Sep, 2011
      Bill
      Excellent question. See the conversation Danielle D. and I had on this page on February 16, 2011 regarding proper validation and how some federal circuit courts have decided what proper validation means.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Sep, 2011
    Tom
    I recently sent a debt validation letter to a collection agency about a collection that has been on my credit report for 2.5 years. The initial contract was agreed upon over the phone (cable bill) and therefore is past the 2 year statue of limitation for california verbal agreement. I received a prompt reply back from them asking me to provide more information so they can identify my account. In my debt validation letter, i had included the account number and the date on which they sent the collection letter. Now they are asking me for my social, address, name and account number so they can properly identify my account. Its been 14 days since i sent the DV letter. Should I wait reply back with their requested information or send another DV letter?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Sep, 2011
      Bill
      I am uncertain what you mean regarding the telephone conversation that occurred 2½ years ago, so I will ignore that part of your message.

      Regarding the debt validation, the last thing I would send a collection agent is my Social Security number. If the account number you sent in the debt validation was complete and accurate, and you included your complete and accurate name, a smart and efficient collection agent should be able to use those two pieces of data to find any account in their possession.

      If the collection agent is unscrupulous, providing it your Social Security number, your name, and address is an open invitation for identity theft.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Sep, 2011
    michael
    Hello - I just notice a CA reported a $4,096.00 dept on my CR that was posted 6/2011. I called the CA and it's turns out to be a out of pocket medical bill from 7/2006. I never once received a demand letter. Turns out, the hospital where i had surgery filed for bankruptcy and the bankruptcy court turned the dept over to the CA, Anyway i called the ins carrier (Cigna) and they said back in 2006, they sent countless letters (the last being 10/31/06) to the medical provider requesting pertinent documentation so they could pay the medical provider, Well, the medical provider was in the process of filing bankruptcy so they never responded, thus the insured carrier never paid. I didn't have a clue any this was going on until I reviewed CR yesterday. My question is does the california statue of limitations apply here? if not, any suggestions? Pleas note, the total amount of the bill was over $38,000 which was never paid by the ins carrier, the $4096 was suppose to be what i was suppose to pay which no one told me at the time.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Sep, 2011
      Bill
      It is my opinion that the SOL has run out on this debt and you will not have to pay it. Please verify my thoughts with an attorney and report back to confirm or disabuse my opinion.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Sep, 2011
    Need
    Does an oline loans need to be validated? I was just told by a Collector it does not because I received the info online.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Sep, 2011
      Bill
      If a collection agent told you the Moon was made of green cheese, would that accept it as a scientific fact? A collection agent has one job — collect money. If dispensing incomplete or inaccurate legal advice helps accomplish a collection agent's job, then that is what a collection agent will do.

      Whether a loan was dispensed from a bank's branch, a corner payday lender, a credit card issuer, or online, all are subject to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), and a consumer has the right to validate any debt a collection agent is attempting to collect.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Aug, 2011
    Dee
    I have been receiving calls with an unknown caller ID about 4-5 times a day in the past two months. They have left 3 voice mails so far and each time, claim it was a "time sensitive" matter and I could face legal action. I never bothered to call back, until yesterday when they called both my mom's cellphone and home phone. They told her they have been trying to reach me for some time now via mail, but that the mail came back undeliverable because they did not have my apt #. When she asked them what the issue was regarding, she was told they were not legally allowed to disclose the information to her but that I need to contact them asap to discuss the possibility of legal action. She then asked from which company they were calling from. The gentleman on the phone hesitated, put her on hold, came back and asked her what the question was again. After further hesitation, he finally said "Orion's." I called the company back immediately and the gentleman on the phone told me they have been unable to send me documents for a debt I owed to US Bank because they did not have my apt #. He also said that they attempted to send someone to my residence to serve me, but were unable to do so because they did not have my apt #. Firstly, I found this odd because if someone did try to come to my residence to serve me paperworks and looked at the mailboxes, there are less than 20 apts in my complex and our last names on posted on the mailbox by apt #. Would this be considered a valid attempt to serve me if they did in fact send someone to my residence? Secondly, the gentleman on the phone was very quick to tell me that if I do not resolve the issue today, they will be forced to take me to court. When I asked them how it can be resolved, he transferred me to another rep who gave me payment options. When I told him that I wanted debt validation, he immediately told me that he will be documenting that I am refusing to resolve the matter privately and that they will be forced to take legal action. Are they legally able to do so if I had never received anything in writing advising me of my 30 days to validate the debt per FDCPA? Furthermore, this alleged debt from US Bank was for an account that was defaulted on almost seven years ago. I live in California and I assume the statute of limitations has expired. I am planning on sending them a certified letter to the P.O. Box that the gentleman on the phone provided me to validate the debt. I am a bit weary about this company as they have given me three different names for their company when three different reps were asked. The first one told my mom "Orion's", second rep told me "Orion's Group", and when my mom called them back again out of curiousity, they told her "Orion's Management." Will this ever go away? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Aug, 2011
      Bill
      Validate the debt by following the steps described on the page I just mentioned. Be sure the debt validation letter is sent Certified Mail. Consult with a lawyer if the collection agent files a lawsuit against you.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jul, 2011
    Michelle
    I'm from TN. I received a bill from about an old credit card that defaulted years ago. The bill has passed the hands of several collectors. On July 1st I received a new notice from a new collector stating the account # and such and an offer of the original amount minus the interest that had occurred since it defaulted. On July 2nd I sent a letter for verification. I received a call yesterday (July 13th) from the company wanting to know if I still had plans to pay on this debt. I told the lady on the phone I had sent a request for verification because I just got this from them and I've been in contact with several people who say they own this account. When she heard I had sent a verification letter, I was put on hold and ended up speaking with a man who told me that if they went through the trouble of verifying the account then the "offer" would be null and void and that the total amount plus interest would be due immediately. He also said that verification wouldn't be a lot of paperwork. "People always think they're going to get past statements or proof of what they paid to the account and they never do and they always want to know why. All you're going to get from verifying it is you'll have to pay the full amount, and your full name, social, and the account number plus maybe another paper or two but that's it. I can assure you that we legally own this debt." I told him I had no doubt they owned it but they may have just bought a "bare" account and if they couldn't provide the information I've requested then we'll have other issues to deal with. He got irritated and returned with "I don't even know what that is. I've been in this business for 15 years and I don't know what a bare account is." I said good, perhaps that company doesn't work like that but for as far as I know, they're just a person on a phone. He then emailed a new offer, which was $200 less than the first offer. And by the way no one has seen this "request for verification" yet. From what I've read here, to verify an account they have to send "Account statements from the original creditor including payment history starting with the original creditor. Also, a copy of the original loan agreement or credit card application, or lacking that, account statements from the original creditor". So am I to understand that if this company doesn't provide those account statements like he said he would not, that's not actual verification? Is that correct? And they are charging interest and if they can't show me the original contract that shows where they have the right to charge me 10% interest a month then they can't do that either, correct? The man on the phone was put there because he knew what to say to me and how to reply to my "verification letter" and try to get me to pay the most he could get me to pay, but does it sound like they've bought a "bare" account? Also he said it would "take months to get that paperwork back" and on here it says the company has 30 days to provide me with this verification documentation. Please, any information to help me keep this strait in my head would be appreciated. I'm sending a second request for verification today via priority mail, with tracking a signature conformation (since no one saw the first one). I will send a copy of my first letter as well. Is there anything else I can do? Thanks for your time.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jul, 2011
      Bill
      First, please see the discussion I had with Danielle on this page on February 16, 2011 regarding what each federal Circuit Court has decided is adequate validation. Unfortunately, Congress was lazy in writing the FDCPA, and did not define validation clearly, so as a result some federal appellate courts did and tipped the scales in favor of collection agents. The result is confusion and conflict over what defines adequate validation.

