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Are billing statements sufficent for debt validation?


xurlii
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My husband DV'ed dunning notices from West Asset Manangement (CA) about 6 months ago. Last week, West Asset Management sent him 2 billing statements from Crapital One (the OC) as validation of the debt. Are billing statements sufficient for validation of a debt?

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Well...it depends.

In general, what constitutes proper "validation" is in the eyes of the debtor who requested the validation.

That said, whether the billing statements are sufficient or not depends a great deal on basis for your husband's dispute of the debt and what specifically was asked for as validation.

If he is claiming that the debt isn't his at all and requested proof that the debt is actually his (such as an account application bearing his signature), then clearly, copies of billing statements are insufficient.

If, on the other hand, only the amount of money owed is in question than "billing statements" may be sufficient.

Of more concern to me is the lengthy period of time it took them to respond...ideally, you want to give them thirty days and then, if they don't respond, send a second "reminder" request giving them an additional fifteen days....six months is far too long in my opinion. The problem is, if your husband left the request "open ended" then that may be a moot point.

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I would definitely dispute it. Even if they prove it's yours by sending statements all they show is what was posted to your account and when. I like to cite the possibility of human error in these cases pointing out that just because somebody in the accounting dept. hit those buttons doesn't prove anything. Show me copies of my actual payments, and how you have a right to try to collect. Then it's validated to this debtor. This works well for late payments too. Just because it was posted on a certain date doesn't mean it was late. How do I know how full the A/R person's IN box was?

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In general, what constitutes proper "validation" is in the eyes of the debtor who requested the validation.

'Fraid not. There is case law on this subject in 3 different districts, plus opinions from the FTC. The courts and FTC have ruled that validation is nothing more that the collector obtaining proof from the original creditor that the amount being sought by the collector is the same as the amount the creditor claims to be owed. The collector must obtain this and then mail it to the alleged debtor. By simple action this satisfies the Statute by providing the name and address of the original creditor and confirmation of the amount sought. It also establishes that the collector is working for the creditor since communication between the two happens in this process (fraud by dumpster diving notwithstanding). So a print of the last bill mailed by the original creditor is sufficient for validation purposes.

At no time are records from the collectors own systems considered to be validation. Ever. It must come from the original creditor forwarded through the collector. A copy of a bill provided by the OC to the collector prior to the collector's first contact is not considered to be from the collector's records as it still originated from the OC. Also, the collector is not permitted to tell the alleged debtor to contact the OC for confirmation. The Statute specifically says the collector must do it.

Now if something is amiss with what you get in validation then the next stage is for the consumer to dispute, which is a seperate action from validation.

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All they would have to do is request the entire statement history along with a copy of the account agreement, etc. As long as it is sufficient to convince a judge, that's it. Most JDB's and CA's now rountinely request copies of all of the debtors statements because a greater percentage of people are requesting debts be proven.

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In general, what constitutes proper "validation" is in the eyes of the debtor who requested the validation.

'Fraid not. There is case law on this subject in 3 different districts, plus opinions from the FTC. The courts and FTC have ruled that validation is nothing more that the collector obtaining proof from the original creditor that the amount being sought by the collector is the same as the amount the creditor claims to be owed. The collector must obtain this and then mail it to the alleged debtor. By simple action this satisfies the Statute by providing the name and address of the original creditor and confirmation of the amount sought. It also establishes that the collector is working for the creditor since communication between the two happens in this process (fraud by dumpster diving notwithstanding). So a print of the last bill mailed by the original creditor is sufficient for validation purposes.

At no time are records from the collectors own systems considered to be validation. Ever. It must come from the original creditor forwarded through the collector. A copy of a bill provided by the OC to the collector prior to the collector's first contact is not considered to be from the collector's records as it still originated from the OC. Also, the collector is not permitted to tell the alleged debtor to contact the OC for confirmation. The Statute specifically says the collector must do it.

Now if something is amiss with what you get in validation then the next stage is for the consumer to dispute, which is a seperate action from validation.

You may well be right but I disagree to an extent...I still maintain that it depends on the basis of the consumer's dispute.

If the consumer maintains that he/she never opened a credit card account for example, then simply supplying statements without evidence of a signed contract (assuming it was requested by the consumer) does not validate the debt and I would certainly argue it that way in front of a judge.

