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Hello all...

I requested validation from a collection agency, and was sent a collection letter demanding payment during this time. I sent a letter demanding $1000.00 for violating the FDCRA and a day later, I received a letter correctly validating, saying "sorry" for sending the collection letter. I sent another demand letter for $1000.00 for violating the FDCRA and my agreement to pay the debt, and again they responded saying "sorry" it was a error, and they will be found not guilty in court because the FDCRA, § 813. Civil liability [15 USC 1692k] section C says:

© A debt collector may not be held liable in any action brought under this title if the debt collector shows by a preponderance of evidence that the violation was not intentional and resulted from a bona fide error notwithstanding the maintenance of procedures reasonably adapted to avoid any such error.

The agency says there collector made a mistake. What would they need to produce in court to get my case dismissed as an error?

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I think that a Judge would probably dismiss it as an error and they would win a counter suit because now you have sent a letter agreeing to pay the debt. Just my two cents but once they have validated (signed contract by you, etc.) I would not sue them just on that one violation. If you have more violations then that is a different story. Also one other thing, is the debt by chance beyond SOL? That would give you some leverage.

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You need to provide more specific info. You received a dunning letter on what date and the letter was dated when? You sent your DV on what date and they received it on what date? They responded with 2nd dunning letterd dated when, on what date? etc

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To be more specific about dates:

I received the original collection letter on April 14th. I sent a request for validation (invoices, contract and their right to collect) on April 20th. I received a "you have 48 to respond or well start litigation" on May 17th. I sent my demand for cease of collection and a demand for $1000, with a copy of the lawsuit I planned to file on May 18th. May 20th (postmarked May 19th), I received a copy of the contract and invoices. Just to clarify, it never had a chance to go on my credit report, believe me, I checked. Its also well within the SOL.

The deal with the debt was that it was a kangaroo water utility company that would always screw up my bill, with late charges and meter misreads constantly. When I stopped service, they sent a bill for $760!!! After two months of complaining, they finally fixed the bill to the correct amount of $400 (that’s right, $400 for about 3 months of water!). I honestly thought because they were so screwed up, that by requesting validation that would never get there crap together and validate, but they did. So that’s why I have agreed to pay the debt.

My question is this, cant any CA say there violations were a mistake?

What constitutes a preponderance of evidence that the violation was not intentional? Hum? Anyone?

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To be more specific about dates:

I received the original collection letter on April 14th. I sent a request for validation (invoices, contract and their right to collect) on April 20th. I received a "you have 48 to respond or well start litigation" on May 17th. I sent my demand for cease of collection and a demand for $1000, with a copy of the lawsuit I planned to file on May 18th. May 20th (postmarked May 19th), I received a copy of the contract and invoices. Just to clarify, it never had a chance to go on my credit report, believe me, I checked. Its also well within the SOL.

The deal with the debt was that it was a kangaroo water utility company that would always screw up my bill, with late charges and meter misreads constantly. When I stopped service, they sent a bill for $760!!! After two months of complaining, they finally fixed the bill to the correct amount of $400 (that’s right, $400 for about 3 months of water!). I honestly thought because they were so screwed up, that by requesting validation that would never get there crap together and validate, but they did. So that’s why I have agreed to pay the debt.

My question is this, cant any CA say there violations were a mistake?

What constitutes a preponderance of evidence that the violation was not intentional? Hum? Anyone?

"...notwithstanding the maintenance of procedures reasonably adapted to avoid any such error."

That's the key. I would do 'em. If your DV letter "crossed" there 2nd demand letter I would say forget it. But clearly this is not the case. Take your time on this because your success depends on how well constructed your interrogatories and requests for production are.

JDBs and large CAs use proprietary software. Everybody else uses standard industry software. Bottom line is it's either an Oracle or Access style database or a Lotus/Excel style spreadsheet used in lieu of a database. Their "reasonable" procedures should call for locking out your account info once a request for debt validation is received to prevent "continued collection activity."

You did dispute with the CRAs after you sent the DV right?

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Forgive my ignorance - I had to research what interrogatories and requests for production are. I was unaware that you could do a request for production in small claims, very good to know. So, lets say they claim that their flunky collector in traning forgot to check a box in their computer (regardless of their database) which stops the collection process... Does this mean they made an error, or does this mean they didnt have a procedure reasonably adapted to avoid any such error? Gdouglaslee, in my request for production, your saying I want to get their procedure?

Also, I didnt have to dispute with the CRA's, as the CA never had a chance to report it(I DV'ed so quickly).

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It means they did not log in your letter. Obviously, they have a procedure in place to stop the collection process in their computer system. Human error. You could sue them, but unless you can prove that they have a pattern of such "human error" your suit will probably be thrown out.

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Heck, I have a law firm out of Phoenix calling me once or twice a month after requesting DV at least three times over the past six months! I use a separate voice mail service that captures time/date/CID and e-mails the recorded messages for archival. Apparently, they have decided what the hay, we'll keep calling to see if we can ever get something! They've read-out my SSI number, DOB and other things from time to time on messages left. They have even sent additional collection letters stating I have never disputed the debt, so by law it allows them to presume the debt is valid, etc. Neither they. or CACV have ever responded to or acknowledged any of the DV requests which originally was sent Certified Mail receipted, then repeated via fax. This is what collectors do because they know it is highly unlikely anyone will ever to attempt to get them on a violation. This behavior is eggregious and will be hard to explain if it ever comes to light as a pattern has been established over a period of time and that is important to catch people in wrongful acts.

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I was unaware that you could do a request for production in small claims, very good to know.

It depends on the small claims court. Some allow, some allow limited and some do not permit it. All are different. You may need to file in the next highest court to take advantage of that. It may also make them more likely to offer a settlement rather than spend $5000-$10,000 to respond to the interrogatories and document requests.

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I think that a Judge would probably dismiss it as an error and they would win a counter suit because now you have sent a letter agreeing to pay the debt. Just my two cents but once they have validated (signed contract by you, etc.) I would not sue them just on that one violation. If you have more violations then that is a different story. Also one other thing, is the debt by chance beyond SOL? That would give you some leverage.

I would agree, I sent a DV to FTD and between the time they signed for it they had already sent another letter. I know y the date of their letter that they already sent it before signing my DV letter. I decided not to persue a request for $1,000 because it would have been frivilous in my opinion.

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My question is this, cant any CA say there violations were a mistake?

What constitutes a preponderance of evidence that the violation was not intentional? Hum? Anyone?

Ya know, you don't need to prove it was a "mistake". If you commit a crime, unless it's murder, intent is rarely an issue. The CA committed a crime.

It's true that they judge may not award any monetary damages, but the real issue is whether or not your negs get deleted from your credit report. I'd say you have a solid case and you don't need a laywer to take them to court.

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Well, thats 4 people for going for it vs 3 not for going for it. I'll file Tuesday, and see what happens. Also just for fun, I have filed complaints with the BBB, Fed Trade Commission, the district attorneys office and the American collectors association, and sent them the copies. If I cant get them to pay with money, I can sure waste $1000.00 worth of their time... Thank you everyone!

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