      In my opinion, the validation portion of the FDCPA was designed to help consumers and collection agents understand two things:
      1. That a debt is valid
      2. That this consumer is legally responsible

      In the interest of fairness, a consumer needs more than a stranger's voice on the telephone saying, "I can assure you that we legally own this debt," as a proper verification. Some Circuit Courts have set the standards for verification low, but not all have. At minimum, a consumer needs something other than the name of the original creditor and the balance due. Anything less is hearsay or something anyone can get from your credit report.

      Beware: You deal with an unscrupulous collection agent. First, it claims to never have received your first validation letter. Second, it claimed to be unaware of undocumented vs. fully documented collection accounts. Third, it was awfully quick to offer you a reduced settlement once you stated you wanted a validation. It may not have a right to collect the debt.

      The collection agent does not need to validate the debt within 30 days. However, once it receives your debt validation notice, it may not collect the debt or report it to the consumer credit reporting agencies until it validates the debt. If the collection agent eventually validates the debt, start negotiations at 5 cents on the dollar. Negotiate a pay for delete.

      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jun, 2011
    April
    I had a question. What if you want the agency to validate a debt after the first 30 days of initial communication with you? I was originally contacted in 2007 but have moved several times since then and have gotten smarter by asking for validation of debt. I just received a letter in response to my request for validation today (within the 30-day window). They said I had contacted them about moving in 2007, and that I'd shown an interest in clearing the account with them. They also stated that per the FDCA, 30 days had since passed from the initial contact with me in 2007. Therefore, they are not sending validation. Also, they have charged more interest on the account that the account balance they purchased. Where do I go to find out if Alabama allows such a thing? And what do I do now?? I just want to verify they are legally able to collect this debt and that someone else won't try to collect it as well.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jun, 2011
      Bill
      The window for asking for a debt validation is small, which is why I urge readers to validate their debts as soon as a new collection agent contacts them. What you are asking, I think, is if Alabama has a modified version of the FDCPA that changes the 30-day validation rule. I am not aware that Alabama has, however I hasten to add that I am not an Alabama lawyer and therefore am incompetent to answer your question about Alabama law. Consult with a Alabama lawyer who has experience in consumer law to learn if the Alabama legislature and governor modified the FDCPA.

      Unfortunately, under the FDCPA the presumption is that if the consumer fails to challenge the validity of the debt within the 30-day window, the debt is valid and collectible.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jun, 2011
      April
      Actually, I was asking if there was some website in which it details whether or not Alabama allows collection agencies to charge interest. I will find a lawyer here and ask them. So, I'm pretty much screwed as far as getting any useful info from the collection agency since I didn't ask them to validate the debt within 30 days, so I won't be able to dispute the listing on my credit report with the credit bureaus?
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jun, 2011
      Bill
      I know of no state that prohibits the charging of interest on delinquent debt. If there is no law on-point on this matter, the default maximum rate would be your state's usury limit.