Another point, if all that's needed to meet the statue is a computer print out from the OC, why do so many CAs fail to supply even that much? It should be a no-brainer for them! :)

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My husband DV'ed dunning notices from West Asset Manangement (CA) about 6 months ago. Last week, West Asset Management sent him 2 billing statements from Crapital One (the OC) as validation of the debt. Are billing statements sufficient for validation of a debt?

Check out the Wollman FTC opinion... Computer printouts does not constitute verificatin... Any Joe Schmoe can send you a computer printout claiming that you owe him money... Although a real statement is a bit of a different issue...

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There is a distinction in the Statute between dispute and validation. If you read over it carefully, you'll see that the law treats the two as exclusively seperate consumer actions.

Validation is meant to be a verification process that the collector has contacted the correct person regarding the debt and that the collector is not trying to extract more than they are entitled to.

Dispute is entirely different. That would be a seperate consumer action where there is an issue of fact in the collection that is in contention.

This is why the validaiton period for the consumer to respond has limits, but there is no time limit on dispute for the consumer to respond.

I usually recommend that a consumer respond to a collection notice with a validaiton notice first. Once the validaiton is obtained, the consumer can then examine the results to determine if the correct person has been contacted and/or if the validaiton matches the collectors payment demands. If anything does not jibe, then the consumer sends a dispute letter over the material facts to the collector. If the collector fails to respond to the validation in the first place, the law says the consumer is done. The end result of failure to respond to validation is the collector's admittance that no further collection action is warranted (no proof of even the most basic kind).

Now we all know reality and what the law is supposed to accomplish are frequently quite different. So take the above as a description of how it should work in ideal circumstances.

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My husband DV'ed dunning notices from West Asset Manangement (CA) about 6 months ago. Last week, West Asset Management sent him 2 billing statements from Crapital One (the OC) as validation of the debt. Are billing statements sufficient for validation of a debt?

Check out the Wollman FTC opinion... Computer printouts does not constitute verificatin... Any Joe Schmoe can send you a computer printout claiming that you owe him money... Although a real statement is a bit of a different issue...

Computer printouts that come from the OC are sufficient. The point is that the documentation must come FROM the OC. Computer printouts from the CA/JDB are insufficient. Computer printouts from the OC are. There is caselaw on this.

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There is a distinction in the Statute between dispute and validation. If you read over it carefully, you'll see that the law treats the two as exclusively seperate consumer actions.

Validation is meant to be a verification process that the collector has contacted the correct person regarding the debt and that the collector is not trying to extract more than they are entitled to.

Dispute is entirely different. That would be a seperate consumer action where there is an issue of fact in the collection that is in contention.

This is why the validaiton period for the consumer to respond has limits, but there is no time limit on dispute for the consumer to respond.

I usually recommend that a consumer respond to a collection notice with a validaiton notice first. Once the validaiton is obtained, the consumer can then examine the results to determine if the correct person has been contacted and/or if the validaiton matches the collectors payment demands. If anything does not jibe, then the consumer sends a dispute letter over the material facts to the collector. If the collector fails to respond to the validation in the first place, the law says the consumer is done. The end result of failure to respond to validation is the collector's admittance that no further collection action is warranted (no proof of even the most basic kind).

This seems to be semantics.

There is no process for a consumer to request "validation" nor is there really a "validation letter" (from the consumer). A dispute is part of the validation process. The CA sends you an initial letter which is supposed to contain certain things. The ball is then in the consumer's court as to whether or not he wants to dispute the debt or a portion of it. There is no "request validation" followed by "dispute what they sent to your validation request" per se.

The statute says:

1) CA must send this required info in their initial letter

2) Consumer may dispute any or all of the debt, in writing, within 30 days

3) If consumer disputes per 2, verification must be obtained and forwarded and collection activity must cease in the meantime

4) If the information in the verification sheds light on any further disputes, it would make sense for the consumer to dispute again. IE if they send a billing statement that shows an address you've never lived at, you notify them of that fact. In doing so, the cease collection activity is still in effect. If their information fails to verify the debt, they cannot engage in collection activities.

The FDCPA describes the action a consumer takes as a "dispute" not a "request validation".

Validation is a series of steps that must occur, which may include resolving a dispute from the consumer.

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