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debt validation letter?

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I'm sure this has already been posted out there somewhere, but does anyone have a letter guideline or suggestions regarding responding to a CA? Here's my situation: we disputed a derogatory item on a credit report. The credit reporting agency subsequently removed the item and we then promptly received a phone call from the CA and then a letter in the mail requesting payment. This is the first correspondence we have EVER received on this supposed debt. They're obviously responding to the fact that the credit bureau has removed the item as the phone call came two days after we received the e-mail from the credit bureau. Now... how do I respond to the CA? What sort of letter should I send? What should and should not be said?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. (hopefully fairly quickly as you all know how time sensitive these things are)

Thanks much!

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In response to the various questions:

1)When did you notice the entry?

We've noticed it on previous credit reports, but cannot recall when we first saw it.

2)When did you dispute it?

December 2004

3)When did they send you the collection letter?

Received the letter yesterday.

4)Did that collection letter outline your rights to request validation with 30 days? (aka: the "mini miranda")

No - not mention of anything like this.

1. is this item yours?

We've never been billed for this the entire time it's been on the credit report - that's why we assumed it was an error. Yesterday was the first correspondence we have received in regards to us oweing on this.

2. how old is it

If it is ours (and that has yet to be determined), it would be at least five years old as we haven't lived in that area for five years.

3. what type of debt is it?

Possibly medical

4. How much?

$600 - $850 (depending on which report you pull, so I would assume the debt is $600 and the rest is something they've tacked on for fun)

One other question I forgot to post - is there some sort of legend regarding the acronyms that are being used in this forum? I'm pretty much in the dark and have a difficult time figuring out which entity people are referring to.

Thank you. : )

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No mini-miranda. No collect.

Report the CA to the FTC and their state Attorney General for violating the FDCPA:

§ 809. Validation of debts [15 USC 1692g]

(a) 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.

Then write the CA, notify them of their violation, and that the matter has been referred to the appropriate government agency for further processing.

Demand they immediately remove the negative information from the major credit repositories, and that you be pursuing your rights:

§ 813. Civil liability [15 USC 1692k]

(a) Except as otherwise provided by this section, any debt collector who fails to comply with any provision of this title with respect to any person is liable to such person in an amount equal to the sum of --

(1) any actual damage sustained by such person as a result of such failure;

(2) (A) in the case of any action by an individual, such additional damages as the court may allow, but not exceeding $1,000

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So what you're saying is that I don't do anything except report them to the FTC? I shouldn't send a letter at this point? Or should I still send some sort of debt validation letter to get this monkey off my back? Also, I did find a debt validation letter at the CIC site, but it sounds rather harsh to me for a first request - would a more simple response be acceptable? i.e., is it really necessary to threaten legal action at this point?


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Yes, I realize this is the CIC site, but just meant I had found the letter amongst the goodies offered at the site. Lots of stuff to get through, but very helpful.

Yes, they indicated at the top of the letter who they were collecting for - that's how I know it's a possible medical bill as it was for a medical facility.

As far as "giving us a chance" - No - they gave us no chance at all - just slapped in onto the credit report. We did not receive any correspondence, either from OC or from CA until we disputed the item last month via CRA web site. Once we received word from CRA that the item had been deleted, then CA contacted us by telephone attempting to work out an amount to settle on, and when we put them off, they sent us a letter. The letter also implies that we've had some sort of pay-back arranged and that we're somehow going back on that. I've never even had contact with these people until a week ago - how in the world could I have already reneged on a deal? Which, by the way, does NOT exist.

So would I be proactive to still send a letter or would I be asking for trouble?

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O.k. Let's add to their violations...

Did you get the letter 5 days after they first contact you by phone?

You will not get into trouble for exercising your rights. They're the ones who are going to find themselves in a world of hurt.

Now it's just a matter of getting your violations against them together.

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No, the letter was not dated within five days of the telephone contact. At this point, we cannot pinpoint the exact date, but we believe it was the first week of January, in which case the "within five days" would have been no sooner than January 12th (letter dated January 17th), and it's definitely been longer than last Wednesday since they telephoned. However, are the five days supposed to be "business days?" That would then put it at Monday, January 10th. We will continue to try to pinpoint the date. I usually write these things down, but we didn't have new calendars yet.

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My suggestion is run through the whole DV process. Let them rack up a few violations, then you will have firm standing to collect your $1000 from them. They obviously have ZERO basis for collecting this debt if the CRA deleted.

Do not worry about the "harsh" tone of the letter. It tells them you know your rights and they need to comply with the law. Has your contact fromthem been friendly and enjoyable? Or has it been a pain and stressful? Never cut any CA any slack.

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So what's the deal with the "violations?" If they violate some part of the FCRA and I report them, then something actually happens? Sorry, but in my experience, when a consumer complains, nothing much happens except a big headache. The only time you ever get results, and it's very rare, is complaining to a retail or restaurant establishment. In fact I was on the raw end of the deal just recently with PG&E - very long story, but we are not dead-beat payers and there were valid reasons for what happened and they didn't give a rip and the only place you can complain to about it is an entity that is actually PART of PG&E! It's crazy. So basically, there is NO accountability should you actually have a problem with PG&E. It's just a vicious, un-caring circle.

So, anyway, back to the matter at hand. Here's my concern - if I don't send a letter within the 30 days required, even though everything here says that deadline is willy-nilly anyway, then there's always the possibility that if I end up in court on this matter that a judge would rule against me because I ignored the problem when I should have been responding to the payment demand.

By the way, I did find I had jotted down the date after all - the call came in on January 4, 2005, and their letter was dated January 17, 2005. In the CIC information it says "Once information is deleted from a credit file, the credit bureaus can not reinsert it unless the entity supplying the information certifies that the item is complete and accurate and the credit bureau notifies the consumer within five days." I'm not sure what all that means. Can anyone clarify?

Also, FDCPA, section 809(a) states "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..." What does that mean, "initial communication?" Would the phone call we received on 1/4/05 count? In other words, if they provided all the information that follows the statement above verbally, but never in writing, does that count? My husband took the call and doesn't recall much of what the guy said on the phone - nor does he recall whether or not he was told it was being recorded.

What actual violations have occurred at this point? Aren't they a little difficult to "prove?"


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Violations are very important to keep track of in the process, bottom line is you can go to court and collect $1,000 from them for violating the FDCPA, $1,000 for each violation of the FCRA. Going to court on these matters is very easy.

Even if you do not want to go to court on the matter these violations give you the upper hand in the process, most CAs will want to settle when you cite their violations. Even if you get settlement for no cash it is good leverage to use in getting them to remove the record from the CRAs. If they take you to court you can slap a counter suit on them for these violations and give them reason to settle. There are a number of people here that have gotten a check from a CA and deletion just by threating to sue.

The basic reason for forcing them to validate is they have to prove you owe the debt they claim you owe and they have legal standing to collect said debt. Anyone can write up a letter and claim they are collecting for someone, if they do not prove to you that they have a legal debt to collect, how are you to know it is not a scam or mistake? This board is full of stories of misidentified people having debts collected from them.

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