      The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) controls the behavior of collection agents. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) controls the behavior of consumer credit reporting agencies (commonly called credit bureaus). The two federal laws are separate and have little to do with each other. The FDCPA gives consumers the right to require collection agents to validate debts, among other rights. A debt that cannot be validated may not be collected or reported on a consumer's credit report. The FCRA gives consumers the right to dispute erroneous derogatory information on their credit report, among other rights.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jun, 2011
    Elli
    Hi, I signed up with Debt Mgt. Company about 2 years ago and closed all my credit card. Last month, Hunt & Henrique Law Firm in Sane Jose sent me a letter that they represented Citicard. I owed citi $6000 when I requested them to close my account and now it is $12,000. I sent used the sample debt validation letter to them within 30 days and called the Debt Mgt. company to follow up. Today, I called Debt Mgt. company and they told me the law firm does not want to talk to them and they only want to talk to me. I don't think it is a good idea to call them especially, it has been 2 weeks and they have not respond to my debt validation lette. What do you think they can do next and what should I expect from them? I am in short sale now, should I tell them my new address once I move just in case if they want to serve me. I am afraid if I move and they sue me without me knowing it. Then, will the court award them the judement? thanks!
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jun, 2011
      Bill
      I assume you are working with a debt settlement company, and not a credit counselor that created a debt management plan for you.

      You are wise to ask for a debt validation. A debt that cannot be validated cannot be collected or reported to the consumer credit reporting agencies (also called credit bureaus).

      If the collection agent validates the debt, then your best course of action is to negotiate a settlement.

      Regarding your question about the change of address, you are asking for a legal opinion, which I cannot give you. The most conservative course of action is to give the creditor your new address. However, in instances where the plaintiff (the party suing the defendant) serves the defendant at the wrong address and wins a judgment, the defendant can attack the judgment and have it vacated. Consult with a lawyer in your state to learn how easy it is to vacate a judgment under these circumstances.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    May, 2011
    Chantelle
    My husband recently received a phone call on 3/16/2011 by a gentleman claiming my husband owed money for an account/credit card and has threatened to sue him if he does not make a payment of $4000.00. However we have not received any sort of notice in writting to inform him of this debt. So in regards to the Debt Validation how do we know when it is thirty days? Do we legally go off the date he was first called or do they have to supply us with notice in writting?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      May, 2011
      Bill
      As a practical matter, anyone can pick a number out of a phone book and call that party and claim they owe $4,000, but that does not make it true or accurate. The caller could be a fake debt collector.

      Read U.S. Code Title 15 Chapter 41 § 1692g: Validation of debts to see the exact sequence of the events that must transpire to validate a debt. In particular, the collector must notify the consumer in writing the amount of the debt, who the original creditor is, and three statements about the consumer's rights, which I will not repeat here but are spelled out clearly in § 1692g.

      Do not pay this caller a dime if he or she cannot validate the debt.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      May, 2011
      chantelle
      I understand that, however my question is if they "ARE" a debt collector are they legally required to notify my husband by written notice (mail) or is a phone call sufficient enough? Because when we send the debt validation how do we prove it was sent within the 30 day period? Do we reference the date of the phone call considering we don't have written proof of the first day they notified us?
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      May, 2011
      Bill
      What did the caller include in his or her initial communication? Did he or she include the:
      1. Name of the creditor
      2. The amount owed
      3. Statement disclosing the consumer's right to dispute the debt
      4. Statement that if the consumer does not dispute the debt it is considered valid
      5. Statement indicating the consumer may ask for the name of the original creditor

      If all of these were included in the initial communication (whether that be a phone call, fax, e-mail, or paper letter), then the consumer must ask for a debt validation within 30 days. If these were not included in the initial communication, then the creditor must follow-up with a written communication disclosing each of the five points above within 5 days.

      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      May, 2011
      chantelle
      The only thing that was discussed was the supposed amount of $4000.00 being owed the account number of the credit card and the debt was obtained via Bank of America along with supposed date account was opended and the last payment received date. Oh and if we dont make a payment by the end of the month they were going sue for the amount owed. Also, what is the statue of limitations in the state of california for a credit card debt with Bank of America/collections agency? How many years is it?
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      May, 2011
      Bill
      The quick (and potentially wrong) answer to your question is four years for California residents. Credit card contracts may contain a choice of laws clause that, in effect, sets the statute of limitations to a different state's value. For example, if a California resident signs a contract that has a choice of laws clause whereby the parties agree to use Ohio's laws in the event of a dispute arising from the contract, the statute of limitations will be 15 years. Therefore, the accurate answer to any statute of limitations question is the series of questions, "What choice of laws did you agree to, and if you didn't agree to one, in which state do the signatories reside, or in which state is the court where the dispute is litigated?"

      It is certainly possible for a collection agent to call a consumer once with the warning, "Pay up in 30 days or we sue!" But it is far cheaper and more likely for the collection agent to call the consumer daily for several months than it is to hire a lawyer to file a lawsuit. I am not suggesting you have nothing to worry about, but I think it is odd and rather lazy for a legitimate collection agent to call once for a $4,000 debt and not follow-up with anything in writing.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      May, 2011
      chantelle
      Now see that is the thing, to my husband recollection he never applied for a credit card and this was apparently issued through bank of america. However when he contacted Bank of America they didnt have this information as they only keep records on accounts that have been closed up to 9 months afterwards and this is now going on 8 years as of June 19, 2011. So do we tell the collector this exceeds the staue of limitations or do we just send the debt validation and take it from there? My husband has spent his entire life in the state of california and never signed any paperwork in re to any credit cards therefor would the choice of laws fall under another state or pertain to the state of california? The law office/collections agency(Pauls Law Office) is i believe located in utah would this have any affect on the choice of laws? Im not sure how i would obtain this information. By the way i wanted to thank you for all your help and time in this matter.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      May, 2011
      Bill
      If your spouse has no recollection of opening the credit card, and there is no evidence of several thousand dollars of goods he purchased with the card, has no receipts or statements in his files to indicate the account existed, and has a normal memory, there is a pretty good chance the debt is either misattributed to your spouse, or is a figment of a criminal's imagination.

      Validate the debt. If the collection agent files a lawsuit, consult with a California lawyer, and raise a statute of limitations defense in a timely manner.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jun, 2011
      chantelle
      Ok so we sent out the debt validation and theY responded with a letter providing my husbands social security #, his name, our current address, the principal balance, original creditor, the account number, origination date:5/19/2003 and charge off date: 6/19/2003 which is clearly pass the statue of limitations. So where do we go from here? Do we respond or leave it as is and if they choose to file a a suite with the court move forward with statue of limitations argument?
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jun, 2011
      Bill
      Debt validation and statutes of limitations are two completely different issues that have little relationship to each other. Debt validation is covered by federal law (the FDCPA) and statutes of limitation are state laws.

      Consider sending the collection agent a Notice of Insufficient Validation.

      If you are sued, be sure to raise the statute of limitations defense in a timely manner.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Sep, 2011
      phylis
      HFC charged off my account. However, the account number they charged off is not the same as the account I was paying off. HFC sold the account to Atlantic Credit and now they are collecting. I wrote them numerous times for validation re the north carolina CEPA Act and they still do not send me proper validation. However, I am still perplexed about the account number. It is not my account number. What happens now?
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Sep, 2011
      Bill
      Send the collection agent a Notice of Insufficient Validation.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    May, 2011
    courtney
    Hello! I've been contacted by a debt collector. They first contacted me by phone and basically scared me into making a payment toward my debt, and want me to make another larger one this month. After authorizing the first payment, I received their letter. This was the first letter I got from them. After doing some research I determined that I need to send a validation letter, which I'm doing today (I'm still within the 30 days of receiving the letter). My question is, will the fact that I already made one payment to them have any negative affect on me?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      May, 2011
      Bill
      There is nothing in the statute I can find that suggests making a payment negates the necessity of sending the FDCPA notice, or prevents a consumer from verifying a debt.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      May, 2011
      Courtney
      Great, thank you so much!
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    May, 2011
    ron
    I am trying to pay a debt from a 3rd party collector in a lump sum.before i pay my debt can I ask in writing for them to state after the debt is fully paid it will be satisfied and i can longer be contacted about this debt.i did not get a verification within the 30 days and i want to be sure the money will be going where it should.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      May, 2011
      Bill
      By all means, whenever a debtor makes a lump-sum settlement with a creditor, the debtor should insist on a signed contract that states the lump sum paid is a final settlement of the debt.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Apr, 2011
    Scotty
    I received a phone call from a collection agency in regards to my private student loan. I have been paying monthly to the original loan co. and pulled up my banking history online back to may of last year. I have been current every month. This collection company says I defaulted on my loan recently and they bought it. We got no letters in the mail,just this random phone call. Can we validate the debt and if so, how do we go about it. All previous pymts have posted to the original creditor with the last one being this past 04/20/11. This collector states we have not made a pymt since Jan 11th, 2011. They want money by next Friday and I am really unsure about them. Please help. thanks
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2011
      Bill
      By all means validate the debt! You may be dealing with a fake debt collector.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Apr, 2011
    Benard
    Good Afternoon, I understand I have within 30 days of my letter to ask for a validation of debt. However, I saw in one of your comments above that if you have been contacted by them and did not ask for one first, it is too late? Is it true it's too late since I have talked to an agent on the phone twice so far since my letter? I still am within 30 days of my letter. I also don't have to appear in court til April 22nd. I have talked to an employee from the CA twice so far, the first time was the end of march and today April 12th. Can I still ask for a validation of debt? I also had asked them to settle for about 1/3 to less than half of my debt which is about $5400. They declined the offer and asked for half. When I made it clear that half in two-three payments would be difficult. They got aggressive and declined the offer and stated we want the full balance now, offering to take monthly payments of 200-500 to fulfill the total balance and get rid of the monthly interest. Otherwise, they take me to court, ask for the full balance plus all fees and interest. I was an 18 yr old in 2005 when I opened my card and now I'm trying to get my debt cleared. This card was delinquent since 2007. I tried to settle in 09 with a previous CA (the balance was about only 4000 then) but came across financial hardships after 3 payments (only needed 3 more payments to pay the settlement). Now I'm faced again with this card issue after a few years. I want to clear this up finally but $5400 is too steep for me. This CA is very aggressive and really care less about my previous actions. They dont even seem aware that I have tried in the past to take care of my debt. What would you recommend in this situation if I can no longer validate? Also if im able to validate? I have to mail it to them or can I contact and email them one? Does this also postpone the court date?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Apr, 2011
      Bill
      Debt collection is governed by a federal law Section 809(b), 15 U.S.C. §1692, which is also known as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). When a collection agent contacts a consumer the first time regarding a debt, the consumer has 30 days after receiving the initial communication to request a debt verification, which is sometimes called debt validation. Five days after the initial communication, the collection agent must give notice to the consumer that he or she has the right to verify the debt. A collection agent need not respond to a request for verification if the consumer sends the request after this 30-day period. Validate the debt, regardless of the pending hearing. Send the validation letter by fax and Certified Mail.

      Keep negotiating with the collection agent to avoid the hearing. If the hearing date approaches without a resolution, be sure to attend the hearing. Explain to the judge that the collection gent has not validated the debt. Consult with a lawyer in your state who has civil litigation experience to learn more about what to expect and how to act in the hearing.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Mar, 2011
    Kimberly
    My husband was an employee of a church from 1998-2009. In 2006, he was issued a credit card for business use. The credit card bill was alwasy paid by the church and anything charged that was deemed personal was paid to the church as reimbursement. In November 2009, my husband resigned and we moved out of state. We never received any statments from either the credit card company or the church. We received a collection phone call in April 2010, and requested information in writing on the debt. We were un-aware that the church stopped paying the bill. In February 2011, we were attempting to get pre-qualified for a mortgage loan and discovered that this debt is now reportin on his personal credit report. It is over $8k and he is NOT responsible for this balance. However, we are told that he was a co-maker on this loan. Wrote the collection agency (NCO Financial Systems) requesting debt validation. All that we received was a copy of an old bill from over 1 year ago mailed to the church adress. We have been gone for 18 months and have not received anything. I have requested that the collection agency validate the debt by providing a copy of the credit application with a signature stating that my husband was a co-maker on the credit card and or copies of any contracts or other documentation indicating the same. Is there anything else we need to do?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Mar, 2011
      Bill
      I see two contracts in play here.
      1. The contract between the employer and employee. The expressed or implied contract between these two parties was that the employer would reimburse the employee for materials purchased necessary to complete his duties. It seems unlikely this contract gave the employer the right to place liability for credit card charges on the employee during or after employment.
      2. A contract between the credit card issuer, and the employee and employer as co-signatories. Co-signatories on credit cards, or any other debt, have joint and several liability for the debt. This means that if one co-signatory does not repay the loan the creditor has the right to collect the entire balance due from the other. The end of the employment contract does not sever the contract with the credit card issuer.

      You are wise to validate the debt. However, the level of proof a collection agent needs to validate a debt is woefully low.

      You or your lawyer should consider sending a firmly worded letter to the former employer immediately explaining the situation and the impact it is having on your personal finances. Explain you want the account closed and the balance paid immediately with a pay for delete agreement between the employer and the collection agent. Consult with your lawyer about your options if this does not accomplish your goals.

      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Feb, 2011
    Claire
    I've been getting phone calls from a collector saying that I owe money to a cell phone company although I never received any notice from the original company that I owed them anything. I have not received any paper mail from the collections company even though they say they sent several letters. The first phone conversation I had with them was Jan.4th but I didn't give the guy a chance to say much before I hung up. I actually talked to someone a bit on the 20th. It's now the 7th. Am I too late to dispute this? If so do I just pay it and try to get it off my credit? I'm not sure I even owe this money and the original source won't talk to me about it because it's been over a year and they claim not to keep records that long. I'm really worried about my credit here. Any advice appreciated!
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2011
      Bill
      Review my reply to Leah on this page dated January 20, 2011. Under the FDCPA, the collection agent must send you a written disclosure of your rights under the FDCPA. Did you receive this notice? If so, when? You have 30-days from the receipt of that notice to request that the debt be validated.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2011
      Claire
      I have never received any written communication from them, however they claim to have sent several letters. I can't prove they didn't but I don't have them nor do I know what they sent. If they say they sent it on day x how can I prove they didn't? or that I didn't receive it?
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2011
      Bill
      A judge or jury needs to answer the question, "Did the collection agent send the FDCPA notice to the debtor?" They said they sent it. You say you have received no written communications from them. They need to show the court, should this matter go to trial, that they have a system in place whereby they send debtors FDCPA notices on a routine basis, that they have your accurate mailing address, and that they have a record of the notice being sent to you on a certain date.

      Consult with a lawyer in your state who has experience with consumer law. Some will take FDCPA cases on a contingency basis, which will mean no out-of-pocket costs to you.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2011
      Danielle
      There is one thing that isn't clear about knowing whether something is sufficiently validated. Is only a copy of a credit application sufficient or does it have to include all the items described? Also if they send this information after their 30 days, are they obligated then to still remove? The response letter I got treats it as if their 30+ day response is a valid verification response. Is there a timeline for me to respond to them disagreeing and make them accountable to remove? Do you have any specific suggestion on legal verbiage from FCRA to include as a reference?
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Feb, 2011
      Bill
      Federal appellate courts conflict over what Congress meant when it wrote the debt validation portion of the Fair Debt Collection Practices act.
      • In the Third Circuit, the court articulated this standard: "computer printouts which confirmed amounts of debts, the services provided, and the dates on which the debts were incurred constituted sufficient verification" (Graziano v. Harrison, 950 F.2d 107, 113 (3d Cir. 1991))
      • The Fourth Circuit uses a much lower standard: "[v]erification only requires a debt collector to confirm with his client that a particular amount is actually being claimed, not to vouch for the validity of the underlying debt" (Chaudhry v. Gallerizzo, 174 F.3d 394 (4th Cir. 1999))
      • The Ninth Circuit follows the Fourth Circuit's lower standard (Clark v. Capital Credit & Collection Servs., 460 F.3d 1162 (9th Cir. 2006))
      • The Eleventh Circuit sets the bar even lower: "verification of a debt involves nothing more than the debt collector confirming in writing that the amount being demanded is what the creditor is claiming is owed; the debt collector is not required to keep detailed files of the alleged debt" (Azar v. Hayter, 874 F.Supp. 1314, 1317 (N.D. Fla.), aff'd, 66 F.3d 342 (11th Cir. 1995), cert. denied, 516 U.S. 1048 (1996))

      Although this has no legal weight or precedent, FTC counsel seems to follow the Fourth Circuit standard, too. (Wolman-LeFevre letter dated March 10, 1993)

      Regarding the 30-day rule, if the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within 30 days of the initial notice that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, the debt collector must cease collection of the debt, or any disputed portion thereof, until verification is mailed to the consumer. There is no time limit on when a collection agent must respond to a verification. It may, for example, respond with its evidence 75 days (to pick a number out of the air for the sake of argument) after receiving the consumer's debt validation request. However, during those 75 days, it may not report the debt to the consumer credit reporting agencies or attempt to collect the debt.

      Consult with a lawyer who has consumer rights experience in your state to get assistance in drafting a response to the collection agent's evidence. Your state may be in a circuit where the standard is higher than what I found for the Third, Fourth, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits.

      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      May, 2011
      Asunta
      Hi! This is a very interesting topic. If the Third, Fourth, Ninth and Eleventh Circuit Courts' standards are very low in the requirements to validate a debt (except for Third), then how does debt validation help us, the consumers? Is the state of California under one of these circuit courts? Under these four circuit courts, for the sake of debt validation, the collection agency can simply type on a piece of paper that the original creditor has confirmed X amount is what the debtor owes. I was hoping that included in the debt validation, along with other very important materials like original application form signed by the consumer, statements, date of last activity, date of last payment, etc., would be the date of first delinquency so that the consumer can automatically deduce the expiration of the statute of limitation. It is important to cross reference this date against the consumer's credit report to know how long the derogatory collection record stay on the report, if it is being re-aged by the collection agency, or simply a mistake. I have read in an article that 75% of audited credit reports from all three credit bureaus reflect errors and misrepresentations. Thanks
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      May, 2011
      Bill
      The west coast states, including California, are in the Ninth Circuit. The original creditor must provide a statement indicating the debt is is valid. Alas, you are correct in that federal auditors have found that most credit reports contain a significant error.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jan, 2011
    jeff
    I HAVE A DEBT WITH CITI WHICH IS NOW IN HANDLED BY HUNT AND HENRUIQUES. IN THE INITIAL COMPLAINT OF BREACH OF CONTRACT FILED BY COURT, I IMMEDIATELY SENT A VALIDATION OF DEBT TO THE LAW FIRM. i HAVE NOT RECEIVED ANYTHING. NOW ITS SET FOR COURT TRIAL. tHEY HAVE FILED A "DECLARATION OF PLAINTIFF IN LIEU OF PERSONAL TESTIMONY AT TRIAL" ATTACHED WITH MONTHLY STATEMENTS BUT NO CREDIT CARD APPLICATION. DOES THE FACT THAT THEY NEVER RESPONDED TO MY REQUEST OF DEBT VALIDATION A BEARING IN MY CHANCE TO GET THIS CASE DISMISSED? HOW? WHAT IS MY NEXT ACTION? PLEASE HELP
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jan, 2011
      Bill
      Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and specifically US 15 § 1692g, a consumer has a limited amount of time to validate a debt. See my reply to a reader dated January 20, 2011 on this page to read a brief analysis of the time limit available to validate a debt. If the collection agent's first contact with you was the summons to appear, then as I read US 15 § 1692g, the state court case cannot proceed until the collection agent/creditor validates the debt. However, if the time limit to validate the debt has passed, then demanding one is a pointless gesture.

      Is this debt a surprise to you or has this collection agent or law firm contacted you before about the debt? If so and you did not validate the debt, then it is almost certainly too late to do so now. If this summons represents the first time this collection agent has contacted you, then by all means validate the debt and simultaneously file a motion with the court that states you seek to stay the court's proceedings while the plaintiff validates the debt.

      Consult with a lawyer in your state who has civil litigation or consumer law experience to get help drafting your motion. If you cannot afford a lawyer, call your county bar association and ask for the name of the organization in your area that provides no-cost legal services to people with low or no income. Make an appointment with that organization, and bring all of the documents you have regarding the debt and the summons to your meeting. A lawyer will advise you accordingly.
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jan, 2011
      Jeff
      I want to thank you for that very informative information. I have a follow-up question, now that the Creditor has filed said declaration, what is my next course of action. Do I file a motion? on what grounds, and how (form name)? On said declaration, they did not furnish a copy of my original credit card application, may this fact be used to my advantage. How about an extension or a continuance. The trial date is set on the 20th of February. Thank you in advance for your assistance
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jan, 2011
      Bill
      The answers to your questions vary by state because each state wrote its own civil procedure laws. California, for example, offers consumers forms to complete regarding many civil matters. Other states do, too, although not to the extent that California does.

      I can go as far as helping you find the forms you need, but I cannot give you legal advice and help you complete them.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jan, 2011
    Leah
    What happens if you request debt validation within the 30-day time period of receipt of the letter, and the creditor tells you this isn't the first letter they sent, and therefore the debt validation will not be honored?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jan, 2011
      Bill
      A collection agent is not your lawyer. Any legal advice offered by a collection agent should be treated with skepticism. Let us review the relevant section of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and specifically US 15 § 1692g. Validation of debts.
      (a) Notice of debt; contents Within five days after the initial communication with a consumer in connection with the collection of any debt, a debt collector shall, unless the following information is contained in the initial communication or the consumer has paid the debt, send the consumer a written notice containing —
      1. the amount of the debt;
      2. the name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed;
      3. a statement that unless the consumer, within thirty days after receipt of the notice, disputes the validity of the debt, or any portion thereof, the debt will be assumed to be valid by the debt collector;
      4. a statement that if the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty-day period that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, the debt collector will obtain verification of the debt or a copy of a judgment against the consumer and a copy of such verification or judgment will be mailed to the consumer by the debt collector; and
      5. a statement that, upon the consumer’s written request within the thirty-day period, the debt collector will provide the consumer with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current creditor.

      This means that either in the initial communication or within five days after the initial communication the collection agent must inform you of your rights to validate the debt. For the sake of completeness, let us look at the next paragraph in this section.

      (b) Disputed debts If the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty-day period described in subsection (a) of this section that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, or that the consumer requests the name and address of the original creditor, the debt collector shall cease collection of the debt, or any disputed portion thereof, until the debt collector obtains verification of the debt...

      This means the collection agent must cease all collection activities and provide validation of the debt if the consumer asks for a validation within 30 days of receiving the letter discussed in (a), or if the initial communication included a notification of the consumer's rights under US 15 § 1692g.

      In your case, the question becomes, "When did you receive notice of US 15 § 1692g?" If you disputed the debt within 30 days of receiving the written notice described in (a), then it does not matter when the first letter was sent.

      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jan, 2011
    Beverly
    We received a letter from a collection agency about a debt that is not ours and that we have previously successfully had removed from our credit report. We responded with a dispute letter well within the 30 day period and provided tons of documentation to prove it was not our debt and had been already removed from our credit report once. I sent the letter certified mail with return receipt so I have proof they did in fact receive the letter. We never heard back from them and yesterday discovered that they had reported the collection to the credit agencies anyway. Isn't this a violation of the FRCA? What should we do next, aside from dispute it with the credit agencies again? Would it be worth it to take legal action against the collection agency or would that be a waste of time and money?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jan, 2011
      Bill
      The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) were written -- in part -- to protect consumers like you. You may have a cause of action against the inept collection agent that, despite your evidence to the contrary, insists on hanging someone else's bad debt on your credit report. By all means find a lawyer who specializes in consumer law, and learn if he or she will take your case on a contingency basis. This will result in no out-of-pocket cost to you, and potentially, some significant costs for the collection agent.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Dec, 2010
    ja
    I have an outstanding debt from a private college back from 2003. The last payment I made was in 2004. They have recently started calling me again. Does the statue of limitation apply to this?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Dec, 2010
      Bill
      The Statute of Limitations (SOL) for your state could very well apply to your private student loan debt. It depends on the wording of your promissory note. There is no SOL for federal student loans, but there is a SOL for private student loans. I suggest that you speak with an attorney, in order to fully understand what, if anything, the debt holder can do to collect on the debt.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Dec, 2010
    John
    I filed Bankruptcy Chapter 7 after losing my job and going through a financially crippling divorce. It\'s been more than 2 years since my Chpt 7 was filed and completed. Recently I noticed a doctor\'s office send my account to a collection agency and they are putting negative marks on my credit report. But they have NOT contacted in me in any way. I haven\'t been to this Dr. in over 3 years and didn\'t include them in my bankruptcy as I wasn\'t aware that I owed them anything (they were invoicing my insurance). I was told that even if the Dr. wasn\'t listed in my original bankruptcy filing they were still subject to it. What should I do to remove this credit agency and their claims?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Dec, 2010
      Who told you the doctor's bill was subject to the bankruptcy discharge? If it was your bankruptcy attorney, then ask him or her what document you need to file with the bankruptcy trustee to amend your filing and have the debt discharged. If not, then reacquaint yourself with your bankruptcy attorney to discuss the matter.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Nov, 2010
    Wife got a phone call from debt collectors. Never received a letter. This was in regards to a credit card opened in 2002 and last payment was in 2005. He was trying to give her settlement offers and told her if she did not pay, she would get served with a court summons. He was trying to negotiate with her on the phone and she asked him to email those offers. When he did, she emailed him back a debt validation letter. She also mailed one the following day. She heard back from him 2 days later and he said was unable to provide her with the information that had been requested. Can they still sue without debt validation? Is this account pass the statue of limitations? In Alaska its 3 years for credit card debt. When we googled the company and searched for them on the BBB website, we were unable to find any information?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Nov, 2010
      Bill
      A collection agent may not collect a debt it cannot validate either privately or using the court system. A collection agent violates the FDCPA if it threatens to use the court system to collect a debt if it has no intention to do so.

      Regarding the statute of limitations, if the statute of limitations has passed on a debt, a collection agent may still sue the debtor to try to win a judgment. However, if the debtor/defendant raises the statute of limitations defense in a timely manner, the court will dismiss the case. I must stress that the statute of limitations defense is not automatic &mdash the defendant must raise this defense. If it is not raised, the court will not do it for the defendant.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Nov, 2010
    Kiley
    Received a collections notice in August. Called shortly after to discuss account. Rep refused to give me anything in writing, i.e. a settlement offer that he was insisting on getting a payment first. Next day sent debt validation and account history request, Septement. Received letter stating were pulling this info, which I never received. Checked credit report November, CA posted negative history on credit report in October. Called FTC, BBB, and state attorney's office. CA decided to send partial proof to BBB, but no account history, even though they are asking more than the debt previously reported by orginial lender. Sent a letter demanding removal from credit history certified to CA. Now what?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Nov, 2010
      Bill
      A collection agent may not try to collect a debt that it cannot validate, nor can it reportthe debt to the credit reporting agencies. If either the collection agent or the credit reporting agency violate these rules, they are in violation of federal law -- specifically the FCRA, the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Consult with an attorney who has experience in consumer law to learn if you can sue and recover damages under the FCRA.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Oct, 2010
    Richard
    We got a call from a collection agency stating that we didn't make the final payment on a product we ordered and received back in 2004. I know we paid; but don't have records from that far back. Are we reading your article correctly that they only have 4 Year to collect this in California? As this was 6 years ago, do we even need to worry about it? or still ask for the "Debt Validation" and go from there? Or?
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Oct, 2010
      Bill
      Validate the debt. 1) You have only the word of the collection agent that it has the right to collect the alleged debt. 2) The collection agent needs to prove you did not make the final payment. If the collection agent cannot validate the debt, the debt is not collectable and the collection agent may not try to collect on the debt. If you do not validate the debt, the debt has passed the California statute of limitations, which means the collection agent may not use the court system to collect the debt, assuming you raise a statute of limitations defense in court in a timely manner. The passage of the California statute of limitations does not mean the collection agent cannot try to collect the debt from you privately.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Aug, 2010
    Bill
    You cannot ask this particular collection agent to validate the debt, but if the collection agent sells the debt to another collection agent then you can validate it at that time.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Aug, 2010
    Michael
    I've received a letter from a debt collector but failed to send the verification request in within 30 days. Do I have any rights left? What should be my course of action at this point?
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Aug, 2010
    Bill
    Odd as it may sound, but a collection account is an asset. The rights to a collection account can be bought, sold, traded, or gifted from one collection agent to another. The key issue regarding this right is that only one collection agent can own the right at a time. Get a new copy of your credit report and contact the newest collection agent for the account you want to settle. Call them and ask if they still own the right to that account. Then validate the debt. If the collection agent can validate the debt, then offer them a lump-sum settlement of 10 cents on the dollar for the account. If they cannot validate the debt then they may not collect it and it must be removed from your credit report. The 10 cents on the dollar may seem like it is too little, but collection agents buy collection accounts for pennies on the dollar, and although they have the right to collect the balance due plus the interest allowed by your state law, there is a tremendous profit margin potential in collection accounts.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Aug, 2010
    P
    2007 was a horrible year where a vehicle went into reposession, 4 credit cards, a cell phone and utility bill went into collections/charge off status. I got back on my feet and want to repay, fix the problem. A couple of the original debtors are and some are no longer on my credit report, but collection agents are (sometimes multiple for the same defaulted account)reporting for all of them. Who do I pay, the latest collection agency? Do they all have to remain on my report, even if they are not the original debtor or collection agency I am settling with? It's making my $5000 debt look as if I owe $30k bc of the multiple collection agencies. Please advise me how I should go about fixing this and with whom I should pay.
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jun, 2010
    Bill
    Validate the debt regardless of the filing of the lawsuit. Federal law allowing you the right to validate the debt is not trumped by a state small claims court lawsuit.
    0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jul, 2011
      Nik
      I just got a call that I was being sued for a credit card I had that was charged off and never paid. They said they sent a letter 2 months ago but I never received anything. They also said if they don't set up a payment arrangement they will go through with the process of suing me. Am I still able to request debt validation since you said its a 30 day time limit from when they sent the notice although I have never received it?
      0 Votes

    • 35x35
      Jul, 2011
      Bill
      You can definitely request validation. It may be the case, however, that the collection agency will say it is not required to validate the debt, due to how long you 'waited.' At that point, it becomes an issue that can be brought to the court. You can claim that the collection agency did not follow the rules for validating. The collection agency likely would have to show proof of the process that it uses to send out notices and demonstrate why yours was sent out properly.

      Debt collectors are not allowed to threaten actions that they are not planning to take. Doing so is a violation of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act. I suggest that you consult with an attorney, to make sure that your rights are best represented.
      0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Jun, 2010
    Lori
    I received a letter concerning a credit card default amount from a debt collector's attorney?? stating I had 30 days to respond however in the body of the letter it states that 'this communication is from a debt collector'. At any rate, they filed a Small Claims complaint on day 20, before the 30 days as stated in the letter. I have not responded as yet, but would like debt verification as I think the amount is wrong. I must respond to the Clerk of the court by the 3rd of June. What should I do?
    0 Votes

  • 35x35
    Apr, 2010
    Marsh
    This is an informative article. People need to know they have a limited amount of time to validate debt. A person has 30 days from the date they receive the letter from the collection agent to respond requesting the debt be validated.

    In my experience, this is the first letter that the collection agent sends. If the collection account is sold or assigned to another collection agent, validate the debt again, even if an earlier collection agent validated the debt.
    0 Votes